Friday, February 27, 2009

A (not so) brief history in Videogaming!

Since writing GAMER GIRL, I've had a lot of you writing to me and asking me if I play videogames. The answer is a resounding YES! I love games. In fact, I consider myself quite the Gamer Girl myself!

It all started when I was about six years old. My friend got an ATARI 2600. One of the very first home videogame systems ever. Here's what it looked like:

The cartridges had exciting pictures on them - like this one, ADVENTURE, one of the very original RPG videogames.

But the graphics left something to be desired...

Then my parents bought a personal home computer!! How novel. No one I knew had an actual computer in their home!! It was an Apple IIe and looked like this:

Now there were some games on the Apple IIe, but mostly they were rip-off games from arcade favorites. Like this one, Canyon Climber, which is basically a Donkey Kong rip.

So instead, I started getting into what were called "Text Adventure Games." They were created by a company called Infocom and the first one was a game called Zork.

These games had NO graphics. They were almost like reading a story with you as the main character. You'd get a line of description and then a cursor, where you had to type in what you wanted to do next.

Here's a screenshot from ZORK II. (The series eventually spawned lots of sequels and a bunch of other text adventure games.) As you can see, the description is in upper/lower case and the player's commands are in uppercase.

It probably doesn't look all that compelling, but trust me, it is!! You have to solve these crazy complex puzzles to move forward in the game and there was no Internet back them to look up cheats! I played these types of games for hours and hours at a time. LOVED THEM!

Back then they cost $50 a pop. Now you can play them free online. I highly suggest you try one - even if just for a minute or two. You'll be learning an important part of videogame history - where games became stories you needed your brain for as well as just programs of skill.

As I grew older, games became more sophisticated and graphics got better. One of my favorite games in that next generation, was a little known game called BELOW THE ROOT. It was based on a children's book by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

The graphics, for the time, were awesome! And the storyline was dark and disturbing and creepy. It's futuristic distopian society kind of story...very Scott Westerfeld'esque.

Graphics eventually got better and by the time I was out of college, there was a puzzle game called MYST, with brilliant landscapes. It was sort of ZORK, if ZORK were made of pictures instead of text. Very challenging to solve the puzzles, but the word was so vivid - it was completely addicting.

Quite a difference in graphics, huh? Of course that's about 10 years in game development. Can't list EVERY game I played here - just the memorable ones.

After a time period where those types of games were all in vogue, the US released an anime-like game series that was huge in Japan. FINAL FANTASY.

My favorite Final Fantasy game was #8. (I know, most people like #7 the best!)Here's the opening trailer. So dynamic! And I just fell in love with the characters as I played.

Final Fantasy is an RPG, but it's single player. Later I started getting into multi-player RPGs like Dungeon Seige and even massive multi-player online RPGS - like Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft!

World of Warcraft

I was COMPLETELY addicted to World of Warcraft for about two and a half years. Played all the time, had two level 70 characters (which was the highest you could go before the latest expansion.) I loved the game and met many friends online.

But in the end, I realized I needed to concentrate on other things - the game is a total time suck! - and I needed to get my books written and turned in! So I gave up the game. I still have my characters and play occasionally, but nothing like what I once did.

Now I play mostly console games. Metal Gear Solid 4, Fallout 3, House of the Dead, Dance Dance Revolution - those kinds of games. They've sure come a long way from that first RPG on the Atari, that's for sure! But the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the end, you want the same things now as you did way back then - good game play and a good story!

And that's a brief history of me, as Gamer Girl!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Contest Winners

You guys rock! Thanks so much for re-posting the video!!!

Kaitlyn, posting on my MySpace blog, wins the grand prize for what she did to spread the word. Here it is, in her words:

I made flyers and put them up all over my street. (I have a VERY big neighborhood with a lot of kids and teens) I handed out a few flyers at school (only the leftovers) I put a flyer on 3 bulletin boards at my school. (Cafeteria and 6th and 8th grade hallways) i had my mom take a flyer and put one up on the bulletin board at the store. I posted a blog on my MySpace and I made a bulletin. (Oh, by the way, all of these, flyers included, have the link to the YouTube video. and some info about you and the books.) I used the YouTube video as my current event in social studies so all of the people in my class saw it, (and I know a bunch of people wrote down the video link) I emailed my library the link. I FORCED my 4 best friends go buy boys that bite and they are all hopefully reading it as we speak. I both emailed my school library and spoke with the librarian in person and told her watch the video, and post it on our school library site (we'll see if she does...she doesn’t like me very much) haha. I told all of my little sisters friends. Ummm, I think that’s it

That's quite a bit, Kaitlyn!! I'm impressed.

The rest of you - well, I can't choose - you're all awesome. So email me with your addresses ( and I'll send you all some kind of prize in the mail!


Blood Coven New Covers!

OMG you guys! I got a sneak peek of the Blood Coven Vampire covers - the new ones they're making for the re-release - and they are SOOOO AWESOME! I cannot WAIT to show you!! You are going to die!!!

But sadly, I have to. Wait, that is. My editor said I can't show them til they're finalized. (And they're fixing one of them right now.) Boo!!!! But rest assured, you will LOVE THEM! They're so different than the originals - more dark and moody and sexy. Wait til you see!!! ARgh! I can't believe I can't show them yet!!

Okay I've teased you enough for today! :) Stay tuned!!!!!!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sk8er Boy Re-Released!

Ooh - I'm excited!! My very first teen book - SK8ER BOY - has just been re-released from the publisher. This book was out of print - completely unavailable!!! -- until now!

The book is a romance about a popular girl named Dawn who rebels from her strict parents and meets a skateboarder from the wrong side of the tracks and falls in love. They start dating - but secretly! Cause if her parents find out, they will so not approve!

You guys want to read it? Then there's a couple things you can do. First - easiest - you can get it online. or

OR you can get it at a bookstore - but they may not have it in stock cause it's an old book. Sooo - just go to the information desk and say you want to order it. They'll get it in within a few days and you don't have to pay until it arrives. This is a great thing to do because it lets bookstores know they should be stocking this book!

I'm so excited you guys will finally have the chance to read this book - I really love it and was so sad to see it go out of print! So check it out and let me know what you think!!



Hey guys!

My fellow teen vampire author Lucienne Diver is recruiting members for her street team to promote her upcoming book VAMPED. If you sign up to help her spread the word about her new series you can win free stuff!

Here's the link. Even if you don't get on the team, you should definitely pick up the book when it's released in May. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy (Yes, being an author has some perks!) and it's so much fun!!! After all, I know you all like funny vampire books, right?!?! ^_^

Don't believe me? Oh fine - here's a sample chapter to check out! :)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Contest!!

As I mentioned before, my friend/fellow YA author, Melissa Walker and I were recently featured in a segment airing on Better TV. You can find it on YouTube and on my MySpace homepage. Melissa's running a contest to help spread the word and get some video views, so I decided to do the same! (I've cross-posted this on MySpace as well.)

The rules are simple: You re-post the video on your blog or MySpace or Facebook or send the link to all your friends or local librarian - just get people to watch it! Then comment below and let me know wht you did. I will pick four winners from all the entries to send special prize packs to them.

The person who does the most gets an autographed copy of ANYof my books - your choice! - along with a tube of glitter lipgloss and a BITE ME pin. Three runner ups will get autographed bookmark, BITE ME pin, and a lipgloss (which may or may not be glitter - depending on what I have in my stash, lol.)

The great thing about this is not only winning, but spreading the word about the books! We want as many Blood Coven and Gamer Girl fans out there as possible so the publishers will keep letting me write the books you want to read!!

Here's the video!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What are you reading?

Hey guys,

A lot of you ask about the secrets of becoming a writer and one of them is really simple - to read! The best writers are all readers first. By reading you get a sense of plot, sentence structure, character development, developing romance, interjecting humor, etc. etc. When you read a book, think about WHY it works. WHY you like it.

So what have you read recently that you really liked and why?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions!

Will there be a 4th book in the Blood Coven Vampires series?

YES! It’s called Bad Blood and it will be out in January 2010. Before that, the publisher will be repackaging and re-releasing the first three books in the series with new covers. A great chance to introduce the series to new people! When we get closer to the date – I’ll be hosting contests for you to help me spread the word!

For German readers, the 4th book will be out in August or September. Yes, you get it early!

What will Bad Blood be about?

I can’t share ALL the details, but I can tell you that it will take place in Las Vegas and be from Sunny’s point of view, continuing on from where Girls that Growl left off. She and Magnus are close as can be – until the Blood Coven appoints a new girl to become his new blood mate. Sunny’s furious – and then worried – when she realizes the new blood mate may not be who she pretends to be!

Why don’t you make this series into a movie or a TV show?

I’d love to, but this isn’t up to me! First a producer will have to option the rights for the book. So if you know of any interested producers – send them my way!  The movie/tv rights are available and ready to be sold.

I loved how Gamer Girl featured manga and videogames. Are you a fan, too?

Yes! I love manga and anime and am an active girl gamer. My favorite series is Vampire Knight (surprise, right?) and .hack//sign. I also love the Dramacon manga – so cute! For videogames, I love World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy on the computer. At my house we have every console, too. Xbox360, Playstation 3, and Wii. Love Metal Gear Solid, SingStar, Dance Dance Revolution, Fallout 3, and House of the Dead.

Will there be a sequel to Gamer Girl?

We don’t know yet. It depends how well part one does in stores. So be sure to spread the word to all your friends if you liked it! I’m willing to write it if they want me to. Seems like Maddy’s adventures should continue!

I’m writing a book, too! Can you help me?

While I’d love to help everyone, obviously you can imagine I get a ton of requests and I need to concentrate mostly on writing my own books! That said, if you have a specific question, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer. However, for legal reasons my agent says I can’t read any of your specific writing.

I’ve drawn a picture/made a YouTube video based on your books.

Awesome! Email it to me. I’d love to see it. I love your creativity!!! Makes my job more fun to see my characters come to life!

Can you come do a book signing in my town?

Sadly, I’ve got a full time job and so I can’t be traveling all over the country to do book signings. However, I will consider school visits so I’m happy to have your teacher write to me with a request and I can see if it’s possible to add it to my schedule.

I want to do an article on you and your books for my school paper. Can I interview you?

Absolutely! Just email me! I’m happy to answer questions.

I can't find one of your older books in the bookstore!

All the books are available to order online at sites like or However, the best thing to do is to go to the information desk of your local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy. You don't have to pay until it comes in (which usually only takes a couple days) and this way you're letting the bookstore know this is a book they need to keep in stock!

I have a question you haven’t answered in this FAQ!

Either post it in the comments section or email me privately and I’ll do my best to answer.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gamer Girl at Scholastic Book Fair

Just wanted to post a quick welcome to all the new readers who got GAMER GIRL from the Scholastic Book Fair at their schools. (Scholastic is doing a special soft cover version of the book.)


Friday, February 13, 2009

Mari on Better TV

I'm going to be on TV on Monday, talking about GAMER GIRL! Yay! (On a show called BETTER TV.) If you don't get it in your area, check out the clip below. Fellow YA author Melissa Walker is also featured!

Hope you like!

Happy Friday the 13th!!!


Going to go see Jason tonight!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blood Coven Vampires Release Schedule

As I mentioned in a previous post, the series will be re-packaged and re-released with new covers. Here's the publisher schedule:

October 2009 - BOYS THAT BITE
November 2009 - STAKE THAT
December 2009 - GIRLS THAT GROWL
January 2010 - BAD BLOOD

So exciting!! I can't wait to see the new covers, can you???