Musings of a YA author throwing herself into the fray. Join me on the journey ...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

To all of our fans and enthusiastic supporters (hi, Mom!) we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Keep stopping by all of our Smooch Stops as we countdown to our January 3rd release. Only one more week to go!

Ivy Adams

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Around the World in 80 Kisses Week 4

Sorry for the late update - holidays are crazy, y'all!

Thanks to everyone who's been following us as we go 80 Blogs in 80 Days to launch The International Kissing Club. Only 12 more days till release day--can.not.wait.

Our week 3 prize bundle winner was Blanche!  

This week we're giving away a stellar prize pack: A Coach Poppy wallet, Laini Taylor's excellent Daughter of Smoke and Bone with some promo tattoos, some delish Girl Scout mint chocolates in a super-cute tin shaped like a vintage suitcase to go with our travel theme, and of course IKC swag! So be sure to comment at our Smooch Stops to be entered to win.

Ivy Adams

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Smooch Stop #20

Hey Smooch Stoppers:

We're back at our blog today with a post from our very own Emily McKay and a not-your-everyday tens list. 

Take it away, Emily:

There are days when writing a blog post like this one (top ten list of anything) is easy-peasy. Today was not one of those days. Maybe it’s because I just finished a book and my few remaining brain cells are currently vacationing in Cancun sipping ‘ritas on the beach. Or maybe they’re already in a sugar coma from all the Christmas cookies. Who knows.
Whatever the reason, a top ten list about anything had me flummoxed. Oh, I had ideas, they were just all stupid. I even wrote one entire top ten list that was dull I actually fell asleep in the middle of number nine (which was homemade chocolate chip cookies. How boring does a list have to be for cookies to put me to sleep???) So I decided to treat you to a list of all the top ten lists I toyed with and decided not to write. The reason why I ditched the list is in parentheses. 
  1. Top ten snacks to eat while on deadline (this ended up reading like an article for Fitness magazine. Until I got to the cookies, anyway)
  2. Top ten movies to watch while on deadline (the real answer to this is: “Zero. Put down the remote and get your butt back to the keyboard.”)
  3. The best ten deserts I’ve ever eaten (Not a bad idea... but it’s not like you could run out and eat these yourselves, so it’s not super helpful either)
  4. Top ten hot environmental activists (okay, I was going to have to research this one, ‘cause my current list only has like two guys on it, but I’m sure I could find eight more)
  5. Top ten words I misspell every damn time I type them (I told you some of these ideas were real stinkers!)
  6. Ten movies I wish I’d seen this year (Well, I didn’t see them, so I don’t have anything clever to say about them)
  7. Ten movies you couldn’t pay me to see (see above)
  8. Top ten embarrassing conversations I’ve overheard at the gym (Let me tell you, this blog would be looong. Like, I could write a novel about the crazy crap I’ve overheard at the gym. Hmm ....)
  9. Ten ways to waste time on the internet (If you need someone to give you a list of ways to waste time on line, you’re an idiot. Some things should just come naturally.)
  10. Top Ten songs of teenage rebellion/angst (Okay, this list has huge potential. It could It could be great, or it could be horrible and make me look old. I mean, it’s not like I would include Elvis songs or anything, but still ...)
What’s your funniest top ten list title? Leave a comment (with your email so we can contact you) to be entered to win the Around the World In 80 Kisses daily and weekly prize and also become eligible to win the Grand Prize, a Kindle Fire. For a list of all our Smooch Posts you can visit and earn more entries to win, visit us here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Smooch Stop #18

We've double-backed today to our own blog for today's Smooch Stop. And since we're all wrapped up in the year end frenzy, I'm always looking for a good reading escape when I get some down time during the holidays.

It's no secret that the Summer series from Jenny Han were hands down my favorite books so far this year. Tracy and I have phone sessions as least once a week dissecting the nuances of these books and why we loved them so much.

But, much as I loved them I need something new to fawn over so, tell me your favorite book of the year, whether bestseller or little known gem, and why it should be my new favorite, too, and you're entered to win the daily, weekly and grand prize giveaway

We should be back to our regularly scheduled Smooch Stops tomorrow. Sorry for the hiccups.

Jenny and me at the Austin Teen Book Festival 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 3 of Around the World in 80 Kisses

We're off on week 3 of our Around the World in 80 Kisses Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who's been following us and for entering.

Chey is the winner of our Week 2 Prize bundle!!

