Author Archives: Kimberly G. Giarratano

About Kimberly G. Giarratano

I'm a YA author.

Closing Time

June 4th 2014

Thank you to everyone who stopped by today for my virtual release party. Your support and enthusiasm mean the world and I am honored you spent the day with me.

A huge shout out to my girl, Leandra, for her help with launch day. Her blog is awesome. She is awesome. Seriously, she’s a talented writer and one day I’m going to be her wingman on her release day. I can’t wait.

If you haven’t entered into the Rafflecopter, please do it now. The giveaway will close in 3 days and then I’ll notify the winners.

Lastly, if you do or did buy Grunge Gods, please leave a review for it. (Leave reviews for all the books you buy.) Reviews help authors gain visibility. Visibility means sales and those sales justify a lot of hard work.

Peace out cub scouts and love to all.

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Doc Martens, cropped tops & carpenter jeans

June 3rd 2014

Ah, the 90s. The decade of really, really baggy jeans and baby Ts and slip dresses with work boots. God, I miss all that. Although, I never wore a slip dress. I did have an awesome pair of orange Vans sneakers though. They had a shiny vinyl top and were loud. They cost $44 at JCPenney and I remember thinking they were too much money and my mom would make me return them (she didn’t). Actually, she never balked at the price. (I think my dad did though. Dad: $44 for sneakers?! Mom: That’s what they cost nowadays.) Thanks, Mom! Within weeks the vinyl cracked and my grandpa sweet-talked the cashier into allowing me to exchange them for a green pair with no vinyl. They lasted a lot longer. After all, they had cost $44.

I'm in a cast because I dislocated my wrist. But check out my kicks!

I’m in a cast because I dislocated my wrist. But check out my kicks!

As you can see, my 90s style was pretty simple. Carpenter jeans from Old Navy and long-sleeve t-shirts were my uniform. I also enjoyed the layering look. I had a Hawaiian shirt I wore over my long-sleeve Ts. That outfit looked better than it sounds now. I never really did have good style. Kinda, still don’t.

The 90s were not about polished looks. Teens put thought into what they were wearing but the look was far from fussy. If anything it was the antithesis of fussy.

I decided when writing my main character, Lainey, that I wanted her style to be simple, but a little edgier than mine (and Wilder’s style is edgier than Lainey’s). I imagined her scoring finds in vintage shops and thrift stores. Also, bell bottoms had made a huge comeback so I also pictured her rummaging through her mom’s closet. Since Lainey and I are the same age (theoretically), her mom would be my mom’s age (theoretically) and she would have owned bell bottoms or she’d be shopping for super flared Mudd jeans. Below, you can see what clothing I thought Lainey would wear on a typical September day in 1996.

Lainey Bloom's look

Lainey Bloom’s look is simple and slightly edgy.

Danny’s clothes reflect his musician persona. He’s not a glam rock star; he’s into grunge and alternative rock. He wears his favorite bands on his t-shirts and his black Converse are torn up. His look is laid back, like him. And his jeans are baggy. Below is Danny’s typical wardrobe.

Danny Obregon's look is laid back.

Danny Obregon’s look is laid back.

Wilder’s look is definitely edgier than Lainey’s. She likes dark colors and ripped fabrics. Holes in the knees of her jeans and loose flannel shirts. Shredded fishnets. Corduroy and leather skirts. Doc Martens. If it was up to me, she’d have an eyebrow ring but alas, Uncle Carl won’t allow it. I doubt he’d allow her to wear those stockings, but they are immensely cool.

Wilder's look is edgy.

Wilder’s look is edgy.

I’m curious, what was your favorite 90s style? What did you wear in 1996? What do you miss most?

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There’s no alternative for 90s alternative music

June 3rd 2014

All the bands featured in Grunge Gods are bands I listened to as a teenager. And they are bands I listen to now.

Radiohead. Tori Amos. Bush. The Afghan Whigs. Bjork. Sarah McLachlan.

I was careful when selecting song titles to use as chapter headings so that the songs represented the tone and theme of the chapter. And that all the songs were released before September 1996. (Side note: The band is called The Prodigy, not Prodigy. I learned that late. Did anyone else know this?)

Here’s the playlist (via Spotify) for Grunge Gods and Graveyards. Each of these song titles is a chapter heading. And then if you’re up to it, tell me in the comments which song from the playlist you loved most. Enjoy!

Anytime I hear 90s music I’m transported back in time. The minute I hear Sarah McLachlan’s “Ice Cream” or The Wallflowers’ “One Headlight,” I’m back in my friend’s car driving to high school at 7am. Space Hog’s “In the Meantime” makes me think of junior year art class (the teacher kept the radio on) when I made a terrible sculpture of my dog, Rudy. (My mom still has it.) Oasis…man, anytime I hear “Wonderwall” I think of a ridiculous short story I wrote where I based the romantic lead on Liam Gallagher. (He was such a hottie in the video.)

Music was such a big part of my teenage life, as I imagine it is for most teens today. However, I discovered new bands via music videos on MTV. MTV was a far cry from what it used to be. Sure, we had reality shows (The Real World!) and dating shows (Singled Out!) and my all-time favorite sketch comedy show, The State!!!, but we also had music videos. Plenty of them. We didn’t have YouTube. We had to wait until they were on the TV to actually see them. My friend would call me (on my own phone line cuz I was cool like that) and say, “Quick. Put on MTV. The Bjork video is on!” And I’d stop whatever I was doing to run to my TV and turn on channel 30 (I think, VH1 might’ve been 29) just to watch the video. I’d be so grateful to her for calling me because I would’ve hated to miss it.

