Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 18 - Simone Elkeles

The winner of Linda Gerber's Death by Denim is...Dawn M.! Also, I had to pick another name for Megan Crewe's Give Up the Ghost because the first winner did not respond, and the lucky new person is...Sheila Deeth! Congrats to both of you, and thanks to everyone for their enthusiastic comments. It always makes the authors feel at home.

Announcing a late addition to the schedule: Rachel Vincent will be joining us on Sunday, giving away her first YA, My Soul to Take (which I read, and it's wonderful and original!).

Today's Blogtoberguest is Simone Elkeles, whom I met this summer at the American Library Association national conference and then hung out with later that week at RWA Nationals (where she may or may not have been my date to a certain publisher's party, thus making it even more fun than usual!).

Simone is the author of Perfect Chemistry, which just happens to be the last book I finished. It was amazing, a truly beautiful love story of Brittany and Alex, who come from opposite sides of the tracks in a Chicago suburb. Their relationship is hot-and-cold, complicated, and absolutely against all odds. I loved every word.

She also has one of the best book trailers I've ever seen. Not just a commercial with stock images and music, but an actual rap music video, complete with characters from the book. It's a hilarious little parody, so check it out!

Simone will be giving away a signed copy of Perfect Chemistry to one lucky commenter. She's here today to talk about...

The Scary House

Halloween is fun for kids, but do you remember “the scary house?” You know, the one you and your friends were afraid to go ring the doorbell because they might actually make you close your eyes and reach into a bowl of “eyeballs” in order to get your “treat?”

We had one of those houses in my neighborhood where I grew up. I can’t say I ever had the nerve to actually ring the doorbell. I just stood by the sidewalk all bug-eyed hearing the nervous chatter and fear coming from the kids who were brave enough to venture to the door and say “trick or treat” without knowing what was to come next.

I like my candy to come easy. Go to door, say, “Trick or treat!”, reach inside a huge bowl and pick my favorite choice. Then say, “Thank you!” and I’m on to the next house. It’s the no-hassle, no-fear Halloween for me.

Now that I’m a mom myself, I take my kids trick-or-treating in my neighborhood every year. Lo and behold, we have “the scary house” in my neighborhood, too. (it’s even dubbed “the scary house” all year long by every kid in school). But my neighbors (who I don’t know personally) have taken scary to the next level. The adults recruit their friends and they all dress up in scary costumes. They stand or lay down scattered on the lawn…one is laying inside an open casket (you don’t know he’s alive until you get close and he suddenly reaches out for you and freaks you out)…one is dressed as the Grim Reaper with a very real-looking weapon…one with fake blood dripping down his face with a real chainsaw buzzing.

I laugh when the young kids clutch their parents on the sidewalk. Most trick-or-treaters actually cross the street to avoid “the scary house”. Then you get “the brave trick-or treaters” - the older kids who puff up their chest and mock these dressed-up adults. They say these parents can’t scare them with a ten foot pole no matter how scary they look…well, until The Grim Reaper and Chainsaw Guy slowly start following them to the next house, and the next…those “fearless” kids run like heck away, screaming and laughing because they truly are scared…and they know next year they’ll try again.

If you’re brave enough to reach the front door (after passing yet another “corpse” who reaches out at you or witch who says you’re the perfect specimen for her next stew – they do have a big black pot of boiling water with smoke coming out of it), they have a plethora of great candy in a bowl to choose from since few people actually reach the front door.

I never went up to the scary house in my neighborhood when I was a kid. Now I’m older and know better. Nobody is going to hurt me. Nobody is going to hurt my kids. I laugh at the other scared trick-or-treaters…of course I do it at a very safe distance on the other side of the street.

Do you have “the scary house” in your neighborhood? Are you living in “the scary house?” Got any pictures to share?

~Simone Elkeles

* * * *

To enter to win a signed copy of Perfect Chemistry, leave a comment below. And remember, each comment automatically enters you in the drawing for the grand prize package: all 25 books!

For complete rules, read the introductory post.

Deadline for entry: Friday, October 30, 11:59pm Eastern. NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. The winner is HeatherMarie!

Alexandra Diaz and an ARC of Of All the Stupid Things
Melissa Walker and Lovestruck Summer
Sydney Salter and My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters
Christine Marciniak and When Mike Kissed Emma
Tricia Mills and Heartbreak River

Thanks so much to Simone for sharing her Halloween memories! (I would've been too scared to go to that house, too.)

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Ahh, that's a great trailer! Thanks for sharing!


Posted by: Blogger Brooke Reviews at 10/23/2009 9:05 AM

Awesome trailer! Another one to add to the growing list. :-)

Posted by: Blogger Sara C at 10/23/2009 9:44 AM

Thanks for letting me post! It was fun! (and thanks for taking me as your guest to the publisher party!)
~Simone Elkeles

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/23/2009 9:59 AM

I never went trick or treating as a child. Now that I'm older, I wish I had. Great story!

