Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book deal! Book deal! JODI MEADOWS' Book deal!

I've been not-so-silently squeeing for the past few days and am now finally able to SHOUT IT FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE ROOFTOPS!!

The wildly talented Jodi Meadows has a book deal. ERIN INCARNATE (the first in her NEWSOUL Trilogy) went to auction. Yes, auction.

Dreams DO come true. She's proof that hard work and perseverance pays off.

Read about her incredible story:

* on her blog

* on author Robin McKinley's blog

* Authoress' blog

I'll let you know when you can pre-order the book ;-)

Jodes, I'm incredibly proud, excited, and in awe of you. I can't wait to see what happens NEXT!! Thank you for always being there for me. I hope you know that I'm there for you every step of the way!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What are you reading?

One of my best friends, Jodi Meadows, asked the following on her blog:

1. What are you reading and what do you think of it so far?
2. What is your plan for the week?
3. What's your favorite shape of pasta?

Since I wrote up a huge comment, I thought I might as well post it here. As you can see ... I have trouble finishing books. There are just too many shiny ones to buy! and when they come in the mail, I get so excited, I have to start reading it RIGHT AWAY! that is, until another one comes in the mail!

1. I am currently reading ... (yes, all at the same time ...)

AS YOU WISH: this book *feels* more MG than YA to me.

CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY (2nd in the Gallagher Girls series): James Bond meets Baby-sitters Club without the babysitting. The girls are strong, the adults are interesting, and the spy twist is super fun!

BLUE MOON (2nd in the Immortals series): I *liked* the first one so I decided to continue ...

BOY TOY: Not too dark. More like gray. Still, it's a hard book to read. Definitely not a light, summer-y book I bring to the pool ...

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER: I bring this one to the pool with me, but am not far enough into it to make an opinion. I think it's a summer romance ...

FRAGILE ETERNITY: Really love Marr's dark take on faeries. This 3rd book is fae-court-politics heavy.

HUSH, HUSH: I have to admit, I bought it because of the cover.

GOING BOVINE: Genius. I'm only a few chapters in ...

THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE: repeat after self: *you will not watch the movie until you finish the book* ... my best friend loved it, her fiance loved it, everyone loves it ... thus, I'm reading it.

IF I STAY: One of my favorite 2009 books! I have about 1/3rd left ...

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES: Really diggin' it so far. The setting is sultry and a character in itself. After reading so many YA novels from a female POV, Ethan's voice is refreshing.

EI: *swoon* The incredible, incredible, unique, incredible premise, the world-building, the relationships, Sam ... I could go on and on ... *squee*

EA: *falls* An exciting sequel!! It features one of my favorite characters of the series!! I want to say more, but I don't want to accidentally spoil anything.

2. This week, I am working toward my 4th of July vacation! Then, I plan on eating chicken wings and watching the World Cup, having Jodi+writing time, watching LIE TO ME (my new television addiction), going to see ECLIPSE with my girl friends, lying by the pool, and drinking champagne!

3. I like spaghetti noodles and shells - yes!

P.S. If you don't mind, I'd love to hear what you have to say in MY comments :-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Midnight Surprise Beer-Butt Chicken Attack!

Yes. It's midnight and I have nothing better to do than to share some beer-butt chicken with you.

Warning: if you're a vegetarian, you may want to look away. Contains nude pictures of chickens.

The first time I made beer-butt chicken, we were in the middle of nowhere Colorado, in a rented cabin with no running water. If you try to make beer-butt chicken with no running water, it's difficult because of the whole salmonella thing. BUT if you make beer-butt chicken in a kitchen that has running water, you will have no problems at all. It's easy! and fun! and tasty!

P.S. If you are allergic to beer (gosh forbid) or do not like beer, you can also make this with cola.

