Monday, June 30, 2008


This weekend we had a gathering at Jacobs for a barbeque of hot dogs and hamburgers. Then, after eating, we all played the "Zombies!!!" board game. It's a really fun game, actually, and everyone had a blast. I took a few snaps, which I've pasted below.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Bill Gates steps down...

Reading about Bill Gates stepping down from Microsoft reminded me of that old tv movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley" where he's played by Anthony Michael Hall. I loved the movie when it came out -- it made Steve Jobs seem soo cool. :) Even though I use a PC these days I've always, from the early years, been a Apple/Mac fan...

Now I want to watch this again!


80s Flashback!

They featured this song in Nightmare on Elm Street Part Four: The Dream Master that we watched recently. Anyone remember Dramarama's Anything, Anything? Sooo good. I had to find it on YouTube to share the 80s love.

I never understood when growing up why my parents preferred to listen to "oldies" instead of modern music or why they got that dreamy look in their eyes when certain songs played. Now that I'm in my 30s I totally get it. Nothing makes me more wistful than hearing certain 80s tunes...which now are technically considered oldies, I guess. I even go out and dance regularly to clubs that spin it. I remember one night in particular when my friend and I asked this guy (who was clearly in college) how he got into 80s music. His answer? His parents listened to it.

I'm old. Argh!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

American Airlines makes good

So remember how I said how on the way out to Japan the entertainment system was broken? So no movies or tv the entire 13 hour flight? Well, American Airlines made more than good yesterday. They credited my frequent flyer account a whopping 10,000 miles (!) for the inconveinence. Yay! I wish it was broken both ways now! That's so much more rewarding then when it breaks on Jet Blue (like every other flight) and they send you a $5 coupon.


Sock Zombies

More zombie fun!

The sock zombies come in a lot of different varities - and you can special order the bloodless type (but that doesn't seem very kind--you want to starve your zombie?!) Check them out here.

I'm especially fond of the pirate one!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Japan Travelogue in Romantic Times

Last night Liz and I met for dinner at Ivy's to tweak our travelogue article for Romantic Times Magazine. We actually were, for once, ahead of schedule, and passed it in today, even though drop dead date was Monday! Score one for organization! I think the article came out really well and it features some of our best photos from the trip. Can't wait to see the finished product in September's issue. (Which will be out the beginning of August.)

Cool that they mentioned us in their August issue email blast, too. :) Check it out, below:

Another Travel Spot is in the works, this time from Japan. The Rebels of Romance, Marianne Mancusi and Liz Maverick, traveled to the Far East together in search of one of Marianne's YA books that is being published in Japan. Great excuse for an adventure, don't you think? Like Marjorie M. Liu and S.J. Rozan, they also happened to be in the country when the earthquake hit but luckily it was nowhere near as devastating as the one in China. So look for great photos and a fun report of their trip in the next issue.

Romantic Times Magazine has always been so good to us. We love them and love working with them! I hope we get to continue to do so for a long, long time!


New segments from the day job

A few new segments just posted that I produced for Better TV. The first we've dubbed "singing life coach" which is about a woman who uses music to detox the badness from people's lives and fill them with positive energy instead. It might be a little new age'ish for some of you, but it's still interesting. And the music's pretty.

The second is "Alcohol Free Cocktails" with the Liquid Muse. I'm annoyed at this segment cause it was cut while I was away in Japan and they totally chopped out the middle for timing sake. There's supposed to be three drinks in there. So if it seems like a rough transition between drink one and two, that's why. Still a cool concept though - and who wouldn't want a drink rimmed with pop rocks for 4th of July?!

Lastly, for those of you who enjoy antiquing, here's a story on the top 10 collectibles of the year, according to Country Life magazine.

