Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beltane and Buffy

April 30 is my favorite of the eight sabbats. Beltane/May Eve is a harbinger of summer honored with fabulous festivals replete with fires and dancing. The world of Nightshade is steeped in the tradition and history of witchcraft and Wolfsbane draws readers deeper into that world. To celebrate this holiday I'm holding a contest and the winner will receive a Wolfsbane ARC!

Since my last blog post touted the greatness of Buffy I want to have a Beltane Buffy quiz. May is the fifth month of the year, so here are five of my favorite quotes from Buffy. Correctly identify the Buffy character delivered each of the five quotes and you'll be in the running to win the ARC.
1) "What's the matter Watcher? Life flash before your eyes? Cup o' tea, cup o' tea, almost got shagged, cup o' tea?"

2) "Forgiveness makes us human, blah, blah, blah."

3) "Rain of toads. One minute its 'oh no, pop quiz' and now it's rain of toads."

4) "That's beautiful...or taken literally incredibly gross."

5) "Bored now."

Good luck! Entries taken until 12 a.m. May 1.

Please leave your answers in the comments section. This contest is open to international entries!

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Generation

Courtesy of Karsten Knight and Stacey of Page Turners Blog I've been inspired to post about films that supplied priceless pop culture knowledge that I internalized as eternal. I think it's perfectly reasonable that each generation assumes its points of pop culture reference will forever be relevant, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Each generation must write its own books, or rather each generation for the next succeeding."

There are certain pieces of culture that I refuse to believe will lose their relevance. For example, I will go to my grave proclaiming that everyone should know Buffy the Vampire Slayer and relish her (and Joss Whedon's) contributions to our sorry world.
I'm forced to admit, however, that some of my cherished films will languish in history. To forestall this decline I'm going to do a series of posts about films that left indelible marks on my psyche and creative life.

Because this endeavor was inspired by Karsten's reference to She's All That. I'm starting with RomComs and the movie in question.

My brother and I used to watch She's All That constantly. It's a great mood lifter - funny and sweet. And has one of the best choreographed prom dances ever - Fat Boy Slim FTW! (And yes, that IS Usher)

Ten Things I Hate About You is another priceless romance. A retelling of Taming of the Shrew it features clever dialogue and young Heath Ledger (RIP) opposite Julia Stiles. Bonus: Proof that Joseph Gordon Levitt was awesome before Inception.

Another adapted tale is Clueless with Alicia Silverstone as Jane Austen's Emma. This film is hilarious! Clueless is the 90s prep to counter Ten Things 90s grunge - both of which were essential 90s trends.Taking few more steps back in time to 1980s, I'd be remiss to leave off a John Hughes film. I think they are all worth watching, but I have a soft spot for Sixteen Candles. In terms of feminism this film has some really messed up ideologies, but given that it's John Hughes my presumption is that such hyperbole of sexual and racial stereotypes are written with both irony and purpose (or I'm just naive). The kiss over the candles with Thompson Twins singing in the background is an alltime favorite scene.

Sixteen Candles also has young John Cusack, but of course Cusack's famous 80s movie moment featuring a window and a boombox and Peter Gabriel happens in Say Anything.

Also of the 80s - Girls Just Want to Have Fun. SJP and Helen Hunt in the 80s! Best slumber party movie ever. I went through about four birthdays where this was the featured film.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun is about a forbidden dance contest, but it's very PG in content. So of course I have to mention the more risque forbidden dance film: Dirty Dancing.
No one puts Baby in the corner!

Jumping back into the 90s - some might not consider Mallrats a romantic comedy, but I do. And I adore it! Shannon Doherty and Magic Eye make this film indispensable. Plus - filmed in Minnesota, home of the first enclosed shopping mall in the country.

Another 90s film that I consider priceless is Beautiful Girls. Though this movie focuses on a high school reunion of late 20 somethings, its message is relevant for young adults and adults.

In the last year of the 90s But I'm a Cheerleader made a wonderful and important contribution to rom coms. This film is poignant and hilarious. And has RuPaul in an amazing role!
I could probably go on, but I'm happy with this list. What do you consider defining romantic comedies for your generation or simply for you?