Stuff you will need*:

1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs)
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of dried sage or rosemary or thyme (whatever you have on hand)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
a lemon
a few cloves of garlic - peeled and cut into slices
a small piece of ginger
a can of beer or cola

* Really, all you need is the chicken and a can of beer or cola. You can use whatever spices you have a hankering for. I've made this recipe about a dozen times now and it's always different. When my rosemary is thriving, I use rosemary. Lately, I've been on a brown sugar + cayenne kick. What I do is rub the bird with olive oil and lots and lots of garlic (powdered or fresh minced). Then I do about a 1/2c of brown sugar and 1T or 2 of cayenne (cayenne is spicy, so beware). You know what is also fun to do? Brush the bird with honey near the end.


Remove the chicken from its package and give him a rinse under cold water. Don't forget to clean inside his cavities. Pat him dry with paper towels (and no, I don't know why I'm calling my chicken a him).

Mix the oregano, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, ground black pepper, and dried sage, rosemary, or thyme together.

Cut the lemon in half and lightly rub it on the chicken - make sure to get under the skin, too (use your knife to help loosen the skin from the meat). Then, rub your mix of spices on the outside of the chicken, the inside of the chicken, and under the skin. Add more fresh ground pepper if you like that sort of thing.

Using a knife, carefully poke a couple slits in the chicken's breast, thighs, and drumsticks. Insert the slices of garlic into the slits. Wash your hands.

Open up the can of beer or cola and drink 1/4 of it. Cut a couple slices of ginger and garlic and put it in the can. Carefully stick the can up the chicken's butt. He should sit up on it easily, like this:

If you're having trouble balancing him, use his legs! While you're doing all this, get your beau, best friend, mom, grandpa, etc. to help you heat up the grill. When the grill is ready, carefully place him over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird). Cook the chicken with the grill cover on, for about an hour to an hour and a half. Check him at the hour mark. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F in the thigh (juice should run clear when stabbed with a sharp knife). Really, really carefully remove him from the grill. Let him rest for 10 minutes before carving. Don't forget to remove the can before cutting - and be careful! The can will be super hot.

I've also done this in the OVEN! But you'll need a meat thermometer. 350 degrees until the temperature reads 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh (about 1 hr to 1 hr 30 mins). Make sure to put the chicken in a roasting pan to catch the juices (tip: pour a can of baked beans around the beer or soda can [i.e. under the chicken, in the roasting pan]. chicken juices will drip down as everything cooks. makes a tasty (albeit greasy) side dish)

Okay. Good night.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A conference! and tomatoes!


It's an idea so great, you wonder why it hasn't been done before. Well, it hasn't. But it will. Get READY! Get EXCITED! (and get your butt over to http://writeoncon.com/ to thank the genius ladies who are putting it all together!)

WriteOnCon!! The very first online writing conference!!

The WriteOnCon team is celebrating the launch with a bunch of contests on their individual blogs. Here's one from Shannon Whitney: http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/2010/06/secret-project-revealed.html


Yes. Tomatoes. Heirloom to be exact. One of the top reasons (in my book) why summer is just so awesome.

The double-whammy: heirloom tomato soup + poppy-seed bagel with cream cheese n' chives n' tomatoes (two-toned!)

Recipe for the perfect summer heirloom tomato salad:

+ green leaf lettuce
+ sliced strawberries
+ shucked white corn
+ sliced red & green peppers
+ balsamic dressing
+ thinly sliced prosciutto
+ heirloom tomatoes

Friday, May 21, 2010

cutest baby animal video in the world!

This has nothing to do with writing or eating. It has everything to do with CUTE!!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I Love Jodi Meadows

1. Because she draws hearts on first class mail!

2. Because I was "around" the whole time she was knitting these and I had NO IDEA they were for me! I even helped her pick the utterly lovely pattern. She is so sneaky. (It was a good thing I was too busy at work today to read her blog!)

3. Because she isn't afraid to put socks on her head. Because she isn't afraid to be true to herself and her characters. She is the writer I strive to be.

