Showing posts from 2011


Congratulations to Amanda from South Carolina, and Pedro from Portugal for winning a signed hardcover copy of How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend + Halloween French goodies. You were 2215 entering the giveaway to win and two lucky goodreads users to go Bingo!

An essential introduction to Bullshitarian (with a selection of useful sentences commonly used by Bullshitters all around the world)

I was in Paris eating veal brain at a lovely restaurant with my adorable friend A. The brain was whitish and gelatinous and served on a bed of carrots, onions and boiled potatoes and really made me feel like I was Doctor Frankenstein about to transplant with a fork and knife and plenty of garlic.
My friend was telling me about her last misadventures in dating guys. The funny thing is that I had a very similar meeting just a day earlier with another friend of mine lamenting on the uselessness of all men.
The main problem with both of them, I believed, was that they lacked the proper tools to handle boys-girls communication. While we can easily translate Swahili into Albanian online, there’s still no Google Translate tool sophisticated enough to help girls get boys talk.
I think Google should start working on it. Like, its translation engine should immediately detect guys’ bullshit and translate it in plain English for better inter-gender understanding.
To help Google team of linguis…

San Diego Comic Con 2011

Get into your spandex/leather/pleather pants and your BlackMambaCape and come get a copy of How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend @ChronicleBooks booth (1506) at San Diego Comic-Con July 21-24

Blog Tour Planet Earth June-July 2011

6/20/11 The Book Cellar - Interview /Give Away  
6/21/11 YA Librarian Tales - Guest Post
6/22/11 The Children's and Teen's Book Connection - Interview /Give Away  
6/23/11 Word for Teens - Guest Post
6/24/11 Teens Read and Write - Give Away Guest Post
6/25/11 Carrie's YA Bookshelf  - Guest Post
6/26/11 Friendly Reader - Give Away  
6/27/11 Cracking the Cover - Interview    
6/28/11 Mother Daughter Book
6/29/11 The Hate-Mongering Tart/The YA-5/Dear Teen Me - Interview/Give Away/Guest Post
6/30/11 Novel Novice - Give Away/ Guest Post
7/1/11   Pink Me - Author Interview


Top 10 foods and drinks for writers

 10. Coffee. Forget water. Water is for civilians. Drink it till caffeine pops your eyes out of their sockets. Try not to break your laptop while hammering the keyboard.
9. Extra hot chili sauce. Pour generously on any food. Transform every meal into a slightly painful yet memorable experience. Keeps you inspired. Particularly dandy when used on stale Cheez Doodles.
8. Croissants, donuts, muffins or any carbomegatrons. To keep writing, you need proper fuel. Sugar’s your friend. Don’t forget to soak in coffee to keep the caffeine level high.
7. Crisps. Any flavor goes. The less they look like they once were potatoes the better. Chew noisily. The noise of eating crisps keeps a writer stimulated way past midnight.
6. Rum, as in “Mojito with a lot of rum”. A particularly bad review lingers on Google or the blogosphere? Your dream editor just turned down your latest manuscript? Writer's block issues? No problem. Here’s the perfect anesthetic. A pint of heavily loaded Mojito. Plus, you ge…

10 things I will do on “How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend” release day

1. I will wake up at 6 a.m. and be dragged out of bed by two Swedish creatures (6 year old, 4 year old) demanding breakfast, television and cuddles (in that precise order).
2. I will not strangle myself with coffee, yell and throw marmalade toasts at my computer while reading any new reviews and blog-o-things. I will stay away from Goggle. Well, I might goggle a bit. Doh!
3. I’ll spend my morning working on the outline of my new space invasion YA project, super sizing it with extra cursing, ruckus, general disobedience, random inappropriateness and other trademark bits and bobs.
4. I’ll go and light a candle in front of one of the many Jack Sparrow posters spread all over Stockholm.
5. I will have a thought for my father who was still alive and prouder than a mother hen on hatching day when Chronicle Books bought my manuscript. I’m sure he'd be even prouder today.
6. I will buy enough booze to slow down a large herd of reasonably sized ponies.
7. I will prepare finger version o…