Posted by: Blogger Melanie at 10/23/2009 10:55 AM

I'm the house at the end of a loooong driveway that nobody comes down. The doors of the house are red. An orange hippo planter outside tricks people into thinking we're approachable. ;)

Posted by: Blogger Miss Marjie at 10/23/2009 11:58 AM

Great post! There is no scary house on our street and I'm always left with the job of shelling out so I don't get the full experience anymore :-p

Posted by: Blogger Jackie at 10/23/2009 12:02 PM

That's the best book trailer I've seen! For a couple of years when I was a kid, a guy living down the street from my house would leave his front door open on Halloween eve. We'd walk up and say Trick or Treat, but no one would be there -- just a view straight into an empty living room. Then, just as we began to wonder what to do, he'd jump up from behind a couch, wearing some kind of creepy mask. I don't remember the mask, but I remember... backing... away... :)

Posted by: Blogger Ken at 10/23/2009 12:04 PM

The people at the end of my street take Halloween seriously. They have elaborate decorations in their yard and they love to scare people by jumping out of the trees as people walk up.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger throuthehaze at 10/23/2009 12:12 PM

There are no scary houses like that in my neighborhood, but people died in houses around here, so that ups the creepy factor. I've been told somebody was murdered in my house's attic though, so *shivers*

Posted by: Blogger Katie at 10/23/2009 12:17 PM

I don't really recall any scary houses from my childhood. Though as a young kind I don't believe I ever really trick-or-treated in my own neighborhood (other than visiting immediate neighbors). My mom usually took us to visit our Grandpa and her aunts so we usually trick-or-treated in their neighborhoods. So maybe I wasn't aware of the scary houses because I was outside of my own environment.

Posted by: Blogger HeatherMarie at 10/23/2009 12:23 PM

"No Scary Houses" in my neighborhood. I have lived in my house my whole life and no one lived here before me so no ghost haunting my house.

Posted by: Blogger cait045 at 10/23/2009 12:56 PM

Mine is the scary house in my neighborhood. It got a little too scary a few years ago - kids were crying - so I now keep carved pumpkins at toddler level and creppier stuff higher up.
Last year I wasn't in the mood to decorate and people were very disapointed in me.
Also dress the dogs up and they go trick or treating in the early afternoon. Kids love it and start bugging me in Sept wondering what they'll be for halloween. I usually pick a theme. Last year was Harry Potter & they've been pirates/dragons & knights/Batman & Robin.......This year is Zombies!
Can't wait to read that book - I've had my eye on it at the bookstore for awhile now!


Posted by: Blogger Karen at 10/23/2009 1:11 PM

I remember going to a haunted house and making people stop because my cousin was so scared she picked me up from behind. Turns out it was the good kind of scared, not the holy-crap-I'm-going-to-die scared. I didn't know!
neohippy10 hotmail

Posted by: Blogger Cari at 10/23/2009 1:28 PM

I have waited so I could enter for a book I MUST read, and this is it. I keep hearing good things.

Posted by: Blogger Janicu at 10/23/2009 2:12 PM

We haven't put up any Halloween stuff in years, there are never any kids going around our neighborhood. We sold all of our stuff on a yard sale. The houses are too far apart, so no we don't have a scary house in our neighborhood. We've decided to go hand out candy at my daughters house, there are a lot of kids in her neighborhood, just wish they didn't live so far (an hour away).
We could make her house the scary house!!!

Posted by: Blogger Sharon K at 10/23/2009 2:15 PM

When I was a kid, the scary neighborhood house wasn't half as scary as yours, Simone, but I still wouldn't go near it!

I still scare easily...

Posted by: Blogger Cara King at 10/23/2009 2:49 PM

I love when people go all out on Halloween like that. I've always wanted to do that, but I'm not in a location where I would get trick-or-treaters anyway.

When I was a kid, there was a house next door that stayed vacant 90% of the time. I always imagined it was haunted. It was a big 'ol strange house and I would have liked turning it into a haunted house for Halloween.


Posted by: Blogger Asylumgirl at 10/23/2009 5:38 PM

Hi Simone! Awesome trailer. I dont think there is a "scary house" in my neighborhood. Everyone in my neighborhood remodels and do a terrific upkeep with their houses.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/23/2009 7:34 PM

ha ha. I love that trailer just for the lines where Brittany said, "He hated me cause I was rich." And he disagrees with, "I hated you cause you were a *bleep*." I think I hurt myself laughing.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/23/2009 7:40 PM

I enjoyed the video!

