Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I first discovered chick-lit like most writers with Bridget Jones during a trip to London just before Christmas in 1996. This was before the book had hit our shores. I was charmed by the book and couldn't wait to recommend it to all my friends. What I loved most about it was the reference to Pride and Prejudice with Mark Darcy. On subsequent trips to London, I picked up other writers, Fiona Walker, Freya North, Jane Green and Sue Margolis among others.
In the meantime, I was struggling in my attempts to write a romance, in particular a category romance. I took a class with Ann Leslie Tuttle at Marymount, where I tried to learn the ropes of writing category. The first thing I learned was that my heroine, who was an actress, was not going to fly, actresses being verboten at the time. So much for writing what you know! I had the meet cute, with the hero and heroine meeting in the first chapter, I found clever ways to keep the hero and heroine interracting, but something was missing. I wondered why I couldn't write a book like the books I'd been reading from England.
Then Bridget Jones hit our shores, and things changed. Publishers discovered that there was a burgeoning market for books like Bridget Jones. Harlequin and Simon & Schuster created their own imprints, as did Kensington. Writers like Melissa Banks and Candance Bushnell were marketed as chick-lit (by the way, I found Sex and the City, the book to be incredibly depressing).
I eagerly retooled my romance for the new City Girl line at Harlequin, which I pitched at the first RWA conference I went to in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the book was rejected exactly one week after 9/11.
I duly plugged away, writing a new book, still reading what was coming out in America. I at first I was frustrated because all the books seemed like retreads, publishing assistants living beyond their means, only concerned with shopping. But I kept writing and reading, finding American authors that I admired. Finally, I decided that maybe I should join a workshop to hone my craft. I found the Queen Bee's workshop through Time Out. She was a published author, whose books I admired. She too was marketed as chick-lit, although I discovered in our first meeting that she disdained the genre. Not just disdained it, she despised it, even though she had personally benefited from being marketed as part of the chick-lit genre.
I had to promise not to refer to my work as chick-lit, so I started calling them contemporary urban comedies, which they were. I still read chick-lit and I tried to show her that not all the books being published with that moniker were bad books or bad writing. I tried to turn her on to Anna Maxted, and Sue Margolis, two writers with whom she shared a sensibility to no avail. She refused to read any chick-lit writers as she decried their writing to all and sundry.
It became apparent, that the writers in the workshop who wrote more literary fiction were favored with promises of quotes once they were published. Her own new manuscript that she was working on in the workshop was about an author who's book had been branded chick-lit. She would bring pages in where the protagonist railed against readers on the subway who were reading the Nanny Diaries or Jennifer Weiner (who she really had a problem with).
I hated having to hide the fact that I considered my work chick-lit, but I figured that I could learn from the other authors, including the Queen Bee, in the workshop. Finally, I had to take a leave to finish the rewrites on my book because an agent had requested the full manuscript. When I returned in the fall, her attitude towards me had drastically changed, or maybe I had. I was no longer willing to pretend that I wasn't writing chick-lit, or hiding the books that I read, while the rest of the workshop discussed The Corrections, or Middlesex.
So the Queen Bee decided to throw me out of the workshop, because she didn't want my kind of writing sullying everyone else's ears. This was after 2 years of being in the workshop. I defended myself vigorously and was finally allowed back in. Don't ask me why I bothered, given her attitude. We took a break over the holidays while she gave birth to her first child. When the workshop started up again, I declined to rejoin. I'd done some soul-searching, and realized that I could pretend to write literary fiction when that's not where my heart lay.
What I love about chick-lit, particularly now, is that there's no much variety. There's the more literary writers like Rebecca Bloom, Jennifer Weiner and Deanna Krizias. There's paranormal chick-lit, multicultural chick-lit, mystery chick-lit, christian chick-lit, and everything in between. But the one constant is that all these books are about women empowering themselves, finding who they are, and where they fit in, and sometimes they wear designer shoes while doing it.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Last night, I was flipping through the channels when I stumbled across a Law&Order, SVU marathon on the USA network. I swear to god, these Law & Order shows are like crack, you can't stop watching them once you start. I couldn't tear my eyes away, except to watch Kept on Vh-1. What I love about this show, is that right or good, doesn't always triumph, which is like real life. Sometimes the bad guys get off. I also love the morally ambiguous ones, the ones that make you think.
I watched one episode which started off as an episode about an orthodox jewish butcher who kills his drug-addicted ex-marine girlfriend when he catches her turning tricks for money to buy drugs, then it morphs into a story about a guy selling body parts from jane and john does in the city morgue, to a story about black market organs. Apparently there aren't enough kidney donors to go around for all the people who need kidney transplants, despite the fact that you can survive with only one kidney. I guess people think it's necessary to be dead first. Anyway, this father buys a black market kidney for his son, and Christopher Meloni has to arrest him for breaking the law, even though he sympathizes with him. It makes you think about what you would do if you had a sick child you needed a transplant desperately. Would you turn to the black market if you could afford it?
Okay, Kept. The premise is that 12 hot and sexy men are chosen to vy for the privilege of being kept by Jerry Hall, the supermodel, for a year. Well, actually VH-1 is going to be keeping them, I don't think Jerry is going to be very involved once the winner is chosen. So these guys show up in England, and their first task is to strip down and put on tiny speedos with the Union Jack on them, cover themselves with goose grease, and swim the Thames River to a boat. Now the Thames is like the Hudson or the East River, here in New York, no one in their right mind would want to go swimming in the river. Jerry tells the camera that she's heard that there are rats in the Thames, but the guys gamely go ahead and dive in. One guy almost drowns, and the two winners get to spend the evening with Jerry and her girlfriends.
Back at the lodge where they are living (in back of Jerry's palatial mansion in Richmond) there aren't enough bedrooms, so the guys have to sleep on the floor and two guys have to hsare a bed. Many years ago, I had a six-month permit to work in the UK. I went to see a flat in Battersea which turned out to be a council flat (think the projects), where several Americans were living. I walked into one of the bedrooms and there was only one bed. Apparently 3 people were sleeping in this bed, and one on the floor. The big thing was when someone moved out and you got to move up to the bed! I'm not kidding. My friend, who was with me, said that she would rather see me sleep on a park bench than sleep in that flat.
Okay back to the men. I have to admit that Vh-1 did a good job picking the guys, some of them are really cute, and you can't beat a free trip to London, but have to wonder what the application process was like. I wish we had seen that. The two guys, Seth and Austen, are partying with Jerry and her friends, including Richard E. Grant, teh actor at a pub, where Seth calls the women broads, and old ladies. clearly Seth is stuck somewhere before the 21st century, when it comes to what to call women. Jerry is quite appalled as any good southern woman would be (she's from Texas, ya'll).
Then the guys are given 20 pounds to buy her a present at Harrods, the biggest department store in the world, although you have to pay a pound to pee there. Most of the guys get her massage oil, and perfume, but Seth gives her the 20 pounds because he declares that there was nothing there that was worthy of her. Brian, also known as the stalker, gives her a gift of a picture of her and Mick with a huge X through Mick's picture. Way to go Brian, of course he gets booted off.
So why would a woman like Jerry Hall, still gorgeous at 49, Mick Jagger's ex-wife, need a show like Kept? Well it's certainly the ultimate revenge on Mick! Plus the whole show revolves around her, so Surreal Life or Celebrity Big Brother for her. And she gets to sleep in her own bed every night. How much fun it must be to play Pygmalion to these guys when once upon a time, Jerry Hall was just a little girl from a small Texas town. She has the greatest accent, it's all haughty and pseudo English like Madonna until she throws in a ya'll and you know that she's still that Southern girl at heart.
So why am I watching? Well it takes place in London, and frankly I'll pretty much watch anything including Prime Minister Question Time if it's set in my favorite city.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Phil Spector in court on Monday, working the white man's afro. Why would you appear in court looking like you'd stuck your finger in a light socket unless you were planning on pleading diminished capacity or the insanity defense?
And now Tyra has booted Janice Dickinson off America's Next Top Model! I'm not suprised. Once Janice decided to do the Surreal Life on VH-1, her days were numbered. Tyra had already made it clear that she thought that Adrienne Curry, the first winner of ANTM, had tarnished the reputation of ANTM by appearing on the show. Adrienne shot back that she never received any of things that she was promised when she won!
There was room for only one diva on ANTM and that is Tyra. Plus, Janice comes from high fashion. As far as I know , she never had a cosmetics contract. The girls that she pushed were always the ones who would do well in courture, and in the high end fash mags like Vogue and Bazaar. But since Cover Girl is now one of the sponsors, and the big prize, the judges are forced to look for the girl who can do both, more Molly Sims, and less Linda Evangelista.
So now they've replaced her with Twiggy Lawson, a supermodel from the 60's. What Tyra couldn't find a top model from the 50's? Lauren Bacall used to be a model in her early days, even appeared in Harpers Bazaar, she wasn't available?
For those who were born after 1975, you cna find information about Twiggy here.