Free and Laughing in Las Festival de Cannes

 I know. I’m supposed to be locked at home outlining my next YA novel to submit it to my publisher sort of pronto. But nobody said I cannot do that in Cannes while doing also… well…? other things!
Doesn’t a writer need to move around, see and experience new situations, get inspired by people and their quirky ways to bring some freshness and originality into the work?
I know what you’re thinking: “Sure! Running after strange bunnies on the Croisette will certainly give you a creative electroshock, Gary.”
Well, exactly! And it also gave me a good glimpse into the human soul. Because, you see, before the bunnies appeared, everyone was busy doing their thing. Like interviewing movie people, actors, producers, directors and such… and everyone looked sort of bored and blasé. Then, shazam! BUNNIES!
They all cut short their interviews, cameramen and photographers just abandoned the poor movie schmucks mid-sentence, and sprinted after the girls to get a good shot of their ears. And everyone look…

Outline this, Moliere!

 When I went up to Paris to study, I immediately joined an acting class. As a teen, I was reading lots of theater. Sartre, Anouilh, Ionesco… I had a thing for Moliere too. We studied him extensively in high school. They showed us this great movie about him. Writing, acting, boozing, loving and never ending parties. That was his life. And I thought… Goddamn!
Though, I soon realized theater was not for me. I was so shy, the first time our teacher put me on stage in front of a large group of students and asked me to embody the letter “O”, I rather turned into the letter “Aaaaaah!” Once, I remember, I had to play a romantic scene with a girl who was a professional actress. She was to tell me that she loved me and kiss me. It took me weeks to recover. And when I did, I quit the acting class.
I’m a book person. An apartment with a view, a laptop, plenty of snacks, lots of coffee and a cat called Claude, that’s all I ever need.
But my work with theater is not over. I still have to write outli…

Love, Dating, Romance and other things I should research more

There are two important things I’ve learned during my creative writing classes at university:
1. You should always write about what you know 2. Any story worth writing needs to be researched
There’s a problem there for me. I write romance and humorous science fiction. My daily job includes Alien invasions, spacegirls, and distant planets you access by walking through walls down here on earth.
See. Nothing I know anything about! Nothing I can research if I don’t want to end up browsing through tones of documents proving that Georges Bush Senior is some sort of lizard.
Which leave me with the other aspect of my writing: romance!
There’s something I like to research. Extensively!
There are a few essential conditions to researching romance.
1. You need to be single.
If you’re in a serious relationship or married, or committed to anyone in anyway, you will not make a good romance researcher. Romance doesn’t start after the first kiss, after the wedding, after you moved in together, or after you m…

9 rules I use to write YA fiction

1. I never choose my next story; instead I let the story choose me.

Why: because if it doesn’t choose me, I just walk around my apartment, eating snacks and thinking I should rather be a plumber!

2. I don’t start working on a story until I can summarize it in a single simple sentence

Why: to have a clear compass I can use anytime I get lost during writing and resume walking around, eating snacks and thinking plumbing would have been a very decent career indeed

3. I outline the story very precisely, and then I completely forget about the outline while writing

4. I let my characters act and speak freely; I never impose a line of dialogue or an action on them.

Why: because it’s incredible the stuff they come-up with when you let them improvise!

5. I stick to themes that were important to me when I was a teenager (romance, the on-going war against adults/parents, girls, rebellion against the machine, sex, the supernatural etc.)

6. I don’t write for a given audience or market. I write to im…

Writer: A second chance at everything

You were in love. You finally got a date. Everything was absolutely perfect. The waiter was unusually nice. You ordered wine. She drank wine. You said funny things. She laughed. She said funny things too. You laughed some more. Then, you took a post-dinner walk in the most romantic city in the world and came midnight, you were on a bridge over la Seine. There was a light breeze of course. The moon. The freaking stars all aligned. Her hair dancing across her face as she looked at you.
And then… then…. something absolutely horrible happened: NOTHING.
You didn’t kiss the girl! I mean, seriously! What’s wrong with you, dude? She was there, right in front of you, smiling, and… you know… like open territory! And you…? You stood there talking about the Seine becoming swimmable again, once they're done upgrading the waste water system.
Poof. The moment was gone.
You messed up. She’s gone. Partie. Departed. Dating better guys who would rather French kiss her than talk sewage.
No problem! Yo…