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 10/23/2009 8:28 PM

Nice trailer. This book sounds very exciting.

Posted by: Blogger Brittany at 10/23/2009 8:45 PM

Yay! I'm so excited to win Death By Denim. I'm always up for a good mystery. :0) Thanks!

I loved Perfect Chemistry! It's one of my top 5 favorite books of the year. (And that's saying a lot because there have been some great books this year!) I've been recommending it to everyone at the library - teens & adults. :0) Love, love, love the trailer, too. Makes me laugh every time. LOL.

I grew up living in the country so I didn't have a neighborhood scary house or a neighborhood, for that matter. LOL. We went into town to do our trick or treating. If there ever was a really spooky house, I don't remember it.

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Dawn M. at 10/24/2009 12:31 AM

Lol, I remember when I first saw that trailer...hilarious!

Posted by: Blogger YA Book Queen at 10/24/2009 4:32 PM

Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger I ♥ Book Gossip at 10/24/2009 5:14 PM

Okay, first off, you have an amazing cover for your book. I love it. It sounds like a book I would love to read. Unfortunately we just moved into the boonies, and I have dial up and can't see the trailer. :( That story about the "scary house" was hilarious. I bet it would be fun to watch those people scare others. That's a funny idea. Count me in!

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/24/2009 9:17 PM

That was a fun trailer!

I would love to read this book!


Posted by: Blogger Andrea at 10/24/2009 11:24 PM

I absolutely loved Perfect Chemistry! It was amazing!!

Simone~ I know there is going to be a sequel...can you tell us where it will pick up? Thanks for writing such great books (I also loved Leaving Paradise)

Posted by: Blogger Lori T at 10/25/2009 1:02 AM

I don't think there's really a "scary" house on our block.

Posted by: Blogger Erica at 10/25/2009 2:01 PM

Oh we totally had a "scary" house. This old woman would sit out on her porch every night in all red and have tons of make up and jewlery. She would put red curtains up in all her windows and it made the old house really creepy. There was an old story that said she was waiting for her true love to find her. It was crazy

Posted by: Anonymous Brittany at 10/26/2009 1:49 PM

wonderful book trailer love the resounding statement over all -- pick up a book & read.. wish I could find some to get my 11 y/o son to feel so inclined!!
awesome scary house story too... eek I dont like those kind lol I like my candy come easy as well!

Perfect Chemistry sounds really good looking forward to reading it! Thank you!!
debbie in NY

Posted by: Blogger WriterWannaB_NY at 10/26/2009 2:36 PM

I'm so lucky! Thank you!

Love the trailer. We didn't have scary houses, except in films and books. And we didn't have public Halloween - just making paper witches on broomsticks and carrying them home from school. Plus scary tales. Plus dreams... Lots of dreams.

Posted by: Blogger Sheila Deeth at 10/26/2009 2:58 PM

Rules of Attraction, the sequel to Perfect Chemistry, takes places two years after the last chapter of Perfect Chemistry (not the epilogue...the last chapter before the epilogue).

It will be in Carlos's point of view and another girl (Carlos is one of Alex's brothers).
Thanks for being a fan!


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/26/2009 3:08 PM

Just so you know that is the absolute greatest book trailer ever! I am still laughing and annoying my cat who is trying to sleep. Wow that was hilarious! I have to go back and read the rest of the post because after that rap, I can't even be serious right now lol.


Posted by: Blogger Casse AKA Catholic Kittie at 10/27/2009 5:28 AM

Awesome trailer! All the reviews I've seen of this book are glowing - count me in please!

Posted by: Blogger Patti (@TheLoveJunkee) at 10/29/2009 7:21 AM

Yes we had a scary house in our little town too. I never went there when I was young and trick or treating.

seriousreader at live dot com

Posted by: Blogger Linda Henderson at 10/29/2009 11:58 PM

I love this trailer so much, it's definitely one of my top three favs. :)

~ Lauren

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/30/2009 3:52 PM

Such an awesome Trailer and have a wonderful, safe Halloween!

angelleslament @

Posted by: Blogger Chesh at 10/30/2009 4:03 PM

I've heard nothing but great things about this!

Posted by: Blogger Sophia (FV) at 10/30/2009 6:25 PM

Great story! My neighborhood never had a specific "scary house," but there were people who would sit perfectly still until someone came by. The guys in scarecrow costumes scared me many times. There was also a local funeral home that had an elaborate haunted house.

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Posted by: Blogger Paradox at 10/31/2009 12:07 AM

The winner of Simone Elkeles's PERFECT CHEMISTRY is HeatherMarie! Congrats!

Thanks for all the great comments--I'm so glad you enjoyed Simone's hilarious trailer as much as I did. :-)

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/31/2009 9:52 AM


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