Keep visiting us--we've got lots more to give away!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Around the World In 80 Kisses: Week 2

All Aboard! It's week #2 on our Around the World in 80 Kisses Blog Tour and Contest.

To kick off this week we're at My Reading Room for Smooch Stop #7. Come have a visit and remember to leave a comment (with your email) to be entered for our daily, weekly and grand prize Kindle Fire.

Scroll down for all the contest info and rules and how to join our Smooch Club.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Around The World In 80 Kisses: Blog Tour and Contest

80 Days, 80 Blogs, Too Many Prizes To Count!
Want to a chance to win fabulous prize packs and a Kindle Fire? Then pack your bags and grab your passport cause we’re going on tour--blog tour, that is, to celebrate the debut of the young adult novel The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams coming January 3rd. 

Follow us around the around the interwebs beginning Monday, November 28th as we hit 80 blogs over 80 days and enter daily to win (80) daily prizes, (11) weekly prize bundles and a grand prize (1) Kindle Fire. 

How to Enter:
  • Leave a comment on the daily Smooch Stop at the hosting blog (a link will be posted here each day or click on the banner below for complete tour info courtesy of Teen Book Scene) 
  • Be sure to leave your email address in your comment (so we can let you know when you win*). 
  • You can enter once per Smooch Stop and your comment automatically enters you for the daily, weekly, and grand prize. 
  • All entries are cumulative toward the weekly and grand prize, so be sure to enter every day for more chances to win. 

That's it--no fuss, no muss!
But wait...want even more chances to win? 
  • Like our Facebook page (1 entry) and/or post on our wall (1 entry per day)
  • Tweet about IKC and the contest (Click to Tweet here) or create your own tweet using #intlkissingclub (1 entry per day)
  • Join our Smooch Club for more ways to earn entries
The Fine Print: Around The World in 80 Kisses contest is only open to residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. No purchase necessary to enter or win. Contest begins 12:01 AM ET November 28, 2011, and ends 11:59 PM PT February 14th, 2012. Click here for official contest rules and regulations
* We are not collecting email addresses, this is only for the purpose of contacting you should you win a prize.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Smooch Stop #1

Today's stop is the world premiere of The International Kissing Club's Book Trailer. We hope you love it!

Be sure to leave a comment (including your email address) to be entered in our Around the World in 80 Kisses Contest -- scroll down (or click here) for all the details on how you can win a Kindle Fire!

Also click here to tweet for an additional entry.

Ivy Adams 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What are you thankful for?

It's time now for the annual, trite post: What are you thankful for? (Please supply your own cheesy game show host voice.)

This year in particular, I'm thankful that I live in a post-Harry Potter, post-Twilight world, where there is so much great Middle Grade and YA out there. Some of the best-concieved, best written books I've read this year were MG or YA and I think the growth the genres have shown can all be tied back to those two series. So, yay, Stephanie Myers and J.K. Rowling for jump-starting the industry!

What are you thankful for this year?

Meet the Boys of the IKC: Guiran

When you're 12,000 miles away from home, don't speak the language and have already landed on the bad side of the local mean girls, a girl could really use a friend--that he's super cute and sweet is the cherry on top!

"It's easy," Guiran told her, balancing on his skateboard like he'd been born with it beneath his feet. "All you have to do is trust yourself not to fall."

Mei snorted. "Sorry, but I put my trust in Sir Isaac Newton and a little thing called gravity. There's no way you're going to talk me into getting on that thing. I'll kill myself."

"Come on. Give it a try." His grin was huge, infectious, but Mei refused to let it get to her. She'd come to China to find her birth parents, no play around on a four-wheeled death trap with a cute guy.

Not that there's any reason I can't do both, a little voice in the back of her head whispered. Mei ignored it. She was only going to be here for another month.

Guiran boarded ahead a little, then did a one-eighty, with lots of air, before landing a couple of feet in front of her.

"Come on, Mei. Just try it once. I promise I won't let anything happen to you."

Against all odds, and her better judgment, Mei felt herself relenting. "Is it really so important to you that I get on your stupid skateboard?"

"It is."


"Because you look like you've just lived through the most miserable six weeks of your life. I think you could use a little fun."

"Playing guitar is fun. Shopping is fun. Acing a test is really fun. Getting on that death trap, not so much."

"Fine. Tell me the last time you did any of those things and I'll leave you alone."

