Everything I'm feeling right now...

... is captured perfectly right here:

A second book is actually more a test than the first. Not in how well it’s written—although some writers manage to triumph over all these odds and produce stellar sophomore efforts. But the second book is where the writer screws up his courage and learns to proceed without the illusions and wild optimism. 

Click to read the entire post, Why Second Novels Are So Different from the First, over at Wordplay. Author Kim Wright says everything I'm feeling right now. I'm so grateful that I'm not only one.

Book two is the reason I'm on a blog break.

Book two is the reason I'm not sleeping.

Book two is righteously kicking my ass.

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Vlog #2: Vampires and Tattoos

Welcome to my second video blog! Big thanks to Caitlin and Lydia K., whose questions I've answered in this week's vlog:

So? Dish. What's the dumbest thing YOU'VE ever done?

Note: I'll be on a blog hiatus for the rest of the summer. I'll see you back here after Labor Day with more posts and vlogs (thanks again for all your great questions – you've given me plenty to talk about!). In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook, and I'm always reachable via email. And you know I'll be stalking your blogs when I can! Happy summer, everyone!

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Panty Meme (sorry, Mom)

So much for putting my best face forward. But mind you, this is all in good fun.

Fellow thriller writer Nancy S. Thompson has boldly tagged me in this crazy panty meme, and I never back down from a challenge! This was definitely an exercise in being silly without going too far (writing fiction is so much easier).

1. What do you call your panties / underwear / undergarments? Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?

I call them panties or underwear. Original, I know.

2. Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

All the time! My recurring dream is I'm driving naked, but I don't realize it until I run out of gas and pull into a very busy gas station. And then I look down and realize I can't leave the car. It's horrible!

3. What is the worst thing you can think of to make panties out of?

Anything that itches. I'm allergic to nuts, so please, no nuts in my underwear. (Er, wait... what?)

4. If you were a pair of panties, what color would you be, and WHY?

Probably pink. It's a soothing color and I'm a pretty chill person.

5. Have you ever thrown your panties/underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your panties/underwear at, given the opportunity?

Ew, no. I'm a bit of a germaphobe and I wouldn't want anybody tossing their underwear at me, so I'll spare someone else from that fate. Plus, it takes me forever to find underwear I like, so hell no, I'm not giving them away.

6. You’re out of clean panties. What do you do?

Go commando. It's not like anyone can tell.

7. Are you old enough to remember Underoos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?

I remember Underoos, but never had any, though I really wanted Wonder Woman.

8. If you could have any message printed on your panties, what would it be?

Depends on the day. Right now, it's KEEP OUT! (Ha, sorry, there's just no way to answer this question in a classy way!)

9. How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

One –  me – because everybody else bailed at this dumbass question.

I'm breaking the rules of the meme by not tagging anybody, but I will ask this:

Girls, what color underwear would you be and why?

Guys, boxers or briefs?

Something tells me I'm not going to get a lot of comments on this post. ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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How do you want people to see you?

I was raised by a tall, beautiful, ultra-glamorous mother, and one of the things she always told me growing up (other than "Always wear clean underwear, in case you get into an accident!") was, "Always put your best face forward!". Which translates to: "Don't leave the house looking like crap."

I think this is good advice, because after all, should I ever have the good fortune of running into Brad Pitt at the mall, I'd want to look my very best. So I've never been the kind of girl who leaves home looking sloppy. Hair will be combed, lips will be lipsticked, shirt will be ironed. That's just me (and my mother wouldn't have had it any other way).

My fashionista mom at age 32, in Toronto.
(ETA: My mother has informed me she was 29 in this picture. Sorry, mom! Didn't mean to age you!)
The scariest part about being published, other than reading reviews, is knowing that people will see me. A lot of pictures were taken of me at ThrillerFest, and they were floating around on Twitter and Facebook before I even made it back to my hotel room. It was mortifying; my first real reminder that I'm beginning to lose control over what people see – and read, for that matter. Somebody posts a picture of me having a bad hair day or sporting a double chin? Too bad, it's out there. Somebody hated my book and wants the entire world to know how much it sucked? Too bad, it's out there. (And of course I understand that my book isn't me and I'm not my book, but it is a part of me, and I care what people think.)