Paris Hilton was quoted as saying that Cannes hadn't seen anything like her appearances since Sophia Loren. Wow, who knew that Paris Hilton knows who Sophia Loren is?
And finally, the dark chocolate M&M's? Thanks alot Mars company for helping me to add 5 pounds! I went to tArget yesterday and bought 4 bags, 2 for me and 2 for a friend, and we can't stop eating them! Way to go!
Friday, May 27, 2005
Apparently I'm secretly evil. Who knew? I certainly didn't maybe because it's a secret! It's Friday here, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they let us out early. It's always hit or miss with investment banks. Sometimes, they're generous and they let us out as soon as the market closes, other times, they're overtly evil and I have to work until at least 5 p.m. Since I'm a temp, they always want someone around to watch the phones, like someone important is going to call at 4:45 on Friday before a holiday weekend.
The sun is out today, which is a good thing. Let's hope that it stays that way all weekend. I'm not doing anything much, except hanging out in the city with friends, catching up on my reading, and finishing up some details before I start the great novel launch on Wednesday, June 1st.
Something to make your weekend a little brighter. Isn't he cute? That's Tyler Florence, the host of Food 911. He can come help me out in my kitchen anytime. I watch the Food Network alot and he's one of my favorite chefs. I've even eaten at Cafeteria here in New York, even though he's no longer associated with the restaurant. Apparently he's opening a new place downtown near where he lives in Chinatown. Guess who'll be one of the first diners! Better put on my stalking shoes (Just kidding! Stalking is wrong, wrong, wrong)
Last night I went out with a handsome friend to Angus McIndoe. If you're in town, and you want a good place to go in the theatre district, Angus is the way to go. It's owned by the former maitre d' from Joe Allen's restaurant, Angus McIndoe (hence the name). I also indulged in two Kir Royales, and they only charged me for one, so you can see why I like to hang out there. Plus you never know you'll see. If you're to celebrity watching, there's always someone eating there. I've seen David Hyde Pierce from Frasier and Spamalot, and Harvey Fierstein, who's playing in Fiddler across the street. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are investors in the restaurant.
Of course, this morning, the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes media blitz is in full swing. They're on the cover of People magazine this week. Along with stories of Rob and Amber from Survivor and Amazing Race, and Mary Kay Letourneau and her new husband, the young man that she molested when he was twelve.
Right now, I feel like I need a shower after reading this week's issue.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Did I miss something? Did Tom Cruise earn a medical degree in between making movies and romancing Katie Holmes? He must have because that's the only explanation I can come up with for his recent remarks about Brooke Shields.
According to reports, Tom makes the astonishing statement in an Access Hollywood interview that Brooke Shields just needed to take some vitamins for her post-partum depression! Really, that's amazing! And he didn't even need to examine her to make that diagnosis. Apparently, the fact that Brooke resorted to Paxil after months of struggle, and resistance to therapy, makes her a drug addict and seriously misguided.
He than made his pronouncement that depression is chemically based, and that vitamins can make a difference. Really Tom? So Susan Smith, and that woman in Texas who killed all her kids, just needed an extra dose of Vitamin C or A in their diet? Come on! You've just done a disservice to the women out there, who suffer silently with post-partum depression. Instead of seeking the help that they might need, they'll continue to suffer, but now with a mega-dose of One-A-Day.
I've had friends who suffer from depression, and Paxil, Prozac, and lithium saved their lives.
Mr. Cruise then went on to bash Brooke's career. Apparently starring on Broadway and The West End is not enough for Mr. Cruise. Tom, if you think Brooke is so talented, why don't you offer her a role in Mission Impossible III, or does the fact that she took Paxil automatically disqualify her from ever acting with you?
I've never been a huge Tom Cruise fan. I think he's an okay actor with the right material, and an even better movie star. I liked him even less after he left Nicole Kidman shell-shocked by the end of their marriage. And he's wearing even thinner now.
Tom, do us all a favor, stick to what you do best, which is being a movie star. I know you're a devout Scientologist, but that doesn't mean that therapy is all bad. Truthfully, if I didn't know better, I would think Tom was on something. That's the only way I can explain his behavior on Oprah on Monday, dragging poor Katie Holmes out on stage, like a prize cow at the state fair to show her off to the audience.
He didn't seem to care that Katie might be incredibly uncomfortable with the PDA, as long as he's happy. I'm surprised that he didn't show off her teeth to Oprah and the audience. We get that your happy. Just dial it down a notch, would ya.
Is anyone else as uncomfortable as I am with the whole Tom Cruise/Katies Holmes romance?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - JK Rowling: Okay, I pre-ordered this book as soon as it was announced. Even though I almost broke my foot reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (God that book was heavy) and it really didn't get going until the last 150 pages, I can't wait to read the next to last installment in the Harry Potter series. I think we've waited long enough, although I give JK Rowling credit for not rushing just to get a book out.
2. Devil's Corner - Lisa Scottoline: Her books are an automatic must read for me. I just read the first chapter over at her website and I plan on going to hear her speak at the police museum here in New York in June.
3. Maybe Baby - Lani Diane Rich: I read Lani's RITA and RT nominated first book Time Off for Good Behavior last fall, and I've been looking forward to reading her first romance. I loved her sarcastic, snarky heroine Wanda.
4. Eleven On Top - Janet Evanovich: You can always be guaranteed a laugh out loud, pee in your pants read from Janet Evanovich. In Eleven On Top, Stephanie decides to quit bond reinforcement with predictable but hilarious results.
5. Confessions of a Serial Dater - Michelle Cunnah: Michelle made it to the top of my must buy list with her first two books. I can't wait for this one.
6. Balancing in High Heels - Eileen Rendahl: Eileen's first double RITA nominated first book Do Me, Do My Roots was one of my favorite books last year. Funny and tres emotionally satisfying, it actually made me cry and sad to leave the characters in the book when I shut the cover.
7. It's in His Kiss - Julia Quinn: I glommed her Bridgerton series over the past few months, so I'm excited to finally get my hands on Hyacinth's book.
8. The Au Pairs, Skinny-Dipping - Melissa de la Cruz: I loved the first book, and I'm a sucker for anything set in the Hamptons.
9. The Anglophile - Laurie Gwen Shapiro - I'm an Anglophile. Enough said.
10. The Givenchy Code - Julie Kenner: I'd read this book for the title alone, but the first chapter had me hooked when I read it on Julie's website. Plus I adored The Spy Who Loved Me.
11. Innocence - Kathleen Tessaro: I'm less than six degrees of seperation from Kathleen Tessaro, so I'm intrigued to how much her new book resembles her life 19 years ago. I thought her first book was a breath of fresh air, and I love the art work.
12. Undead & Unappreciated - Mary Janice Davidson: Kudos to MJD for making the leap to hardcover with her new Undead novel. You gotta love a reluctant vampire queen with a penchant for high end shoes. I like my vampire books funny rather than angsty so I'm looking forward to Betsy's new adventure.
13. The Bitch Posse - Martha O'Connor: I've heard nothing but great things about this book, even from England where it's called the Bitches handbook. I've already reserved this at the library.
14. Soap Suds - Finola Hughes: Finola Hughes was one of my favorite actresses on GH and All My Children where she played Anna Devane, so I was intrigued when I heard that she had written a novel where the heroine is an English soap actress.
15. Question of Love - Isabel Woolff: I may have to order this on Amazon.co.uk before it's published here in the States, since I don't think I can wait that long to read Isabel's new book.
Wow, 15 books! There are other books coming out this summer that I'm interested in, but these were the 15 that really grabbed my imagination and attention.
What are you looking forward to reading this summer?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I hate getting old. My NIA instructor Jason has a strange fondness for the music from Riverdance. Consequently in the middle of an otherwise fun class on Sunday, we had to start clogging. Now my thighs hurt everytime I get up from my chair. I need to start exercising more than twice a week. For four years, I was working out 4 to 5 days a week, and then in the last year, it's trickled down to a paltry two due to lack of finances and sheer boredom with my exercise program. But now that summer (hopefully) is coming, I need to get back on the exercise wagon. I've already limited the chocolate intake to the new dark chocolate M&M's that I finally found this weekend at Walgreen's.
I've added some more blogs that might be of interest as well as more of my favorite writer's websites. Soon, I won't have room for anything else! I found the ladies of the Squawkbox over at another site. A little debate going on over there about chick-lit that I had to weigh in on. I hate people putting all chick-lit into a little box marked 'city girl on the make for love.' The genre has evolved beyond that to encompass, mystery, romance, paranormal, mom-lit, lady-lit and other genres. When it comes down to it, it's all women's fiction, and we need to start supporting each other, instead of tearing each other down. Enough said, off soap box.