"I'll have you know I bought a very nice belt a few weeks ago," she answered.

"Wow. A belt. Big spender," he teased.

"I play guitar every day," she said.

"Okay, then. What I meant was, when was the last time you tried something new?"

When she didn't immediately answer, Guiran's smile grew wider. "See, you need a challenge. That's what keeps life interesting." He stepped off the skateboard. "Try it. If you don't have fun, I promise I won't ask again."

She wasn't sure if she was happy about that promise or not--she had gotten to the point that her time with Guiran was the complete highlight of her day, so much so that she found herself watching the clock--and the grounds outside her dorm room window--at least an hour before he was supposed to show up. The practical side of Mei was a little worried about her dependence on him. After all, it was never good to put all your eggs in one basket, and if this friendship didn't work out between them, then she'd be totally screwed. Without his wicked good translating skills, she didn't know if she was ready to tackle the four and a half hours of public transportation required to get from Shenyang to Dalian. China had seemed smaller when she was back home, planning her trip.

At the same time, though, the impractical side of herself--the one that dreamed of running off with a rock band instead of going to MIT--refused to be concerned. Guiran was a good guy, it told her. She should just relax and enjoy the time she got to spend with him.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meet the Guys of IKC: Tanner – The Good Ol' Boy

Tanner Colt: local football god and all around good ol' boy. Izzy has known him for years and they've never gotten along. Plus, he dates Germaine Stewart, the queen bitch of Paris High. But with all of Izzy's friends studying abroad, Tanner turns out to be the one bright spot of the semester. He gets her a job working at his parent's farm, which is better than working at Dairy Queen, even if she has to learn to drive a tractor. Tanner just might be Izzy's one friend in left in Paris. But could he be more?

Izzy looked down at Tanner, only to find him climbing into the tractor with her.

“Oh, do you need to sit here?”

“No. You’re good.” He reached across her. She plastered herself back against the seat, but there was barely enough room and his shoulder brushed against her chest. “Here’s the other end of the seat belt.”

She stared blankly at him as he straightened and handed her the buckle. When was he going to get out of the cab? She swallowed hard, then took the canvas belt he dangled in front of her. “Safety first,” she said faintly.

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”

“What about you?” She didn’t glance over her shoulder as she asked the question, already keenly aware of how close he was.

Tanner stood just behind her, wedged into between her seat and the roll bar. Despite the cramped quarters, he managed to stretch out, filling every extra centimeter of space. He voice dropped a notch, to a husky murmur that had melted hearts all over Paris High. “Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing.”

Good thing one of them did.

He pointed to the right side of the steering wheel. “Ignition is right there. You’ll want to turn the key counterclockwise for a few seconds first, to let it warm up. Then clockwise. Just like starting a car.”

She followed his instructions, trying not to notice how good Tanner smelled. Fresh and clean. Like he bathed in catnip for girls. Most of the football players at her house either smelled like sweaty locker room floor or like they’d drenched themselves in cologne. Or worse, some combination of the two. But not Tanner. He smelled like clean soap and line-dried clothes.

She drew in a deep breath and—

“What was that?” he asked.

All she could do was stare blankly in reply.

“You seemed like you were about to say something.”

“Oh.” Shit. What was she supposed to say? No, I was just smelling you? “Is that long enough?” she asked instead, looking back to meet his eyes.

He hesitated. Like he could read her thoughts or something. Then he shook his head. “Sure. Go ahead and start it up.”

She cranked the key in the ignition and the beast hummed to life.

“From here on out”––He leaned even closer to be heard over of the roar––“it’s just like driving your standard.”

She settled her foot onto the clutch. The pedal felt huge. Spongier. This wasn’t like driving her standard. It seemed bigger. More dangerous.

She pressed down hard and felt the gears line up. The gearshift was directly in front of her seat, right between her legs. Just as she reached down to settle her hand over it, Tanner leaned in and put his hand on top of hers. He had one arm resting across the back of her seat and the other practically draped across her left thigh.

“Here’s first.” He moved both their hands together as he shifted through the gears. “Here’s second. Third, forth. And here’s reverse.” This one was down and to the far right, so that his knuckles brushed against the inside of her denim-clad right thigh. “You feel that?”

Was he joking? She swallowed hard. “Pardon?”

“The reverse is a little tricky on this old girl.” He gave the gearshift another wiggle. “You’ve got to work to get it in.”

