Thursday, March 26, 2009


I found this wristband in a favorite Portland shop last week, and promptly snapped it up for a certain 13-year-old I know who has developed an interest in the kissings. I'm not saying if she has or hasn't kissed, just that this, below, is to provide a safe alternative to an actual boy counterpart in the kissing process:

So he looks like a 9-year-old Soviet gymnast? Can't be helped! Ha ha ha.

On the topic of 13-year-olds and kissing, I'm not going to encourage it -- of course I, in my ripe old age, know it's better to wait a few years, but I can't be a hypocrite here. My first kiss was at age twelve, on an Italian beach circa 1984, and I thought it was GROSS and didn't attempt it again for several years . . . by which time I found that it had improved somewhat, though that might have been due to the techniques of the boys in question. The first boy was a Swiss-Italian orphan and a drummer, and he had an '80s rat tail in the back of his hair (the shame!) and I actually, literally squirmed right out of the kiss; the second boy was American, also a drummer, had long hair, and I'd had a crush on him for about a year. It was the night before we moved from Belgium to California, summer before 10th grade, and on the plane I'm sure I felt quite tragic about the whole thing. Finally I had kissed this boy, only to fly far, far away and never see him again.

Ah well.

Anyway, not all first kisses are gross, I'm quite sure. Do you have any wonderful (or terrible) first kiss stories to share?

Here's a lovely first kiss, all the more lovely because it would never have happened. Purists of Jane Austen and Mrs. Gaskell books were doubtless offended that the filmmakers took such an enormous liberty as to have two unmarried people kiss in public view in a railway station -- EGAD! The impropriety! -- but I'm just glad. Period films need more kissing! Purists be damned!

(It's only a minute long; do watch, it's a lovely kiss.)
Nice, no? That's North and South by the way. Lovely, smoldery Mr. Thornton. Don't you just love the way he's looking at her the whole time she's talking, like he's just thinking about kissing her?

[Youngsters, may this be an object lesson to you. If you kiss now, it will be with a boy with a rat's tail and you will want to squirm out of it. If you wait until you are a grownup lady like the one in the movie, it will be romantic and perfect. See?]

There are three first kisses in Lips Touch, and they are definitely not like my first kiss, the sort of kiss that puts you off kissing for three years. (It really wasn't that bad, it just didn't inspire me to seek out more of same, for which, in retrospect, I am heartily glad, because no one needs to be chalking up kisses at that age.) Writing kisses is very fun, and the kind of kisses in my book are no ordinary kisses, but kisses with profound consequences, after which nothing will ever be the same. [Cue dramatic music.]

The book is up on Amazon, by the way! Yay! Still without that coy cover image, but it's there with the little description, which happens to be not the flap copy but the initial pitch I wrote for Arthur Levine when my agent was submitting it to him. Here, by the way, is not the elusive Lips Touch cover, but another piece by the same talented artist, which I love, love, love -- the way the lips are poised for the kiss. Isn't it scrumptious? I bet she doesn't squirm out of this one!

Exciting news about Lips Touch! I'm not totally sure what this means, but Lips Touch is one of just six books coming out this fall that have been selected for the YA Editor's Buzz Panel at Book Expo! Here's more on that at Publisher's Weekly. I can't tell you how AWESOME it is to see my book mentioned in the same breath with the word "buzz." I'm trying to maintain my usual dour demeanor (!) and not get too excited, because like I said, I don't really know what (if anything) this means, but it's thrilling that my book is being talked about!!!!!!!!!!

Yippeeeee! In parting, look, it's springtime!

Cheers! Oh, and I did design and order Rathersting facial tattoos yesterday. I should have them in a few weeks. There will be a giveaway :-)

Have a lovely day! Go kiss someone.


Kiersten White said...

Dang, that WAS an awesome kiss.

The only thing that would have improved it would be if he had a rat's tail.

Also, yay for a new book coming out! I'm so excited for you!

tanita✿davis said...

Congratulations on the BEA/Reed thing. Whatever it means, the word "buzz" is attached to it, and that is quite excellent!

Suzanne Young said...

Can't wait for the contest! And Congrats on being so buzzy!!!!

And my first kiss was in 7th grade at a party. And it was... strange. I was with a friend and everyone else was making out. He was like, "Wanna?" and I said, "Sure." Yep. That was about as romantic as it got.

And he totally had a mullet. lol.

Tricia said...

