Friday, May 28, 2010 3 comments

Likes and Gripes Friday: May 28th, 2010

by Brittany Geragotelis

It's Friday, and that means it's Likes & Gripes time. Here goes:


LIKES:
1. Sex & the City 2—Okay, so the first time I saw the Sex & the City movie, I hated it. I had a serious problem with Steve cheating on Miranda, and the fact that she got back together with him, as well as the way Carrie was pushing her to just forget the indiscretion. But this was one of those movies where the more I watched it, the more I loved it, and now I like to watch it whenever it's on HBO or Showtime. I'm really excited about Sex & the City 2....for any female growing into an adult in NYC, this is our anthem. I'm really psyched, because I've managed to convince my boyfriend's mom to go with me to see it this weekend, since Matt would rather poke out his eyeballs than be forced to see it. Yay!!!!
2. Long Weekends—It's Memorial Day weekend and that means one more glorious day of freedom from work. I'm spending my days off in Maryland this weekend, eating amazing food, revising Painless, hanging out with Matt's family, playing board games, going to the movies and relaxing. What are your plans?
3. Revisions—When I write a book, I never stop to read back over what I've written as I go. I know that if I were to do that, I'd spend so much time on changing words and sentences that I'd never actually get anything down on the page! This means that by the time I'm finished with a book, I'm not totally sure how it reads. Now that I'm finished with my first draft of Painless, I'm reading back through it and editing as I go. So far so good....it's making sense, seems to have a good pace and I don't hate it. It appears I'm right on course!
4. The "Grey's Anatomy" Finale—I haven't seen a finale in years that has been as intense and dramatic as the "Grey's Anatomy" finale for this season. Spoiler Alert if you haven't yet watched it: I thought the fact that the shooter came in and shot two major players within the first 5 minutes was beautifully done. It was shocking to see him shoot Nora Zhetner smack-dab in the forhead and then turn to get Kerev, too. The way they shot the kill scene was very visually well-done. The scene with Bailey being pulled out from under the bed was harrowing and terrifying and amazingly acted. I really thought the death scenes were beautifully acted...I really think this is a sign of a truly incredible actor. My only gripe is that they didn't really leave anything up in the air. They almost tied up all the loose ends before the end, which could have been better left to next season.


GRIPES:

1. "Glee"—This show's usually always on my LIKES list, but this weekend it had to end up here. It's not that the episode was necessarily bad, it just wasn't up to par with the other episodes we've been seeing lately. Maybe it was because I'm not a fan of Lady GaGa, or maybe it's because there weren't very many awe-inspiring musical numbers or maybe they were just having an off night. Either way, it didn't move me like it usually does. I did, however, love the scene where Kurt's dad stands up for him and the scene at the very end with Tina and the principal. She had me rolling on the floor with her talk of her vampire father coming in and biting him at night.
2. No more TV shows—I thought that having shows on hiatus would be good, because I wouldn't be crazy trying to keep up with the 13 shows I HAVE to watch each week, but now that every show (besides "Glee") has wrapped up their season, I'm starting to have withdrawls. Oh well, I guess that's what Netflix is for, right?
3. Life Imitating Art—This guy robs a drugstore, gets caught, then writes a book about it, which is then made into a movie....and then robs another drugstore and gets caught. Oh, and did I mention he's in his 70s? Come on, guy, you basically gave the cops a blueprint of your evil plan...
4. SCRAM—Anyone hear about Lindsay Lohan being forced to wear a device called a SCRAM, which monitors whether she's drinking? Apparently, a judge is forcing her to wear it until her court proceedings are over (for alcohol-related charges), as well as requiring her to take an alcohol abuse course and random drug tests. Being that most people who have problems with drinking need to have a desire to quit drinking, I'm not sure if this is a good solution for her or not. It is an interesting thought though, like a more rigidly enforced ultimatum. But will it actually help her get sober?



5x5,
B.
Thursday, May 27, 2010 2 comments

Dream On

by Brittany Geragotelis

I did NOT sleep well last night. I was having a serious stress dream, so it was pretty restless.

I know it's not like this for everyone, but I usually always remember my dreams. Every once in a while my boyfriend remembers his, but me? Nearly every morning I can tell you all the details of what was going on all night in my head. Over the years I've grown aware of what some of my dreams mean. More specifically, when I'm stressing out big time.

There are a few dreams that have become regulars when it comes to measuring my levels of stress. Here are a few of them:

1. The school dream.
School was never an easy time for me. I did not have a good high school experience. High school was hell for me; the classes, grades, the kids, the self-doubt. It was probably the hardest time I've had to go through in my life thus far. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I often dream that I'm being sent back to high school, because it turns out (in dreamland) that I was one credit shy of graduating. So I'm forced to go back and complete it...at the age of 31! Suddenly teachers are telling me what to do, I can't find where my classes are, and I realize that I've missed almost every one of my math/science classes of the semester and that I might be held back....again. Can you say stress dream?

2. The cheer dream.
This one stars me as a cheerleader, and I'm either getting ready to perform a halftime routine or I'm trying out for the squad and I can't seem to remember the routine that I've been taught. Either that, or my teammates are having to teach me the moves at the last minute and I'm just not picking them up. I'm left panicking that I'm going to make a fool of myself in front of everyone! Big-time stress.

3. The cheating dream.
You can guess the details on this one. This one always has me finding out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. This dream in particular never has to do with my being stressed out about my relationship in real life....it's just one of my worst nightmares. So whenever I'm feeling freaked out about work, or life is especially hard, I find myself dreaming about my beau being with some bountiful blonde or faceless mistress. Once there were even twins. Not a fun dream to have.

