Thursday, March 10, 2011

Friday Feedback, Oh So Lickably Good

This is me. I am not licking anything.

Pay me no attention. I'm just a little excited about my guest blogger today, the lickably awesome Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys!


Silly people! I call her lickable because for a long, long time now I've been wanting to lick her cover.

Wait. That still sounded wrong. Here, I'll show you. Really. It's not nearly as bad as it sounds. (and, why, yes, I did try to start this post with a stock photo of a licking tongue, and NO you do not want to know the kind of images that show up if you happen to Google for photos of licking tongues. So, um, yeah, just trust me on this).

So, here is the adorable Carrie:
Don't let her fool you. She morphs into some
sort of Ninja Zombie.

and this,

THIS is the incredibly lickable cover of BAD TASTE IN BOYS:

Oh. My. God. See what I mean? Give me a second. . . no, no, I am not doing that, whatever you think I am doing. Okay, fine, maybe I am. But I'm done now, so carry on.

Anyway, for months now, this licking joke has been going on and I decided as *gift* to Carrie -- because you can just imagine how much she's going to love this -- I would do an homage to her cover. Of course, it's late, and I have like a thousand important things to do tonight, not to mention I haven't showered today, nor put on makeup, or brushed my hair. Oh, and as it turns out, I only had orange dot sprinkles in the house. All of which should have stopped me.

But, didn't.

Trust me, those are all bright orange, and, yes, I am a total idiot.
You're welcome.

Anyway, here's the description of Bad Taste in Boys from Carrie's website:

Someone’s been a very bad zombie. Super-smartie Kate Grable gets to play doctor, helping out her high school football team. Not only will the experience look good on her college apps, she gets to be this close to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except . . . the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating . . . zombies. Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend . . . not even Kate . . . It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

There. I hear it's great. You know you want to read it in July.

But, of course, that's not why Carrie is here today. SHE'S IN THE ZOMBIE HOTSEAT FOR SOME FEEDBACK! It's from her sequel, Bad Hair Day, already sold to Delacorte! So, say what you will because sticks and stones can't hurt her. Plus, she's a zombie, so even if they could, they couldn't (can you tell I know nothing about zombies?) Also, there's licking in it, so I am a happy camper.

Anyway, you know the rules:

1. Since it's the opening of a book, tell us if it "hooks" you or not. Enough to make you want to keep reading? If yes, why? If no, why not?

2. What else works for you, draws you into the piece, and why?

3. What doesn’t work for you (if something doesn't) and why?

If you want the same feedback, please post your brief excerpt at the end of your comment (and tell us what it is -- e.g. opening to a novel, short story, poem, etc...). Please post no more than 3 paragraphs. If there's more, we may not read it. If you are a student from a particular class, please identify yourself as such because we like to throw smooches and such.

So, without further ado, up for your feedback, the opening of Bad Hair Day by Carrie Harris:
Bad Hair Day.


Trey Black lurched up and down the bus loop outside our school, moaning about cranial anatomy. As if I wasn’t annoyed enough already. Our bus was fourteen-and-a-half minutes late. The Future Doctors of America program would be starting without me; watching our future salutatorian act like a complete dipwad only added insult to injury. The students selected for the FDA program were supposed to be the best. Apparently, our school administrators defined “best” as “guy who puts backpack on his head and pretends to be a zombie.”

He staggered over and accidentally grabbed my breasts, one in each hand. And when I say accidentally, I really mean on purpose. I wasn’t sure if he had a see through backpack or an unerring sense of breastal positioning, but either way, it was going to get him into trouble. Like now.

I knocked his hands off my chest, grabbed him by the strap, and yanked him close enough to talk right in his ear. Or right in his backpack, anyway.

“Listen up, dorkwad,” I said in the pleasantest voice possible, which wasn’t very pleasant at all. “I don’t have the time or masochistic tendencies necessary to deal with you. So how about you keep out of my way, and I’ll pay you the same courtesy?”

He ripped the bag off and sneered, which only served to make him more unattractive. Don’t get me wrong; Trey was one of those guys with tousled blond hair and surfer boy good looks. The girls at our school constantly threw themselves at him. I didn’t find him even remotely attractive. Frankly, his infantile tendencies made me want to grab his head and yank really hard in an effort to dislodge it from his backside. No amount of prettiness could compensate for that.