Oh good God, Laini! Thanks for getting me all hot and bothered while I'm at work, and my husband nowhere in sight! Must remember to plant a big one on him when I get home ...

K said...

What a great first kiss! I love first kisses! Reading about them is great, but writing them is even more fun! :D

K said...

Oh, I forgot my first kiss story: it was in 8th grade and I never think of it as my first kiss, though now that I think about it, it was. We were in science class and one of my friends, who I knew had a crush on me, plotted with my girlfriends and suddenly grabbed me, turned me around and kissed me. And what did I do in return? I slapped him and screamed at him in front of all our classmates. He was truly embarrassed and didn't talk to me for months, though I think he should have been begging me to forgive him all that time!

tone almhjell said...

Congratuelations on the buzz! I love that. You are very talented and absolutely deserve it, and I love it when people get their due. Cool.

Now, I can't remember my first kiss. There were so many. I was a kissing little girl. But I do remember my first real crush. His name was Stig Erlend, and he had protruding ears and blue eyes (I loved both) and was tiny. He was just so nice.

tone almhjell said...

And by the way, that WAS a lovely kiss. That actor has something, I think. He plays badguy Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and I always think that Marion should choose him over Robin, bad or not. And I used to prefer Luke Skywalker.

Lexi said...

Haha. I totally want that bracelet!

And I, going to an all girl's school, do not know any boys. So I am safe.

North and South is one of my favorite period movies! I could watch it over and over and over, just to get to the last kiss.

Rie Selavy said...

My first kiss in public with my former partner/first-ever main squeeze resulted in us being chased from the grounds of the Alice Austen House.

For those not up on their photography history:

Alice would have been proud.

Anonymous said...

What "dour demeanor?"

My first kiss was lovely and funny too because he was so nervous that he almost missed my lips altogether. I was almost 17. He was almost 18. And we'd been secretly in love with each other for almost a year before we realized it was a mutual thing. He used to write me funny stories and serious poetry and give me "fire and ice" roses on my birthday. I just noticed "almost" in almost all of my sentences. I still feel dreamy romantic thinking about that kiss though.

Amber Lough said...

Buzz away, Laini!

My first kiss was in 7th grade, in a pool. Everyone was shocked I had never had a boyfriend before and was chanting "kiss her kiss her!" and he kissed me (he being a German boy named Torsten). Then ten seconds later her frenched me. I was still in shock and didn't have time to back away yet. It was very...anticlimactic. I'm sure your first kisses in the book are what I had been hoping for, in some way.

And now I must go and watch North and South. I've never seen it before.

Amber said...

Your energy is lovely, Laini. It brings people "up". just thought I woudl tell you that.


Deva Fagan said...

That was an amazing kiss; thank you for sharing the clip. How did I not know that movie existed? I just went and ordered it from the library!

And congrats on the buzz!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

call me an early bird. But i remember kissing charlie in kindergarden when he was napping on the mat next to me. unfortunately, he said I spit on him and i got in trouble ;) *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was a lovely first kiss! *Awkward* at work though! Haha.
My first kiss was at age 16ish - it surprised me and was weird and I didn't like it. Thankfully they improved after that.
Right before the last first kiss I had, I prefaced it with something like "you know we can't do this again, our first kiss..." Laini, can you figure out a way to get around that fact? I guess a long distance relationship would give you many first-ish kisses...
Thanks for the fun post! And congratulations on the "buzz!"

Anonymous said...

Ah, for the love of 9 year old Soviet gymnasts!

But seriously, the kiss at the end of North and South is the sexiest thing ever. It's the way he's staring at her, smiling, while she babbles away nervously at first. I watched it over three times the first time I saw North and South.

Anonymous said...

My first kiss was when I was 18, and it was on stage (in the play Richard II). I was playing the tragic young queen who is exiled away from her husband, who's being thrown in jail. I was completely in love with the (older) guy playing the king, and he didn't know it. After we rehearsed the scene the first time (tragedy! angst! and two kisses actually specifically indicated by Shakespeare!), he said: "Well, the kiss was great, but everything else needs work." Modified swoon!

Heather said...

My first kiss was when I was nine and he was thirteen. I KNOW! I only remember it being very dry lipped and rather chaste, as it SHOULD have been.

I love kissing!

Stephanie Perkins said...

WHAT??? I step away from the computer for ONE WEEKEND and I miss a post about KISSING?????

I am never working again. Ever.

(Oh, Mr. Thornton! Yes yes yes! And I love the music they put to it -- so dramatic! So kissy!)