4. The angry friend dream.
This one's always interesting to me. In it, one of my friends is angry with me. I'm not sure what I've done to make them mad, but they make it clear they will not be forgiving me anytime soon. I'm left feeling guilty and sad and confused. Usually I wake up feeling the need to ask that friend, "Why are you so mad at me?!?!?! What did I do?" FYI, they're never mad at me in real life.

5. The drunk dream.
This one always sucks. Usually, the dream starts with me being drunk and not knowing how it happened...just that I'm wasted. Most of the time, it's difficult for me to walk and talk in it; I keep falling down and have no control over my own body. I'm filled with shame and guilt over things that I know I've done while being drunk, but can't remember how I got to that point in the first place. I spend the dream trying to figure out how I'm going to do damage control once I sober up. Talk about stressful.

So, there you go. My most popular stress dreams. What do you dream about when times get tough? Do you remember your dreams at all? Leave your comments below and sweet dreams!

5x5,
B.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 0 comments

5x5, B

by Brittany Geragotelis

A lot of you have been asking me what my sign-off means, so I thought I'd let you in on the secret (which isn't really a secret at all). As you know, I'm a huge "Buffy" fan. It's by far, my favorite show, and I've owned no less than 5 copies of the entire series over the last 10 years (when you loan them out as often as I do, they tend to get scratched up; and then there was the fire in my living room and the time my apartment was broken into and someone stole all my DVDs...but those are totally separate stories).

And obviously, when it came time to name my blog, I thought, "Why not pair up my two loves: books and Buffy?" Thus was born, Brittany the Book Slayer! If you've watched "Buffy", you'll know that Faith (the slayer-turned-nemesis-turned-reformed-bad girl) always called Buffy, B. Well, my family calls me B (when I was younger, my cousins couldn't pronounce Brittany, so they called me B-B-B, which was shortened to B over the years), so that's why I sign B at the end. But the 5x5, that's totally a Buffy thing. In one of the scenes, Buffy asks Faith if she's okay, and she answers, "I'm five by five, B." So, 5x5 is like "A-okay", five out of five which means complete, or it's all good.

So, there you have it....the mystery behind my sign off. It's a little bit Buffy, a little bit Brittany, but all good.

5x5,
B.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 0 comments

Book Review: The Tension of Opposites

by Brittany Geragotelis

Just finished reading The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride this past weekend. With such a great idea for a book, I was a little let-down by the final manuscript.

"When Tessa's best friend Noelle disappears right before the start of eighth grade, Tessa's life changes completely—she shies away from her other friends and stops eating in the cafeteria. Now, two years later, Noelle has escaped her captivity and is coming home, in one piece but not exactly intact, and definitely different. Tessa's life is about to change again as she tries to revive the best-friendship the two girls had shared before Noelle—now Elle—was kidnapped; puts up a futile resistance to the charming new guy at school; pursues her passion for photography while trying to build the bravado to show her photos to the public; and tries to balance her desire to protect and shelter Elle with the necessity to live her own life and put herself first."

I was so intrigued by the concept of the book...what must it be like to come back home after a horrific 2+ years of being held captive by a kidnapper and having to do unspeakable things to survive? And what about those you left behind when you went missing? I, like most of the other characters in the book, was wondering the whole time what happened to Elle while she was gone. It was like the morbid fascination that makes us look at a car accident as we drive by, even though a part of us doesn't want to see what's lying there on the street.

I felt like the book had the opportunity to go really deep with the story, get down to the horror of what happened to this girl, but it never got to this point. There was never really a climax...no pay-off that made you really connect with either the main character, or Elle. And in my opinion, I felt like Tessa really needed to grow a backbone and maybe find her own identity.

The book was interesting, but I wished it had delved a bit deeper. Still, not badly written and not a bad concept. I was just left wanting more....

5x5,
B.
Monday, May 24, 2010 7 comments

Halalujah!!!

by Brittany Geragotelis

So, I did it!

Saturday, I finished writing my sixth book, Painless. It ended up being 258 pages, 25 chapters, 77,505 words and 4 months worth of writing to get a completed manuscript. Whenever I finish writing a book, I take a deep breath and give myself a moment to appreciate the huge accomplishment I've made. Because it is. Not a lot of people can say they've written a novel.

And it's a lot of work....especially when there's no guarantee that anyone's ever going to read it. But for me, it's something I'm driven to do. I write all day at American Cheerleader and then I go home at night and write for an hour or an hour and a half (usually between 10PM and 12AM). Trust me, part of me would much rather go home, sit on my couch, watch TV and play Spider Solitaire. No one wants to do more work when they get home at the end of the day. But I've tried not writing....and it just doesn't work for me. Before long, I start getting the itch to create, to tell the stories that pop into my head, and I just have to put fingers to the keys.

I truly feel like my gift of writing was given to me for a reason and it would be selfish not to utilize it. I think the story ideas that burrow their way into my head aren't necessarily mine, they're something that the universe wants me to get out there. But even though I write these books because I have to, I still have that underlying desire for people to read them and enjoy them. My ultimate goal is to create something that will move people.

Now that I'm finished with the first draft, I'm jumping straight into editing. I need to go back and make sure the story is consistant...and most importantly that it's a story worth telling. Then, once I'm done with this revision, I'll be sending it out to my faux-agent to take a look. She seems pretty psyched to read it and I'm really hoping it's what she was looking for. If not, I do have a few contacts at Little Brown that I may hit up...