I'm still waiting for my Broadway play Grease behind the scenes segment to be posted! Really happy with that one...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boots review

The Good, The Bad and The Unread reviewed the "These Boots Were Made for Stomping" anthology I was a part of today. I got a really good review, so I just thought I'd mention it. This is the first time a reviewer picked up on the fact that the story poked fun at last year's costume controversy at RWA. :)

I'm not normally a fan of screwball comedies. They have to be done really really well, or they come off as stupid. Ms. Mancusi does screwball very well, and I laughed aloud a number of times while I was reading. I particularly loved the way Ms. Mancusi worked in a not so subtle reference to a certain RWA-related kerfuffle from last year. Doubtless, people who disagreed with her on that particular issue will find the alusion to it in poor taste, but I appreciated it.



More Birthday Blogging

Liz posted her (much more entertaining) account of Leanna's birthday party over at the Rebels of Romance site. Evidently there was some "pre-drinking" by some of the partygoers that I hadn't been aware of that night. Explains a lot! ;-)

I stole this snap of me she posted cause I needed a new MySpace and Facebook profile pic. Cheers!


Speaking of Liz, I realized I hadn't yet posted this video. In Japan, she was addicted to 7-11. Yes, the store with the Big Gulp. Except they didn't have Big Gulps (sadly!) - they only had very strange, often unidentifiable Japanese snack food. Liz was in Heaven and stocked up on a daily basis.

Here is her, on the bullet train to Kyoto, explaining what she's acquired.

Untitled from Marianne Mancusi on Vimeo.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend wrap-up

Friday night Jacob met me at my place and we went running around Central Park. Then we grabbed the dog and headed to his place where we ordered spaghetti and meatballs and watched the Day of the Dead remake. (Not good. Mena Surveni has really gone down hill since American Beauty days!)

The next morning we boarded a bus to Jersey to check out Fangoria – a horror convention. It was fun, though pretty dead – I guess they usually have a better turnout. Problem was some of the biggest stars (such as James Marsters, aka Spike from Buffy) bailed at the last minute. Boo! But it was still neat seeing all the exhibits and we got to see some of the original actors from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. We attended a few panels – one showing upcoming horror movie previews and another on “scream”writing – being a horror screenwriter. This would have been more interesting if the guy talked less about himself and more about how it’s all done!



We headed back to NYC and got ready (dressing up in our Goth Victorian best) for Leanna’s birthday party that night. It was, as you probably determined from my photo essay yesterday, at Jekyll and Hyde’s. There was a great turn-out and I think Leanna had fun. Then we walked over to Pyramid Club and danced the night away to eighties music. All in all a fun night.

Sunday we slept in and laid low. Barbequed some chicken and corn on the cob and made chicken fajitas. Yum. Then we took a long walk to an Astoria park with Molly. Was nice and relaxing. We finished part 5 of Nightmare on Elm Street as well. Only two more and then we’re up to Freddy vs. Jason! Our 18 part slasher movie marathon is almost at an end!

Now it's Monday and another work week has begun. Should be pretty mellow though - a lot of people are on vacation. Nothing big planned this coming weekend either-which is just fine by me!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Goth Princess Leanna's Birthday Extravaganza

Once upon a time there was a goth princess named Leanna. And it was her birthday.

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So she instructed her servents to put on a birthday bash fit for a princess.

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They decided to hold the festivities at Jeckyl and Hyde's - a sort of goth Chucky Cheese's in Manhattan's West Village.

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She wore her goth best. Including, of course, her very ironic ring.

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All her loyal subjects were in attendance.

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Dressed in their own gothic elegance.

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She ate and drank and graciously posed for a few pictures with the aforementioned subjects.

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After dinner, everyone headed to Pyramid Club for a royal ball.

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The princess danced til midnight. (Okay, let's be honest here, it was more like 2am!) And then had her royal prince fit her glass slipper. She wasn't about to be some ditzy Cinderella and leave them behind!

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And everyone lived happily ever after!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gamer Girl: First Review!

Just got sent my very first review of my November book, Gamer Girl, from Huntress Reviews. A five star review! Yay! I've never gotten 5 stars from them for any of my previous books. :) Mostly they give out 3's. So that was a great way to start my Friday!