I'm still debating whether or not to go to Nationals this year. I've crunched the numbers and it's going to cost me at least $1,200 to attend. The breakdown is as follows:
$345 Conference Fee
$382 for airfare (that's as of yesterday. I'm hoping the airfare will go down)
$300 for 5 nights at conference hotel
$200 for incidentals (that includes hotel transfers, books, food, drinks, and getting to the EWR airport)
So, I've been weighing the pros and cons over the past few days. The cons are of course the cost, and the fact that I have to transfer planes since there are no direct flights from the East Coast to Reno. The pros are: a chance to pitch my newest manuscripts, spending time with friends I only see once or twice a year, it's RWA's 25th anniversary, meeting the other chapter presidents, and basically networking.
There's also the fact that it's tax-deductable once I sell a book. Until then, it comes out of my pocket. Last year, I knew that I was going to go, no doubts. I had a roommate, the whole thing. This year for some reason, I'm dragging my feet. I had been hoping that I would get a scholarship, but I haven't heard one peep from the scholarship people. I could always borrow the conference fee from my chapter and pay them back, but we're worried about losing money right now.
I still have until June 15th to register, although there are only 350 places left.
GH won the Best Show Emmy. Debate is raging on the soap message boards as to how this could be when the show sucks on a daily basis. Apparently the tape they submitted was from the great Port Charles hotel fire of last February when the entire cast was involved, leading the panel to believe that GH is a show that uses it's large cast brilliantly. Psych! It's amazing to me that Y&R, which has been the #1 rated show for 17 years, and is actually outstanding doesn't win it every year.
I watched GH yesterday, and I basically fast forwarded through anything that had to do with Sonny, and his women. The only storyline worth watching is Luke and Tracy, and that's because Tony Geary requested it of the writers, who will basically kiss his and Maurice Bernard's asses. The news in the soap world is the disrespectful way GH has treated Kristina Wagner, replacing her with Sandra Ferguson, because she dared to ask for a contract, since they were revisiting the Maxie/BJ's heart storyline. So now we have 2 actresses in a story-line that they have no history with, and many long-time pissed off viewers, myself included wondering what is up with Guza/Pratt/Frons/Phelps that they keep letting this happen? Now that they've won another Best Show Emmy, they will feel justified to keep ruining the show further as they suck the life out of it.
On the writing front, I've asked 3 friends to read my first 3 chapters of Nearly Famous to see where I might have gone off the rails. And I continue to think that No Plot, No Problem has to be one of the most brilliant books ever written for those writers like me who can't get their heads out of their asses sometimes when it comes to their writing. I've managed to get a real handle on the main character of my next book, and a better idea of where the book is going to go then I did before. I can't wait to start writing it, but I have to wait until next week when June officially starts.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Star Wars Horoscope for Scorpio
You are a powerful character.
You tend to be possessive and lusty - which explains your greedy nature.
You feel threatened when people try to order you around or control you.
You are prone to suspicion and jealousy - but your resilience and passion get you what you want.
Star wars character you are most like: Han Solo
Cool! I'm Han Solo!
I didn't see Star Wars this weekend, and apparently I'm one of the 3 people in the country who didn't go. I do want to see the movie, but I also wanted to avoid the huge crowds. Even with a ticket, you just knew it was going to be pandemonium. I walked past the multi-plex at Union Square and the lines were three deep. I've read comments on line from people who've seen it, so I know it's awesome. When I do go, which will probably be this weekend, I have to see it on the big screen, meaning at a movie theatre that hasn't been chopped into smaller theatres. I'm sure it's playing at the Astor Plaza which is where I saw the first Stars Wars movie, gulp, twenty-eight years ago!
I did watch VH-1's When Star Wars ruled the world. God it brought back memories. I remember seeing Star Wars like 12 or 13 times when it first came out. Back then, you could sit in the movie theatre for hours and no one cared. You never had to come out and pay again, you just wanted until the next showing. My friends and I would sit through the movie twice in one day.
I wanted to be in the next Star Wars movie, that's how much I loved it. I had the Star Wars sheets, the comics, the posters, I read the novels. I was obsessed by it, but then I'm a Scorpio and we can get a little intense about our passions. Just ask Pat Buchanan! I kind of when off the movies when the next trilogy started. As much as I love Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan, Hayden Christensen sucks as Anakin Skywalker in the second film, and Natalie Portman looks like she would rather be anywhere than in the movies.
Desperate Housewives was awesome last night. The producers promised that we would finally find out what the story was behind Mary Alice's suicide and we did. They also promised that a major character would die, and he did. However, was it just me, or did the episode not feel like the season finale? I kept expecting to see previews for next week. The reviewer over at EW had some valid points about the episode. Why didn't Susan say anything to Zack about Mike's dog Bongo? Also, where did the dog disappear to while Zack was holding Susan hostage? I had no problem with Bree getting a phone call from the hospital saying that Rex had passed away. When my father passed away, the hospital called me to let me know. Even on Wisteria Lane, doctors don't make housecalls to tell you about the deceased. I was curious as to where Bree and Rex's daughter disappeared to. Where was she? Or Andrew?
The Lynette and Tom storyline was a given. You knew that Lynette was going to have to go back to work. What was interesting was now she seems not to want to. There also seemed to be a missing scene between Gabby and John. Jesse Metcalfe said in an interview that he filmed a pretty juicy scene with Gabrielle for the finale but it wasn't there. The missing scene they showed on Good Morning America was just a continuation of the hospital scene with the women.
Can GMA just get off the Desperate Housewives bandwagon now? They've milked this show for everything that it's worth. That goes for ABC in general. Fro the next few months, I don't want to see the ladies guest hosting on The View or kibitzing with Regis and Kelly anymore. Let's have some peace, so that we can miss the women until fall.
And can the media just give Dan Brown a rest? GMA hyped some Da Vinci code thing which I watched this morning. It was the same retread of stuff that Elizabeth Vargas went over last year in the Da Vinci code special on ABC News. Frankly, I'm tired of the Da Vinci code and I'm sure that Dan Brown is too. Nothing new gets said in these specials. They're have been so many books going over the mythos of the Da Vinci Code right now, it's overkill.
Frankly, Angels and Demons is a better book. I'm surprised that they didn't dredge that book up with the election of the new pope. It would make for a much better special, not that Dan Brown needs any help selling books. When the new book is published you can guarantee, it's going to fly off the shelves, just on his name alone. It doesn't even have to be good right now, everyone will just want to see what he came up with.
I just finished Jill Kargman and Carrie Kasparov's book, Wolves in Chic Clothing. The plot is actually based on a story that was profiled in New York magazine on PR Princesses. A young salesgirl who worked at Betsey Johnson was turned into the latest 'It-Girl' by some bored Park Avenue Princesses. They were quite pleased with themselves until She had an affair with one of their husbands, and then they turned on her. In the book, the girl is a young woman named Julia who works for a posh Jewelry store called Pelham's (think Tiffanys or Cartier) who is taken up by the owner's daughter and her posse. The book is rather slim, and short on details. You sort of wanted to know just a little bit more about these people and what made them tick. The book could have benefited by at least 75 more pages. It wasn't quite as much fun as Bergdorf Blondes. I would have to give it a B-
Right now, I'm reading Chris Baty's No Plot, No Problem. I need to start a new book, and all I have are the characters, and a vague idea of what the plot is going to be. The book is based on National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it's called for short. Participants try to write a 50,000 word book in a month. Wow, writing 7 days a week that comes out approximately 6 pages a day. That's extremely doable (she say's crossing her fingers) for a rough draft. Since my goal is twice that, I'm giving myself 2 months to write my next book. I know it's possible, I've done it before.
I plan to start the writing next week in June, and I'll document my process here for you all, to see if I can finish 3/4 of the book by Nationals in order to pitch both books. Wish me luck!
Sunday, May 22, 2005
High heels are my passion, stilettoes, strappy sandals, boots. You'll never see me in a pair of Birkenstocks, unless I've been brainwashed by aliens. Sensibly, I draw the line at anything over 4 inches, I don't want to be crippled. I believe that you can never have too many pairs of black shoes, but I've learned over the years to love gold, silver, red, and navy blue shoes as well.
I don't just cover any shoes, I covet designer shoes, and not just the usual suspects, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, the princes of high-end shoes, I talking about Christian Louboutin, Sigerson Morrison, Hollywoud, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Guisepppe Zanotti, Gina, and Chanel. I probably know the names of more shoe designers than I do Presidents of the United States. When you think about it, which is more important in the long run?
I love shoes so much, I've been known to ask complete strangers on the street, where they bought their shoes! My favorite issues of Lucky magazine, are the ones where they list the best shoes for the season. I've often wished that I had sample size feet (size 5 or 6) so that I could shoe model. I know theiminute that I win the lottery, I'm on a bus out to Woodbury Common or Jersey Gardens to the outset stores to buy shoes.
In the meantime, I settle for Nine-West, the occasional Via Spiga shoes on sale, Aerosoles, and other knock-offs of the shoes that I crave. I had planned on buying a pair of Jimmy Choos or Blahniks for my 40th 1/2 price, but I went to London instead (that's another obsession). The first thing that I plan on buying after I get my first advance, are a pair of shoes to treat myself. After all, I deserve it, after 6 years of writing. One of my goals is not retirement, it's being able to go to the Christian Louboutin sample sale, and actually being able to buy shoes.