Me vs What lives in the Dark

Most people leave their dangerous tools back at the shop, safely locked away. What about a fiction writer? Say, someone who writes about nasty little Aliens, zombies, ghosts and ghouls? Can you detach yourself from your work when night comes? Can you switch off your computer, go to bed in an empty old house and go like … “yeah, everything is hunky-dory, cute rainbows and gentle butterflies… monster and ghost are just business… this is real life… I can safely look into a mirror and my reflection won’t grin back at me while I scream in horror!” If you write about… the end of the world, you tend to see signs of the forthcoming doom everywhere. If you write about UFOs, bingo – your night sky becomes an E.T. highway at rush hour. If you write about ghosts, even in a comical way, won’t they start walking out of walls and haunt your nights? The wind becomes a spine-chilling complaint. An old cracking painting turns into a gateway for specters to slide into our world and drag you back into thei…

Ten Great things about being a YA writer

1. You get to work in your pajamas and commuting is reduced to 8 seconds (from bedroom to sofa, with short compulsory stops in the bathroom and the kitchen)  2. It doesn’t matter what adults think  3. Zombies, Vampires, Death Games, Aliens, Ghosts, the Amazing Creature from the Black Lagoon, Werewolves, Witches and Making out at dusk after surviving a space invasion: those are your main concerns of the day.  4. People in the industry think you’re not a SERIOUS writer, which surely means that you’re a FUN writer  5. It’s perfectly okay to quote Scooby Doo  6. Young Adults are mostly concerned about love, sex, their place in the world and what creature might eat them – all very valid subjects  7. Your lunch break lasts up to 5 hours 8. You share with other writers a secret handshake  9. Shopping new books and reading novels while lying in the park is considered “professional development” 10. It’s simply the coolest job in the world, up there with professional surfers and the janitor at Ar…

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

If you have doubts about UFOs, Aliens - or simply Spacegirls! - visiting our planet and interacting with us, just watch this series (narrated by Peter Coyote, btw)

After you watched this, the question won't be “what if...?” anymore, but… “WHY!!?”
Why are they here? Why are they flying around so discreetly? Why couldn’t they land on Times Square on a busy day, get out their flying saucers and ask where to find a reasonably priced restaurant and a decent show?
My answer is simple: little green men are zoologist and you, my friend, you’re the animal!
To study you properly, they try to disturb you as little as possible – just the way any biologist would do – hiding in camouflage, observing, taking pictures, and, yes, time to time, discreetly lifting a sample (that would be your poor uncle Ted who disappeared while duck hunting, even though everyone thought it was Jack Daniel’s and deep water that did him).
So, beware. There must be cameras everywhere. Act natural. Don’t make silly face…

The Dark Side of Paname

If you love Paris, you need to get a copy of
Paris: The Secret History by Andrew Hussey 
It’s highly readable, and it will captivate you and chill you to the bones.
Forget the Paris of Lovers! Forget drinking gallons of red wine, long romantic walks along the canal Saint Martin and dinners Chez Flo.
Think blood, pain, murders, and more horror than in the entire collection of Universal Classic Monsters Movies (Creature from the Black Lagoon included).
Very inspiring if you’re working on a horror series set in Paris! If there’s murder, there’ll be ghosts. ;)

Do the right thing!

When the Hunger Games came out, I was desperate. I was in France and I couldn’t get a copy of the book. I didn’t want to wait and read it in French translation. I couldn’t have Katniss go “sacrebleu!” and “merde alors!” every second page. So I did the wrong thing. I found a German website which illegally offered a full version of the trilogy online.
I read it and adored it.
Now that The Hunger Games trilogy is available worldwide, I’m doing the right thing! I just bought it (with a croissant, because I’m still in France).
Now, I'm reading it again (while eating my croissant) – which make me thing… everything always tastes better when it’s legit!

an old classic: the "beard or no beard" game

Solution 1 - BEARD! (picture taken right after I finished writing How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend and didn't shave during the entire process)

Solution 2 - NO BEARD!!! (Picture taken, like, well... Now)

Dear American friends, what look should I go for while reading excerpts from my book in the US (you have to imagine that I have a really strong French accent before you make up your mind)?

Your help will be much appreciated

PS. don't worry about the "rabbit caught in headlights"  look - it disappear with the third pot of coffee.

Win an ARC of How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend ( + French goodies)

If you can solve the following riddle, my book is yours!

What is hot, black, extra strong and keeps me writing zany spacegirl novels through the night?

Email me the solution and your address at and I'll mail back a copy of my book and something very Fresh, French and Edible.

Oh... I give you a subtle clue in the following picture.

Good luck, Holmes!