Anyway, here it is! :)

Author: Mari Mancusi
Title - Gamer Girl (Y.A. / Nov. 13, 2008)

When Maddy Starr's parents split, her life changed - and not for the better, as far as she can tell. Maddy must leave her private school and all her friends to move in with her grandmother. Farmingdale, New Hampshire, is not across the country, but for Maddy it may as well be. On Maddy's first day at Hannah Dustin High, her grandmother makes her wear horrid clothes, escorts her to the main office, and even manages to totally embarrass and humiliate the most popular boy in school. Of course, this means Billy Henderson becomes an enemy before Maddy even speaks to him. His friends are there when it happens too. Maddy is given the nickname Freak Girl and becomes their favorite person to harass. Therefore, no one in the school will become friends with Maddy or help her with the Haters. (That is the nickname Maddy gives the popular kids.)

When Maddy gets Fields of Fantasy "FoF" for her birthday from her father, she is thrilled. Maddy quickly installs the PC game and begins playing. Maddy's character is an Elfin Princess named Allora. While online, Maddy sheds the role of an outcast and becomes a beautiful magician with powers to take down her enemies with a snap of her fingers and a wave of her wand/staff. Maddy's dad is in the game often too, but seldom has time to play with her. That is okay, because Allora meets SirLeo, a tank, who helps her learn the game and teaches her to role play. They even find a little online romance.

Maddy uses her virtual life to begin creating a manga graphic novel in her real life. With a bit of help from a cool teacher, Maddy even begins a manga club. Perhaps her virtual life and her new hobbies in real life can help Maddy gain some friends, as well as find ways to kick back at the Haters.

***** Being a gamer girl myself, I was instantly enthralled with Maddy and her virtual self. I saw many similarities to a popular MMORPG game (which I play) titled World of Warcraft "WoW". (I wonder if that is the game the author, Mari Mancusi, loosely based FoF on.)

Maddy is a character that any teen can relate to. But if you enjoy video games (online or off / PC or console), graphic novels, or manga (Japanese style of drawing) you just may find yourself reading at lightning speed. I read the entire story in a single afternoon. Mari Mancusi writes stories that are UNPUTDOWNABLE! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Silly Japanese Dogs!

While shopping in Shiyuba, I passed a guy walking four dachshunds wearing sunglases. I had to stop him and, in halting Japanese and gestures, ask for a photo. He was, luckily, not only happy to oblige, but arranged his dogs for the camera. (Perhaps mine wasn't the first request!) I'd say this was another "only in Japan" thing, but I can picture some of my Upper West Side neighbors doing this, too...

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Home Sweet Home

Things are getting nicely back to post Japan normal around here and that makes me happy. I can travel the world, but at the end of the day I am honestly most happy curled up on my couch with Jacob, eating barbeque and watching cheesy horror movies, my dog sleeping at my feet. As Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home!”

Not that I’m not glad I got to experience Japan. It was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget and I will always cherish that. But at the end of the day, I’ve realized I’m just not a good traveller. I miss my bed too much! I’m amazed how people can just pack up and head to Europe for a month or two, backpacking from country to country, staying at hostels, etc. I admire them and know they’re having great adventures. It’s just not something I could ever do.

That said, I am looking forward to my 4th of July Texas adventure coming up. I’ve never really gotten to see the real Texas – the only times I’ve been were for writer’s conventions and we didn’t really leave the hotel much. So it’ll be interesting to experience the non-tourist version of the state.

Anyway, now that I’m back I’m looking forward to the weekend! On Saturday, Jacob and I are going to head to Fangoria, a horror convention in Jersey, to go check out some zombies! And then at night we’re going to my dear friend Leanna’s goth birthday celebration at Jeckyl and Hyde’s. Followed by dancing, of course! Should be very fun and I’ll be sure to take a million pics.

Since I promised more Japan stuff, here’s a little picture video of Harajuku. I really am just still so totally blown away by these kids’ costumes! I, myself, got an amazing, beauitful gothic lolita dress, but I’m not posting pics cause I want to save it for Comic Con next month.

