Friday, November 28, 2008


Every Thanksgiving, my family and I go out to see a movie. Since we have kids of varied ages, the selection process is kind of tricky - it has to be something that we think everyone will like. This year we went to see Australia.


Whoever made the movie trailer did a great job because they managed to find the 90 seconds of compelling footage in the movie and make it look as though the whole thing had potential. In reality, we were stuck with nearly three hours of really bad dialog, weird acting and fake-looking sets that looked like they came from those old 50's movies (maybe that was intentional, I don't know.) Even Hugh Jackman couldn't save this one.

We were entertained mostly by my ten-year-old's running commentary and his groans of boredom at the most inopportune moments. Oh, and the elderly gentleman behind us who snored through the whole thing. In short, Australia was supremely bad.

Just for fun, for this week's FREEBIE FRIDAY, tell me about the worst movie you've ever seen. Keep it PG-rated (even if the movie wasn't...) The winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card to buy a really great movie to make up for your bad movie experience.

Let the tales begin!


Happy Frantic Friday everyone.

(For any readers outside the U.S., Frantic Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, so dubbed when I used to work in retail years ago because that's the day Christmas shopping officially begins and stores and malls are typically packed with people.)

OK, I said I would save my review of Twilight until you all had a chance to weigh in. Thanks for all the great comments, by the way. I enjoyed reading what your reactions were. As for me, I enjoyed Twilight. Yes, I thought some of the acting was very wooden (as my friend Kate said, in the meadow scene, it was so wooden, you could build a boat and row across a lake...), the makeup was awful - and not consistent, and the special effects were like stepping back 30 years and watching one of those bad B movies.


I loved so much about it, that I'm excited for the next movie. Jacob, for one thing, was adorable! I love Taylor Lautner in My Own Worst Enemy and I have complete confidence that he can pull off a buffed Jacob in New Moon. Plus, he can cut his hair and ditch that silly wig. Alice was likewise just as I imagined her. The scenery was beautiful - especially when Edward takes Bella to the top of that tree (even though the special effects of them getting there were laughable and the Bella of the book could never have stood up there, holding on with only one hand...) And the great thing is that they made so much money off of Twilight in the first weekend that they can pay for better makeup/special effects/writing/acting coaching for the next movie, so that gives me hope!

In any event, thanks for sharing your experience with me. I wish I could select you all as the winner this week, but alas, I would go broke. So, by random drawing, this week's Freebie Friday winner is:


Please send me an email with the word WINNER in the subject line and let me know which prize you would prefer, and your mailing address.

Everyone else, stay tuned... another Freebie Friday is on it's way!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008


OK, all you Twilight fans, this week's Freebie Friday is for you.

Up for grabs this week is your choice of either a $15 iTunes gift card so you can download the Twilight soundtrack or a $15 Barnes & Noble gift card so you can find the next great book to read.

To be entered to win, leave a comment below with a brief review (100 words or less) of the Twilight movie. I'll keep the contest open until next Friday to give you a little more time to see it and write your review.

I'll be going to see the movie this afternoon, but in the interest of fairness, I'll save my review until the contest is over.

Let the reviews begin!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chat with Jonathan Friesen!

Wondering what to do with yourself on Thursday evening as you 're waiting for the midnight showing of the Twilight movie? Check this out - Jonathan Friesen, Author of JERK, CALIFORNIA, will be chatting live at The Knight Agency chat room on Thursday, Nov. 20th @ 9pm ET!

Jonathan Friesen is the author of the novel, JERK, CALIFORNIA (Penguin/Speak, September 2008). Like the main character in his book, Jonathan has had to learn to live with Tourette Syndrome. Here's what Booklist had to say about his debut:

"Sam and his story are quixotic in the best possible way: he is a good-hearted dreamer trying to do right by his dulcinea. Debut author Friesen has Tourette syndrome, and he brings complexity and nuance to Sam's struggle for understanding and self-acceptance. The pacing is leisurely, but like any good road story, there are enough corners and bends to keep readers eagerly anticipating what lies ahead at the journey's end."

You have to sign up with a user name and password to enter the TKA CHAT ROOM, and you must have a Java-enabled browser in order to chat, so be prepared.

See you there!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winners and Quirks

Happy Tuesday! Only three more days until Twilight!

Now, before I announce the winner of the DEATH BY DENIM ARC, it appears that I have been tagged by Donna... so without further ado, 6 strange/quirky things about me...

1. I don't drink coffee in the morning. I drink Diet Coke.

2. I can't write when someone is sitting next to me. Even if they aren't looking at the computer screen. Edit, yes. Write, no.

3. Much to my kids' dismay, I can find a song for every occasion. If the lyrics don't really fit the moment, I'll make up new ones.

4. I think I'm dyslexic with numbers. I often transpose numbers when trying to remember a phone number or a time - which is how I ended up once checking into a 3:51 flight only to find that it was actually scheduled to leave at 3:15 and the gate was closing...