She jerked her hand out from under his, moving so fast her foot slipped, so she popped the clutch and killed the engine. “I think I’ve got it.”

He leaned back; a slow smile broke across his face. “Looks like you do.”

She narrowed her gaze to a glare.

“You want to try it again?” he asked, that smug grin of his never leaving his face.

Her heart was pounding and her hands sweaty. What the hell was going on? This was Tanner Colt. Tanner! He was not supposed to make her feel this strange mixture of...

But her mind shied away from admitting she felt anything. This was all just standard I’m-a-football-god charm. He wasn’t flirting with her. He probably didn’t even realize he was doing it. Which should have made her feel better, but it didn’t at all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cover flats! Yay!!!

There are a couple of really exciting moments in the life of an author.
Getting "the call" that someone wants to buy your first book. Yeah, that's up there. Pretty freaking cool. Selling a book you really, really love. Yep that's cool too.
But one of the weird things about selling books is that it's a long process. It's a contractual agreement. There are negotiations involved. So, you get the call (from your agent if you've got one), you run off to have a celebration. She or he gets to work. Sometimes, weeks pass. You don't feel like you can tell that many people. It's not a done deal yet. What if the editor changes her mind? (That actually never happens, but I'm a worst-case-scenario thinker.) What if, I've finally taken that last trip around the bend to loonyville and I imagined the whole thing? (Has also, never happened. Yet. But see above.) So I always end up waiting to "announce" that I've sold a book until I see the contract. And then I'm not super excited anymore. So I don't get to share the excitement with anyone other than my hubby and my agent.

That's one of the cool things about working on IKC. There were three of us! We got to share all that excitement and joy and love and ... And we had witnesses we could trust to confirm we were delusional. Just happiness all around.

This weekend I had another one of those joyous, happy fun moments. We all got the cover flats for the hardcover of IKC. It's beautiful! Just so pretty! I took pictures to share with you. Shellee took some too and hers are probably better ('cause just used my iphone and she has a great camera.) So maybe she'll post her's too.

The hardcover will be out at the same time as the trade paperback. It's for libraries and stuff, so the trade will be what you'll see in stores. But if you love hardcovers, you should go pre-order it on Barnes and Noble, 'cause right now they have the hardcover for only $10.97 and the cover price is higher, so it'll probably go up.

But for now, just enjoy our beautiful cover! I know I am!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meet the Boys of the IKC: Lucas - The Guy Down Under

 Lucas McCann: charming, golden surfer boy with a heart-melting dimple - he's any girl's dream. So  what's a girl like Cassidy Barlow to do when falling in love is the absolute worst thing that can happen?

(Shellee's note: I loosely based Lucas on Australian surfer Julian Wilson--that's him on the left and below.)

"So, let me get this straight: you came all the way to Australia to kiss guys?" Lucas gave her a sidelong glance. 

Cassidy came back to the conversation at hand. She heard the incredulity in his voice and was glad it was dark, because pink was not a good color on her, and right now she was covered in a huge blush head to toe. "I told  you it was stupid."

Why had she told him anything about the IKC at all? She blamed that damn dimple--it was like Kryptonite; she was powerless against it. He could charm anything out of her when that little divot made an appearance. 

He slouched a little in his seat. "So, how many points do you have so far?" For the first time since she'd met him, Lucas didn't sound so surfer-Zen-go-lucky. 

"Me? Oh, see...actually..." she fiddled with the zipper on her sweater as she practically glowed red. She should make up some number. What did it matter? He'd never know. God, if he were playing this game, he would probably have twice the points she did in just the time it took to drive over here. 

"Tell me. It's a lot, right?"

She sighed. This was so embarrassing. "Three. I have three points."

"'ve kissed three guys since you've been here," he said, his tone deflated. "Are you still seeing them, the other guys?"

What? No. Wait...what was that? If she was better at reading guys, she'd say he sounded pouty and a little bit jealous. 

She'd never had a guy be jealous over her before. Cassidy didn't  know how to take this development at first, but then she considered it. It was way sexy.

The idea that he didn't like the thought of her kissing other guys gave her off-court confidence a supercharged injection. She scooted toward him and in gesture a complete one-eighty from her usual reserved self, she did something she'd been dying to do since that day at the airport: she touched his dimple with the tip of her finger. 

Cassidy let it linger there before trailing it down his cheek to his chin to turn his head toward her. 

