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 (my profile url is:

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. :-)