4. I can't even sew on a button, but she *hand-knit* these gorgeous, intricate, airy, delicate, happy, looks-like-a-field-of-flowers, perfect Spring socks!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

If you haven't already, please go and ...

I am so incredibly proud of the YA community!! Stunned, amazed, in awe of, humbled, omg*heart swelling* ... there aren't enough positive words. They are the most thoughtful, generous, and giving group I have ever experienced. Not only did they receive an OVERWHELMING number of donations, a lot of the bids have gone above $1000! Thank you, thank you, thank you to Victoria Schwab, Amanda Morgan, and Myra McEntire for putting this phenomenal event together!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foodielicious Fair!

I just happened to stumble upon a food fair at work today (there's always *something* going on around here). Since we get free food at lunch, local businesses don't get our ... well ... business. So it's kinda cool that my company hosted a fair so we could try some stuff and hopefully come in for dinner on the weekends or something.

I started with some Patxi's chicago pizza:

and stood in awe around all this lobster (Sam's Chowderhouse):

Next, I had some seriously tasty wood-fired pizza with swiss chard, bacon, red onions, and creme fraiche (Pizza Politana). I can totally see one of these beautiful ovens in my backyard:

and I can never resist a good, ol' fashioned, all-grass-fed-beef hotdog (Let's Be Frank):

For dessert, heritage pasture raised pork loin + belly sandwich from the incredible Roli Roti (drool-worthy). Trying to figure out if they can host my next event. What kind of event should I have???

So THAT was my lunch extravaganza. And yes. I'm quite full now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary (and book trailers!)

I can't name a favorite.


Beverly Cleary turned 94 and I wanted to wish her a very Happy
Birthday. Her bright and colorful characters touched my elementary school heart and I can't wait to share her books with all the kids in my life.

Now, on to some beautiful book trailers!

ERIN INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows

SEA by Heidi R. Kling

and I couldn't end this post without a yummy picture. It's raining so this hit the spot: Texas-style chili with all the fixin's. It's made with beer and you can totally taste it. Beer's the secret to great chili, IMO. That and chocolate.

Last but not least, a contest!

To celebrate the fact that her book ALL THESE LIVES will be published, Sarah with a Chance is holding a fantastic contest:

1 Lucky Winner will receive a critique of their first 30-40 pages by the fabulous Suzie Townsend + a pack of Twizzlers + a copy of Hex Hall

3 Lucky Winners will receive a query letter critique by one of these three agent extraordinaires: Kathleen Ortiz, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, or Colleen Lindsay (One agent will be randomly assigned to each winner.)

1 Winner will receive a writer's survival guide consisting of Twizzlers, a copy of Silver Phoenix and When You Reach Me, and a cute notebook and pen so you're never tempted to do this

1 Lucky winner will score a lunch date with THE Janet Reid and THE Suzie Townsend. Um, yeah, that's not a typo. (I'm tempted to enter myself. Would it be so wrong?) Unfortunately, this is not a free trip to NYC. BUT if you live in the NYC area, or whenever you're visiting NYC? You. Janet. Suzie. LUNCH.

Enter on her blog here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The best way of waking up ...

is winning a crit!

As soon as my alarm went off, I went online to check the QueryTracker blog instead of hitting the snooze button. A week ago, agent Jason Yarn hosted a contest to win a query and 10-page critique. The results were supposed to go up Friday so yes, I was even more anxious for it to be Friday than usual.

It was early, I thought to myself. The results probably aren't posted yet.

I practically scrolled past my own title before realizing that the words FRIENDS WITH DEATH were staring right back at me. As a winning entry.

I've copied and pasted my pitch and excerpt below. The coolest part is Mr. Yarn's thoughts:

FRIENDS WITH DEATH by Christine Nguyen: Ms. Nguyen’s pitch made me smile and then her excerpt made me laugh – a key way to judge if I’m going to like a book on the whole. The image of a hot Death making eyes at the main character was pretty funny, and brought to mind a lot of uncomfortable situations. Mary Kate’s wanting to get out of a test by way of wished-for vehicular assault rang true in the way of teenagers’ sometime callous disregard for others (without meaning it, of course).