5. I love mint M&M's, but I am picky enough to prefer the kind they used to make. Now they are rounder and feel different in the mouth.

6. I am a terrible procrastinator so it's a good thing I work well under pressure...

MEANWHILE, the winner of the first ever DEATH BY DENIM ARC is:


Please send me an email with the subject line 'winner' to gerb at lindagerber dot com and give me your mailing address.

Everyone else, I'll see you back here on Friday for another chance to win!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Happy Friday!!!

As promised, I am posting below the three posts I did for Penguin. You can comment here or at the Penguin Blog. Each comment equals an entry to win this week's Freebie Friday, which is:

The first ever advanced readers copy of DEATH BY DENIM. Oh, yeah. : )

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!!!

This freebie will remain open until Tuesday, November 18.

Friday's Penguin Post

More Fun with Forensics

This summer I had the opportunity to be the visiting author when COSI, our local museum of science, hosted the CSI Exhibit. Talk about being in research heaven! The exhibit featured three different crime scenes and walked participants through the process of using scientific inquiry to solve the crimes. I’ve been able to incorporate what I learned into a presentation I do for schools about the use of Forensics in Fiction. Today, for your entertainment, I present my top three favorite forensic fun facts:

1. One of the earliest ‘modern-day’ authors to make use of forensic science in his writing was Edgar Allen Poe. Edgar Allen Poe looks an awful lot like Bill Murray.

2. You probably know that forensic scientists can determine the approximate time of death by analyzing the larval stage of maggots hatched in a dead body, but did you know they can also use those maggots to determine if the deceased had taken (or been given) drugs before expiring? Entomologists (scientists who study bugs) whir the maggots in a blender and test the resulting liquid for the presence of toxins. Gross, but true.

3. The popularity of such television shows as CSI, Bones and Dexter has caused what some analysts call the CSI Effect, wherein viewers come to expect real-world investigators to solve crimes with the same high-tech efficiency we see on TV. Hint: it rarely happens.

What about you? What do you find fascinating about forensic science? Or, do you find it interesting at all?

Wednesday's Penguin Post

Lessons Learned - Confessions of a Rabid Researcher

One of the cool things about writing the Death By books was researching what happens when people die. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a serial killer at heart. I just found the whole dead body thing to be very interesting.

As I dug into researching various methods of murder, I discovered all sorts of fun and gruesome facts. In Death by Bikini, for example, I planned to leave my victim dead on the beach, strangled by the strings of her bikini top. While researching what the results of strangulation might look like, I came across an interesting article about a man who had strangled his wife and then stuck her body in the bathtub to make it looked like she had drowned. Investigators quickly disproved his story because of little pinpoint red marks called petechiae they found on the wife’s face and eyes. Petechiae are the result of blood leaking from the capillaries, which could be caused by the extreme pressure of strangulation, but would not be present from drowning.

Well, I thought I was pretty clever to have discovered this exciting fact, so I tried to work it into the scene where Aphra discovers Bianca’s body. While everyone else was speculating that Bianca drowned, Aphra wisely notes the petechial hemorrhaging on Bianca’s face, proving that she had been strangled. Here’s where the lesson comes in. I had never given Aphra any basis for knowing about petechial hemorrhaging. She’s just an average sixteen-year-old, not a forensic scientist. I never even gave her a keen interest in watching CSI or Bones or anything like that. My attempt to show off my newfound knowledge was obvious and clunky. I had to pull it from the scene.

I still love to research, but now I’m painfully aware of this kind of author intrusion and have to be very careful not to endow my characters with knowledge or sensitivities they haven’t ‘earned.’

Have you ever come across this sort of thing when reading a book or watching a movie? Does it pull you out of the story or do you shrug it off and just enjoy the ride? Inquiring authors want to know!

Monday's Penguin Post

Death by FAQ

No, that’s not the title of my next book. For the first time online, here are some of the questions I am most frequently asked about Death by Bikini and Death by Latte when I visit schools.

How do you come up with your ideas?
I have an overactive imagination. Plus I read and travel a lot.

Did you make your own covers?
No. Authors don’t usually design their own covers, but if I did, I’d want them to look just like the ones I have! My cover designer is the fabulous and talented Theresa Evangelista. You can read about the process of her cover designs for this series here on Melissa Walker's Blog.

Where is Death by Bikini set?
wasThe setting for Death by Bikini was inspired by a visit to Maui several years ago. There’s a beautiful road to a small town called Hana on the east side of the island that winds through some of the most beautiful tropical rainforest you’d ever want to see - pristine and primitive. In fact, Puohokamoa Valley featured in the opening sequence of Jurassic Park. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting for a private, secluded island resort.

Why don’t you ever say in the book where it is?
Did I mention the resort is private and secluded? Aphra was not at liberty to reveal its location.
Is it a coincidence that you named Natalie’s partner Joe in Death by Latte?
No coincidence. Joe is old slang for coffee, which plays a significant role in the book.