I would have loved to remain this mysterious, slightly anonymous girl who Just Writes Books... because for a couple of years, I totally was. But that's no longer realistic. S&S/Gallery is doing what they can to market CREEP, but a large chunk of that responsibility lies with me. And in this day and age where everybody and their grandmother is social networking, I can't not put myself out there.

I may not be able to control everything people see and read, but I can control some of it, by putting my best face forward as much as I can. I don't want potential readers to see my warts if I can help it (and I mean this metaphorically – I DO NOT HAVE WARTS, I SWEAR). So I do put a lot of thought into what I blog about, what I vlog about, what I post on Facebook, and what I tweet. It's genuinely me, yes, but I can't pretend that I'm not careful about presenting the best "version" of me, as much as I can.

So here's my question for you, and this goes for writers and non-writers: How do you want people to see you? Are you the person you appear to be on your Facebook/Twitter/blog/website? Or is that just a version of you? And if so, which version? 

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Novel Films Blogfest

Ever wonder what your fellow blog friend sounds like in real life? Click HERE to see my first one-minute vlog, in which I manage not to swear once (at least not in the final, edited version).

Admittedly, I'm not much of a joiner when it comes to blogfests (though I love making the rounds and watching everybody else do them) but this one was too fun to pass up. Madeleine from Scribble and Edit wants to know which novels made good movies, and I have some definite opinions on this one.

And I even managed to turn this into a top 10 list:

10. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
I liked the book, but I loved the movie. Perfectly cast. (And you can follow Bridget on Twitter at @bridgetjoneshf.)

9. The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
It's no secret that I'm a rabid fan of Deaver, and that I adore his series character, forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme. But the movie's great, too! I finally got to ask Deaver at ThrillerFest what he thought of the movie casting (because in the book, Lincoln's white), and he said, "I know a lot of people think it's racist to ask what I think of Denzel Washington playing Lincoln, but it isn't. It's a perfectly valid question. As to what I think – hey, it's Denzel. Anything to get him in a movie."

8. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
I thought the movie was much better paced than the book, which I found a little slow and a tad over-written. And it also helps that I'm a fan of Matt Damon.

7. The Green Mile by Stephen King
This was originally a serial novel, where chunks of the book were released each month, and I didn't find the story to be as seamless as it should have been. But the movie smoothed out all the lumps and bumps, and who doesn't like Tom Hanks? (And we won't talk about the other, 51-year-old actor who recently married a 16-year-old. Ewww.)

6. Princess Bride by William Goldman
Again, I thought the movie was better paced than the book. But the book is just as funny, and goes a little deeper character-wise.

5. Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice
This book is my favorite of the Vampire Chronicles, and I thought the movie stayed true to the voice and most of the story. Rice was happy with adaptation, and for good reason. Plus, Brad Pitt as Louis? Yes.

4. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
I read the book before I saw the movie, and will say that Sir Anthony Hopkins really made Hannibal Lecter come alive for me. The movie really captures the tension and freakiness of the dual serial killer plotline.

3. Stand By Me (The Body) by Stephen King
A nice little story from King's compilation, Different Seasons, made into a classic movie. I've read the story a few times, but I've seen the movie about a dozen times.

2. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
I can't decide which I like better, the movie or the book. The writing in the book is as close to perfect as a writer could ever hope for, but the movie is just so visceral. And Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden? Yes.

1. Shawshank Redemption (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) by Stephen King
Another nice little story from Different Seasons that turned into an incredible movie. I doubt I have to explain why the movie was so amazing – you've likely seen it, and already know why.

Bonus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Book and movie are equally delightful, and this first Harry Potter story will always be my favorite of the series.

What are your favorite books-turned-into-movies? Do you agree or disagree with any of my picks?

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