I work my whole wardrobe around my shoes. Seriously. For example, last summer, I bought a pair of pale pink trimmed with red, high-heeled open toe sling-backs on sale at Banana Republic. I had nothing in my closet to match these shoes, but I had to have them, consequently, I had to go and buy clothes to match my shoes.
I take extraordinary care of my shoes, more than I do my own clothes. I have boots that I've resoled 5 or 6 times, because I love them so. I keep my shoes in their boxes, snuggled in safety, until I decide to wear them. I keep pictures taped to the outside of the box, so I know what's in them.
Of course, I have my favorite places to buy shoes, Anbar, Loehmann's and Century 21 top the list. Century 21 now has a whole seperate section of the store just for shoes! And now DSW has come to town. God save me! I went there yesterday, because I have these $10 off coupons that have to be used by June 14th. Sigh! It was like I had died and gone to shoe heaven. I roamed the aisles practically salivating at the Prada and Kate Spade shoes that were just out of my reach.
And then I saw them, hot pink strappy Charles David sandals, on sale for $79.00 marked down from $150. Not only that but they were an additional 20% off, plus my $10.00, for a grand total of $58.00 with tax. Now, I hesitated before buying them, not because I don't have anything in my closet because I do, but I knew that I was heading down a dangerous road.
I tried them on , they were like butter. I walked around in them, trying to decide. They talked to me, convinced me that they belonged with me, I listened, and now they reside on top of my closet in their little box, just waiting for their debut. The store clerk also convinced me to sign up for a rewards card. Yikes! I'm in so much trouble!
So now my summer wardrobe will be filled with hot pink, orange, lime green, and purple, all to compliment my new summer sandals.
I'm off to get a pedicure to compliment my new shoes.
Friday, May 20, 2005
THE HORMONE WARNING:The Hormone Hostage knows that there are days in the monthwhen all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life inhis own hands! This is a handy guide that should be as commonas a driver's license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, or significant other!
DANGEROUS: What's for dinner?
SAFER: Can I help you with dinner?
SAFEST: Where would you like to go for dinner?
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate
DANGEROUS: Are you wearing that?
SAFER: Wow, you look good in brown.
SAFEST: WOW! Look at you!
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate
DANGEROUS: What are you so worked up about?
SAFER: Could we be overreacting?
SAFEST: Here's my paycheck.
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate
DANGEROUS: Should you be eating that?
SAFER: You know, there are a lot of apples left.
SAFEST: Can I get you a glass of wine with that?
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate
DANGEROUS: What did you do all day?
SAFER: I hope you didn't over-do it today.
SAFEST: I've always loved you in that robe!
ULTRASAFE: Have some more chocolate.
Pass this on to all of your hormonal friends and those who might need a good Laugh! Or men who need a warning.
And remember: Money talks....But Chocolate sings
13 Things PMS Stands For
1. Pass My Shotgun
2. Psychotic Mood Shift
3. Perpetual Munching Spree
4. Puffy Mid-Section
5. People Make me Sick
6. Provide Me with Sweets
7. Pardon My Sobbing
8. Pimples May Surface
9. Pass My Sweatpants
10. Pissy Mood Syndrome
11. Plainly; Men Suck
12. Pack My Stuff
And my favorite one...
13. Potential Murder Suspect
Today reminds me of London weather. Dark, dismal, the type of day when you just want to stay in doors in your pajamas, drinking a strong cup of tea, eating Hob-Nobs (plain chocolate of course), and reading a good book, Jane Austen perhaps, maybe Persuasion or Mansfield Park. Or watching the soaps. Crap TV and crap weather, perfect together. Tonight, I'll probably be watching the daytime Emmy's.
Meanwhile, it's as cold as a meatlocker in the office. I'm wearing my jacket to stay warm right now, while I wait for the next round of expenses that I have to do. Nothing exciting planned for the weekend, I'm poor right now due to my enforced unemployment for the past two weeks, so The Taste of Tribeca food festival is out tomorrow. I had planned to go with friends, but I can't really justify spending $35 for food, not unless I'm getting a complete meal, along with alcohol. I went last year, and had a good time, although it got really crowded really fast. It was also hot last year, and I drank a glass of champagne, and then indulged in a wine tasting. It might be less crowded tomorrow because of the weather, but I'd rather spend that $35 on groceries for the week. I need to start bringing my lunch again to work, to save money.
Midtown is mucho expensive, and I have a tendency to always end up going to the most expensive of all, Dishes, located two blocks away. The salad bar is phenonmenal, but it's pricey. $10 for Noodle soup.
I had planned on blogging today about current events, but the biggest thing on the news is still Mary Kay Letorneau's wedding to the guy she had underage sex with. I'm sorry, but am I the only one creeped out by the whole idea of them getting married? I know that he's now of age, but it still doesn't make it acceptable. She's spend what? 7 years in prison and is probably a registered sex offender. I don't know if she could be classified as a pedophile necessarily, since she's marrying an adult. What I don't get is why Entertainment Tonight as devoted a whole week to covering the story. How by all that is holy is this story entertainment news? But there's Jann Carl interviewing them, showing clips of their rehearsal dinner. Apparently, Mary Kay is planning on wearing white, and their two daughters will be in attendence.
At least the story has replaced the whole 'Runaway Bride' debacle.
I also saw a brief flash of the front cover of the London Sun, which apparently has a picture of Saddam Hussein in a pair of tighty whities on the cover. Ewww! Truthfully, does anyone really want to see that?
God, Bradley Cooper is cute! I'm sorry, CNBC is doing a newstory on the Fall Season, and his cute face just flashed across the TV screen. He's doing some show called Kitchen Confidential, not to be confused with the Anthony Bourdain book of the same name, although he plays a chef.
So back to the news, more bombings in Iraq, Los Angeles just elected their first Hispanic mayor since California began a state apparently, which means that Fernando Ferrer is hoping to do the same in New York. Still, I found myself wandering over to the Arts and Travel section. Read a great article on Venice in The New York Times. I went to Venice for the first time last year, as an early 40th birthday present to myself, and I absolutely fell in love with it's decayed charm. I can't wait to go back, hopefully next time with a partner.
Well, I apparently didn't get the job at Viacom so back to the drawing board. I also have to see about how I'm going to pay to go to Nationals this year. There are only 350 places left which I'm amazed by, considering what a bitch it is to get to Reno. Maybe all those West Coast members are going since it's relatively easy for them, compared to the dog and pony show it's going to take for the rest of us.
Since the weather isn't planning on cooperating, I'll be spending my time working on the manuscript for Nearly Famous. I plan on asking a few friends to read the first 3 chapters, before I start querying. I feel like there's something missing in the first 3 chapters, some punch, but I don't know what it is. I need to figure it out before I go ont to the rest of the rewrites. And then it's on to what to write next. I think I need to read more of the Secrets anthologies before I trying writing one to get a really good sense of what they're looking for.
I have a few other ideas. I wrote one chick-lit romantic comedy, so now the choice is more chick-lit or a real romance?
I also have to do some digging and try to find my tax records from 1998. Apparently Viacom doesn't have any record of me before 2004, so my background check looks a little fuzzy. If I can't find it, I'll either have to call Viacom and find out what's what, or call my accountant, and see what kind of records that they have. I can't believe that they expunged all the records, they have to be somewhere. I'll just have to play detective and see what's what. I can't wait. Nothing like digging through dusty records.
If the weather stays crappy as planned, maybe I'll splurge and see Kingdom of Heaven. It didn't get great reviews, but Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, and Jeremy Irons can't be sneezed at.
Nothing like getting a request for the full to make you dig down and do the work.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
So, since I was in such a crappy mood, I thought I'd clue you all in on some things that just annoy the hell out of me. Perhaps you can relate to my pain.
1. Why is it that the office can be freezing, but the bathrooms are nice and toasty. Yesterday, my office was as cold as the arctic, but I went to the bathroom, and it was so nice I never wanted to leave. It's May, and the weather lately hasn't been that warm, 50-60 degrees out, but inside it's below freezing. During the summer months, I literally have to wear a sweater in doors, to keep from freezing my ass off, and then I go out side and it's a sweat box. No wonder people keep getting sick.
2. Investment bankers who wait until the last minute to turn in their expenses, and then hand over a years worth of expenses for you to do. And they expect you to turn them around like in a day otherwise they won't get paid for their out-of-pocket expenses until the next paycheck. My heart pours piss for you guys.
3. People who stand around Times Square staring at the tall buildings. Now, I know that they're tourists, and I should be happy that they're pouring money into the cities economy, but there's nothing more obnoxious than trying to walk down the street during rush hour, and having to navigate your way around people who are crowding the sidewalks, craning their necks. Come on, they're not that interesting. And then they want to take pictures of said tall buildings. For crying out loud! It's only a building, not Brad Pitt.
4. Reality TV finales that last for 3 hours. You know who I'm talking about. That's right, The Bachelor squeezing every last ounce of suspense out of a dying franchise. See Charlie cry, see Krissly say she's nervous, see Sarah say she's nervous, see Charlie cry. See the girls watching themselves on TV, see them talking to Charlie on the phone, see Chris Harrison do another recap, see the girls families, see Charlie say he's nervous, repeat ad naseum, for 3 SOLID HOURS. Feel your ears bleed from the tedium of having Chris Harrison repeat once again that the show is live. Was 3 hours necessary? Of course not. They could crammed the whole show into 2 hours tops, but ABC in their 'we're now successful again' hubris, decided to put the final nail in the coffin of The Bachelor by boring us to death. Then they announce that the show won't be back till 2006!
5. Commercials and previews that give away the show: Do I really need to see The OC tonight? I already know what's going to happen. Kirsten gets really drunk, they stage an intervention, and Marissa might possibly be shot. The OC could take a lesson from Desperate Housewives on how to build suspense. There was so much good stuff in Sunday's episode besides the stuff we saw in the previews, like Carlos beating up another one of Gabrielle's suspected lovers and getting arrested for a hate crime. Lynnette screwing Tom's career again, Bree making the bed while Rex had a heart attack, Mrs. Tilman's conversation with Mike, Edie trying to stage an intervention with Susan.
6. Secretaries who try and treat temps like their bitches. Just because I'm a temp, doesn't mean I'm incompetent. I've been doing this for almost twenty years now. Guess, what Lincoln freed the slaves. Don't treat me like an idiot, learn my name, and give me the same respect that I give you.
7. People who automatically shorten your name without asking. My name is Elizabeth, it's not Liz, Betsy, Lizzie, Beth, Bess, or any other variation. If I wanted you to call me Liz, I would introduce myself as Liz.
8. Stunt casting. Will & Grace is particularly guilty of this. Every other week, they have some celebrity guest star. Sometimes it works, Ed Burns, Matt Damon, Lily Tomlin, Buck Henry, Cher, most of the time it's a distraction. It's almost like they're waving a flag for the viewer, 'Who look who wants to be on our show this week!" If you have to rely on guest stars to pull in viewers, somethings wrong. Why not try writing a good show?
9. Alias - I loved this show in its first season as Sydney Bristow tried to balance having a life, while being a secret agent. Learning that her father to was a secret agent, and that he was also trying to take down Arvin Sloane and SD-6. Now the show is all about the agency. We hardly ever see Syd doing anything normal. I'm tired of Rambaldi, I'm tired of whether or not Sloane is good or evil. I don't care anymore. They lost me last season when they copped out and made Vaughn's wife evil, lessening the triangle between Vaughn, Lauren, and Syd. The only thing keeping me watching right now is Lena Olin, and Spy Mommy.
10. Where in the hell can I find the dark chocolate M&M's? I've tried Rite-Aid, Duane Reade, CVS, Food Emporium, Gristedes and Walgreens, and they still prove elusive. I've been teased for weeks by the commercials. Apparently consumers in Dallas and LA have access to them, but I have yet to see them in Manhattan. I'm dying here. Dark chocolate is my absolute weakness. If anyone has a lead on the dark chocolate M&M's please let me know. I will be eternally grateful.
Well, that's it the ten things that most annoy me right now. Is there anything that particularly sticks in your craw? Let me know.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
But Keith Urban, the Australian guy who sings country is totally cute, and who can deny that Tim McGraw is hot. Not to mention little Kenny Chesney who just married Renee Zwellweger, and I saw a few other hotties in the audience and singing on stage.
Okay, enough about men. I meant to blog about YA novels today, but I got distracted by all the cute guys. I was reading over at Diana Peterfreund's blog the other day about the market for YA novels. YA is really hot right now. It seems that alot of publishers are looking for really well written high concept YA novels that are good, not the Sweet Valley High crap, but more The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or Gossip Girl. Dorchester has the Smooch Line and NAL has JAM coming out. It seems like every author has a young adult project coming out, including Melissa Senate, Marianne Mancusi, Nicole Burnham, Alesia Holliday (as Jax Abbott), and even my friend Marley has a YA partial. Actually she has 2 YA partials.
I have a guilty secret. I never really read YA when I was a teenager or even in college. I pretty much stopped reading YA in seventh grade. It just didn't interest me to read about teenagers when I was one and hating it. I think the only YA novel that I remember reading in high school was by Norma Klein. Most of the time, I read either romance novels or biographies. Or I was reading classic literature for my English class, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, that sort of thing. I read Madame Bovary and hated it.
None of my friends read YA either unless it was Catcher in the Rye (which I still haven't read). We read a Seperate Peace and Lord of the Rings but that was for class. The rest of the time people were reading Ken Kesey or Tom Wolfe. We were sophisticated NY teens, most of whom had been reading on a college reading level since 6th grade. What did YA have to offer us?
I watched Dynasty, Dallas, and Knots Landing or Masterpiece Theatre on television. My idea of a fun read was I, Claudius. I hated being a teenager. Like the character in 13 going on 30, I couldn't wait to be an adult, out of the house, and pursuing my acting career. My teen years were wasted on me. I was never one of those people who thought that my teen years or college years were the best years of my life. I still think my 40's are going to be the best years of my life, and onward.
Now, that I'm thirty-something (okay 40, but 40 is the new thirty, just ask Teri Hatcher), I find that in the past few years, I've been reading more YA novels. Maybe it's all those years of watching 90210, or Buffy, or seeing The Princess Diaries movies, but I suddenly found myself in the YA section.
Wow! It's certainly exploded from when I was a teen, and I was searching the Coliseum Bookstore for the latest Harlequins and Silhouettes. I first started out reading Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series, and then I discovered Christopher Golden's series of books about a college student, Jenna, who worked for the county medical examiner as her school job, and the supernatural mysteries that she was involved in. Then I discovered Fearless, and Gossip Girl.
Soon, I was hooked. Perhaps reading YA gives me a chance to experience those things that were foreign to a private school teen from NYC. I mean we didn't have a football team, cheerleaders, homecoming. None of the guys on our basketball team would have made a 3 string college team. We certainly lacked school spirit. Everyone went to the prom, because if you didn't there wouldn't have been a prom, there were so few of us. My graduating class was comprised of 34 seniors, 19 girls and 15 boys, most of whom had been going to school together since we were 5. By graduation, we were sick of each other.
Reading YA, I get to experience the teen years and experiences that I didn't have. It also shows me that the more the world changes, the more things stay the same. Teens today might all have cellphones, I-Pods, computers, X-Box, and more freedom or disposable income, but they worry about the same things that we worried about. What am I going to do with my life? Do I have to decide now, what if I don't get into a good college, am I screwed? Does he like me? Why am I weird? Will I ever grow breasts? Why are my parents such losers?
I know I'm not the only adult reading YA novels. I borrowed my first Gossip Girl novel from a woman in my writer's workshop, who is also in her thirties. She writes lyrical, beautiful, literary fiction. In fact her first novel, her agent considered sending it to YA publishers, but she turned it down.
Having said that, I don't know that I want to write YA. I feel the same way about Regency novels. I adore reading them, I know a lot about the period, but I feel that everyone is writing in that time period, and what could I say that would be different? Unusual, what high concept could I come up with? I don't know that I could really add to the genre.
Plus, I have too many ideas perculating as it is to jump on the YA bandwagon. I'd rather leave it to the writers who are passionate about it, rather than try to muscle in just because it's whats hot right now.
In the meantime, I'll be waiting for the new Harry Potter, and reading A-List and Gossip Girl.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Okay, I've just taken a little potty break, and also watched the phones, while the other assistant went to get lunch. I've got to say that the bathrooms here at Barclay are outstanding. They are clean, almost like hotel or restaurant bathrooms. I've never seen anything like it at an investment bank. The bathrooms at Morgan Stanley were particularly skanky. Hardly ever clean, and people would forget to flush, because they were the automatic flushing kind. But you still have to flush, if they didn't automatically, otherwise, the person after you might get a nasty surprise.
Anyway, what does this have to do with Hot British Guys? Absolutely nothing. Just making use of my observational skills, like noticing that my nipples were on alert, because of the air conditioning.
Marianne Mancusi over at Cosmos and Chat is the one who started the discussion on Hot British guys after seeing Alfie with Jude Law over the weekend. I've always had a thing for Hot British Guys, in fact that could be theme of my life: In Search of Hot British Guys. Imagine me in the role of Jim, Marlon Perkins trusty sidekick on Wild Kingdom.
What is it about British men that makes them so attractive? Is just the accent? I don't know. You have to admit they can make even an insult so exceedinly charming. It's certainly not their bodies. American men are in way better shape than most Brits. Maybe it's their intelligence, and the ability not take themselves seriously, unless you're discussing the fall of the British Empire. They're a nation of eccentrics, loveable and not so loveable, they even erect statues to them. They care about their history. Plus, most of the great literature and poetry of the past 400 years is British. That can't be sneezed at. They come in all shapes and sizes, from beanpole to beefy. And they use words like surly and churlish in a sentence. I don't think American guys even know what churlish and surly mean, let alone how to use them in sentence.
I blame all the Harlequin Presents that I read as a pre-teen, and teenager. They were full of impossibly handsome British alpha males, dark hair, blue eyes, tall, broad-shouldered. Imagine my surprise, when I went to England for the summer when I was sixteen, and none of these men were to be found. Apart from Prince Andrew (thank god he looks more like Prince Philip than the Queen), most of the guys I met had bad teeth. They looked more like Prince John in The Lion in Winter than Timothy Dalton.
He was another early crush. I think I'm one of only 5 people in the world who liked his interpretation of James Bond. To this day, his Bond movies are the only ones I've seen more than once.
And then there was Malcolm. Not classically handsome, Malcolm looked like a Jewish Paul McCartney. I had such a mad crush on him, as only a sixteen year old who has only had two boyfriends, can have a crush. I'd always liked older men, and Malcom was 22 to my sixteen. He was also an Aries, starting a lifelong addiction to Aries men, that I'm still trying to figure out. Alas it was not to be, but I still find myself wondering what ever happened to him.
The search continued. There had to be a Hot British man who wasn't an actor or a singer, someone more on my level. I mean it's all very well to fantasize about Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Simon Le Bon and company, but I wanted my own Hot British man.
During my junior semester abroad, the only British men I came in contact with were the Brits, my flatmate dragged home from Punch and Judy in Convent Garden. Literally, she would go out to Punch and Judy on a Saturday night and bring home some guy who lived in the middle of nowhere Kent, and he'd just missed the last train out, and could he spend the night at our place? Luckily, none of them were an axe-murderer. There was Keith, the Anglo-Indian from Goa, Paul the Scot, and Roland, the supposed Prince of Kiev (don't ask, my roommate could b exceptionally gullible). The other Brits that I met were gay, friends of my other flatmate.
Flash forward, I'm studying drama in London. Not one, but two Englishmen on my program. I develop a passionate crush on one of them, Andrew. Again, not classically handsome, but a complete sweetheart, and incredibly sexy, although he would have been hard-pressed to believe it. Half Chilean, he was a bit like the actor, Hugh Laurie, another one of my favorites. Very intelligent, very funny, amazing voice, and very sweet.
Then there was Jonathan, much more along the lines of a romance hero. Dark and brooding, with sensuous lips. Too bad, he was involved with another woman on the program, who I adored. And then my favorite person of all, Philip, blonde, gregarious, quick-witted, an American in a Brit's body. The posh boys, I called them, since all three were classmates at Eton. Again, it was not be, because he and my friend Joanna sort of fell for each other.
A few years later, work permit in hand, I went back to London for four months. Eureka, a bonanza of British guys all at my fingertips. Than I met him, the first love of my life. He was Scottish, from Aberdeen, and knew from the minute I met him, that he was the one. He was romantic, sexy, loved history, good food and wine, and had beautiful blue eyes. Unfortunately, he had an ex-girlfriend he still wasn't over. Despite asking me to move to Hong Kong with him, he threw me over for the ex.
Then back in New York, I met my impossibly handsome British friend. He was everything a Hot British Guy ought to be. Tall, broad-shouldered, dark hair, hazel eyes, it hurt just to look at him, he was so handsome. Alas, we had no chemistry, except on stage. Granted, we were both involved in other relationships when we met, but even we were both single, no sparks. Wouldn't you know it. I finally find the Harlequin Presents man of my dreams, and I had to settle for just being friends, plus over the years, he's slept with all my friends, so it would be a little creepy if we got together. Still, there are times, when I look at him, and think, god he's gorgeous! You just want to lick him, he's so handsome. Trust me on this, I'd how you a picture but I'm blogger illiterate about the whole picture thing. If you've ever watched Dharma and Greg, he's Greg but with a British accent.
One of my BFF's (best friends forever) was dating an A Hot British Guy or so she said. She described him as a looking like James Bond. I once saw a picture of this guy in a magazine, since at the time she didn't allow any of friends to meet him, or just me actually. All I have to say is she must have been watching Bond films without her contact lenses or she meant the Carry on version, because there was no way he was a Hot British guy.
Hot British Guys don't have birthmarks that look like a hippotamus gave them a hickey!
So, now I've given up on the Hot British guy in real life, confining my dreams to guys like Clive Owen, Sean Bean, James Purefoy, Ioan Gruffud, and Ben Daniels. Every Tuesday night you'll find me in front of my TV watching House with Hugh Laurie, or anything with Colin Firth, hands down the perfect British Guy. Hottest would have to go to Clive Owen.
Monday, May 16, 2005
I hit the ground running this morning, with a bunch of travel reservations that had to be changed. Unfortunately the assistant who I'm filling in for today, filed all her documents in word in the wrong directory, so I had to do a search to find the intineraries to make the changes. Then she didn't leave me her internet password, so I had to search across her desk for it. Damn, I would jabbed my eyes out with the letter opener if I hadn't found it. Otherwise, I would have been twiddling my thumbs all day long.
I have no access to the A drive. I can understand why they do it. This why you can't bring lovely computer viruses from home to your network computer, but it makes it difficult to do revisions or print out the pages I need for my book. So, I now have to email myself all relevant documents. Can you say headache?
I managed to write my June President's letter by the skin of my teeth. I cheated this month, and wrote my top ten beach reads, instead of some heartfelt President's letter about Father's day or other crap. I'll reprint it in the next few days, see what other people think. I had to eliminate tons of books to come up with ten but since I'm limited to around 750 words, what can I do.
On the way back from lunch, I got lost trying to find my desk which was really fun. I kept going the wrong way because it all looks the same. I still have an hour to go. Yikes!
So I'm blogging to pass the time. Nothing much to report. I took a quiz over at Vanessa Virtue to see which Desperate Housewife I was. Apparently, I'm Gabrielle! I don't know how that happened, if anything I'm much more prone to being Lynette than Gabrielle, which a pinch of Susan thrown in there for spice. Thank god, I'm not Edie though. That would be frightening.
I meant to blog over the weekend, but you know how it is, with my busy social life. Can't get to the computer. Actually, this is the second weekend in a row, where I was actually busy. Not dating, or anything really interesting like that, but I did get out and about.
Saturday, after Pilates, I headed down to 34th Street for a spot of shopping. Popped into Aerosoles to see if they had the shoes that I wanted in gold. Of course they didn't. Ever since they were featured in In Touch magazine, all the gold sandals have been out of stock. Damn you Eva Longoria!
Not that she wears Aerosoles on her pampered tootsies. No this was one of those steal her style features. The gold Aerosole sandals were close enough to the no doubt $500 Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo's that she was wearing with her BeBe top.
I added two new blogs to the list, Liz Maverick, whose Adventures of an Ice Princess I started reading on the 3 trains I had to take to get to work this morning (can you tell I'm a little peeved?). Also Mary Janice Davidson, author of the Undead series, has also started a blog. I thought of including her on my list of beach reads. Darn it! She would definitely be number 11. I love the Undead series. I also didn't include the Harry Potter books, because I didn't think it was fair since I'd have to include all 6 books.
Saturday night, I went over to a small gathering on the Upper West Side. MC was in town from London, and we were all gathered for an impromptu cocktail party. I first met MC twelve years ago, when I played Perdita in The Winters Tale, at the late West Side Repertory Theatre. We've kept in touch on and off over the years, and whenever I'm in London, I give her a ring, or I see her with Lucia. We also had a fabulous time in Venice last year at Carnivale. MC has the best life with houses in Granada, Cornwall, a flat in New York, and one in London. Of course they're doll size, but you can't go wrong with real estate.
Of course, no cute guys were there, no it was a total bust that way, but I did meet some interesting people, and had a great discussion bashing Bush with Elf's new fiancee (Yes, her name is Elf, don't ask).
Sunday was the AIDS Walk. Again, no cute straight guys, but it was for a good cause, so I can't really complain. I walked 10 miles yesterday, if you count the 9th Avenue Food Festival, and I'm still tired today, not to mention that my back is killing me. I met a potential massage therapist while walking, and I managed to raise 3/4 of the $800 I wanted to raise. I still have till June 1st to raise more money, so I will be contacting people. It's not over yet!
I had a great time at the Food Festival, although there weren't nearly as many restaurants from the neighborhood participating this year. I tried to look for cute guys but it was impossible. It was hot, and then it rained for about ten minutes, and then got hot again. It's hard to look for cute guys when you are dog tired. I came home, took a nap, watched Charmed and Desperate Housewives, and was off to dreamland by 11:00 p.m.
Very worried about Lynnette on DH. There's one episode left to the season, and I'm afraid she's really screwed things up with Tom this time, but maybe it's a good thing. Clearly, she's not meant to be a stay-at-home Mom. I would love it if they did a role reversal, and had Tom be a Desperate Housewive next year. Can't you just see Edie and Tom playing poker?
Friday, May 13, 2005
What am I talking about? Well, let me tell you about my day. It started off normally enough when I reported to Barclay Capital Markets for my new temp job (good) where I had to be fingerprinted 3 times (bad). You'd think after all this time, they could figure out a way to make carbons of fingerprints. After I'd wiped all the crap off my fingers, I then had to go over for my drug test (bad). Why bad? Have you ever taken a drug test? Do you enjoy having to pee in a little tiny cup only half-way? Not to mention it's that time of the month!
I had to run home after the test to change because I felt so disgusting afterwards. I then met one of my vice-presidents, Darla, to check out a new space for our Golden Apple Awards (good) at the Pen and Brush club.
This place was perfect, just the sort of place that you would want to have an awards ceremony for members of the publishing industry. The Pen and Brush Club is an organization for women who are in the arts, poets, painters, writers. The club was founded in 1894, a few years after The Players Club which wasn't open to women.
The room is big and spacious, with plenty of light, a pantry area where we can set up the food, and most important of all, plenty of chairs. The only problem were the fact that we have to apply for a liquor license, and have liability insurance (bad). We have to present our case to the board, and I hope they approve, because I think that we will have a better turn-out in a new space.
To celebrate I went shopping at Ann Taylor Loft where I bought 4 items on sale, and then got an additional 20% off (very good). When I got home, there was a letter from my bank saying the New York Department of Taxation had put a levy on my IRA account, and the bank was charging me an additional $100 fee for the legal processing (very, very bad). I immediately called up the NYDT and complained vociferously, even going to the point of asking to speak to a supervisor. Apparently, my letter requesting a payment plan was not recorded, along with the other 3 letters I wrote requesting a payment plan. The upshot being, I know have a payment plane for the next 8 months to pay off this debt, and they are goinog to fix things with my bank. Now, I just have to write my bank to get them to credit that $100 charge. (Very good if it happens).
Went out to eat (very good), after picking up several movies at the library including the remake of The Stepford Wives with Nicole Kidman (very bad but free). I ran into an actor that I used to see at the Players Club, Chuck Harris, who still looks gorgeous. He's one of the few blonds that I've ever had the hots for. He's no longer acting, moved into documentary film-making, but he inspired an idea for a novella, that I want to write (good).
So, I would say that my Friday the 13th was equal parts bad, and good. Anybody else have a bad Friday the 13th or an average Friday?
In the meantime, Keep the Faith.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
In the meantime, Renee Zellweger got married to country singer Kenny Chesney. WTF? The first I heard they were even seeing each other was when she showed up at one of his concerts to give him a margarita, and now they're married.
That must have been some margarita.
I wonder if I could get the recipe!
So I've been single now for four years ever since ex-sweetie pie and I called it quits. Although really it's only been three years, since emotionally he and I didn't break up until 2002, when we realized that it had been a year, and we still weren't over each other.
In the past 3 years, I've made an effort to try and date to find someone new. Although I'm a very independent Scorpio, I have enough Libra in my chart , that makes me pretty relationship oriented. However, the men of New York are not cooperating.
Despite what Sex and the City might have led you to believe, men are not on every corner. I've tried everything from Match.com (which is a full time job), to speeddating to meeting guys in bars. I've even begged my friends who are in relationships to fix me up to no avail. Apparently, they don't know any single men. In my more paranoid moments, I think that either they don't care enough to fix me up (don't all married couples want to fix their friends up?) or maybe they just want to live vicariously through me (no, really a friend of mine actually said this!). Even my impossibly handsome British friend claims that his friends aren't good enough to fix me up with. FYI, if you're friends aren't good enough for me, why are they you're friends?
I've become desperate enough that I've even asked my gay friends if they have any straight friends they can fix me up with. When my best gay friend PH told me off a new restaurant in London that was apparently wall to wall breeders, I asked him for the name of the restaurant. I figured I could go there, and drape myself across the bar as a snack.
It's gotten so bad that I've even contemplated joining JDate, in the hopes of meeting a guy, and I'm not even Jewish (although I'm willing to convert). My friend Lucia says that I'm too picky, that all I'm looking for is a British guy with a six figure salary. That's not true. At this point, I'm willing to consider the UPS guy, as long as he has stock options.
Every new temp job, I look to see if there are any cute guys. My last temp job, there were none. The previous temp job, the only cute guy was twelve years younger than me. Before that, there were two cute guys at Morgan. One of them, this guy Ben, I actually took the plunge and asked him out via email. He completely ignored me. Didn't even say thanks but no thanks. How rude was that? I should have known that any guy who's initials are BS was not worthy of me. The other guy totally knew that he was cute, despite the Easter Island forehead, and the really horrible shoes (try getting them shined occasionally!).
At least I can console myself with the knowledge that the exterminator thinks I'm beautiful, as does the crazy guy with the cart near the subway station. So all is not totally lost.
It shouldn't have to be this hard. I mean, if I had known that I needed to chose my life partner in college, I wouldn't have majored in drama. I would have gone to Ithaca, at least then I would have the pick of both the Ithaca guys and Cornell guys to choose from.
I'm telling ya, it's hard not to get bitter in this city, to end up more Miranda than Charlotte, but even Miranda finally found her Steve. On the outside, I may wear the protective coating of cynicism, but inside beats the melting heart of a hopeless romantic.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Jean-Michel Basquiat exploded in the early to mid-eighties on the art scene before his early death of a heroin overdose. The Brooklyn Museum exhibition is the first major retrospective of his work. I have to preface this blog by saying that what I know about art could be written on the head of a pin and still have room for the complete works of Shakespeare. It's a cliche, but I know what I like when I see it.
Although I can admire the passion that he put into his art, I have to say right off the bat that I am not a huge fan of his work. I found it to be incredibly primative and disturbing. I can easily say that I would not want to wake up every day and see his paintings on my wall. You know how when you've been drinking a little too much, an dyou wake up in the middle of the night and the room is spinning a little? His paintings would give me nightmares. In composition and form, they look like something a five year old would create.
Walking through the exibition, it made me think about how many people buy art, not because it's something that they love, but as an investment, because someone told them that an artist is the hot thing, and will be worth millions some day. Not that I don't think that Basquiat's work didn't deserve the attention. He came along at a time when rap and hip hop were becoming big. His paintings are like rap come to life. Keith Haring and Mark Kostabi were also really big in the 80's as well.
In some ways his paintings reminded me of William Blake, the poet, painter, and visionary of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. If you've seen Red Dragon with Ed Norton and Ralph Fiennes, you know who I mean. That same energy.
A painting for me is a visceral experience. I couldn't tell you about the brush strokes or what techniques a painter uses, I can only tell you how the painting made me feel, did i tprovoke an emotion in me. Did it grab my attention in a good or a bad way? Would I want that painting hanging in my house?
But is it art? Just because I didn't like it, doesn't mean that it isnt' art! You can call me a philistine, and tell me that I'm not sophisticated enough or itnellectual enough to 'get' what Basquiat was trying to do. And you may be right, but I still didn't like the paintings. I found most of them juvenile, as if he were thumbing his nose at you, laughing at you. At certain points, I felt that his was just throwing paint on canvas, because he knew that people would buy it. Of course, that's just my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me but respect my right to my opinion.
Afterwards, to clear our heads, we headed over to the European painting exhibit, where I got to see a painting by Walter Sickert, now more famous for being fingered by Patricia Cornwell as Jack the Ripper than his paintings.
The Basquait paintings reminded me of the age-old debate between literary fiction and genre fiction. If you write a best selling mystery novel, instead of a literary fiction novel that sells 10,000 copies, then your work is not worthy. The Queen Bee of my old workshop felt that way. If you weren't writing literary fiction than you're not really a writer, and not worthy of being in her workshop. That kind of attitude ticks me off.
There should be room for everyone to express themselves, whether it be art or fiction. Just because you may not like it, doesn't mean it's wrong or less worthy of attention.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Like every holiday, Mother’s Day has a story behind it. The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday". Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter), "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.
In the United States, after a successful campaign by Ana Jarvis to establish a national Mother’s Day holiday, President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.
Mother’s Day in our house when I was growing up chiefly consisted of my fixing my mother breakfast in bed as a special treat. Considering how well I used to cook as a child, I have to commend my mother for her fortitude at choking down what must have clearly been over-cooked scrambled eggs and burnt bacon. Even the toast needed to be scraped, but my mother ate it as if I had fixed her a gourmet meal.
My mother and I were extremely close. Before it was fashionable for women to have babies well into their forties, my mother was a trend setter by having me at 45, 17 years after her last child. How to describe my mother in three words? Crazy, committed, and funny come to mind. She was a broad in the best sense of the word. Think Bea Arthur but shorter and blonde. She was once almost thrown into jail for contempt of court for talking back to a judge in housing court, and I’m sure Andrew Stein, the former City Council President, remembers my mother’s harangues at Community Board meetings with great fondness. Despite the fact that she had no tolerance for the sun, my mother persisted in sitting outside until she turned red as a broiled lobster. She once grabbed Telly Savalas in the middle of the street, and kissed the living daylights out of him.