I already miss Seth. Where can I meet him?
Read Death by Denim in May!

Do you have questions about the series? Now’s your chance to ask!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Rules for This Week

Happy hump-day! Anyone else anxious for the weekend? We had a bout of food poisoning today at my house so I'm ready for a break!

FYI, the second post on the Penguin blog is live!

Just a quick note - it has been brought to my attention that leaving comments on the Penguin site may be a little more complicated than I had anticipated. Some people have mentioned not being able to find the link to leave a comment (you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom past the blue "trackback URL" bar where it says "add comment.") And even then, the moderator needs to approve the comments before they will be posted and I'm hearing that it's taking a while, so...

In the interest of being fair, I'm going to repost all the Penguin posts on my blog on Friday and you can leave your comments there instead to qualify for this week's Freebie Friday.

If you are patient enough to navigate the Penguin site, I appreciate it! Mostly I like my publisher to see that I have friends online. : ) But you will not be penalized if you'd prefer to comment here.

See you Friday!


Monday, November 10, 2008


Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend!
This week's Freebie Friday winner is:


Please shoot me a message with your mailing address at gerb at lindagerber dot com and I'll get the Borders card sent out to you!

Everyone else, this week I'll be doing Freebie Friday a little differently - I'll be blogging over at the Penguin Books blog all week (three posts.) On Friday, I'll post this week's Freebie Friday giveaway on this blog. To be entered to win, leave comments on the Penguin blog throughout the week and/or on Friday's blog post here. Each comment will get you one entry. Have a great week and I'll see you over at Penguin!

Friday, November 07, 2008


Happy Friday! I can't believe the week has gone so quickly!

As promised, today I bring you the GCC tour interview with Kelly Parra, author of INVISIBLE TOUCH. Freebie at the end of the post!

If you've been under a rock the last month and didn't get in on the Secret Fates Extravaganza, let me just tell you, this is one intriguing book. Teens Read Too gave it the gold star of excellence, and the reviews have been fabulous. Check out the book trailer here.

Do you believe in fate?

Kara Martinez has been trying to be "normal" ever since the accident that took her father's life when she was eleven years old. She's buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be -- compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.

Because Kara has a gift -- one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person's fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she's been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she's been warned about -- until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it's her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it's too late...or lead her even further into danger?

And now, on to the interview!

What inspired you to write INVISIBLE TOUCH?
I've always believed in intuitive vibes and repetitive signs and thought wouldn't it be cool to have a girl who really saw visions and have to piece the signs together to help others? But the catch was not only would the signs be a gift but also a curse. And from there Kara's story started to enfold as I wrote her story.

Are any of your characters based on real people that you know?
Haha! No. I try not to write about people I know, but characteristics sometimes slip in and I realize it later. :)

What excites you?
Like many authors, weird things like good reviews, book stores, and office supplies. :)

What turns you off?
Negative people.

In DEATH BY LATTE, my character Aphra starts her adventure with a lie. What's the biggest lie you ever told, and what happened as a result of the telling?
Ugh, I can't think of one big one right now because I try not to lie, but I know I give little white ones all the time in order not to hurt feelings.

All stories are built on suspense. What's the most suspenseful thing that's happened to you in real life?
I know I've felt many moments of excitement and suspense in my life. But I'll name some positive suspensful moments: the day of my high school graduation, my wedding day, the birth of my children, my first book sale. All moments built up with suspense!

If you could invite anyone you wanted - living or dead - to hang out with you at a weekend retreat, who would you invite and why?
It would definitely be my father who passed away in my early twenties. I've never felt I was able to say goodbye. :)

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
That I'm a big procrastinator! haha.

What's your favorite quote?
I have many faves. Here are a couple of good ones:
"We write in order to live life twice."
— Anaïs Nin

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
— Maya Angelou

Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Milk Chocolate.

For this week's Freebie Friday, I'm giving away a $10 Borders gift card. For your chance to win, either comment on Kelly's book, Kelly's answers, or answer one of the interview questions above as yourself.

This contest will remain open until Monday, so be sure to check back! Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Happy Election Day, all you US Readers! If you are voting age, GET OUT AND VOTE!

I'll be heading to the polls in about an hour and a half, when the last of the sleepover kids go home. (In our community, the schools are used for polling places, so the kids are off today.)

Meanwhile, the winner of the pen and notepad set is:

Please send me your mailing address at gerb at lindagerber dot com so I can send it out to you!

I'll be a little scarce the rest of the week. I've taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge this month and I'm already finding that it's going to be, well, a challenge. When I'm on deadline, I think nothing of shutting myself away in a room and attaching myself to a computer, but to crank it out like this on a continual basis... gaah! You can follow the struggle - er, progress - on my crit group's blog if you're interested.

You can also find me on BookWormBookLover's blog this week.

See you right here on Friday for another freebie AND the long-awaited GCC Tour interview with Kelly Parra!

See you then! Now, go vote!!!