Coming soon: Children's films, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, and Horror!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let's Pretend

I know there's been quite a bit of grumbling about the some-might-say excessive coverage on William and Kate's nuptials. While I agree that there's enough happening in the world that is more newsworthy than a royal wedding, I don't have a problem with the attention this young couple is receiving. Precisely because the world is a rough place to be, sometimes it's nice to have a little escape. As much as William and Kate are real people and will have a relationship with real problems as in any relationship, this wedding is a bit of a surreal, fairytale moment that many people will enjoy participating in vicariously - including myself.

I'll be watching with a girlfriend in my sweatshirt and yoga pants, but in the spirit of make believe I'd like to imagine that if I were a guest (with the unlimited budget of a royal wedding guest) I would wear this dress from Rochas:

With this hat (because hats are a must at British weddings):

And these shoes:
Do you have a fairytale-esque event or costume you'd like to step into for a day?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sex +, or Why You Should Read Kody Keplinger

When you write for young adults, I would argue that as an author you open yourself to an intensified public judgment and criticism. Some well-intentioned, others purely mean spirited, the blow back YA authors receive derives largely from conflicting opinions about what teens can and can't handle in literature and/or what they should or should not be exposed to.

Whether it be religion, drugs, or violence every reader and writer has an opinion about if a line for content in YA novels exists and where it should be drawn. And no subject garners more debate than S-E-X.

I haven't been shy about expressing my opinion on censorship, book challenges, and book banning. There's no room in my heart or mind for any of the above. I'm also proud to call myself a feminist and, for me, part of being a feminist is decrying double standards in sex and gender as well as the propagation of sex ignorance among young people, especially young women.

Working against double standards and ignorance is what I think of as sex positive education. Today, YA Author Kody Keplinger, offered up an important and fantastic blog post about what sex positive means (to her) and I couldn't agree more. Kody is the author of The Duff and the upcoming Shut Out (her take on Aristophanes' Lysistrata - one of my all-time favorite plays!) Kody is a brave and talented writer. And she's in college - I wish I would have been the force of amazing that she is when I was that young!!!

So I was more than humbled and honored that Kody mentioned Nightshade as a sex positive book. For me there is no higher compliment. And it's particularly meaningful given that some criticism I've seen of Nightshade is that it's too much "lust" and not enough "love." While the few comments along those lines I've seen don't surprise me, they do frustrate me. Here's why:

Sex and romance aren't the same thing, but in books they are very often equated or conflated. In Nightshade, Calla lives in a world of gendered hierarchies and sexual double standards. When she comes face to face with her own awakening sexuality, she's totally unprepared for it because she's been taught to deny that part of herself. Yes - she's experiencing lust. Of course she is! Sexual feelings and impulses are part of life, particularly in the hormone bonanza that is adolescence, learning how to understand and process all those lusty moments and how to separate lust from real love is a key part of growing up. Growing up and finding herself are what Calla is doing. It's what all young people are doing and I believe they need all the maps and guidebooks we can offer to help them on that journey.

Too often our culture still expects young women to ignore or repress the fact that we, as humans, are sexual beings while the opposite expectation dictates the ideologies around young men's sexualities. (FYI: I'm talking in heteronormative terms here - there's a whole world of additional silencing and repression when it comes to LGBT sexualities. Catherine Ryan Hyde had an amazing post on this topic recently). These double standards lead to confusion, frustration, fears and even dangerous consequences in the lives of young adults.

There will always be voices shouting down a sex positive take on young adults and sex education. There are those who believe young people should be sheltered from tough topics and they will continue to try to censor books that teens need to read: books on domestic abuse, drugs and alcohol, depression and cutting, and yes - sex. Teens need these books because they aren't sheltered. They are alive and life is hard.

Sex positive = whole lives, healthy lives.

Thank you, Kody.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth, Us

It's Earth Day!

Despite the fact that Mother Nature seems intent on keeping winter going in Minnesota until May, I still love her. In honor of Earth Day 2011 I thought I'd round up some salient articles that I hope will make us all more aware, concerned, and involved in protecting this precious resource that is our home.

Canada, which occupies some stunning bits of the planet, has compiled this Earth Day assessment.

The Huffington Post has rounded up 9 Earthly books you should read. On this list is The World Without Us - a book I love!

The Wilderness Society offers links to volunteer opportunities.

As a person who loves the wilderness, and wolves in particular, on this Earth Day I want to raise awareness about Predator Defense. Often villainized and mischaracterized predators are an essential part of ecology and deserve our respect and protection from exploitation and the ever-present threat of extermination. This topic is especially worrying given that Congress has voted to de-list wolves from their endangered status.