I have my mother to thank for my love of old movies, reading, and expensive clothing. My mother was the only woman I knew who would wear a red Christian Dior suit to check into the hospital! She introduced me to the movies that used to be shown on the late, late, show on television. I would stay up every night during my school vacation, watching movies until I fell asleep. In the morning, I would tell her what movies I had seen and she would share her memories of when they first came out. She would tell me stories about the movie stars like Robert Taylor and John Wayne that she spoke to in her job working for an answering service.
She never censored what I read, although I’m sure she must have had her qualms when her eleven year old daughter used her allowance to buy Rich Man, Poor Man, and The Bastard by John Jakes. She trusted that I was mature enough to read whatever I wanted to read.
Considering that her own taste in books ran more towards Harold Robbins, Ed McBain, The Executioner series, and Doc Savage, she probably figured that she didn’t have a leg to stand on. I can still see her sitting in front of the TV, cigarette in a holder clutched in her teeth like FDR, drinking a gin martini.
My mother and I didn't always get along. We had some huge fights during my high school years. She could be incredibly critical, and I was too sensitive to filter it out. She pushed me when I didn't want to be pushed, but she believed that I could do anything or be anything that I wanted to be. She never understood my desire to act really or to write. She was too practical to understand a daughter who was a dreamer.
I never learned to cook until after she died after she declared that no man would marry me if I couldn't cook. I was determined to prove her wrong. Did I mention that we were both extremely stubborn? We were incredibly close, almost too close. I think I spent so much time in England, because her influence couldn't stretch across the Atlantic. I felt free there to be myself, and not just a reflection of my mother.
Unfortunately, my mother passed away sixteen years ago, from lung cancer. We were just starting to be friends, instead of just mother and daughter, but I still have the memories of serving brunch in bed, and scooping out the Mysterious Bookshop for the latest Executioner novel. I like to think of her up in heaven sipping a gin martini with Telly Savalas, and getting all the sun that she wants.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Last night on American Idol, Scott Savol was finally booted off, leaving Anthony Federov still in the final four. Yeah! I've made it clear before that I didn't think that Scott was the American Idol, and I'm glad that he was finally put out of his misery. I'm sure that some record company will pick him up. With some polish, and training, he might just have a career.
Now on to Fallen Idol. Last night ABC aired a special edition of Primetime Live, featuring Corey Clark, one of the disgraced contestants from season 2. If you don't remember Corey, it's because he was booted off after it was revealed that he had hidden his arrest record from producers. Now 2 years later, he claims that he and Paula Abdul, one of the judges, had an affair, and she offered to help him out with coaching.
After watching the program, I don't know what to think. I find it interesting that he waited 2 years to tell his story, instead of opening his mouth, when he was booted off the program. It was clear then, that he felt that he didn't deserve the boot. Now that he has a CD coming out and is shopping around a book proposal (I'm amzaed that Judith Regan hasn't snapped this up. Hell, she published Michael Bergin's nasty little book), he's telling his story.
His evidence is sorely lacking. He has clothing receipts that were paid in cash, and he claims that Paula gave him the money. A cell phone that she supposedly bought for him. His friends and his parents claim that they spoke to her. Now, how is that he was able to sneak out of the hotel where the contestants were staying, to be with her, and no one knew about it? No one saw the two of them together allegedly buying music.
I can understand his friends backing him up, but not his parents. If they say they talked to her on the phone, you kind of have to believe it happened. On the other hand, how stupid would Paula Abdul have to be to jeopardize the best thing that has happened to her in a long time? Before, AI, she was a serious has-been, a candidate for the Surreal Life. Now she's back on top again. Would she risk throwing that all away for a 22 year-old contestant? I hate to say it but Corey Clark ain't that talented. It was clear from the beginning of the second season that Clay or Reuben were the ones to beat.
Reality News Online has had several articles about the special. Apparently, Trenyce, one of the other contestants who was voted off in season 2, was also supposed to be interviewed, but she decided not to participate because of Corey Clark's allegations. Supposedly, she was advised not to hitch her wagon to his train in terms of revelations. I'd be interested to hear her take on what went on behind the scenes.
How will this affect AI? I don't know. Paula issued a flat denial through her lawyers, and AI stated that they would investigate. This can't be good for Paula, who has already dealt with being involved in a hit and run with another car, and allegations of drug use. It may behoove the judges to involve another judge next year.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Bill Bell grew up in Chicago where he learned soap writing from the Godmother of Soap Operas, Irna Phillips. Think of a soap on the air today, and she either created it, wrote for it, or trained the writer that wrote for it. Now only Agnes Nixon is left of those writers who started writing for soaps during the Golden Age. Douglas Marland is long gone, passed away in 1993, Claire Labine now longer writers for soaps, and now Bill Bell is gone.
I first started watching The Young & The Restless when it first came on the air when I was a tender youngster, too young really to be watching daytime dramas. I loved the show from the beginning and I have watched it on and off ever since. It is the only soap that has been number 1 for the past twenty years. No one can catch this show. CBS cancelled Capitol just so Bill Bell could premiere The Bold and The Beautiful, the number 2 show, seen in 30 different countries.
His shows have been unfairly categorized as pretty people with problems but there is more to the shows than that. His shows are about families and relationships. What makes his shows so successful are 3 things: 1) the Bell family co-owns the shows which means less network interference. Take a look at the ABC soaps and you can see what happens when there are two many cooks. 2) Because he wrote both shows for many years, and trained the current head writers there is a consistency to the shows. Plus the shows have had the same Executive Producers as well for over 20 years. 3) the show has never steered to far away from the staples of soap writing which are families and romance. Also, The Young and The Restless is the only show apart from Passions that has featured African-Americans in prominent story lines for years.
Bill Bell knows that bad characters have to be punished. Michael Baldwin was sent to prison for attacking the show's young heroine. His brother Kevin, was an internet predator, who seduced an underage girl. He also went to prison. Despite their horrible childhoods, they still had to pay for their crimes. Sheila Carter on B&B again had to pay for her crimes. Guza & Pratt could learn from Bill Bell's example of how to write a conflicted hero. Even Victor Newman had to pay when he crossed the line by bribing stores to support his product instead of the competition.
Now that Bill Bell is gone, I fear for the future of daytime dramas. Most networks don't have training programs for daytime writing, so the same writers get recyled over and over again. Not many shows are willing to take a risk on an unknown head writer. If things don't change, soaps are going to be an interesting footnote along side early radio, and live television.
So, here's to you Bill Bell for your amazing talent, and strength, at the same time as a family man, raising 3 children, who will hopefully carry on your legacy.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Europeans have the right idea, they have siesta for two hours in the middle of the day, where everything shuts down and no one works during those two hours. When I say Europeans, of course, I don't mean the English. They would probably say that the English Empire wasn't created by taking naps.
I can even sleep anywhere. Just give me something to put under my head, and in 5 to 10 minutes, I'm off to dream land. My ex-sweetie pie was always amazed how I could go to sleep on a bus or on a plane so easily. It's just a gift. I once fell asleep in the costume shop at the Renaissance Faire one summer. I just curled up in a ball, with my bag as a pillow, and I was out like a light.
My ex-sweetie pie was a great one for naps. Unfortunately he could sleep for hours, which is not my style. 1/2 hour, 1 hour tops, but he could sleep for 2 or 3 hours, which was a pain when I started to get hungry. Don't get between me and my food.
I love my bedroom. I have a sleigh bed that I bought from my VBF (very best friend) before she moved to LA. I love this bed. It's so comfy, although I've worn a groove into the bed where I sleep. The bed dips ever so slightly on the side where I usually sleep. While I love my bed, I wouldn't mind having the bed I saw on Oprah today. It's from William-Sonoma Home, and the headboard was shaped like a leather armchair. It looked so cool. Maybe a little too masculine for my bedroom, but still cool nonetheless.
I could also go for a brassbed if I'm making a change. Not too feminine that men won't be comfortable sleeping in it. I also dream of one day having sheets that are 400 thread count like Frette sheets which cost like $400 a pop. Feather pillows, a comfy duvet. Isn't duvet such a sexy word? Much sexier than plain old comforter. Duvet. Maybe because it's French.
I could spend all day in my bed and never leave. Eat in my bed, sleep in my bed, read, if I had a laptop, I'd even write in my bed. Apart from that whole having to go to work thing, and going out to meet guys thing, I'd probably never leave the bedroom.
I also love to dream. What do I normally dream about? Finding the right man, going on a dream vacation in Italy, signing my first book contract, book signings, my first child. I also dream scenes from my work in progress. I believe that if I can visualize the scene in my book, than I can write about it.
Do you know that they actually pay people to sleep? Well, actually to see if you're not sleeping. Apparently you can join programs where they monitor your sleep patterns, particularly if you have insomnia, which I have never suffered from.
I have to go, my bed is calling me!