"No. The rules of the International Kissing Club state that I get three points for an amazing, earth-stopping epic kiss," she said with all the matter-of-fact seriousness she could muster. 

It took a moment for what she was saying to sink in, but then a grin broke out across Lucas's bronzed face, crooked and just a little cocky. Her insided turned molten. Oh. God. If he kissed her again now she wouldn't be much more than a puddle of mush on the vinyl seat.

"Epic, yeah?" His hand stole around the back of her neck and he nudged her nose with his. "I can live with that," he whispered against her lips. Cassidy closed her eyes and melted.

The International Kissing Club was Piper's Best. Idea. Ever.

Monday, November 14, 2011

IKC Now Available at NetGalley

Hear ye, hear ye, bloggers/reviewers! The International Kissing Club is available out on NetGalley for anyone interested in reviewing our little book. Smooches of appreciation to any and all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Tempest Rising is nominated for a YALSA Reader's Choice Award-- so thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who picked it up and said good things about it.  I really, really appreciate all the support :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

OMG! I Just Ran Across the Cutest Blog Ever!

You have to check this out-- Arthur recreates classic movies!
My favorites are definitely Jaws and Blair Witch ...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meet the Boys of IKC: Up First-- Sebastian (Piper's Guy)

So, you've met the girls of the International Kissing Club-- now it's time to meet their guys ;)  We're starting off today with the guy I wrote, the tall, dark and just a little bit broody, Sebastian.

Name: Sebastian
Age: 19
Nationality: French, of course ;)
Occupation: Art student at the Sorbonne/Sculptor

For a second, Sebastian only stared at her, a puzzled look on his face.  Just when she was starting to regret her honesty-- what guy liked thinking a girl was interested in kissing him because of a competition?-- he threw back his head and laughed. And laughed.  And laughed.

He laughed so hard and long that she stiffened, a little offended.  But he reached for her hand and finally managed to get himself under control.  "You Americans ... always competing.  Always wanting to have more, more, more.  Don't you realize that the best things in lif are about quality, not quantity?"

She nearly swallowed her tongue at the sizzle in his eyes, in his voice, and for the first time since this whole wild adventure had begun, Piper couldn't help wondering if he was right.  "What's wrong with both?" she asked softly.

"Nothing  But don't you know, just like in art, you ned to master one technique before you move on to the next?"  He entwined his long, calloused fingers with her own and Piper couldn't believe how right it felt to be standing there, letting him hold her hand.

"So tell me, Piper," Sebastian said after a moment.  "If I kiss you right now, will that be enough?  Or will you kiss me back and then go to a club and kiss some other guy tomorrow?"

She couldn't breate, couldn't think.  Could brely stand upright as heat streaked along ever nerve ending she had.  "We could-- we could try it."  Was that really her voice, that high-pitched squeak that practically broke the sound barrier?

"Oh, cherie, we're going to do a lot more than try."  His hands trembled a little as they cupped her face, which surprised her even as it made her intensely happy.  And then he kissed her and it was more amazing, more delicious, more real than any and every kiss that had come before it.

So, what do you think???????? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Next on my TBR list...

Sophie Jordan spoke last night at our local writer's meeting. Though I'd met Sophie a couple of times over the years (since we're both Texas authors ... you just sort of run into each other occasionally), I've never read one of her books. However, I'd heard great things about Firelight, her 2010 YA. It's been on my Kindle since the summer, but other things were in the queue first (Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging) or came so heavily recommended by Tracy (Lola and the Boy Next Door) that they could not be ignored. Both of those other books were totally charming, btw.

But now I think it's Firelight's time. Sophie read a short excerpt during the talk and now I totally want to spend the day curled up in the chair reading and sipping hot cocoa. In the interest of full disclosure, I've reached the point in my WIP where I have writer ADD. Today, I would rather write, I'd be willing to curl up in a chair, sip hot cocoa and do my taxes. Yes, it's that bad. But I will be a good girl. I will not read Firelight. I will not drink cocoa (not enough caffeine). Instead, I run full-throttle into the fray that is the big black moment in the book, knowing that when I read the other side, I have a luxurious day of reading waiting for me.

How do you reward yourself after you complete a big project?

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Celebrity Boyfriends

This past August I celebrated my fourteenth wedding anniversary—I was a child bride, obviously. So, it has been a loooooonnng time since I have had a “boyfriend” in the traditional since of the that word. Now, celebrity boyfriends…that’s another story.

