Friday, April 30, 2010 0 comments

Creepy Aliens on top of buildings

by Brittany Geragotelis

So, I was at a photo shoot all day today for American Cheerleader. We were shooting back-to-school fashion, as well as having a test shoot for a possible cover girl. I'm usually the one who starts the morning off and today was no exception: I had to work with the girls on their poses, coach them on what kinds of shots we want and talk to the photographer (the lovely and always fun Matthew Karas; if you need great photos and like low-maintenance, easy-going people, he's your guy!) about what we're looking for.

photo credit: The CW/ANTM
Shoots are a lot of fun, but they're also a TON of work. Watch "America's Next Top Model" and you'll get a little taste of what shoots are like...minus the judging panel, of course (unless you count us picking through the photos as a sort of judging session) and super-high drama. There's so much more that goes into a shoot then you'd think. There's the hour, hour and a half that it takes to do hair and makeup. Then, there needs to be a stylist figuring out what the girls are going to wear and keeping track of all the clothing credits. Then there's my job which is usually working with the girls (which can sometimes be tough because for the most part, we only use real cheerleaders for our shoots and not professional models). Then there's, of course, dealing with the unexpected: running short on time, finding out that a pose we'd wanted to try doesn't work, finding out the clothing we LOVED on the hanger doesn't look as good on the person and having to switch things up at the last minute.

Today, our shoot was outside in NYC in the Madison Sq Park area (around 23rd and Broadway). And that posed its own problems. First, when you're doing a location shoot, you're at the mercy of the elements. It was a little breezy out, so we had a few hair issues, and the temp was a very nice 77 degrees, which meant we had to deal with sweat and makeup running off the models' faces. Also, when you're outside, you have to find public bathrooms for the models to change in, because there's just not enough time to run back to the studio after each shot.

And then there was the crowd control. I'm always amazed at how cool and sometimes oblivious New Yorkers are. For the most part, when people see lights, a photographer and models all done up, they may glance at you, but then tend to move on, completely unfazed. However, there always seems to be that one skeevy guy standing right next to us taking pictures and leering. Can you say uncomfortable?

But today, I think the creep award definitely goes to the 31 statues standing on top of the buildings in the area we were shooting in. I know, I know, the figures are all a part of an "art" intallation called "Event Horizon." But when you first see them (they're in the shape of a naked man...and yes, you can see ALL of him hanging out there) standing on the edge of super-tall buildings, it's a little unnerving. I couldn't help but envision them as aliens who were sent from planet Creepyonia to look down on us until it was time for them to obliterate the human race. Seriously. It's that creepy. Either that or it looks like someone's about to jump, which is also frightening. And once you notice one, you see them everywhere. Ick.

Anyway, the day is nearly over and I'm looking forward to a quiet night of writing at home. I'm up to page 196 in Painless and need to finish a few blog projects, one of which is an interview I recently did with the authors of the really cute book The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading. Check back in on Monday for the full scoop on this awesome book and how the authors (yes, there are two) came up with the idea.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 1 comments

I want a theater in my house.

by Brittany Geragotelis

When I was younger, my mom used to take me to look at houses. We'd be in the car and we'd drive to the ritzy areas and we'd ooh and aah over the million dollar houses. May sound strange, but I loved looking at those houses, picking out my favorite one and imagining myself living in one. Wondering about the person that I'd have to be in order to afford a place like that. The parties I'd throw. The other cool things I'd fill my McMansion with. Even now, I like to walk past the brownstones near the Central Park and choose the ones I'd buy if I were rich.

But how much is too much house? Do people really need 12 bedrooms? A theater? An Olympic-size pool, tennis courts and an indoor basketball court? A private plane hanger? Would I really be comfortable in a house that large, when I would probably only spend my time in a few of the rooms? (And think of all the places a burglar or psycho killer could hide as they wait to jump out at me in the dark...Hey, I know what happens in scary movies!)

I recently saw the house that Gisele and Tom Brady are having built. It's ridiculous. It's an eight bedroom, 22,000 sq ft mansion worth $20 million. When it's finished, the couple's house will boast a butler's room, a cardio room, a weight room, a pool house, a lagoon-shaped pool and spa, a wine room and a covered loggia.

Is a place like this too big, or given the chance, would you do the same? What would be in your dream house if money was no object? For me, I'd have a fireman's pole that went from one floor to the other....and a hidden room!


May is Declared Celiac Disease Awareness Month

by Brittany Geragotelis

Four years ago around this time, I was really sick. We're talking throwing up, in serious pain and not eating. I'd lost about 20 pounds in 3 weeks and was down to about 86 pounds (and I'm small, but that was too small). My chest hurt, my back hurt, I was exhausted and having panic attacks all the time. I was NOT well.

After seeing four different doctors to try and figure out what was wrong with me, I finally found one who changed my life forever. When I told him all my symptoms, he told me that he thought I had Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease where your body can't handle the protein in wheat, oats, barley and rye. I was like, "No way. I've been eating wheat all my life!" But alas, the good doctor was right. An endoscopy and blood test confirmed that I had Celiac Disease.

One in 100 people have the disease, so CD effects more people than you may realize (Most people with it, don't even know they have it). In the four years since I was diagnosed, CD awareness has grown by leaps and bounds. Mainstream companies are making products gf and more and more restaurants are becoming gf friendly. This is a huge deal for people with CD. That's why I was psyched when I heard that May was just declared Celiac Disease Awareness Month! The more people who know about it, the easier it will be for those with CD.

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month everyone!


Meeting Mary Karr

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: Mary Karr
Last night I had the distinct pleasure of meeting poet and author, Mary Karr. Mary is author of the uber-famous memoirs, The Liars' Club (1995) and Cherry (2000), books that look back at her tumultuous childhood and then troublesome adolescence. Her most recent book, Lit: A Memoir (2009) follows her journey from atheist and sinner to converted Catholic during her struggle with alcoholism.

photo credit: Penguin
The woman herself is incredibly mesmerizing. She's SO not your typical mom...she's got an admirable wit about herself and has perfected the timing of her prose in a way that would rival any good comedian. She's actually quite striking in person and her strength of character and will for survival comes through in everything she says...even when she's just shooting the shit.

photo credit: Penguin
As someone who's written about recovery (mine is an adult chick-lit novel called Sober in the City about a girl who gets sober in NYC and weathers the dating world and hilarity ensues), I found her to be unapologetically and admirably honest.

If you haven't already done so, pick up a copy of one of Mary's books. And then get to know the author a little better in this interview with her back in 2009. She's got a ton of good tips on writing in there, including this little nugget:

photo credit: Harper Perennial
"I think most writers have a failure of character, a failure to accept what’s being assigned to you to write. And that often what we’re most talented at we resist, because we think it’s silly, or small, or not good enough. I teach with George Saunders, a brilliant fiction writer, and he’s so funny. He went to Syracuse when Ray Carver and Toby Wolff were there, and he kept trying to write these gritty, minimalist, realistic stories, and then he’d have some bizarre thing in the middle of it, and Ray and Toby would kill themselves, and tell him, “Just do more of this! Just do this all the time!” And he’d be like, “I want to be a man!”

We often have a way that we think we’re going to correct ourselves in the work that leads us to deny the talent we’re assigned or the subjects we’re assigned or the style we’re assigned. That’s certainly been true for me and I often see it with young writers." —Mary Karr

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 0 comments

Punked by the universe....

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: MTV/Punk'd
I was having drinks (decaf coffee for me, green tea for her) with Agent X last night, when we started talking about how funny the universe can be sometimes. A friend is asked out by the guy you were crushing on or a co-worker wins a contest to see a band they don't even like, but you love. The world's ripe with these kind of experiences...of course, when they happen to you, it can feel like there's some cosmic joke on your expense. Sort of like, "You want this? Well, hahaha, guess what, we're gonna give it to that person instead!"

What we came up with as a conclusion is that we all go through times like these (and from what I learned, Agent X has a few stories of her own!). There are always going to be times where we don't get what we want—where it feels like the grass is greener for someone else. I think what's important about these experiences is how you react to them. Are you going to sit around and mope or are you going to use the experience to create something positive? Are you going to let it break you down and decide to quit or will it fuel your resolve to try even harder, fighting tooth and nail for what you want?

The bottom line is that we have no control over what happens outside of us. That's up to The Powers That Be. What we do have control over is how we react to things. Today I'm choosing to stay and fight. I'm putting my foot down, letting out my battle cry and fighting the urge to give up.

photo credit: The CW/BTVS
In the words of the wise and fabulous Buffy:

"The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live."

So, stand up for your dreams, go after what you want and don't let a little "punked" sesh hold you down for long!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 0 comments

Back from my Disney Adventure

by Brittany Geragotelis

So, part of my job as senior editor at American Cheerleader magazine is traveling to competitions. Working on the weekends (and with no overtime), not so fun. Attending the competitions at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Disney World, awesome! How many people get to say they have to go to Disney World for business?!?! The only downside, is that most of the time on these trips, we're at the Wide World of Sports the entire time and have no time to get to the parks. And for someone who is a HUGE Disney fanatic (I've gone to Disneyland every year since I was 3!), being that close to the magic and not actually getting to experience it is rough.

photo credit: Disney
But this trip was different. My co-worker and I got to Disney on Thursday afternoon and because of the delayed flights of several international teams (those darn volcanos!), the day's ceremonies were canceled. So, we had the entire afternoon off! We were lucky enough to snag a few park hopper passes and headed over to MGM and then to The Magic Kingdom for a little fun. All I gotta say is that Disney truly is the happiest place on earth!

photo credit: Disney
One last thing I wanted to mention about the trip was how good Disney is about their guest's food allergies. I have Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune disease where my body cannot handle the protein in gluten (wheat, oats, barely & rye). This means I can't eat anything basically with flour in, sandwiches, cereal and other things gluten's hidden in, are all off limits to me. It makes it difficult for me to find things to eat sometimes. But Disney's made an incredible effort to include anyone who comes to their parks by offering safe menus for everyone! Everywhere I'd go (even the fast-food joints), I'd tell the cashiers that I needed to eat gluten-free and the chef would come out and talk with me, discuss what they could make me and personally made my meal. And I wasn't just stuck with burgers without the buns or salads w/o the dressings...almost everywhere we went had gf buns, pizza, chicken fingers, etc. Every morning I had gf waffles in the shape of Mickey Mouse—and they were the best waffles I've ever had!

For someone who usually has trouble finding food that's safe to eat, this was a huge deal. So, if you have food allergies, you can rest easy knowing that Disney is more than happy and capable of accommodating you.

photo credit: It Books
Even though the trip was a ton of fun, I'm glad to be home and back to my regular schedule...and back to this blog! Speaking of books...I watched Molly Ringwald on "The Today Show" this morning. I grew up watching her movies (Sixteen Candles was a personal fave! Who didn't dream of the school hottie asking her to the big dance?) and am so excited to see that she has a book out today, called Getting the Pretty Back. It's about growing up and feeling comfortable in your skin. Are you going to get your copy? I know I am!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 0 comments

Jon Stewart—official BADASS!

by Brittany Geragotelis

When Matt and I first started dating, I came to learn something rather disturbing about him. Eleven O'clock would roll around and our conversation, which had been going swimmingly well, would turn into something like this:

Me: And then I told her that there was no way that Stephanie Meyer would beat JK Rowling in a write-off! I mean, can you imagine saying something like that?
Matt: (Frown, but no answer)
Me: Matt, are you listening to me?
Matt: No.
Me: Uh, okay. Way to be honest, I guess.
Matt: (Pauses the TV) Look, you know how you feel about "Buffy?"
Me: Yeah. It's the best show on television, so?
Matt: Well, "The Daily Show" is like that for me. "Jon Stewart" is my "Buffy." Just give me 15 minutes and then you can talk all you want, okay?
Me: I'm sorry, babe! I didn't realize it was your "Buffy." Please, go ahead and watch and I'll just sit here quietly until you finish watching...

photo credit: Comedy Central/
The Daily Show
Okay, so maybe the conversation didn't go EXACTLY like that, but this was the gist of our talk. I totally understand having a show that you don't like to be interrupted while watching. "Buffy" was like that for me, and now, so is "Glee." But I was surprised that Jon Stewart was like that for him. They had an official bromance going on (Now, he's got the same sort of relationship with Dr. House from the show "House"; Don't worry, I'm not all that jealous.)

photo credit: Comedy Central/
The Daily Show
So, for Matt's b-day this year, being the great gf I am, I got us tickets to watch a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Before Matt, I'd never watched "The Daily Show" before. I'm not a big news person (even comedic news). I probably shouldn't say this, because they might revoke my "journalist" card, but I don't really trust the news that we get fed. But the biggest reason I don't like watching the news is's always bad. Sure, occasionally they'll pepper in some feel-good story between the mass shooting and kidnapping of a young child, but I'm still left feeling very little hope for the fate of humanity. Life can be stressful enough, why would I fill myself with more bad news by choice?

Anyway, like I said, I'd never really been a "Daily Show" fan before, but now, after dating Matt for nearly 2 1/2 years, it's become a big part of our nightly ritual. And I've grown to really enjoy the opening bits. So, as his b-day present, we lined up outside the studios where they shoot the show, yesterday at 3:15PM. The studios are all the way out on 11th Ave btwn 51st and 52nd, and there's very little else in the area, excepts a car shop and a corner store.

photo credit: Esquire magazine
After waiting in a line for a little over 2 hours (thank God it was a gorgeous day!), we were ushered into the studio under a sign above the door that read "Abandon news, all ye who enter here", headed through a metal detector and was shown into the sound stage. If we weren't told that we'd be kicked out for taking pictures (even with our phones), I would've taken some for you all, but I guess you'll just have to use your imagination. The place was actually smaller than you'd think and they fit around 200 people in there. Cameras were set up all around the room and miscellaneous crew members walked around with power packs and wires and headsets. 90s music blared loudly to keep the crowd pumped.