5x5,
B.
Saturday, May 22, 2010 1 comments

Let's Get This Party Started!

by Brittany Geragotelis

Last night, I threw myself a birthday party for my 31st and I'm proud to say it was a raving success. Those who know me, know I'm famous for my Friday the 13th parties. So, since this one was along the same lines, I figured it'd be pretty easy. And compared to some of the past shindigs i've thrown, this one was relatively simple.

I got home from work and then dropped by the store to pick up gluten-free chicken strips, chips and soda. At home, I spent an hour or so cleaning my place, so it was suitable for guests. About 20 minutes until ETA, Matt arrived with gluten-free pizza in hand. In a sea of Pepperoni, veggie and sausage slices, I popped some cupcakes into the oven and let them bake as people began to arrive.

I had about 12 people total at the party and for the first hour or so, everyone just ate and mingled. Most of my guests knew each other, but I had a few new faces in the Pink Palace (my nickname for my apartment on account of the fact that it's two different shades of pink), which brought a new vibe to the mix.
After everyone gorged themselves on pizza, chicken fingers, chips and cupcakes, we turned on the Nintendo Wii game, Just Dance. The game's cool because it requires users to copy the dance moves of the avatar on the screen. It's so much fun...but it's a serious workout! After that, it was on to Karaoke for the Wii. This was fun, too, but the microphone doesn't really magnify your voice like a regular mic. It just registers your pitch and cadence. Both games were hilarious and fun.

Then, came movie time! Being the super-huge scary movie fan, we slipped in the original Halloween. We lost a few guests by this point, but at least a half dozen of us stayed until the end.



In the end, it was a great night!




5x5,
B.
Friday, May 21, 2010 0 comments

Friday Likes & Gripes

by Brittany Geragotelis

It's Friday, and that means it's Likes & Gripes time! Here we go:

LIKES
1. This week's "Glee"—Best episode ever. Between Doogie Howser guest-starring, Artie dancing to Safety Dance and Joss Whedon directing the ep, the show couldn't get much better than this.
2. Birthdays—Turning 31...not such a big deal. Tonight I'm throwing a birthday party for myself, complete with scary movies, junk food and Nintendo Wii. I'll give you the recap on how it goes tomorrow!
3. Vacations—I never realized how important they can be, until I began to actually take them. I took my first vacation away from work 2 years ago (that's after 5 years of virtually no vacations). There's a reason why you're given vacation days from work. One, you deserve them, and two, I really believe you need them for your own sanity. Life wasn't meant to be all work and no play. Otherwise, what are we living for? Next stop on the vacation train? Disney World!
4. Finishing Books—I'm on the last chapter in my book Painless. I've finished writing the climax and am just rounding out the story. Woo hoo! Then it's on to revisions and sending it out to agents!

GRIPES
1. Competing Ideas—As you know, I receive a lot of books through my work here at cheerleader. I was recently sent a book called Dust City, which is about a kid whose dad is doing time for the double murder of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. This is the second book in the last month that has used Little Red Riding Hood as a plot point. How is it that the most creative ideas seem to come out at the same time? If I were Jackson Pearce, I'd be a little ticked that someone was creeping on my idea. Come to think of it though, Jackson's got such a solid book, I'm sure Dust City is NO competition.

5x5,
B.
Thursday, May 20, 2010 0 comments

My first adult vacation

by Brittany Geragotelis

So, yesterday I spent $1,600 with one little click of my mouse. I nearly had an anxiety attack for spending that much money...see, it wasn't all that long ago that I paid off all my credit cards and debt. Since then, I've been saving up my money, letting the amount grow in my savings account for something big. And finally I figured out what I wanted to spend my hard-earned money on.

A trip to Disney World.

Yes, yesterday I booked my first adult vacation to the happiest place on earth (yeah, I know...an adult vacation to a kids theme park...ironic, huh?). Matt and I had been talking about taking a vacation together (just the two of us) for a while, and we'd both agreed Disney would be a great place to go. So, I began to price out packages and found one that had everything we needed to create a great vacation: flight, hotel, park hopper passes, deluxe dining plan (including 3 meals a day and two snacks; Mmmm, Mickey Waffles) and free transportation to and from the airport. The only other thing we'll have to pay for is the cab to and from the airport here in NYC and souveneirs.

Once I'd finalized the transaction, I got so excited! I love Disney World, but really, it's the vacation itself that has me feeling so adult. I just booked a vacation trip with my boyfriend. I'm at that age where I can choose where I go on vacation and when. I pay for it myself and make all the plans myself. There's something really empowering about that...

Anybody out there planning their own vacation? Tell me about it in the comments!!!

5x5,
B.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 0 comments

Birthday hangover...

by Brittany Geragotelis


I had the best day yesterday! From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, I was getting texts, phone calls, voice mails, e-mails and FB messages wishing me a happy birthday! I had no less than six different people sing to me. I received a half-dozen cards, four gift cards (one was to Wendy's!), about 20 hugs and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from my beau! The day was all about me, all day long and I felt incredibly loved and special.

And now it's over.

So, I've got a minor case of a birthday hangover, as I'm feeling a little sad, a little exhausted from all the excitement and a tiny bit of regret (because the day is over). But instead of treating this hangover with Advil, Gatorade and something greasy, I'm keeping my mind on the party I've got planned for Friday. There's nothing like a night of scary movies, junk food and Nintendo Wii with a dozen of your friends to turn your 'tude around.