[Insert all-day-long squee here!]

Christine's pitch:
When the charismatic Death makes 17-year-old Mary Kate Stewart choose between saving her dying boyfriend or her gift - the ability to see when people are going to die - she can't help but wonder if he wants to be more than just friends.

Christine's excerpt:
Mary Kate Stewart secretly hoped that her Calculus teacher would get hit by a taco truck. It was Monday, 1:15 p.m. when she had that thought. She knew the exact moment because that’s all she was doing – staring at the clock and wishing for the demise of Mr. Randolph Hagen. She didn’t want him to actually die, but if the accident caused the kind of amnesia where you forgot one specific thing and that thing just happened to be Friday’s Calculus test, she’d be all for supporting careless lunch truck drivers.


I hope you all enter as many contests as you can. It's a fantastic learning experience and gets your heart rate going. See! Writing contests are good for your health!

Lunch today, on the other hand, is definitely not:

Kobe beef sliders with American cheese, pesto aioli, Grey Poupon mustard, ketchup, red onions, and lettuce on a whole wheat bun. Accompanied with garlic french fries and a homemade chocolate chip whoopie pie (to celebrate my whoopilious day). **mental note: eat salad for dinner**

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Changing my blog

I created this blog about two years ago to chronicle my adventures on finding an agent and a publisher. The manuscript I was querying was my MG fantasy titled: THE UNICORN TAMER.

That was then. The manuscript now is FRIENDS WITH DEATH.

I feel bad about not blogging everyday. Since I'm not currently querying, my writing life is not very exciting. It just consists of word count and editing at the moment, and there's only so much you can blog about that. I've tried to include writing-related links that I think are helpful - and I will continue to do so - but I felt like ... spicing things up a bit.

Another love of mine, aside from writing and buying books with gorgeous covers, is eating. I love to eat. I love trying new restaurants, going to favorite hole-in-the-walls, and buying cookbooks with gorgeous covers.

Did you know that I work for the Great Internet Gods? Do you know what happens at work, other than innovation? Food. Lots and lots of free and glorious food!

When I have to pay for my own food, I review said restaurants on the awesome, ever-so-helpful site called yelp.com (my profile url is: christinepuddin.yelp.com)

So, let's recap. I want to blog more. I love to eat. I work at a company that feeds me well. And I like to review restaurants.

Being so - and being inspired by the food photo phenomenon article in the NY Times - I am changing this blog to one that reflects my 3 great non-human loves: writing, reading, and om-nom-noming.

To celebrate, this is what I had for lunch on April 6, 2010:

Fresh chicken chili verde on a sundried-tomato flour tortilla with Mexican rice, sour cream, shredded lettuce, raw tomatoes, onions, and avocado. Pretty impressive. Would've been more impressive if I had decided to blog on lobster roll day. :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let's celebrate the end of March!

*skips in*

Hello! I am so happy to be back. I've been buried underneath end-of-quarter projects, so even though I actually work for the Great Internet Gods, I haven't had much time to play on the internet (Twitter, Google Reader, etc). So color me stoked that March is over! I celebrated by creating this post filled with fun links for you. Enjoy!

- Rejections got you down? Read this inspiring post from SHIVER'S Maggie Stiefvater and win a copy of LINGER here!

- Feel better after reading Maggie's post? Then submit here.

- An interview with Andrew Harwell, editorial assistant at Dutton Children's Books

- Really interesting (and positive) story about Bologna from PW

- New blog that I kinda loff: http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/

- I like [trying] to win things: Mandy Hubbard contest and Heidi R. Kling contest

- And last but not least, I may just be crazy enough to fly to D.C. FOR J.K. ROWLING! (that is, if I had entered the Egg Roll lottery on time)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Beth Revis Book Deal Celebration! *confetti*

I read a bit of Beth Revis' book on Authoress' blog and loved it. I can't wait to read it once it's published! To celebrate her amazing book deal, Beth is having a HUGE contest on her blog.