Soon after everyone was seated, a man came out and started to energize the crowd, leading us in cheers. The guy was a comedian (although I can't remember his name) and he was hilarious. I mean, really funny. He talked with the audience, made fun of a few people and once we were all laughing, introduced Jon Stewart!

The crowd went wild! Jon looks exactly like he does on TV. He took the next 10 minutes to tell us about the show and then answer audience questions. He was extremely quick-witted, very funny and so charismatic. I can see why so many people like him.

photo credit: Comedy Central/
The Daily Show
The guest for the night was some 25-year-old who'd written a book about the tea party movement. Jon was respectful, but challenged him on a few points. People in the audience were grumbling at some of the things the kid was saying...they were NOT fans.

But my favorite part of the night was the opening bit, where Jon talked about a news segment someone had done bashing him and the show. His reactions were so funny...and then he brought out a choir, who sang "Go Eff Yourself" (only they actually used the four-letter word). And then Jon danced. Oh, did he dance!

The experience was so much fun and I would greatly recommend going if you get a chance to get tickets. Did anyone else watch last night's ep? If you did, you just may have heard me laughing in the background!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 0 comments

Catching Fire Review

by Brittany Geragotelis

Thanks to all who logged on yesterday to read all about the super-fab Deborah Gregory! Told you it would be worth it!

Now, for a book review. I just finished reading Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. And although I was on the fence about liking The Hunger Games, due to the horrifying violence between the children in the book, I've now grown to be a full-fledged fan.

photo credit: Scholastic
In the second book of the series, imperfect Katniss is having a hard time adjusting back to civilian life. She's having nightmares about the things that happened in the games, the people who died and those that she killed. She also finds herself stuck between her rock (Peeta) and a hard place (Gale), as the common denominator in a love triangle. Not that she has much time to think about her complicated love life though, because the President visits her in her new home (she won this and other riches for surviving in the arena) and threatens to hurt the people she loves if she doesn't try to diffuse the rising rebellion between the districts that he claims she started.

Everyone but Katniss is surprised when the Capital announces that this year's quarter games (anniversary games every 25 years) will include a past male and female victor from every district—meaning that Katniss will be heading back into the Hunger Games.

Like I said before, I've grown to be a fan of these books. The pacing of this second book was a little slow at first and the new Hunger Games didn't really begin until the late middle of the book. The games themselves seemed to take a lot less time to get through than the first and by the second book, much of the shock of the first book has worn off. As a reader, you begin to almost ignore the fact that these normally nice people are killing each other—sometimes with little to no remorse.

I grew to love Peeta even more in this book. Suzanne Collins does a great job setting him up as the one innocent, pure character in the book. And his love for Katniss is beautiful. I also loved the tone of defiance that this book took. As the reader, we know that what these characters are being forced to do is unthinkable, and there's a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing them begin to stand up for themselves and the districts in general.

So, although it wasn't as jarring and unique as the first book, I quite enjoyed the second one. And now I have to wait until August to read the third and final book, Mockingjay! Booooo! Why didn't I wait to read these until then!

photo credit: Comedy Central/
The Daily Show
On another note, Matt and I are heading to watch a taping of "The Daily Show" today. The guest isn't one I'm exactly excited to see, but it's gonna be really cool to see Jon Stewart live and in action! I'll tell you all about it in tomorrow's blog!

Saturday, April 17, 2010 3 comments

Cheetah Girls Author, Deborah Gregory, gets WILD!

by Brittany Geragotelis

Let me tell you a little about my friend, Deborah Gregory. First off, she’s fierce. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her walking around NYC without a fabulous, bright (most of the time pink and/or animal print) outfit on. She’s prone to “rowr”ing at people when she’s feeling sassy and she’s always the life of any party. But who is she besides utterly incredible and my friend? Well, Deborah’s also the author of the famous teen series The Cheetah Girls and the awesome new series Catwalk! I know…cool, huh?

courtesy of: Deborah Gregory
Beyond the literary fame though, she’s extremely supportive and genuinely wants to help people whenever she can. In fact, she’s someone who’s been super helpful in my own journey to getting an agent (which I’m still looking for—hint, hint). So, I wasn’t surprised at all when Deborah said yes when I asked her to answer a few questions for all of you out there who may be experiencing your own adventures in publishing.