Speaking of birthdays, I got to end my night by watching a new episode of "Glee." I know I've said this before, but I really think that last night's episode was the best one so far! Between the hot scene where Will Schuester and Bryan Ryan (Neil Patrick Harris) had a sing-off to Aerosmith's "Dream On" and the flash-mob dance scene with Artie, I was in "Glee" overload! And can we just talk for a minute about how crazy-good a dancer Artie is? Oh. My. God. Why is this actor in a wheel chair!?!?!?! What a waste of his obvious talents! I had to rewind and watch the "Safety Dance" four times before I was satisfied. And the ep was just made that much better by the fact that Joss Whedon (my hero) directed it! If you haven't seen the ep yet, you have to watch it now! But first, here's a little taste below...

It was the perfect way to end my birthday.




NOTE: Both videos are property of Fox.

5x5,
B.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 0 comments

It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to!

by Brittany Geragotelis

Hey all!
So, today I turned 31! And so far, it's already better than 30. This time last year, I was really sick. I'd fallen sick again from a mystery illness, which I still think was another autoimmune disease, but my doctors never figured out what was wrong. So, since I'm not weighing in at an unhealthy 87 pounds and puking my guts out, I'd say this b-day is significantly better than last year's.

Anyway, 31 has me thinking about where I am in life. Not in that "there's so much I haven't accomplished" or "I thought I'd be (insert whatever lofty goal you have here) by now", but rather in the sense of all that I've done over the past 31 years. I've written six books (well, the sixth one will be finished by the end of the week), survived several life-changing experiences, made life-long friends, graduated from college, worked at a national magazine and met more celebs than I ever thought would have been possible. I was in a scene in Bring It On: In It to Win It, was Olympics-bound, walked the red carpet, dated a TV star, am dating a filmmaker, fallen in love and laughed so hard that I cried. I've overcome hardships, helped others through their own and been to Disney (land and world) at least 40 times.


So, what's on the horizon for me in the next year? I have no idea, but here are a few of the things I'd like to accomplish within the next 365 days.



1. Finally get another agent and have one of my novels published.
2. Write that cheerleading book that's 9 years overdue.
3. Go surfing.
4. Go to a shooting range.
5. Start saving money.
6. Go on my first adult vacation.
7. Try something new every month.
8. Interview some of my favorite authors and actors.
9. Attend a concert.
10. Make a movie for fun (either a music video or a short that I've written).

What would be on your list? Leave your comments below!

5x5,
B.
Sunday, May 16, 2010 0 comments

Interview with Sisters Red author Jackson Pearce

by Brittany Geragotelis

In case you missed my earlier post regarding the awesome new book, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce let me catch you up: it’s incredible. Really. A reimagining of the fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood, Jackson has created a world where two sisters fight against the howling creatures of the night.

The young and talented Jackson Pearce was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions recently, just in time for her book’s release. Read on for more about Jackson, her writing process and her thoughts on where book publishing is going in the future.



Name: Jackson PearceNickname: Jack
Best Known For: Ability to drink a 24-pack of diet coke in one day, pink nail polish, and a book called Sisters Red
Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Me: The book's told from the perspective of the two main characters, Scarlett and Rosie March. Was it difficult for you to switch back and forth between the two voices?Jackson: Scarlett and Rosie have such different voices, goals, and character arcs that it honestly wasn’t very difficult; in fact, switching “sides” often made it easier to keep moving—right when I finished Scarlett’s chapters, I’d be eager to get back into Rosie’s head and vice versa.

Me: You did such an amazing job of creating two very strong, kick-ass female characters. Was this something you set out to do?Jackson: I set out to create fully developed, distinct characters. It’s true that they can kick some serious werewolf ass when they need to, but they both also have their own insecurities and fears. That’s my favorite type of heroine—one that has to sacrifice, has to make choices, and has to act instead of reacting.

Me: Which literary heroines have you admired most?Jackson: My favorites are Jo from Little Women and Hermione from Harry Potter.

Me: I thought it was such a nice twist to see that Scarlett's weapon of choice was a hatchet. It was such an original touch. How did you come up with that idea?Jackson: Whenever I needed details in the book, I returned to the original fairytale. I used the hatchet because of the woodsman’s ax in Red Riding Hood—the smaller size made it easier to move fast and strike quick, which I think is Scarlett’s specialty.

Me: What books have you read lately that you've really enjoyed?Jackson: I loved The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, and just finished Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I’ve also been reading a lot more contemporary fiction lately, and loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

Me: I’m an author myself, but still on the journey to being published. What's been your experience with the publishing industry?Jackson: The publishing industry is made to weed out people who don’t want it badly enough—it’s hard to figure out how and who and when to query, hard to figure out the market, hard to figure out the seven million “do not’s” when you’re first starting out. The good news is, all that becomes easier. The bad news is, you’ve got to navigate through it before it gets easier. If you want it, don’t give up!

Me: Did you have to deal with a lot of rejection before publishing your first book? How did you get through it?Jackson: I have a book that got rejected EVERYWHERE—76 times, to be exact. I dealt by writing another book—I wanted something to distract me from being so depressed about the first one! The second book (As You Wish, Harper Collins) ended up being the one that sold. I think I had to write the rejected book, though—it was my “learning how to write” book, and I wouldn’t change the experience for the world.

Me: What advice do you have to other aspiring authors?Jackson: Be savvy about the market, but don’t mimic it. Learn all you can by getting involved in online writing communities. Don’t give up—getting published isn’t easy, but it’s possible!

Me: What's your writing process like?Jackson: I’m not very scheduled about writing. When I’m in the middle of a book, I write all day, every day. When I’ve just finished one or am in the outlining stage, I try to spend more time making videos, blogging, and talking with other writers.