Look at all the fun stuff you can you win!


-A critique of your query letter and first three chapters
-A copy of Elana Johnson's super-amazing e-book, From the Query to the Call
-A HUGE bag of chocolate-covered expresso beans from my fav coffee shop, Village Coffee (cause we all know writers need chocolate and coffee)
-A copy of the Working Writer Day Planner, full of tons of helpful info for writers
-A really pretty journal
-Flag-it Post-it Notes that you can use to highlight and mark-up your manuscript as you revise
-A Laini's Ladies (the Muse of Writing one, of course!)
-A "Rolla" style notebook--it's like a binder and notebook in one, with the ablity to add, remove, and move around pages. I thought this would be perfect for organizing editing notes, or to take to a conference
-A sekkrit surprise
-A book-shaped locket. One of the themes in my novel, Across the Universe, is that of leaving home and standing on your own two feet (hence the original title that some of you probably remember: Long Way Home). The locket is shaped like a book with a bird's nest stamped on the front, and a bird flies away from the chain. This was custom made for me by The Enchanted Locket on etsy, and you and I will be the only two people with the original design!

Friday, March 26, 2010


I just opened a fresh new document and typed:


*smacks forehead*

Yep, I'm taking a big, ol' breath and starting a new story. I took a short break, but now I'm standing here feeling thissmall looking up at this unknown, 60,ooo-word mountain. I've either gotta start climbing, find another mountain, or go home.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free books make my heart pit-pat

Elana Johnson (of the awesome QueryTracker blog) is having a fantabulous giveaway.

You can win a SIGNED copy of:

THE NAUGHTY LIST by Suzanne Young
HUSH HUSH by Becca Ritzpatrick
GONE by Lisa McMann
CAPTIVATE by Carie Jones
THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer R. Hubbard


Details on her blog.

Want to win a humongous crit by an agent instead? The SHOOTING STARS are also having a contest. Go here to learn more.

Both contests end March 14th!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I just finished my second book!!

It took me awhile to realize I was done. I stared at the last sentence for a good minute. I'm off to type "The End."

FRIENDS WITH DEATH, 55,579 words @ 1:22AM.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What I learned from publishing today (via Twitter)!

- BOY TOY author Barry Lyga tells us how he writes and shows us a sneak peek of his new book ARCHVILLAIN!

- Compare YOUR novel beginning with the ones agent Mary Kole likes

- Agent Spotlight: FinePrint Literary's Suzie Townsend

- Teen Fiction Cafe's Anniversary Party - special post by EVERMORE's Aylson Noel

- You know how some blu-ray movies come bundled with a standard copy and a version you can watch on your computer? Now, books will come bundled up, too! Barnes and Noble announces that it will bundle print books and e-books together - how cool is that? It's a revolution, folks!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Publishing World Tweets!

Every morning, I go through my Twitter feed and scan through my delicious pot of agent-ly, writer-ly, book-ly, publish-ly news and go click-happy on links. Since I have a nice little collection going on here, I thought I'd share "what I learned from twitter today" with you. The links range from writing advice to contests to book announcements. Click and enjoy!

- A new book for you to love: FORGET-HER-NOTS

- Weather contest - win a crit!

- Will you buy ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS based on her cover?

- BEFORE I FALL - couldn't resist the premise so I added it to my Amazon wishlist! Let me know if you feel the same way :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


One of my worst fears as a writer is being predictable. I don't want a reader to guess, smirk and/or roll their eyes, and say 5 minutes later:

"I knew you were going to do that."

"You're boring."

"Mighty un-clever!"