Read on for the inside scoop from the Cheetah Lady herself and then leave a comment below for your chance to win a personal handwritten note, an autographed photo and book from Deborah!

courtesy of: Deborah Gregory
Me: What can you tell us about the Catwalk series?
I was a runway model in Europe for two memorable years, graduated from FIT and one of my friends, Nole Marin (celebrity fashion stylist and former judge on “America’s Next Top Model” and currently a judge on Canada’s “Next Top Model”), went to Fashion Industries High School. So, fashion is in my DNA!

Naturally, the brain cells were percolating as I was watching “Project Runway” and “ANTM.” I thought “wouldn’t it be cool to have a book series in which the characters attend a hyper-stylized and prestigious high school where they could get real hands-on training for careers in the fashion business? The school would sort of jump-start their college education, or for some, give them real entree directly from high school into the fashion arena.” The careers highlighted in the Catwalk novel series are: Print and Runway Modeling, Fashion Illustration, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising and Buying, Fashion Design, Accessories Design, Jewelry Design, Fashion Photography, etc.

courtesy of: Deborah Gregory
In Catwalk, each year some of the students at this prestigious high school—Fashion International—compete in an important annual fashion show competition. For the Catwalk Competition, the students are given the opportunity to win a fashion trip abroad, modeling contracts, college scholarships and cash prizes. The lead character, Pashmina Purrstein, has dreamed of modeling since childhood. Her best friend from the Boogie Down, Felinez Cartera, is a talented accessories designer. Together they dream of launching a fashion empire.

Me: Sounds like so much fun! Now, Catwalk is your second book series to become a hit among teens. What's the secret to writing a successful book or series?
Alas, the tradition of reading is not what it used to be. Television dominates now. So, frankly, one of the secrets is this: get your book made into a television or film project. Because of the success of The Cheetah Girls franchise I created, three movies were made, along with a slew of other ancillary streams such as nationwide concert tours, albums, a massive amount of merchandise, etc.

photo credit: Delecorte Books
There’s a strange thing that goes on with books, movies, television shows, albums—anything created along those lines. And this is it: you never know what’s going to be huge! All you can really hope for is to write something that you want to write and that it will find an “audience.”

There’s a larger audience for books with white characters than there is for books with ethnic characters—this is a fact in America. Also, books with characters that appeal to both males and females have a better chance (i.e. Harry Potter). So, as you can see, the more you narrow something down to a smaller audience, the smaller the chances are of it selling more copies. In the end, it’s all about the numbers. Book fact: There are 65,000 books published every year. That's what you're up against.

Me: What was your journey to being published like? Did you have to deal with a lot of rejection?
The book, film and television industries are absolutely brutal. There’s so much to deal with and no one tells you how hard it's going to be. Some people get really lucky and have a smoother ride—for example, if you come from a wealthy family or are married and your spouse is footing the bills, it will be easier to deal with all the bumps along the way.

courtesy of: Deborah Gregory
It's a very time-consuming and slow process. You have to write the book, try to get an agent, get it shopped around to publishers and then if there’s a publisher who wants it, they give you a contract (that part of the process—the publisher/author contract—sometimes takes between eight months to a year!). It can all be quite an ordeal.

The important thing to know is that there’s not a lot of money in this picture. You have to make sure you're financially covered, because the check you could be expecting, may not come. Things like this are endless when dealing with books and being a writer.

Me: What's your writing process like?
I'm a night person, so I write better at night. But when you're a writer, there are a lot of things you must deal with. You're really an entrepreneur—you have to make all sorts of things happen for yourself. There’s a lot of marketing involved when you’re a writer. You have to get your product out there so the books will sell, because most book companies don’t really help with that. I'm currently writing the third novel in the Catwalk trilogy—Catwalk: Rip the Runway—and I have to work on it every day and then deal with everything else. That’s my writing process!

Now in terms of shaping a book, this is what I do: I come up with an idea, then take four weeks to create an outline (the outline contains the plot and the characters). Then I do chapter outlines and finally begin writing the actual book.

Me: What book out there do you wish you had written?
I honestly wish I had written my adult novel already. I began it 14years ago! That's my only regret. The book’s about a girl who grows up in foster care and it follows her after she ages out of the system and makes a train wreck of her life—she becomes a call girl, drug dealer, and gets into other criminal enterprises—and how she reinvents herself. That's a hell of a story!

It’s taken a lot of research and a lot of time. And a lot of courage to face her story, which in part is my story. Growing up was horrendously difficult for me. There are so many struggles people deal with everyday—and I've witnessed them and tried to run from it all. I’m ready to stop running. And as I move forward, I’ll share it. Tell our stories. The stories of people I knew who died and are gone forever. Their stories are in my heart, my mind. They were a part of my life. And through it all, I’ll protect their anonymity. I don’t want to hurt anyone, which is why I think I've waited so long to face it all.