Celebrity boyfriends are not new—as long as there have been celebrities, there have been guys and girls crushing on them. However, it was the Friends episode 3.05 that first introduced a more formalized version of these crushes—you know, the laminated card. And while this list is known by many terms in the pop culture vernacular (freebie five, the get out of jail free card), I discovered the term celebrity boyfriends while perusing Stephanie Perkins site and liked it best.

Relationships with celebrity boyfriends are, of course, not based in any sort of reality—I’m not crazy (at least not certifiably…yet), and they rarely take into account the actual personality of the human being behind the face. They are more like romantic choose-your-own-adventure storylines where I’m the flawed heroine and he is the perfect supportive hero, who always knows the right thing to say and do (like whisk me away to Aruba for the weekend on his private jet), and we just dally along in love on the beach forever, never actually progressing to the part of a relationship where he’s leaving his underwear on the floor for the 16,000th time and I become a raving shrew who stops shaving her legs in the winter time.

A celebrity boyfriend list is also nothing if not fluid. I’ve had flings that have lasted a few weeks or months (or until his next movie turns me off him), and long-term relationships that pre-date my husband.  Also, as I’ve, ahem, matured, my tastes have changed, become more refined. I’m more selective on who I’m willing to take on as a celebrity boyfriend—it takes more than just a pretty face to make my list these days (mostly). 

But the obvious beauty of the celebrity boyfriend is that our real life relationship status is never a problem because we will most likely never actually meet, and he can, therefore, never crush the perfect romantic pedestal on which I’ve placed him, and I don't have to shave in the winter if I don't want to.

Also, because I’m greedy, I have two lists these days: one for the current me, and one for the forever frozen in time 25 year old me (because that’s who I still am in my head most of the time):

Present Day Shellee’s List:
1.    Brad Pitt – Um, this should need no explanation. Have you seen him in Moneyball?
2.    Clive Owen – Tall, dark, and perfect
3.    Daniel Craig—but only as 007 in Casino Royale
4.    Christian Bale –on the list since the TNT version of Treasure Island, 1990
5.    Ryan Reynolds – I am not above Scarjo’s sloppy seconds

25 year old Shellee’s List
1.    Brad Pitt – Circa A River Runs Through It, Legends of the Fall
2.    Ryan Gosling – but only if he doesn’t play the ukelele
3.    Alex Pettyfer – like I said, real-life personality is irrelevant when you’re this pretty
4.    John Krasinski – really could go on either list, because I’m not that much older than he, but I totally have a thing for tall, adorkabe guys
5.    Henry Cavil – mmmmmmm, Superman

Who am I missing? Got a celebrity boyfriend, too?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ordinary People: VampireDiaries Episode 9 Recap

Pre-recap commentary: I freakin’ love the Vampire Diaries, obviously. But I can tell I’m so over this originals storyline because a) I missed the first 3 minutes of the show, and didn’t mind; b) I got up several times during the show to do something else; and c) I only took 4 ½ pages of notes instead of my usual 8 for this recap.  VD writers, please move on!!!

INT. Lockwood cavern. Alaric, with Elena and Damon, is sleuthing the viking script  carved into the rock. They’re symbols and names: Rebekah, Elijah, Niklaus.
Cue flashback:  Rebekah, circa pre-Columbian America I’m supposed to believe, is carving said names in the rock. Uh, oh. Daddy won’t like it, Klaus warns. Back in the present, Ric also reveals another name to Elena and Damon: Mikael, Papa Original.

Ric takes photos of the carvings and tries to decipher them while Damon is training Elena in stake-play or foreplay, I can’t tell which. Ric is hitting a wall, however, so Elena figures she’ll go to the original source, as it were, Bekah…who’s working on her cartwheels and forward flips at cheer practice. Why the daddy issues? Elena asks her. Silence from Beks. Fine, we’ll ask him when we wake him, E threatens. We’re doomed, doomed! if you do, B says, but I’m still not talking. Flashback: Elijah and Klaus are play swordfighting. Haha. Until Mikael shows up and schools Klaus. Playtime over. Ric works out a Rosetta stone for the carvings, while Elena updates Damon on the phone about Bekah. How’s Stefan, she asks. Damon looks in the cell. Still broody, he says. Then Elena gets a text invite from Bekah for a chat.