Where does unpredictability come from? Usually from my secondary characters. They whisper things in my ear like: "You know that scene 150 pages back? I could pop in, pull on her pig-tails a little - see what happens. Whatdoyasay?" (insert hearty wink here)

Seriously though, what do you say? Well, I said it honestly sounds kinda fun. Let's stir things up a bit - let's suddenly appear out of nowhere and show 2% of kindness when 98% of the time we're schemy and evil. Let's die. Let's not die and wear fuschia to someone else's funeral.

After I thought this was a cool idea, I realized how difficult it was and decided to write this blog post. I definitely don't want to shy away from making my story better just because it'll be hard and I wanted to come on here and tell you just that. Because I just learned that letting that character go cause a ruckus meant I had over a dozen other scenes to change. So, I've had to be really careful with continuity issues AND with being unpredictable, yet believable.

I definitely don't want a reader to go:

Huh. That doesn't make sense.

Huh. That was out of character.


So ... there's a fine line and I'm trying to see it. (peers) Can you see it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On congratulating Jodi and woo-ing

Write every single day. Write for ten years. Write more than a million words. Don't give up.

One of my bestest e-friends, Jodi Meadows, has just nabbed the agent of her dreams. Honestly, this couldn't have happened to a more deserving and talented writer. I'm incredibly thrilled for her and I really, really can't wait for all of you to read ERIN INCARNATE. I am so in love with this unique world and the characters that she's created. Just you wait - you're gonna be blown away by the genius that is her premise.

To me, Jodi embodies the mature writer so it was pure joy "watching" her write EI. I am very lucky she's so open to sharing her craft and I feel like I've learned a lot. *snugs* and CONGRATULATIONS, Jodi!

In other news, I am charging through the final chapters of FRIENDS WITH DEATH. I have noticed that once I cross a certain threshold on a manuscript, my mind starts to wander and these random, glorious, shiny ideas pop out of nowhere and try to woo me away from my work in progress. Does that happen to you? If so, how do you tell them to STOP! WAIT! TAKE A NUMBER!

I have to admit, I succumbed for a day or two and jotted down the exciting first lines and bits of ideas and conversation, but no more! Until the words "The End" grace FRIENDS WITH DEATH's pretty, white face, I will not begin a new story. Nope. Nuh uh. No.

Please feel free to berate me on my own blog if you suspect I'm working on anything else.


SHIVER was, hands-down, my favorite book last year. I adore Maggie Stiefvater's lyrical prose and admired how real Sam and Grace's relationship was even though he's a wolf and she's a human. The twist on the werewolf mythology was refreshing and kept me guessing as well.

I'm beyond fangirl-squee that SHIVER is going to be made into a movie and am celebrating this awesome news by trying my pants off to win a copy of LINGER.

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Resolution - Blog More

It's January 28th.

This is my first blog post of 2010.

So far, I'm failing my "Blog More" resolution.

Fixing that now!

WRITING: I am thisclose to finishing my WIP. I have an agent who already wants to see the full and another agent waiting on my revisions for THE UNICORN TAMER. So what does that mean? Tons of squee! and kicking-of-butt-in-gear. Thank goodness for the venerable Jodi Meadows who commands the cutest army there ever was. I seem to write better when she's on 3rd shift (i.e. up in the middle of the night).

BOOKS: I am currently reading Stephen King's ON WRITING and I highly recommend it. You don't even have to be an aspiring author. ON WRITING was written in a very conversational tone and it's intimate, inspiring, and down-right funny. Did you know he used to do laundry for a living? AND, he threw away CARRIE. Like, wrote it, hated it, and THREW IT AWAY!! His wife was the one who fished it out of the garbage and told him to finish it. The rest is history (i.e. he sold it, made a kazillion dollars, and became a household name).


- The incredible and sweet (I know she's incredible and sweet because I got to meet her in person!) LK Madigan writes about productive writing retreats and achieving that one perfect sentence

- 3 books I want to win! but will not hesitate to buy them either because they're made of awesome