But to answer your question: no, there’s not a book that someone else wrote that I wish I'd written. A book is such a personal statement—no way it could be anyone else's but the person who wrote it. But I knew after I read Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra that I was going to have to stop running and write that adult novel. Reading his book (about boys who end up in a juvenile facility) was the first time I admitted it to myself. I loved that book.

Me: If you could have any five people over for a dinner party, who would you invite and why?
What a groovy, salacious, delicious and so malicious idea! I must do it pronto, ASAP, subito! (That means right now in Catwalk code. Forgive moi) I would so want to have Candace Bushnell over—I’d want to see her in action! I would definitely want Vincent D'Onofrio over—I love Inspector Gorum! He could solve my crimes anytime. I hear he's quite intense. And if he couldn't come, then I’d want him to send Benicio Del Toro—as you can see, I like the characters, the thinkers.

courtesy of: Deborah Gregory
Naturally, I’d want George Wolfe over—he’s a genius and the former artistic director of the Public Theater. Meryl Streep, because I hear she's really nice. I’d really want Dame Edna, too, because I'm a big fan of men wearing dresses. They always make such entertaining dinner guests. And I’d want my girlfriend, actress Lynn Whitfield over—she’s quite entertaining and great at dinner parties. (She played the Cheetah Girls’ manager and Galleria's mom in the movie).

photo credit: Jump at the Sun
Me: Catwalk is being developed into a television show for Teen Nick. Where are you with that project right now?
Alas, we have entered another terrain of the business that can make you wanna pull your hair out! It takes absolutely forever to get books or original scripts made into TV or film projects. For example, from the time that The Cheetah Girls book series was optioned to be made into the first movie took five years! That's right—and that was the fast track! The actual contract with the film or television company for the book option takes about eight months (The Cheetah Girls) to 22 months (Catwalk). So, nothing’s really going on yet. But it's my dream to get the sashay shimmy-ready characters in Catwalk, sashaying onto the screen either big or small, before they finish high school!

Me: In the Catwalk book series, the characters have their own Catwalk code and glossary of words they use. One of them is Tasti Dee-Lite. Tell us what that means and whom do you consider a Tasti Dee-Lite?
A Tasti Dee-Lite is a guy who’s as absolutely, deliciously adorable, charming and infectiously charming as a gay guy—but he's straight (yippee!). Therefore, you can indulge your fantasies without feeling guilty (tee hee) or having to run out for Ben & Jerry's, because he's gay and you can't have him.

A public person whom I consider a Tasti Dee-Lite would be Benicio Del Toro. I mean, he's hot. He looks like he's a mess but very, very interesting. I tend towards guys that are kooky characters. And like I said, I think Vincent D'Onofrio is a Tasti Dee-Lite. Maybe you'd have to see Mystic Pizza to get the full strength of his flavor. The other guy that I think is a bonafide Tasti Dee-Lite is married, so I don't want to upset his wife, but let's just say that he’s chocolate flavored and has an Academy Award for Best Actor and has lost some weight recently (tee hee hee).

Courtesy of: Deborah Gregory
Okay that you know a little more about the furr-bulous Deborah, here's your chance to win! The first two people to leave a comment below will win a personal handwritten note, an autographed photo and a book from Deborah! Lots of thanks to Deborah for being such a good sport! Catwalk: Strike a Pose is out in bookstores nationwide now!


Long Live The King...

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: Warner Bros.
Matt and I saw Clash of the Titans yesterday and I hate to say it, but we were not impressed. I had such high hopes for it, too, so it was disheartening when it turned out to be a total snooze-fest. We saw it in 3D and that was probably the most disappointing part of the movie. When I go to see something in 3D, I'm expecting things flying at the audience. And Clash would have been perfect for this. There were Scorpions attacking, Medusa and her snakes and then of course the Cracken. So many opportunities for cool 3D effects! However, there were none. Yeah, things were a little more dimensional, but there was nothing special about it. Especially not for $17 per person (that's how much it costs in NYC)!

Now, on a more exciting note, just read that Stephen King has a son who's become a pretty successful author in his own right. And the cool part? He made it while using a pen name (Joe Hill), so he'd be sure his career wasn't based on who his father was. He wanted to do it on his own. Gotta respect that!

Off to write more of Painless now. Up to page 170 and need to get crack-a-lackin! Oh, and don't forget that tomorrow's blog will include a special guest!


A perfect Saturday

by Brittany Geragotelis

I'm sitting here, watching my favorite Saturday morning show, Tori & Dean. It's rainy outside and my cat, Cohen (named after Seth Cohen from "The O.C."), is sitting on my chest as I write.