Earth Day should make us sit up and pay attention to the crises that threaten our fragile planet, but don't think about the environment today and take it for granted tomorrow. We are not guests here, we are made of and sustained by this planet. To abuse, poison, and destroy the earth is to rend our own flesh and break our own bones.Today is just the starting line but the race - upon which our lives depend - is only beginning.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Best Things in Life...

Are those you didn't plan for.

A little less than a year ago I had the delight of attending the American Library Association (ALA) annual meeting, at which I met many amazing authors including David Levithan. Upon meeting David I knew I'd found a kindred spirit and being so grateful for his kindness to a newbie author I wrote this blog post.

Now I meant the post as a compliment not an actual suggestion, but lo and behold David saw the blog post and decided to call my bluff - he asked if I wanted to try writing a book together. To take a page from my beloved Ghostbusters:

When David Levithan asks you if you'll write a book with him you say YES.

And I did.

And now I have amazing news to share that was announced this morning in Publishers Weekly:

Philomel Disappears with Levithan & Cremer
Jill Santopolo, executive editor of Penguin Young Readers' Philomel imprint, took world rights to a new YA novel by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer called The Invisibility Curse. Bill Clegg, at William Morris Endeavor, brokered the deal for Levithan, who co-wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Play-list (and is editorial director at Scholastic Press), and Cremer, author of Nightshade (and history professor at Macalaster College). The novel follows a boy burdened by invisibility who meets a girl that has the power to see him and, possibly, cure him. Publication is currently set for 2013.

Our book will be published in 2013 by Philomel/Penguin with amazing Editor Jill at the helm!!!!

There are no words to describe how ecstatic I am about this novel and how much I love David. I'm grateful to him not only for sharing his creative talent with me but also for how much he's become a dear friend over the past 10 months.

I can't wait until 2013 when you'll be able to share our journey, too!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Enough Time!!!

There is so much going right now and it's the end of the semester so I can't keep up! But here's a rapid rundown of current events:

1) I had the delight of attending Houston Teen Book Con wherein I met amazing librarians, teachers, booksellers, authors and of course readers!! Thank you so much to the organizers and to everyone who came to the panels! I also had the bonus of bringing a friend home; here is Ben the armadillo from Blue Willow Bookshop.He's a fan of WOLFSBANE as you can see...or maybe he's trying to eat it.
2) It's National Library Week!! Libraries are one of society's most vital resources. Support your libraries! Also READ BANNED BOOKS!

3) Tomorrow is Rock the Drop: Operation Teen Book Drop! This amazing event encourages you to drop a teen book in a random public place for a lucky reader to pick up and then pass along. I'll be dropping several books around Minneapolis/St. Paul tomorrow.

4) I'm almost done with my work in progress (the companion novel to the Nightshade series), and I'm in that totally obsessive zone; hence, my lack of blogs. When I come up for air I promise to write more posts and hold more contests!

See you on the other side!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Teen Book Con!

Thanks to everyone for the enthusiasm for my 3000 follower Twitter contest. I announced the winner: @simplebookworm earlier this afternoon.

More contests will appear in the lead up to WOLFSBANE.

I'm posting this blog from Houston where tomorrow I'll appear at Teen Book Con. Check out the schedule!

And they made this great video:

Meeting readers is one of the best part of being an author and I can't wait for our panel.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Celebration time! I just hit 3000 followers on Twitter - amazing. I have promised a contest and need more than 140 characters to announce it, so the details will appear here.

This IS a Twitter contest so if you want to enter you'll need to Tweet me. To enter Tweet @andreacremer with the hashtag #wolfsbanepreorder

I'll take entries until Friday, April 8.

The winner will receive this MAJOR AWARD:

Just kidding. Here's the actual prize(s):

A pre-order of WOLFSBANE
A pre-order of NIGHTSHADE paperback (featuring new cover)
A pre-order of Lisa Desrochers' ORIGINAL SIN
A pre-order of Tara Hudson's HEREAFTER
A pre-order of Carrie Harris BAD TASTE IN BOYS
A pre-order of Kiersten White's SUPERNATURALLY
Gayle Foreman's WHERE SHE WENT
Holly Black's RED GLOVE
Lisa Desrochers' PERSONAL DEMONS
Rachel Hawkin's DEMONGLASS
Kiersten White's PARANORMALCY

Thanks to all my followers! Let's celebrate with music: