Gina Damico's Blog
April 7, 2016
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to participate in an amusing panel at the New York City Teen Author Festival called “The Secret YA Lives of Adult Characters”, where we authors were tasked with transforming a classic work of literature into an excerpt you might find in a YA novel. I chose Les Misérables, and for those of you who weren’t able to attend, I thought I’d slap my entry up here on the blog for you to read as well. Enjoy!
Cosette bounced gleefully down the hall to her locker. Senior year couldn’t have got off to a better start. She’d aced her SAT’s, been named captain of the cheerleading squad, and recently started going out with Marius Pontmercy, star quarterback of the football team at France High. The only thing that could bring her down were the increasing hostilities between the werewolf authorities and her own vampire peasant class. Javert, Chief of the Wolf Police, had recently devoured a street urchin in broad daylight–but honestly, how could she think about all that nasty political upheaval when she was in loooove?
She opened up her locker and swung the door open, beaming at the photos she’d hung of castles and clouds and her dead whore mother. After pulling out her textbooks for her next class, she closed her locker, only to find Marius standing behind it.
“Oh! You startled me,” she said, giggling coquettishly.
“That’s what I do,” he purred, stroking the flawless surface of her cheek with his strong, also flawless hand. “I startle.”
They kissed for several minutes.
“Can I see you tonight?” Marius asked. “I’ve got an uprising to lead, but I might be able to sneak away during intermission.”
“I wish,” she said, frowning, “but I promised my dad I’d help him steal more bread. We’re robbing a bakery. I wish you could come!”
Marius pushed her hand away and adopted a tortured pose. “Curse the gods above for forcing me to choose between love and the vampire revolution!”
“Oh, don’t talk like that! We’ll be together no matter what. Nothing and no one can come between us!”
Both Cosette and Marius jumped. Eponine belonged to the only class lower than that of the peasant vampires–the trolls–as evidenced by her warts, bad teeth, bug-ridden hair, and poor social skills.
“Oh,” Cosette said. “Hello Eponine.”
“SILENCE, BASIC WENCH,” Eponine blared. “MARIUS, DO YOU WANT TO SMUSH YOUR MOUTH INTO MY MOUTH?”
Marius wiped a fleck of spittle she’d spit onto his face. “Er–not right now.”
“HOW ABOUT LATER? IT’S SUPPOSED TO RAIN. WE CAN WALLOW TOGETHER IN THE JUICES OF THE MUD AND THE RAW SEWAGE. IT’S GOOD FOR THE SKIN.”
Marius hurriedly gave Cosette a peck on the cheek and hurried down the hallway. “I really must be going, lest I be late for wood shop. We’re building a barricade from the discarded sets of lavish Broadway musicals. Au revoir!”
“DON’T FORGET TO USE PLENTY OF CORPSES TO FILL THE GAPS!” Eponine shouted after him. “THEY REALLY SEAL IN THE JUICES!”
Cosette glared at her.
“THE POOP JUICES,” Eponine clarified.
“You are sooo foul,” Cosette said with disdain. “I sooo can’t believe I was ever friends with you.”
“OH, GROW A PERSONALITY, HO-SETTE. MARIUS WILL BE MY BOYFRIEND/LOVER/BOIL-REMOVER.”
Cosette sniffed the air. “Did you–did you just soil your pantaloons?”
“IT’S A SOON-TO-BE-FREE COUNTRY! I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT TO MY PANTALOONS!”
Covering her nose, Cosette fled. “You’re so gross!”
Eponine was undaunted. Defiantly holding the gaze of her horrified classmates in the hallway, Eponine pulled up the edges of her shirt, revealing a brassiere decorated with the colors of the French flag, and, spraying her classmates with spittle, screamed, ” VIVE LA JUICES OF FRANCE!”
March 29, 2016
Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors, and a chance to win some awesome prizes (including a copy of WAX)! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team. Somewhere along the way is a sneak peak at the first chapter of WAX, too – but play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until Sunday…
There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all. I am a part of the GOLD TEAM–but there a whole bunch of other teams, for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Somewhere below, you’ll find my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 3rd, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
I’m hosting Matthew Phillion. Let’s learn more about him!
Matthew Phillion is a writer, actor, and film director based in Salem, Massachusetts. An award-winning journalist by trade, he has also appeared in feature films including the sci-fi romance Harvest Moon and the independent horror flick Livestock. His screenwriting and directing debut, the romantic comedy Certainly Never, premiered in 2013 at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, where it was nominated for five awards including best screenplay and best New England film. Book 4 in the Indestructibles series will be arriving early 2016.
A solar powered girl. A ballerina vigilante. A boy with the alien sharing his brain. A werewolf. A girl with a black hole for a heart. This is the next generation of heroes Doc Silence has gathered together, a random collection of amazing kids he hopes to train to make the world a better place.
But Doc Silence isn’t the only one collecting super-powered teenagers. In the shadows, a dark organization long thought destroyed has been building a better monster, combining sentient hurricanes with car crash survivors, crafting designer cyborgs, girls made of fire and boys made of pure rage.
But what is this mysterious organization’s goal? And what does it have to do with Doc’s past, and his team’s future? Will Doc Silence have enough time to teach them to be heroes before they are called upon to save the world–and will his team be ready to to accept the mantle as their generation’s brightest stars?
The Indestructibles is an origin story, introducing, Jane, Kate, Billy, Titus, and Emily–Solar, Dancer, Straylight, Fury, and Entropy–to the world as they learn not only to use their bizarre powers but also to learn about themselves and whether they have what it takes to save the world.
And for the upcoming latest book in the series, “Like a Comet” (the Indestructibles Book 4), expected to publish in early spring 2016:
The Indestructibles have had a strange year. Saving the world, saving themselves from a conspiracy, and traveling through time, Jane, Kate, Billy, Titus and Entropy Emily have barely had a chance to catch their breath.
But now another threat appears, more dangerous than anything they’ve faced before: an alien invasion headed straight for Earth.
The young team of superheroes will need to push their powers to the limit and call upon allies–both old friends and former enemies–to stand against this bizarre new danger. But will this alien force prove once and for all the Indestructibles are not so indestructible after all?”
THE BONUS CONTENT
Here’s a preview chapter of LIKE A COMET:
Chapter 1: The Tower
Long ago, a young Doc Silence and his friends found a space ship in the desert.
No one could tell how long it had been there buried in the sand. Years, decades, centuries, it didn’t matter. It was a ghost ship, a derelict craft long forgotten, buried deep in a lifeless place.
Doc and his friends excavated it. They opened the ship up. And when they made their way inside, they found a living, breathing craft, a great and mighty machine, waiting to fly once again. But the world wasn’t ready for alien starships then, not yet, and so they built a skyscraper, a tall and vapid structure, and one night, under the cover of darkness, they landed their found ship on the roof, like the world’s ugliest cake topper. It became part of the building, part of this “Tower,” and for many years it stayed there, home base of operations for more than one team of superheroes, a hidden starship in the City’s downtown.
Living within its walls, they came to realize something: this ship was not a weapon of war. It was a mobile hospital, a refugee ship, a rescue vessel. Someone on another world, in another time, built it to house the sick, to save the imperiled, to keep safe those who needed it. Part life raft, part floating medical facility.
They never learned how the ghost ship came to be buried there, devoid of life, not even the corpses of its former passengers to tell its tale. After a time, it simply became “home.”
Doc Silence sat in a room in the Tower’s medical bay, looking at the unconscious alien laying in stasis there, watching the creature’s scaled skin rise and fall in shallow breaths.
The alien had crash-landed on Earth a few days ago, apparently inhabited by a Luminae, the same species of symbiotic pure-energy being Billy’s companion was. Another Luminae, another hero from a different world. Come here to warn them that an invasion was coming. Jane, Billy, and Emily had found him there, half-dead, rasping out his final words of warning.
Doc had known Dude, or more properly, the alien who is one half of the hero known as Straylight, for a long time. He’d worked with Billy’s predecessor, and he’d known Straylight’s partner, another Luminae-human pairing named Horizon. Horizon quit Earth entirely when the former Straylight was killed. The aliens and their human hosts never explained why there were two of them here, though they’d hinted that having a pair of Luminae on Earth was an unusual precedent, that there were many inhabited worlds out there among the stars with just one to watch over them.
To watch over them. That was a very specific term, Doc thought. To watch over the world, just in case something terrible came from the stars. Well, here we are. Something terrible is coming from the stars.
“Neal?” Doc said out loud, invoking the attention of the disembodied Artificial Intelligence who controlled the Tower. Neal was with the ship when they’d found it, but Neal had been clearly a newer modification, something Earth-born. Neal was a late addition to the ship’s arsenal, and he’d never revealed how he got there either. Maybe he came from the future. That was Annie’s theory, that Neal had been created further along the time stream and installed like a software improvement.
And we still don’t know anything about who did that, Doc thought.
“Yes, Designation: Doc Silence,” Neal’s gentle voice said. Neal wasn’t the ship itself, so to speak, but the AI was everywhere, living within the walls and computers and electrical currents. The ship was his body in many ways.
“Neal, do we know what species this alien is? We know he’s a host to a Luminae, but I’m wondering about the host-body itself,” Doc said.
There was a pause as Neal searched his extensive library if knowledge.
“Records show he is most likely an Ank-tar,” Neal said. “A species from a planet approximately 23 light years away. Relatively nearby.”
“Relatively nearby,” Doc said, laughing a little. It was strange, confronting the cosmic like this. Doc had spent his entire life amidst the arcane and magical, seeing things impossible and mind-bending, but when it came to science, it was as foreign to him as how he might explain elemental magic to an engineer. “What do we know about his species?”
“We have moderate biological knowledge based upon old data from previous patients, Designation: Doc Silence,” Neal said.
“See what we can do to help him. I don’t want this guy dying on us, Neal.”
“I will do what I can.”
“You always do,” Doc said.
Doc left the med bay and headed toward the command center, meeting the returning trio of Jane, Billy, and Emily on the way.
“What have you three been up to,” Doc asked.
“Watching Firefly,” Emily said.
“Trying to figure out our next move,” Jane said, leading the way toward the control center. The door hissed open, allowing everyone to enter.
“I’ll head out soon,” Billy said. “Scout things out.”
Doc put a hand on Billy’s shoulder as the younger man headed for his designated seat at the table.
“You’re going to be careful up there,” Doc said.
“Oh you don’t have to tell me twice,” Billy said. “Momma Case didn’t raise no daredevil.”
Jane sat down wearily in her own seat and looked up at the bank of computer monitors behind her.
“Has anyone recalled Kate and Titus yet?” Jane said.
“I didn’t,” Billy said. “I figured we don’t really know what we’re doing yet, so why disturb them before we have to. I mean, ‘hey, your vacation’s over, world is ending.’”
Emily hopped into her chair and sat on the back, feet where her bum should be, balancing precariously.
“No offense to either one of them, but why do we need them to come back yet?” Emily said. “I mean, they’re good at what they do but who brings a werewolf to a spaceship fight?”
Doc rested his arms on the back of his chair and leaned forward tiredly.
“Because while Billy is scouting out the incoming invasion, we’re going to try to figure out what we can do to get ourselves ready here,” Doc said. “There’s a good chance if these… invaders, whatever they are, have picked out Earth to attack, they already have people on earth spying on us. We should try to find out what they know.”
“And we need Assassin Barbie and Cujo for that?” Emily said.
“You’re being obtuse, Em,” Billy said.
“I’m trying to buy the love birds a few more days vacation,” Em said. “I know why you’re bringing them back. They are our detectives.”
Doc shot a wide, bright smile at Emily.
“Exactly. And we have some detective work to do,” Doc said. “That includes you, by the way. I have some research for that big old science brain of yours to dig into that I don’t understand.”
“Did you just stay I’m smarter than you?” Emily said.
“In this case, you might actually know more than I do about certain things,” Doc said.
Emily held out her hand for a high five from Billy. Billy just stared at her.
“Come on, Billy Case. Give a girl a victory high five,” Emily said.
“What else can we do,” Jane said. “We can’t start building warships. Whatever’s coming at us is… what’s the word I’m looking for? More advanced than Earth? We’re not ready for this.”
“But we can be,” Doc said, rubbing his eyes behind his red-lensed glasses.
“All right,” Jane said. “So we just have to figure out how to stop an alien invasion. I mean, we’ve time traveled. This should be easy by comparison.”
“If I throw up in space, does it float?” Billy said, as if he’d tuned out of the conversation completely.
“In space, nobody can hear you puke,” Emily said. She put her hand to her mouth and made a motion like the inner jaws of the xenomorph from the Sigourney Weaver “Alien” movies at Billy. “Hiss. Rawr.”
“Jane,” Doc said, “Get Titus and Kate on the line. Fill them in. And then we have one more thing I think we need to do before we start moving.”
“Last meal?” Billy said.
“Ask George R. R. Martin if we can read the end of ‘Game of Thrones’ in case the world gets invaded before he finishes?” Emily said.
“No,” Doc said, turning to Billy. “I think Straylight should tell us a story.”
“’There are those who believe… that life here began out there, far across the universe…’” said Emily.
“Not the opening narration to Battlestar Galactica, Em,” Doc said. “I think Dude is going to tell us about where he came from.”
Everyone looked at Billy. Billy’s eyes went slightly blank, the way they did when he listened most intently to Dude’s voice inside his head.
“Yeah,” Billy said. “Dude says we should tell you the whole story. But just once. Let’s get Titus and the scariest vigilante on the planet on the monitor so they can hear. He says the explanation is overdue. And he’s sorry.”
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by Matthew, me, and more! To enter, just know that my favorite number is 28. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the gold team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
OOH ANOTHER GIVEAWAY
In addition to all of the fabulous prizes you can win throughout the hunt, I am giving away an extra super HELLHOLE prize pack – including a signed paperback copy (with bonus sneak peak chapters of WAX!) and some swag. To enter, fill out the form below – and get as many bonus entries as you want by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, this blog, signing up for my mailing list, or by leaving a comment telling me about something you wish was indestructible. Good luck!
Contest closes at noon PST on April 3rd, 2016. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on this post. Open internationally. One entry per person, please. Your email address will be used solely for purposes of this giveaway; you will not be added to any mailing lists. Thanks for entering!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, head over to the website of the next author: Patty Blount!
February 4, 2016
Is a thing that I will be speaking at!
For the uninitiated, the NYC Teen Author Festival is a gigantic week-long event that takes place in venues all over New York City, featuring panels, readings, signings, and a veritable infestation of YA authors. I will be there on Friday, March 18th at the 42nd Street New York Public Library, on this scandalous-sounding panel:
2:50-3:45: The Secret YA Lives of Adult Characters
What if famous literary characters had secret YA pasts?
Corey Ann Haydu
Sharon Huss Roat
For a full schedule of all events and authors, check out the official website. There are so many events it’s ridiculous, so find your favorite authors and go go go!
February 2, 2016
HELLHOLE: now with a bendier cover!
It occurred to me that while I celebrated the paperback release a few weeks back, I didn’t actually do a giveaway or anything. Which is pure bull plop. So! For a chance to win a signed paperback copy, fill out the form below. Good luck!
Contest closes at noon EST on February 23, 2016. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on this post. Open to US addresses only (here’s why). One entry per person, please. Your email address will be used solely for purposes of this giveaway; you will not be added to any mailing lists. Thanks for entering!
January 12, 2016
That headline kind of says it all, but to reiterate: HELLHOLE is out in paperback today! So if you’ve been holding out to get a little more bang for your buck and a little more flexibility in your book cover, now is the time to up your Satanic game. Get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite independent bookstore.
To celebrate the release, I’m giving away autographs. Send me proof that you have purchased a HELLHOLE paperback – a photo, copy of a receipt, a confirmation email, etc. – and I will send you a signed bookplate that you can stick all up in your pages. Your book will instantly become .005% more valuable!
Simply email me with said evidence and the subject line “Hellhole Giveaway”. Thanks for supporting your friendly neighborhood author!
January 6, 2016
Get out of here, 2015. Never darken my doorway again. *side eye*
With the freshness of this fresh new year feeling like a minty fresh toothpaste, there’s no better time to announce the next book I’ll be writing after WAX. Obviously, it will be about toothpaste.
Just kidding. It’s going to be about space.
Or is it?
Yes, it is. But more than that, it’s about reality television.
December 8, 2015
Where did you get the idea of Yoricks (they sound delicious)? I could really go for a Yorick after a day of school and homework.
I could also go for a Yorick right now, and a few minutes from now, and at any given moment of any given day, without regard for rules or social conventions. I would drink it in a fancy boutique that doesn’t allow drinks. I would drink it in a movie theater. I would drink it on a boat. I would drink it with a goat.
(If you know of any goats that are down to be my drinking buddies, please send me their contact information.)
To answer the question: Yoricks are just the best kind of drink I could think of. When I got old enough to drink and started trying different kinds of alcohol for the first time, I was super disappointed that none of them were all that delicious to me. Not just undelicious — downright disgusting. If only all of them tasted like the best chocolate milkshake I’ve ever had, I thought – and bam. Yoricks.
December 3, 2015
November 24, 2015
Three years ago, I came up with a Christmas tree theme. When I proposed the theme to my husband for our regular big tree, he shot it down to the ground and stomped on its bloody corpse. So I made my own miniature version and it was fabulous:
You can read all about it on my original post. The mustache ornaments have since disintegrated, but the bacon garland is still alive and well, and in the spirit of the season I’d like to give it away to someone who needs more pork-themed holiday items in his or her life. The giveaway period is only a couple of weeks so that I can send it out to the winner in time for the festivities, so fill out the form and enter today:
November 19, 2015
For the past couple of years, I have attended the annual PAX East convention in Boston. PAX events are basically fan festivals for gamers of all kinds, be it video gamers, board gamers, or whoever wants to come and nerd out for a weekend. I have mostly tagged along because my geekier gamer husband and friends were attending, but I’ve always had a pretty good time. And I’ve noticed something there that serves as a good analogy for a thing I want to talk about.
At PAX, there is a thing called the AFK Room. AFK stands for Away From Keyboard, and the room is meant to be a safe space for people to go to when they need to get away from the staggering crowds, booths, panels, noise, and overall stress that an event like PAX inevitably creates. The room is staffed with mental health counselors to lend an ear should attendees need them, or it can just serve as a quiet place for one to go when one needs a break. If memory serves, it also has beanbag chairs.
What does this have to do with the world and its suckage?
The content that I put online – be it on this blog or my social media feeds – is not about the sucky Hard Stuff. It is not political. It doesn’t tackle big issues, nor does it take a stance on said issues. I am fully aware of the mess that our world is in today, every day, and yes, I have opinions about all of that stuff and occasionally feel the need to express them because A) social media makes us feel like we should all be yelling our thoughts at top volume at all times, B) I generally do encourage the voicing of opinions if they are sound and informed, and C) as a writer for the younger crowd, I am in something of a role-model-position and I’d like to set a good example.
But I don’t post about any of the Hard Stuff. I post about writing, books, various creative endeavors, and bewildered kangaroos. If those things seem inconsequential and dumb in the face of all of the Hard Stuff out there, that’s because they are. I make no claims to the contrary. But I post these sorts of things because a) there are writers who express their views on the Hard Stuff far, far better than I can, and I encourage you to seek out and read the ones who arouse your curiosity, even if you don’t agree with them, b) I don’t want to add more fuel to an already overwhelming Opinion Garbage Fire, and c) the internet needs safe places too. It needs places where you can go to laugh and geek out over your favorite things, be they books or reluctant marsupials or what have you. I want my online outlets to be those types of places. You won’t find any yelling at clouds here or in my feeds. It’s not out of a fear of expression, or because I’m burying my head in the sand and ignoring the state of the world – it’s because I get awkward and uncomfortable with talking about the Hard Stuff directly; I prefer to do it via my books, which, we can all agree, do not skimp on Hard Stuff.
It’s okay for me to take a break, and it’s okay for you to take a break. If your social media feeds are anything like mine, they are bursting at the seams with sludgy awful gunk – and while you absolutely should stay informed on what’s going on in the world today, there’s a lot of unnecessary noise and hate whizzing around out there as well, and sometimes you just need to leave all that behind and go to a room with beanbag chairs.
Hi. Have a seat in my beanbag chair.