Me: There’s a lot of controversy over where the publishing industry is headed. What do you think the future has in store for the book industry?Jackson: I’m absolutely not one of those who thinks print publication is doomed, but I do think e-books will become more popular as time goes on. I think the industry needs to be very savvy and learn from the mistakes of the music and film industry when approaching digital formats, in order to keep both authors’ and publishers’ rights safe.

Me: What other authors do you admire?Jackson: Naturally, I admire and respect the greats—Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger—but I also admire people who have been published more recently. Carrie Ryan, Saundra Mitchell, Maggie Stiefvater, and R.J. Anderson just to name a few.

5x5,
B.
Friday, May 14, 2010 1 comments

Money, Money, Money, Money....Money!

by Brittany Geragotelis

On Friday, I was walking home from the subway and found myself behind a woman who was talking loudly on her cell phone and carrying a small shopping bag. It's not like I was meaning to eavesdrop, but like I said, she was talking really loud and it would have taken more energy trying to tune her out then to just listen. So I did.

The girl was talking to a friend (I assume), and explaining why she was late to some dinner. Apparently, the woman who usually took over her shift at whatever job she had, was out of the office, so cell phone girl had to work later than usual. And then there was also the fact that when she was on her way home, she just had to stop in this little shop...and spend $500. She said she knew it was a lot, but heck, her birthday was this Tuesday (same as mine) and so she splurged.
Now I don't know about you (or about this woman really), but my idea of splurging is buying an overpriced cup of Pinkberry with chocolate shavings and strawberries. But it got me thinking about what it might be like to have so much money that burning $500 on a dress (yes, that's what the girl had bought) is nothing but an afternoon splurge.

Here are my top 5 splurges (If I were rich):

1. A weekend trip to Disneyland on a whim.
2. A larger apartment, with a dishwasher, washer and dryer, a walk-in kitchen and at least one bedroom.

3. A pink vespa.

4. A hidden door to go in my larger apartment.

5. A big, fat pink diamond ring.




What would be on your splurge list? Leave your list in the comments below!


5x5,

B.
0 comments

Friday Likes & Gripes

by Brittany Geragotelis

Happy Friday everyone! Per usual, here are my Friday Likes & Gripes:

LIKES:

1. "ANTM" Celeb Sightings—Living in NYC, there are a ton of opportunities to see celebs in their natural habitats. Most recently, my boyfriend Matt was casting for a web show his company is doing and who should stop by to audition? "America's Next Top Model" cycle 4 winner Naima. And speaking of "ANTM" models, my co-workers and I see April from cycle 2 down near our office all the time. She's very pretty in person.
2. Greyson Michael—This kid's rendition of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi makes me actually like the song. Beautiful voice, adorable and talented...maybe the next Justin Bieber? Take a look at him singing below!

3. The word "Adirondack"—Ever get a word stuck in your head and you have no idea why? That's how it is with the word, Adirondack. Strange, I know. But for some reason, every once in a while, I'll get this word stuck in my head and I like it. I like the way it rolls off my tongue. I like the sound it makes and it's just fun to say. I didn't even know what the word meant until I looked it up on Wiki (apparently the Adirondack Mountains are a mountain range located in the northeastern part of NY). Another word I'm fond of: clavicle.
4. The book I'm working on now—I'm 240 pages into writing my latest book, Painless, and I can see the "The End" at the end of the book. If all goes as planned, I will finish writing the first draft within a week. And then it's on to rewrites and edits and then off to query my first agent (you know who you are)!
5. Jackson Pearce—you guys are in for a treat, because Monday I will be posting my interview with Sisters Red author Jackson Pearce. Her latest book is phenomenal and trust me, you'll want to learn more about the mastermind behind it!

GRIPES:

1. "America's Next Top Model"—Not that I don't think Krista will make a good model, but I really think Raina should have won "ANTM's" cycle 14. Well, I really thought Jessica should have won, but if it had to be between Raina and Krista, I really think it should have been Raina. She's a Brooke Shields/Denise Richards look-a-like, has a great, positive attitude and a look to die for. Come on, Tyra, wake up and smell the fierceness!
Thursday, May 13, 2010 0 comments

Review of The Rise of Renegade X

by Brittany Geragotelis

I'm always up for a good superhero story. I mean, who isn't? Superpowers, the battle between good and evil, suspense and thrilling fights...What more could you want, right?

I just finished reading the book, The Rise of Renegade X, the debut book by Chelsea M. Campbell. The premise of the book sucked me in from the start:

Damien Locke knows his destiny—attending the university for supervillains and becoming Golden City's next professional evil genius. But when Damien discovers he's the product of his supervillain mother's one-night stand with—of all people—a superhero, his best-laid plans are ruined as he's forced to live with his superhero family

Going to extreme lengths (and heights), The Rise of Renegade X chronicles one boy's struggles with the villainous and heroic pitfalls of growing up.


All in all, I enjoyed this book. It was told from the perspective of a teen boy, and that had me feeling a little left out at times. The book is much more geared toward male teenagers and girls might not connect quite as much to the protagonist because of it. I also felt that the edginess of the novel didn't ring 100% true. It was as if the author threw random shocking sentences throughout in an attempt to get that edge-factor, but it felt a bit out of place compared to the overall tone of the book.

But still, the story itself was fun, light and a quick read. It's easy for the reader to sympathize with the angsty teen situations that Damien finds himself in and you want to root for him even when he's trying to be evil. I especially fell in love with the character, Sarah, the young girl who becomes Damien's sidekick, Cosine. She's nerdy, but felt like the most real character in the book. She's also the only one who doesn't have superpowers and instead has to rely upon her intelligence to beat the bad guys. And FYI, she may just be the most powerful of them all!