This is actually a pretty typical position for us to be in. Every time I lay down on my couch to write, Cohen jumps up and either stands or lays down on my chest--right in front of my computer screen (check out the picture here). It's like his equivalent of laying down on a newspaper or magazine that you're trying to read. How do cats know exactly when is the worst possible time to try and bond? And it's not even like he wants cuddle with me when I'm just sitting here watching TV. It's always when I need my hands free to do work. I wonder if he's trying to sabatage me. He's probably like, "Oh, yeah? If you're going to leave me all day while you're at work, then I'm going to keep you from doing what you need to do. So there."

Like I said, I'm watching Tori and writing and drinking my coffee and eating my breakfast (at 2:30pm). This show just makes me laugh so much. I love how Dean and Tori are always joking about sex...the joke being that Dean always wants it and Tori's a busy mom. It's such a funny look at the difference between guys and girls. There was also a really fun part in the show where Tori wanders into an Antique Mall and proceeds to buy a ton of ridiculous stuff. Who really needs a glass rooster cookie jar? Come on, Tori, you've got so much more style than that!

photo credit: Costco
Speaking of shopping, I spent my morning at my favorite store: Costco. I'm serious! I swear, Costco is like Disneyland for adults (although I am a huge fan of Disney in a totally different way). The place is HUGE and they've got everything there! And everything's SUPERsized. I felt like I was in that TV game show called, "Supermarket Sweep", running through the big warehouse and pulling things into my cart that I want. 10 pounds of cheese? Sure. A monster bag of Trail Mix? Of course. A four-pack of Sparkling Apple Cider? Make that two. I just love that store! The only problem is that when you walk out, you realize you've just spent $267.

But it's totally worth it.

Now I've gotta wrap up this blog and head out to meet my beau, at the movies. We're gonna watch Clash of the Titans in 3D! Half-naked Gods throwing around their tridents? Sounds like the perfect way to end my Saturday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010 0 comments

Favorite Things Friday

by Brittany Geragotelis

TGIF! I don't know about you, but the weekend couldn't have come sooner for me and I'm looking forward to a nice, fun, relaxing (writing-filled) time. But before we all drift off into La-La Land (isn't that what we ALL do on the weekends?), here's a list of a few of my favorite things from this week.

Here's a little story to start your weekend off with a laugh. Yesterday I was walking back from grabbing lunch with my co-worker, Toni. It was a relatively nice day, so I was wearing a black dress and some knee-high socks (I was channeling my inner Rachel from "Glee"). They were red, black and white striped. Anyway, we were walking back to our office and passed by a homeless man who was snarling at people as they passed. All of a sudden I heard, "Those socks are AWFUL!" I took a few steps before I realized that he was talking to me. I kept walking, but was thinking to myself, "Wait. You're really judging my socks?" You really can't do anything besides laugh in a situation like that. I mean, who says that? They were really cute socks, too. And comfy!

Jump at the Sun
My good friend and DIVA extraordinaire, Deborah Gregory, was nice enough to take some time away from writing the latest book in her Catwalk series to share her writing secrets, her experiences getting published and the scoop on what she's got coming up in the near future (Hint: It's fabulous and fierce—just like her!). Famous for her best-selling series, The Cheetah Girls, Deborah has a wealth of knowledge regarding the publishing industry. I'll be posting my interview with her right here, on my blog, this Monday the 19th! Stay tuned, you won't want to miss what she has to say!

Though I'm not usually one for change (I tend to like my schedules and don't like to deviate from my comfort zone), sometimes change can be really, really great. That's why I was so happy when I heard that President Obama has mandated that hospitals allow visitation rights to partners of gay men and lesbians as well as given them the right to make healthcare choices on their behalf if given the power to do so. I really feel like this is such a big step in the right direction toward equal rights. No one should be allowed to tell another who they can and can't have in their lives...

photo credit: FOX/Glee
Was there anyone more excited than I, that "Glee" made its triumphant return to the small screen this week? Uh, I don't think so! There were so many amazing things about the first episode back after a much too long hiatus...Lionel Richie's "Hello"; the angry, jilted gf version of All-American Rejects' "Give You Hell"; EVERY line delivered by Jane Lynch! I seriously broke out into song (At least 3 times), it was so good! But I think this week's standout performance was by the ditzy blonde cheerleader, Brittany. Until now, this actress hasn't had much of a role, but it seems like they're expanding her character—and it's a good thing, too, because that girl is hilarious! All I gotta say is that she's beginning to outshine the others with her perfectly-timed quips and comments. Her "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?" line had me dying!