Untitled from Marianne Mancusi on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Better TV Stories

Day job update! Here are a couple Better TV stories I produced recently. :) Sample Sale Secrets with my favorite Daily Candy editor Dannielle Kyrillos and Hot Night Out Outfits, which we taped at the fabulous west village boutique Jessie James.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Razor Girl - First Review!

SF Scope is the first to weigh in on my September Shomi book, Razor Girl. :) Here's what they had to say:


One of the inaugural authors in the Shomi line, Marianne Mancusi has returned with an edgy all-new tale, Razor Girl, filled with fast-paced action and a heroine strong enough to mold her own destiny. In a Shomi novel, where anything is possible, fresh, strong heroines are the norm and they are just right for proving that any woman can be a heroine.

In Razor Girl, Molly Anderson just wants to be like every other girl at school, fitting in and dating cute boys. Unfortunately, her doomsday-predicting father has other plans. Altering her physically to resemble his favorite story character and become a real Razor Girl, he plans for Molly to save the world. Now, six years after the apocalypse, Molly meets up with her high school sweetheart, Chase Griffin, and together they must escape to the most magical place on earth in order to save the few remaining humans from a deadly disease, and the horrible monsters it created.

Marianne Mancusi is an Emmy Award-winning teleivsion producer turned writer and has earned both high praise and a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for her boundary-challenging romance novels.


Will get back to your regularly scheduled Japan blogs soon, but first I wanted to tell you about a new book that's just come out by one of my favorite authors. Susan Grant was a pioneer in the futuristic romance--paving the way for the rest of us!--and has always been an inspiration to me. Her latest book, Moonstruck, has just been released by HQN!

Here's a blurb:

MOONSTRUCK by Susan Grant

And Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar is one tough woman. A mere intergalactic treaty could never get her to trust the Drakken Horde. There was too much bad blood between the Coalition and the Horde and, for intensely personal reasons, Brit wasn’t sure that she was through spilling it! But now a peaceful accord has made Finn Rorkken, a notorious Drakken rogue, second-in command on her starship – and through some grand cosmic irony – front and center in her thoughts…and her heart.

Either title sat easily on Finn’s battle-hardened shoulders. Though second-in-command to “Stone-Heart” Bandar? That would take some getting used to. Peace required as much sacrifice as war, so he’d comply even if his reaction to the gorgeous admiral fell decidedly outside protocol. But would he end up kissing or killing her if the galaxy’s tentative truce turned into all out war?

For an excerpt, check out Susan's website. I am so going to pick this up asap!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Shinjuku Pics

I went to work for a half day today, but left early cause I was so exhausted and jet lagged. Came home and slept five hours! Hopefully I'll still be able to sleep tonight. It's thundering and lightning out tonight - is pretty cool to watch out my window.

Anyways, on our last night in Japan, Liz and I headed to Shinjuku, the area of Japan you always see in the movies. Bright neon lights everywhere. Looks like Blade Runner. It was cool, though a little underwhelming if you live in New York and see Times Square on a regular basis.





By the way, if you're wondering about all the pics with me making the peace sign, I adopted the pose after seeing countless Japanese girls do it in photos they were taking at Disney World. :)

It's so nice to be home and in my apartment and with my dog! Last night I went out to dinner with Jacob and Chris and we ate Italian food and drank wine at an outside cafe. It was HEAVEN. Even just to converse in English with people seemed a blessed gift! I guess that's what's nice about vacations to foreign lands. You start to really appreciate the life you have back home. :)


Home Sweet Home!

We're back from Japan, safe and sound! Thanks for everyone's concern about the earthquake. We felt it - very slightly. It didn't hit near where we were. I think it was in Northern Japan.

I still have some last photos to upload and will do that soon.

It was very fun, but I am so glad to be home!!!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm going to (Tokyo) Disney Land!