In the end, The Rise of Renegade X was a fun read. I'd recommend it to any teen (or adult) boy with a soft spot for caped crusaders.

5x5,
B.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 0 comments

Why not start a book writing club?

by Brittany Geragotelis

When I was walking home with my successful author friend, Deborah the other night, I mentioned to her that over a year ago I started a "Cool Girl's Writing Club." And as soon as I'd said it, she went crazy, asking if she could be in it. After I got over my initial shock, which went something like, "You've published nearly 20 books and have movies out there based on your writing. What could I possibly have to contribute to you?" we began to talk about what a book writing club can do for a writer. Here are a few of the highlights we came up with:

1. It's fun! There's something about getting together with other writers to talk about your craft that's totally inspiring. That excitement you get from reading a great book...well, that's what it can be like when you're talking writing with others who share your same passion. Our "Cool Girl's Writing Club" met once a month at a diner and we ate brunch while we talked about our various projects. Food, writing, books, friends....doesn't get much better than that.

2. It can be inspiring. A lot of book writing clubs do exercises whenever they meet. The "CGWC" did little writing exercises whenever we'd meet, just to flex our writing muscles. For instance, we'd each pick a random word or phrase randomly and write a page or two based on that subject. Then we'd read what we wrote out loud. There were times when some really cool story ideas came up that way and it was really good practice at the same time.

3. It's a good motivator. If you're having trouble staying on a writing schedule or even getting started in the first place, a book writing club is a great tool to getting you on track. When you're expected to turn in a certain amount of pages to the group by a specific time or do weekly e-mail updates letting your club members know what your page count is, it's a lot harder to slack on your writing. Nobody wants to have to admit that the reason you don't have your 15 pages written is because you chose to watch a bad Lifetime movie instead.

4. Your club members are good sounding boards. Part of the beauty of being in a club full of writers, is that they're all readers. And this means that you have a built-in group of people ready and willing to read your projects and sound-off on them. If you're having trouble with a transition or you're not sure whether a section is working, you can go to your club and ask their opinion.

5. They double as your support group. The writing industry is a difficult one to be accepted into and unfortunately it's filled with a TON of REJECTION. You're going to need your club members there by your side to tell you not to give up when the rejection gets to be too much. They'll be your biggest cheerleaders and offer endless encouragement when you're feeling frustrated, angry and overwhelmed. In other words, they'll be your biggest book fans. And best of all, they'll be there for you when you score that agent or book deal!

If you have a desire to write, consider finding people to start a club with. Trust me, it'll be worth it!

5x5,
B.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1 comments

Don't get screwed when signing a book deal

by Brittany Geragotelis

So, I was walking home with Deborah Gregory (author of The Cheetah Girls and the Catwalk series') and we began to talk about the entertainment industry. Surprise, surprise, as writers we tend to talk a lot about this topic, and for me, it's always insightful. As a pretty successful and well-known author, Deborah has been there, done that. She's been doing business with the publishing world and Hollywood for several years now and it's invaluable to be able to pick her brain regarding anything writing.

Anyhoo, the topic landed on book deals, royalties and optioning your stories, etc. Recently, Deborah was talking with two other pretty successful authors who had their books turned into movies as well. One of the authors was telling Deborah that her movie (based on her book) did pretty well in theaters, starred a few seriously BIG-TIME celebs and created a renewed interest in her book. Personally, I enjoyed the movie in question, and when I discovered it was based on a book, I picked it up, pronto. No surprise that the book was better than the chick flick.

But back to my point. The two authors got pretty honest with each other and it turned out, both felt they'd been screwed out of major money in regards to the optioning of their books for the creation of movies. It's no secret that Deborah's a bit miffed over the fact that she never saw any profits from the merchandise created from The Cheetah Girls movies. Part of this was that she was new to the industry; she didn't know what to ask and what to look for to make sure she was being taken care of in the deal. I'm sure she expected her lawyer to take care of that.

However, what she didn't know at the time (but certainly knows now) is that when her book was optioned to be made into a movie, they took along with it the likeness of her characters. Merchandise was made off of The Cheetah Girls' name. We're talking clothes, furniture, cookies, toys, additional books (ones that were not written by Deborah) based on The Cheetah Girls tour...pretty much anything you could think of, they slapped The Cheetah Girls logo on it and made a bundle.

And Deborah didn't see any of that money.

Apparently, this was also the case with the authors that Deborah was chatting with. They weren't happy with how they were compensated (or weren't as the case may be) when it came to the products they created. Once they sold their idea, it no longer belonged to them and the studios could do anything they wanted with it. It seems that this is pretty typical fare when dealing with big production companies.

What Deborah (and her new author friends) have learned from their experiences is that you need to know what you're getting into when you're making these kinds of deals. Or at least have a lawyer who knows what to look for when the contracts are being drawn up. So, when the time comes, and you've snagged that 3-book, 6 figure deal and studios are lining up to make your book into a movie or TV show, make sure you ask the right questions. What percentage of profit are you going to make off of any merchandise created from your original concept? Do you have any creative control at all over what's done with your product? Make sure you have a lawyer who's dealt with this sort of thing before and has a good track record in getting their clients what they deserve. Knowledge is power! And lastly, if the deal sounds shady, you don't have to say yes. You can wait around until a better deal comes along—one that will pay you what you deserve for all the hard work you put in creating your masterpiece.