Picking on me was one of his favorite ways to pass the time. On the first day of freshman year, he took one look at my stylicious braid and granny glasses and decided I’d be an easy target. Back then he was right, but now things had changed. He just hadn’t realized it; he was studying in France for a semester when I stopped the zombocalypse.

He leaned toward me, getting right up in my face. I expected one of his stereotypical insults, but he licked me instead. A long, slow lick that started at my jaw line and went flat-tongued all the way up to my hair. I had never been a violent person, but there is only so much random licking a girl can take.


- gae

p.s. seriously you guys, that little guy down there *points to last Friday's blog post* is still juggling. Somebody get him some food or a glass of water.


  1. I just got totally creeped out by that last paragraph! I mean, how violating... after he grabbed her breast.

    And being creeped out like this is totally good, because - I want to know how she feels inside, what she is gonna do to carode this guy into a tiny heap of *insert explictative here*

    And , btw - Carrie does a great job with delicious words. I think I'm gonna get up there and steal of few of those big words.

    My opinion - delightly tacky, yet refined. A total creep out in the best kind of way.

  2. I've never been so pleased to be called tacky. ;)

    (I know, you were referring to the book, but it sounds better that way.)

    Sadly enough, I knew a guy who did this in junior high. Only it was with a bowling bag, not a backpack. And he DID pretend to be a zombie.

    What a goob.

  3. So the licking was funny until this creepo did it. I kinda want to punch him. I hope she does lol
    I love this snippet though, I really really do. The first one doesn't come out til July? GAH!
    For some reason this kid reminded me of Wesley from The D.U.F.F. though he turned out to be not so bad in the end lol

    I think the world could use more zombies...and licking...the less creepy kind, hopefully. Either way, keep up the good work, Carrie :D

  4. I agree! The world could use more zombies and creep-free licking. The world could also use more WESLEY.

    Oh, Wesley. LOVE.

    Thanks for the feedback; so glad you liked it!

  5. lol!!! I love it, cannot wait for Bad Taste in Boys and now BAd Hair DAy too. Great picture Gae! =D lol!!

  6. Hmm Zombies, licking, and Wesley. Sounds like paradise to me xD

  7. Cynthia: YAY YAY YAY! *throws sparkles* And isn't that picture hilarious? It gives me ALL KINDS OF IDEAS.

    Ellie: SNARF. Slightly pervy paradise, but yes, I agree. :)

  8. Carrie, you are seriously EVIL. You giving us teasers for Bad air Day when Bad Taste in Boys isn't even out yet! *sits in her corner and DESPAIRS the lack of hilarious-zombie-pretty-covered-books-by-Carrie* ;) And ewwww... What kinda crazy person randomly LICKS SOMEONES FACE. But it works. In a creepy-face-licky-gross kinda way...

    Awesome! :D

  9. *evil laugh* *dry washes hands* *concocts diabolical plan involving ill tempered sea bass with lasers on their heads* *realizes it's been done before*

    I've been randomly licked before too. At a dance club.


    Oh, and thanks sunshine. :)

  10. I don't think my YA class had enough time to comment, but they were on here reading the post and snippet. I heard many of them giggling while reading your intro, Gae. And I heard many of them saying "Oooo I want to read Bad Taste in Boys!" Yay!

    Plus, they searched through your blog, Gae, and a few watched the trailer for TPOG and are excited to read it. Double yay!

  11. I second that YAY, Sarah! That's so awesome!

    Thanks for the comment!

  12. I loved this from the start, but I was utterly and totally hooked after "breastal positioning." Sheer brilliance. I bow down to the Ninja Goddess that is Carrie H.

  13. oooooooh. One of my students was just looking for another zombie book this morning. I would love to see him carrying this book about what with the lips and all. . .

  14. Kathy: The fact that THIS hooked you out of everything really cracks me up. So glad you liked it! Now quit bowing, please?

    Paul: HAH! I know BTIB looks a little lippy, but there's lots of zombie mayhem in it that should appeal to guys too. But since it won't be out for another four months, has he read ROT AND RUIN or HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER? Those are my two favorite recent zombie reads--and I'm always available to recommend creature books!

  15. Gae, this intro was deliciously weird. And that photo...
    Carrie, your evil knows no bounds, dangling this morsel before book one can be devoured.
    Seriously, I think you both need to be locked away somewhere. But I'll stalk you there, because any place where you will both be in the same room - that's a party I can't miss.

  16. Terry, you should read our emails. The censored version, anyway. I wouldn't inflict the uncensored ones on anyone. :)

    BWAHAHAHAHA. (That's my evil laugh. You like?)

  17. Excellent cover recreation. All you're missing is the shotgun.

    Yeah Bad Hair Day is a little weird, but very funny and just as good as me. We're just working on the shedding issues.

  18. Thank you everyone for all the comments and for gushing all over Carrie.




    *debates fixing*

    *carries on*

    Anyhoo. I like all of you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this,especially brilliant and hilarious lines like this: "He staggered over and accidentally grabbed my breasts, one in each hand."

    But, I have a mild gripe, so I'm curious... I would rather it start the line under the dialog line, "Brains!!!!!!!" I'm not completely NOT a fan of starting with dialogue, and this definitely isn't my genre (tho I may soon become its biggest fan), but that seems really young and since the word breasts is used, i assume it's not as young as that sounds to me. Especially since they're discussing cranial anatomy. So, i'm kinda curious now if BTIB starts with something similar and it's a theme in which case it would be a total must be or if you, Carrie, have any thoughts on this?

    Thanks everyone for stopping by and Carrie for being so awesomesauce. :)

    xo Happy weekend (and HI to Mrs. Andersen's new students!!!)

  19. reading it back, that comment mostly makes no sense. If you need me to make sense of it, let me know.

  20. Wait? What? Who? Princess Sparkles the THird... come back here.

  21. Wonderful fun, Carrie. And that last line should be in Bartlett's. You zombie genius, you!

  22. Okay, I'm not kidding. That last line NEEDS to be in Bartlett's right now. Bartlett? Are you listening?


    Gae: It's a good point about the dialogue opening, and I've taken it out and put it back in about 10 times now. BTIB does start with a line of dialogue, but it's much more detailed than this. So yes, I DO get what you're saying, thanks! And thanks for having me!!! This has been TOO much fun.

    Oh, and Princess Sparkles is my ARC, and she and her little sister fight all the time.

    No, really. I made some off-handed comment about how my ARC should have its own twitter, and one of my fabulous twitter friends just...ran with it.

    Randy: I'm not sure I really want to be known for that line.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I totally do. ;)

    You ghost genius, you. *hugs*

  24. My goodness I would slap that boy! This beginning does grab my attention because he really gets under my skin and I'd want to read more about how she deals with him.

    My name is Tristan and I'm going to post the opening of a short story I wrote for a school assignment.

    I walk down the cold, empty street, head down, black boots sloshing through the muddy puddles. My arms are crossed tightly across my chest to keep them from shaking. I continue my way to the last lonely house at the end where I’m the only inhabitant. Stepping over every uneven bump, ducking under each low branch, knowing where each one is even with my eyes closed, I arrive at the broken stone steps of my sad home.
    But it is really home? Can a house still be a home, even when you’re the only one that lives there, parentless? Not that anyone else knows that. Nobody else knows that Daddy skipped town months ago, leaving me to run the house, deal with mom. But lucky me, no longer having to put up with her. Now it’s the job of whichever nurse is working their shift.
    When Daddy left it was like he took a little of her with him. And that was too much for one person to handle. So after many attempts to rip her out of bed, force feed her, and drag her to work, I finally checked her into a hospital that guaranteed to heal her. No such luck thus far.

    These are the first three paragraphs but it's three pages long so you don't get alot from this little section. It's one of the first creative writings I've ever actually finished so let me know whats good and whats not!

  25. That post above is from one of my former YA students, Tristan :) For some reason this wouldn't post for her, so she sent it to me to post on here.


  26. Tristan! Welcome! and what a great, intriguing start. Sad, too, of course. But what works is you have totally hooked me as to what has happened to her family that has left them in this sorry state. Also, I'm already rooting for her, which means you've succeeded to create sympathy for her in this short amount of time which is excellent.
    I'm hesistant to ever point out "little things" in the beginning of a new work, because we ALL have things in the beginning of a new work when we're trying to get immersed in a story and I have a hard and fast rule about NOT editing the opening chapters until the book is done because so often they change. Having said that... because it’s Saturday morning and im drinking coffee and I’m in the mood, JUST FOR FUN, as a total exercise (that will maybe help others too) I’m going to repost your excerpt and make some TEENY TINY edits (not changing a single word of your writing, just pulling a few words out – ok and maybe adding the word “either”) and show you that sometimes if you write well, which you do!, a little less can be more:

    I walk down the cold, empty street, head down, black boots sloshing through the muddy puddles, my arms crossed tightly across my chest to keep from shaking. I continue my way to the last lonely house where I’m the only inhabitant.

    Stepping over every uneven bump, ducking under each low branch with my eyes closed, I arrive at the broken stone steps of my home.

    But it is really home when you’re the only one that lives there? Not that anyone else knows that -- that Daddy skipped town months ago, leaving me to run the house, deal with mom. But, lucky me, no longer having to put up with her (either). Now it’s the job of whichever nurse is working their shift.

    When Daddy left it was like he took a little of her with him. And that was too much for one person to handle. So after many attempts to rip her out of bed, force feed her, and drag her to work, I finally checked her into a hospital that guaranteed to heal her. No such luck thus far.

    Great job, Tristan! Keep going!!!

    - gae

  27. (if anyone reads and prefers the unedited version, please chime in! That's what makes a writing discussion interesting!)

    xo gae

  28. Interesting premise of an opening, but a little rough. I quickly edited it, but I'm in a rush and would like more time to play around with the emotions you hinted at. Lemme know what you think, and - Don't stop writing!

    I walk down the cold, empty street, head down, black boots sloshing through the muddy puddles. My arms are crossed tightly across my chest to keep them from shaking.

    I've done this walk so many times now, I know every uneven crack in the sidewalk. When I finally reach the low hanging branch that marks my exit, I duck under it and stare up the broken stone steps of my lonely little home.

    Idly, I wonder if a house can be a home when you’re the only one that lives there. Not that anyone knows I live alone, of course. Daddy skipped town months ago, leaving me to run the house. And deal with mom. By myself.

    She was nothing but an empty husk after he left. I tried ripping her out of bed, forcing her to eat, and dragging her to work for three weeks before I finally realized it was too much for me to handle on my own.

    I checked her into a hospital. Now she’s the responsibility of whichever nurse is on shift. They guaranteed to heal her, but no such luck so far.

  29. Bran Flakes (?), thanks for chiming in. I'm loathe as a writer to ever rewrite another writer's words because we all have different voices and word choices that work for us. Some of the changes you suggest above actually change the meaning and tone for me of what I think Tristan may have intended. If you notice, I didnt change a single word of Trisan's writing, but rather only took away some words, leaving her others to shine. Maybe that's semantics and I shouldn't have done that either, but I'm really loathe to actually rewrite rather than strip back some... to me there's a difference. But, I ove you stopping by. How bout you post some of your own writing instead! ;)

    - gae

  30. Hi Gae!

    (Re: the name - I know :))

    Sorry, I’m new here. It seems I jumped in before I knew all the rules. I thought people posted their excerpts so others could comment and make suggestions (as they do on other blogs). I didn’t realize we weren't supposed to edit…

    I did notice how you deliberately left the opening relatively untouched aside from deletions, I just thought that was your way of politely pointing out where you thought it could be improved.

    My intention was just to show Tristan another way of writing it. In my personal experience, that can sometimes inspire a whole new range of creative ideas and help people polish and refine their own particular style. Of course, the author should only take the suggestions that resonate with them.

    Again, sorry if I rocked the boat - please don’t throw me overboard :)!

  31. It's not my fault! She keeps bugging me cuz I have a Twitter and she doesn't! I told her she has to wait until she's an ARC! And she sheds everywhere!

    @Gae Hi

  32. Bran Flakes, no worries! I love that you're here chiming in... just dont want to have it be a place where we do anything than offer some basic feedback. In fact, the only reason I decided to do the little exercise I did was because i thought Tristan's writing was so strong. Was easy then to strip back a little and really show its shine! And anyway, as far as Im concerend being thrown overboard is a good thing. It means youre in the water and you get to swim! :)

  33. er, that didnt come out in english... a place where we do anything other than offer some basic feedback... :)