Yesterday we headed east of the city to Tokyo Disneyland. Now those of you who know me well know I'm a totally Disneyaholic, so I was pretty excited to see what this park was like. After all, I've probably been to Disney World in Florida at least 200 times. (Having lived in Orlando for a stint.)

We decided to try the Disney Sea park instead of the traditional Magic Kingdom. As its name implies, it's aquatic themed, which was pretty cool. It was a small park, but beautifully and creatively designed. I was impressed. Definitely lived up to Disney standards.

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Of course it was a little hard to go on the rides and not know what the storylines were (as they were in Japanese.) Especially with the Tower of Terror, which is one of my all time favorite lines. It was obvious that they had a different storyline than the Orlando one, but I couldn't tell you what it was. The drops, however, were equally terrifying.

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One of the coolest rides was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was loosely based on one of the original Disney Land rides, but this version you're in your own sub instead of a group sub and the under water thing is a (very effective) illusion. It actually made me feel kind of nervous it was so realistic and I didn't realize til the end that we weren't actually under water. I wish also I could understand the narration here as well.

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They had a section of the park modeled after old New York, which was amusing. I got a hot dog at the hot dog vendor.

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Tokyo Disney NYC Hot Dog Stand

Also, a Cape Cod area. Home sweet home!

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And they had Ariel’s castle, which was very cool.

Ariel's Castle at Tokyo Disney

And, to my happiness, I ran into my favorite Disney character - Pluto! Yay!

Marianne with Pluto

For the complete set of Disney pics, you can click here. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lost in Translation

Most of you have probably seen the wonderful Bill Murray/Scarlett Johanason movie Lost in Translation, right? Scarlett meets Bill in a gorgeous bar at the Tokyo Park Hyatt hotel. Well, that's a real bar - The New York Bar - in the Shinjuku section of town. So Liz and I had to check it out. It was really amazing - super swank - and on the 52nd floor of the hotel, with floor to ceiling windows. Obviously an amazing view. They had a chill jazz band and a nice, mellow vibe. We got champagne/blueberry liquor cocktails and checked out the scene. Was very fun.

Here are some pics!

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Tokyo Writer's Group

I somehow always forget to mention the writing related stuff on this blog, even though originally it was meant to be a writer blog. But I would be remiss to neglect to mention Liz and my fabulous Weds night at the Tokyo Writer's Group. We met them at a community center in the Ropongi section of town. (Right near Tokyo tower - very gorgeous at night!)

They were a great group of women - mostly ex-pat types living in Tokyo. They had food. They had wine. They spoke English! We talked to them about writing and getting published and our own experiences with both. It was a lot of fun. I feel like we made friends in a foreign land!

Here's a snap with us all after the talk.

Tokyo Writers Group

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Graveyards and Gawker

Yesterday we explored an old, untouristy section of Tokyo called Yakana. It had a very old graveyard, lots of temples and shrines and a very traditional market. Being a goth girl, I love cemetaries so I had to take a little video:

Untitled from Marianne Mancusi on Vimeo.

Here are a few other pics from the day:

Yakana area cemetary

Yakana area cemetary

Yakana area temple
The SUV here kind of ruins the aesthetic..

Yakana area temple

Yakana area temple

Drinking Den
This is a drinking den and Japan's last wooden roofed arcades.

Liz trying more traditional food. This was like fried mash potatoes so I had to get one, too!!

Texas Steak House
And I found a Texas steakhouse! Note, they proclaim it's "BIG"! (Cause everything's bigger in Texas, right?)

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Though I'm not sure the menu is ENTIRELY authentic... :)

Last night we went to the New York Bar in the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku. Talk about a juxtaposition of the daytime stuff. Pics of that adventure to come later. Today we have to head out to Tokyo Disneyland!

Oh and don't forget - for Liz's perspective on our adventures go to the Rebels of Romance site as well. She's much funnier than me - you won't be disapointed! ;-)

And lastly, in non-Japan news, my book cover made Gawker today!! And someone made a negative comment about my title! That makes me practically Julia Allison! Yay! :) (Those of you who don't live in NYC have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's okay.)