5x5,
B.
Monday, May 10, 2010 0 comments

From Sex and the City to The Carrie Diaries

by Brittany Geragotelis

I was in Barnes & Noble this weekend, perusing the YA section (I like to do this to see what sort of placement they're giving books and the trends they're trying to push...It's also fun to see the books out on the "new release" shelves and knowing that I read them all months ago), when I happened upon The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell. As a huge "Sex and the City" fan, as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it.

One thing I have to mention, is what a great book cover this is. It may not look like much at first glance, but it's very simple, classy and different than the typical "girl looking serious on the cover" a la Gossip Girl. And the gold plate with the author's name on it makes the novel look high class and expensive. All in all, it comes across as very impressive for a YA book.

Since I'm still waiting on my review copy to arrive (ah, the perks of my job!), I had to settle for reading this interview with Candace. I can't wait to read it....how about you? Anyone read it yet?


5x5,
B.
Sunday, May 9, 2010 0 comments

Mother's ROCK!

by Brittany Geragotelis

It's Mother's Day!


And I don't know about you, but I have a pretty cool mom. Besides the fact that she gave me life (little did she know what she was getting herself into!), she's the one who took me to all of my gymnastics meets, she taught me by example to follow my dreams and showed me the importance of chocolate (seriously....our crisper drawer at home is filled to the brim of candy bars. MMMMMM).

She's made me the woman I am today. Taught me to be independent, self-preserving and strong. And as I get older, I realize I've also inherrited her metabolism and awesome sense of humor.

One of my favorite mom memories though, is when she used to take us to Disneyland as kids. She'd come into our rooms in the middle of the night and wrap each of us girls in our own soft, warm blankets and then bring us out to the car (which she'd warmed up beforehand), belt us into our seats and then drive all night to bring us to Disneyland (all the way from Washington). Then, when we got to Disneyland, my mom would make us line up at the entrance until they cut the ribbon and let us in. She's so much fun to go to Disneyland with....she runs from one ride to the next and gets just as excited for the rides as any kid there. She makes the whole experience even MORE magical than it usually is, and she's really fun to talk to when you're waiting in line for the rides. I think it's because of my mom that I like Disney as much as I do...

So here's to all our moms for making every memory special! And special shout-outs to fabulicious moms, my BFF Colleen and my sis Amy! You guys rock, too!


5x5,

B.
Saturday, May 8, 2010 0 comments

Bad Mojo and house cleansing

by Brittany Geragotelis

OMG, I'm dying right now! I'm laying here watching "Tori & Dean" (I was supposed to be spending my morning and afternoon exercising at the SELF magazine Workout in the Park, but it's pouring, so I'm staying dry and inside instead), and the whole episode is about bad vibes in their house. Liam starts talking about seeing a big man with a black face in his room. And then Tori and Mehran swear there are cold spots in Stellas bedroom. So what do you do when your house has bad Mojo?

Enlist in the help of a VooDoo High Priestess, of course.

So Tori invites Mama Lola to come and bless their home and banish all the bad spirits. Then, she asks Mama Lola to cleanse her, which results in her standing in the middle of her living room in her underwear and a rag of a tank top, being covered in a mish-mash of table scraps and then washing off with an alcohol-based bowl of brown stuff. The funiest part was that Mama Lola made her put the liquid down her pants to cleanse her hoo-ha!!! She was like, "It's burning! It's burning!" Sooooo funny!
I totally know what Tori's feeling though in terms of haunted houses or places with bad vibes. To this day, I swear the first house I lived in growing up was haunted. I used to wake up in the middle of the night, at the same time every night, and watch as a figure outlined in light would walk across my bedroom door. I asked my mom a few times if it was her, but she said no. And besides, the figure was basically walking into the closet at the end of the hall, since my room was the last one on the right.


I even went through a period of time after buying the apartment that I live in now, where I was super concerned that I'd moved into a place that had serious bad energy. I was cleaning out the closet the night I first moved in and found--get this--blood-smeared stains on the top shelf, and a slab of glass (with bloody streaks) and a small bag of what I'm pretty sure was coke. I was so freaked out, I didn't know what to do. I was terrified that the cops were going to bust in any minute and arrest me for the drugs that had been left in the closet. I'd never really seen anything like that before, and I was scared to touch it. So, I called my friend and made her flush it down the toilet. Then, because I didn't know any VooDoo high priestesses myself, I did the only thing I could think of to bless my apartment:

I painted everything in the place pink.

Pink walls, pink trimmings--I even painted over the blood in the closet (in case a crime had been committed and the cops needed the blood samples later as evidence). And after that....no bad Mojo. Because really, nothing bad can happen in a pink apartment. Right?

5x5,
B.
Friday, May 7, 2010 0 comments

These are a few of my Favorite things...May 7, 2010

by Brittany Geragotelis

It's Friday and that means a round-up of my favorite things for the week. Here goes:


1. Miley Cyrus' "Can't Be Tamed" music video
It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I'm a fan of Miley Cyrus. I watched "Hannah Montana" from the beginning of the series to the end, I interviewed her for AC, I have a whole collection of the clothes she did with Max Azria from Wal-Mart and I go gaga over her music. There's just something about her that draws me in. Well, her music video for her newest single, "Can't Be Tamed", though a complete departure from the typical MC stuff we're used to seeing, is AWESOME! Seriously edgy, intriguing, totally entertaining and fun. The music has a great beat and the whole thing with the black wings? Beautiful. Check it out and let me know what you think!