Music was everything back then. I became obsessed with my musician idols like Tori Amos and The Afghan Whigs. I used to daydream about being Greg Dulli’s girlfriend and tried to justify in my head the 14-year age difference. The Afghan Whigs are touring this year and will be in NYC in October, but alas, I’m nursing a baby. Plus, it’s my husband’s birthday weekend and I feel bad dragging him to a concert (an awesome concert) when it’s not his thing. Alas, these are the concessions we make as adults.

I still listen to 90s alternative rock. It’s been difficult for me to discover new music. I discovered a few new bands when they were (and I’m not ashamed to admit this) when they were featured on Gossip Girl. MGMT! Manchester Orchestra! Check them out.

I could ramble on and on about 90s music, but I’d much rather hear about the music you love. Share in the comments your favorite bands, either from the 90s or now. Or before. Can’t count out classic rock.

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Old Tennent Cemetery

June 3rd 2014

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated with graveyards and cemeteries. (Do you know the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? A graveyard is on consecrated ground and a cemetery is not.) It kind of began when my grandmother would take me on a “tour” of the Jewish cemetery where all our relatives are buried. When I was a little kid, all these older relatives died around the same time — my grandpa’s sister and brother; my great grandparents. My brother and I were too little to be left alone so we went to the funerals and my grandmother would feed me sponge cake and show me the family plots. She’d place a stone on top of the headstones of our relatives and tell me about them. Then we’d walk around and explore. The one tidbit I remember the most was when she showed me a headstone in the shape of a tree trunk. “It’s for a young person who was cut down in the prime of their life,” she had said. Anyway, I’ve never associated cemeteries with anything morbid or macabre. For me, they’re like taking a tour of history.

[I’ve meandered through cemeteries in Boston and Key West (Key West City Cemetery being my favorite). To check out some of my cemetery pics, go to my Pinterest page here.]

When I was a sophomore in high school, my neighbor and I walked from our high school to the Old Tennent Cemetery. It was a quick walk down Church Lane meant to kill some time and satiate some curiosity. There were rumors that the pews inside the church still had blood stains from Revolutionary War soldiers (P.S. I used this tidbit in my book). We never went inside the church but we did find some interesting tombstones. If I recall, a relative of Cotton Mather is buried in the cemetery (we were reading The Crucible that year).

I recently returned to the cemetery this April when I made the two-hour pilgrimage home to Manalapan and my dad and I stopped in to take some photos. Well, I jumped out of the car and my dad stayed with my boys in the minivan. I wish I could’ve spent more time there, but I did come away with some cool photos.

The sign upon entering the cemetery

The sign upon entering the cemetery


Old Tennent Cemetery


Looks like a Freemason symbol is engraved on the tombstone


A very old headstone


Look how close these graves are to one another


Clearly a new stone; a fascinating read


A larger view


Col. John Conover’s stone


Glad to see some stones are still intact


A close-up view of the church


Plaque on the church exterior


How gorgeous is this!

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Release Day!

June 3rd 2014

Thank you so much for stopping by on Grunge Gods and Graveyards‘ release day!

Grunge Gods ebook is only $2.99, cheaper than a Starbucks visit.



My long-time dream of being a published author has come true and it took many years to get here. Grunge Gods began in my head as a YA version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. There was something incredibly romantic about a girl falling in love with a ghost because well…it can’t end happily. Or can it?

In an earlier draft, I had set the novel in the present with Lainey being our modern day heroine and Danny having died in 1996. Lainey originally was from Hoboken and was sent to Ash to live with her aunt and uncle while her sister was recuperating from a mental breakdown. But then something made me switch gears. I wanted the entire novel set in 1996. Perhaps I was feeling nostalgic for my teenage years, but mostly I was feeling nostalgic for 90s music. I wanted the characters to talk about my favorite 90s bands as I spoke of them all those years ago. And so I emailed an author friend and asked her, ‘Can I set a YA novel in the 90s?’ ‘Sure,’ she said. ‘Why not?’ Why not? Because themes like friendship, identity and love are timeless. Teens today will get that.

I want to thank everyone who has stopped by today. I’m feeling overwhelmed, excited and anxious, but most of all honored you’re here to help me celebrate.

To commemorate the release of Grunge Gods, my fabulous critique partner, Leandra, and I are going to do some fun blog posts and giveaways!

The prizes are:

Grand Prize: $25 Amazon Giftcard

First Prize: $15 Amazon Giftcard (courtesy of Leandra)

Second Prizes: Signed copy of the paperback.

Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter to win!

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And, Leandra is giving away amazing guitar charms. One commenter from each blog post will win.Grunge Gods and Graveyards

Here is the schedule:

Noon (EST): Graveyards and cemeteries! I’m blogging about Old Tennent Cemetery in Manalapan, NJ and I’ve included photos. Leandra is blogging about her neighborhood cemetery in Indiana. Because graveyards and cemeteries are awesome and chock full of history.

3pm (EST): We’re talking about the best decade for music ever — the 90s! Leandra will feature some excerpts from the book and give readers a chance to win a little something.

6pm (EST): I’m blogging about 90s fashion and what characters would wear on a typical day in 1996. Leandra is interviewing me on her blog.

9pm (EST): It’s time to say goodnight and give hearty thanks to everyone who made today possible.

Don’t forget to head over to Leandra’s blog at noon to see her graveyard pics. See you back here at noon.