Scholastic Books
Okay, okay. I know I said I was on the fence in terms of the first book in The Hunger Games series, but I think I've fully caught the fan bug. And it's spreading. Fast. I'm over halfway done with the sequel, Catching Fire, and I'm officially addicted. I still think it's a little violent for a kids book, but it's good. I'll have a review of it next week.

Well, that's it for now. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 0 comments

Popular authors top "Most Challenged" book list...

by Brittany Geragotelis

The American Library Association (ALA) recently published their annual Top 10 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books and I was kind of surprised at what came in at #1. A little history behind this: For nearly 20 years, the ALA has been gathering book challenges (formal, written complaints filed with libraries or schools requesting books be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness).

In 2009 alone, the group received 460 reports from people trying to restrict certain books from making it onto public and school library bookshelves. I don't know about you, but the idea of banning books is just silly to me. Honestly, there's enough graphic stuff going on in the world in general...why should we censor it in books? However, I have found that some authors of books that have been banned in schools across the country—Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries, Airhead) often talks about being banned, with glee—take particular pride in ending up on these lists.

So who made the ALA's Top 10 list this year? Check it out below:

Amulet Books
1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series)
by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three
by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

MTV Books
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

Grand Central
4. To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Little Brown
5. Twilight (series)
by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

Little Brown
6. Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Square Press
7. My Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things
by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Mariner Books
9. The Color Purple
by Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War
by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Are you as surprised as I was to see Lauren Myracle in the #1 slot? Sounds a little silly that so many people complained about some of these books, doesn't it? It kind of makes me want to go out and read all of them (at least the ones I haven't already read). And come on people, homosexuality as a complaint? Really? What is this, the 1800s? How about everyone stop judging. Still, this is interesting all around, no?


Episode 14 GLEE-wind

by Brittany Geragotelis
All I can say about last night is...W-O-W!

"Glee's" first ep back (after too long of being off air) was UH-mazing. Chock-full of comedy, music and drama, this episode did not disappoint.

photo credit: FOX/Glee
How awesome was the music in this episode?!?! It was kind of cool to hear Rachel singing something more pop-ish than the Broadway-esque music she usually sings on the show. And how many times have we sung along with music on the radio, wishing we were singing to that guy who hurt us? The payback Rachel was able to deliver to Phinn through singing All American Rejects' "Give You Hell"—Well, payback's a bitch, right?

From the moment Mr. Shu mentioned they'd be choosing songs with "Hello" in the title, I was yelling, "Do 'Hello' by Lionel Ritchie!" at the TV. When I saw that Rachel was holding the album (or was it sheet music?) in her hands, I squealed with glee (pun intended)! This song has been a favorite of mine for a long time, so hearing it in a duet by Rachel and the new guy (whose character I love, but I have a feeling he's not such a good guy) really rocked my socks off.

And can we take a moment to talk about the blonde, dim-witted cheerleader, Brittany? (No, not me. I'm a brunette. And retired from my cheerleading days) I love that they're giving this character more of a role this 1/2 of the season. Her timing and delivery of her lines is nothing short of GENIUS. How funny was she when she turned to Santana and said "You know that dolphins are just gay sharks, right?"

Lastly...I can't wait until next week's episode. Madonna is the focus of this one, and I think it's going to be the best episode of the season. Don't believe me? Take a look at the music video they aired after last night's ep...Seriously, OMG!!!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010 0 comments

I'm a total Gleek...

by Brittany Geragotelis

I can't even begin to describe to you how ridiculously excited I am that "Glee" is returning tonight. It feels like it's been forever since we got to watch our favorite Gleeks dance and sing and I for one can't wait to see what they come up with next. I've heard that so much good stuff is in store for the rest of this season:

photo credit: Starz/
Anchor Bay
"Buffy" creator Joss Whedon directed episode 19, which I believe is also the same episode that "Doogie Howser" (am I a nerd that I used to LOVE that show?) and "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris appears in. Joss and Neil? That's almost too much goodness in one episode!

photo credit: FOX/Glee
I've also heard that Kurt joins the Cheerios this season. Not sure if it's because he likes the poms, or if it's because he's just trying to get closer to the enemy (Coach Sue Syllvester). Either way, I think we're in for a treat! Oh, and there's going to be a whole episode devoted to Madonna!!!! Like a Virgin. Vogue. Papa Don't Preach (this would work well with Quinn's storyline, don't you think?)...I can't wait to see what they choose to use!

Okay, gotta go and calm down before my head explodes from all the awesomeness. If you're a "Glee" fan, too, check out the sectionals episode wrap up below to catch up before tonight's brand new episode. And if you've been living under a rock and simply haven't watched the best show EVER yet, log onto fox and start watching!

Let the Glee be with you!