2. Mothers Day
I don't know about you, but I have a pretty kick-ass mom. She's my biggest fan, always supports me in my decisions and encourages me to follow my dreams. And she's put up with a lot of crap from me over the years. She's my cheerleader, my hero, my funniest friend.

3. The people who believe in me and my writing
You all know who you are. It's because of you that I can get past all the rejection and keep writing. And thank you to those who force me out of my comfort zone and push me to test my limits.

4. Hilarie Burton's a mom!
I had the pleasure of meeting "One Tree Hill" star Hilarie Burton, 27, back in 2003 when she posed for the cover of our Feb 2004 issue. She was teeny-tiny, gorgeous and so cool! Really...I remember thinking that if we were in school, she would have been way cooler than me. She was a cheerleader and a rebel. And now we find out that she's been hiding a secret romance with "Grey's Anatomy's" Denny, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, 44, for over a year now—and had a baby with him a few months ago! Say what?!?! I have to applaud the couple for being able to keep their happy news under wraps for so long from the evil paps and rag mags. Congrats you two!


And a few things I'm NOT so pleased about....

1. "America's Next Top Model": Tyra and I are in a fight right now because she and her "expert" judging panel sent home my favorite model, Jessica. Boo! I thought Jess was one of the most beautiful girls in the house and had a cool personality. Much better than some of the girls who spend all their time making fun of others and being mean on the show. Shame on you, Tyra. And now I'm rooting for Raina, in case you were wondering.

2. Cheating Fellas: David Boreanaz, how could you? And for that matter, how could you Tiger, David, Josh and Jesse? I hope all the women in these cheaters' lives realize how incredible they are and have the strength to say "I deserve better than you."
Thursday, May 6, 2010 0 comments

Review: Raised by Wolves

by Brittany Geragotelis

I just finished reading Jennifer Lynn Barnes' latest YA novel, Raised by Wolves and thoroughly enjoyed it. There have been a lot of werewolf books lately (seems we've moved on from vamps to our hairy, four-legged friends) and not many of them bring something new to the table. Raised by Wolves does.

So, what sets this one apart from the rest of the "were" books out there? In this one, the main character is human and was, drumroll please...raised by a wolfpack. I know. The title sort of gives it away, doesn't it? But I promise, the rest is less obvious.

Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare (Bryn when she's not in trouble) lives with a pack of human/werewolf hybrids. After her parents were killed by a rabid (a sort of crazy wolf outlaw) in front of her when she was a little kid, the leader of the pack, Callum, marked her as his own and connected her forever to his group.

Now, Bryn's a teenager, and a defiant one at that. She's notorious for doing exactly what she's told not to do, so when she stumbles upon a teen boy/were caged up in Callum's basement, she doesn't leave it alone like she's asked to. The strange thing is that although she's just met the boy named Chase, they have a connection to each other neither of them can explain.


The punishment for disobeying the pack is harsh and before she has a chance to make amends, her whole life is sent into a tailspin of violence and betrayal. Suddenly she and Chase have teamed up to try and find the thing that links the both of them—the rabid—and destroy him.


The book was well-written and original, and I really liked the fact that the main character was extraordinary while still being human. Jennifer has done another amazing job at creating a world readers will love to escape to (her other books include Golden, Platinum, Tattoo and The Squad series).

Definitely pick up Jennifer's book when it's released on June 8th if you're craving a little supernatural fun.

5x5,
B.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 0 comments

Disappointed in Men, but happy with "Glee!"

by Brittany Geragotelis

I don't want to dwell too much on the negative, but I am NOT happy with a certain former vamp right now. What is with this trend of leading men cheating on their wives? Has this always been happening but for some reason the shit's hitting the fan now? David Boreanaz, the broody Angel from (my fave show) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" & "Angel" has just spilled the beans on his secret affair.

Is it really that hard for people to stay faithful these days? In my opinion, cheating is a conscious decision. No guy just falls into bed with a woman other than his wife by accident. Falling out of love with someone—I don't think that's something you have control over. Sleeping with someone else when you're married (or even dating)? Uh, uh. Sorry. THAT you have control over.

These men just make me disappointed. For some reason, I expected more from them.

But on to better, happier things...Anyone watch "Glee" last night? Once again, a wonderful episode ripe with celeb guest stars. Olivia Newton-John looked amazing and did a good job playing a not-so-humble version of herself (at one point, she mentioned she was in the biggest musical movie of all time and that her records had been HUGE hits). And the remake of "Let's Get Physical"? Well, Olivia and Sue Syllvester (Jane Lynch) were hilarious in matching track suits swimming in a sea of hard-bodies.

And then there was Molly Shannon as a pill-popping alcoholic who recently transferred to the school. You can never go wrong with that woman.

The music was an incredible mash-up of old-school 90s, including "Hammer Time" and "Ice, Ice Baby". Will Schuester is such a cheese-ball that I sometimes cringe when I watch him, but you can't say he doesn't commit to his part. And he brought back some of the dance moves I did growing up, which was fun. When the cast paid homage to M.C. Hammer, I was rolling. And of course, I'm falling more and more in like with the ditzy cheerleader, Brittany (not just because we share a name). She's got such a deadpan comedic delivery of insane lines that I can't help but cheer for her.



My only gripe? Has anyone else noticed that they've been really obvious lately with their show themes? It reminds me a little of "7th Heaven" with their "this is the moral of this episode" stuff. Less than 5 minutes in, I was like, "Okay, this episode is about reputations." I really think the show's audience is smarter than that and don't need to be hand-held through the eps.

All in all, another great night of my favorite glee club! What did you think?

5x5,
B.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 0 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!

5x5,
B.
 
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