In the cell, Damon and Stefan banter over Lexi’s rehab attempts and Elena. Seemingly pissed over Stefan’s apathy over his situation, Screw it, Damon declares and breaks Stef’s chains, freeing him.

At the Salvatore manse, Bekah has compelled girls to model homecoming dresses. Elena rolls her eyes, so Beks tells her to pick a dress. When E doesn’t, B threatens to bite one until she does. It’s a power play: you only learn what I want you to, she tells E.

Bonnie brings Ric the un-destroyable necklace. And by the way, Jeremy’s an idiot, he tells her. Then he shows her a pic of a symbol carved in the rock that matches the one on the necklace. It means “witch”.

In Stefan’s room, Bekah is pawing through his boxer-briefs. E disapproves. The Original Witch led her family to America to escape sickness or something and they lived among werewolves, in peace. They’d hide out in the cave during the wolves’ time of the month. Until, one night Klaus and their little brother got curious and little brother got mauled to death. The shizz hit the fan after that. Bzzz. It’s D checking in on Elena. He’s at a bar with Stefan. Elena’s pissed.

Damon compels the bartender to give Stefan a drink…from her wrist. Next thing you know, the brothers Salvatore are playing quarters and Damon comments on the irony that this is the Stefan he wanted for so long, but now he wants the old Stefan back. Go figure.

Bekah says she doesn’t get why Elena and Stefan are together. Of course not, because you don’t know the real Stefan, assures E. Whatever, he’s a vampire, answers Beks, and you’re just a puny human. By the way, the necklace in question belonged to the Original Witch, who vamped us as way to keep us safe from the werewolves. Daddy stabbed us all, then made us feed. Then she goes on and on and on about consequences and the upset balance of nature and the white oak, blood lust, yada yada yada…

Meanwhile, Damon’s all coyote ugly on the bar and Stefan’s sucking on the bartender in the corner. Why’d you break me out, big bro? You know it’s gonna piss off Elena. When are you gonna man up and stop being Klaus’s bitch, little brother? Maybe I can be of assistance with that, answers an older man. Mikael, they presume. (If he’s here, what happened to Katherine?)

Why does Mikael want to kill Klaus? E wants to know. The first kill activated Klaus’s latent wolf which revealed Mikael’s cuckolded status, which pissed off Papa Original. So, he ripped out Mama Original’s heart. Their grief bonded the Original Siblings, forever, Bekah vows. You know everything now, so leave, Bekah orders Elena, and can someone please tell me when the house stopped being Elena’s because I don’t remember that part. Elena reminds Bekah that she plans to grind Klaus’s bones to make her bread (Quote game: that’s a quote from which TV show? Anyone?), er, to save her love with Stefan. Go after my brother, and I’ll rip you apart, Bekah declares.

Back at the bar, Mikael questions Stefan about Klaus, who can’t say anything about K’s whereabouts because of the compulsion. Mikael gets pissed so he reaches into Damon’s chest and threatens to tear his heart out if Stefan won’t talk. Ouch, too bad for that pesky compulsion. Damon starts to sweat, but Stefan comes through in the pinch (literally) to save his big bro, again. Wait, I can bring Klaus back, S tells Papa Original.  Fine. Bring him back and I’ll kill him, Mikael states. But if you don’t, I kill you, Stefan.

Ric shows Elena & Bonnie what’s he figured out: the carvings show Mikael killing Esther by ripping out her heart, except it wasn’t Mikael, it was Klaus. He lied to Bekah about what happened. Elena feels it’s her duty to inform Klaus’s sister about this. Bekah doesn’t want to believe it and vamps out, pinning Elena to the wall (where’s the self-defense skills, E?)

Damon warns Stefan that his humanity is showing. Why is Damon trying so hard, Stefan asks. Because I owe you for saving my life over and over and over, Damon responds. Careful, big bro, your humanity is showing. Then for some reason, frustration maybe, Damon puts the hurt on Stefan.

Bekah cries inconsolably back at the manse. Damon is waiting in Elena’s bed. Hey, we’ve got Mikael, he tells her. And Stefan is on our side. Bekah, too, she tells him. Cause it all comes down to family bonds, which is why Damon will be the one to save Stefan—and y’all I totally love Elena and Damon when they’re best friending.

Gawd, I hope there’s some action in next week’s mid-season hiatus; this episode was sooooo boring. And this is a show that should never be boring with so much conflict to work with. Am I the only one here?