Thursday, January 31, 2008

Go Google!

Okay, I must be the last person to figure this out, but you can find all sorts of 19th century books on Google books! Do you know what this means for a history geek like me who has already spent like $200 on research books for this historical YA? Less money spent! Which means more money for the important things in life like sushi.

Just this morning, I discovered that two books that I had planned on buying, The American Girl at College and Olive Anderson's Four Years at an Boy's College are available for free download on Google books. I can't wait to dive in to read more about what it was like for a young woman in the late 19th century to attend college.

I've also gotten some great help from two new Yahoo! Groups that I joined recently, 19th Century Women and Godey's Lady's Book. I needed to know about how to clean a stain out of fabric in the late 19th century, what sort of techniques they used since there was no such thing as dry cleaning. Thanks to the women on the loops, I now that I need to change what I wrote. I had initially decided that one of my snobby characters gets punch spilled on her evening gown, but now I'm changing that to just having her train ripped and needing it fixed which is where my heroine Rose comes to save the day as it were. The plan was for Rose to be able to remove the stain further revealing her lower class origins, but considering removing stains takes alot more time then I have in this chapter, she'll just make sewing repairs. Apparently they used gasoline in the 19th century to remove some stains which makes no sense to me because wouldn't that cause more stains? Who knew?

I've also quit my second job last night after spending a rather painful hour having to watch Tyler Perry's House of Payne, one of the worst sitcoms ever visited on the American public. I never thought I'd feel sorry for Robin Givens, but there she was last night guest starring in a small role as a party guest who was hot for one of the show's stars, and I use that term loosely. Seriously, shouldn't this woman be playing the bitch role on Girlfriends or on The Game, that other Kelsey Grammer produced show on the CW? Even she deserves better than House of Payne.


That's not why I quit. It was becoming increasingly hard to work two jobs, be President of RWA NYC, try to have a social life, and write fiction. I was being stretched much too thin. So something had to give and the final straw wasn't really House of Payne but the fact that yet another writer got promoted to editor over me, despite the fact that I have been there longer than most of the current crop of writers and editors.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy 50th Anniversary

I've got nothing today. I've just started the second chapter of my proposal which I need to finish this week, along with more changes to chapter one.

However, I did want to wish Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward a happy 50th wedding anniversary. The two were married on January 29th 1958 in Las Vegas.

They had met while appearing on Broadway, he was appearing in Picnic while she was one of the understudies. Although he was married at the time, with 3 kids, they fell in love.

The secret to their successful marriage? He says that even though they have nothing in common, he likes race cars, she likes the ballet, they celebrate their differences instead of letting them come between them. Even though she hates the fact that he loves to race fast cars (seriously he was still driving until he turned 80!), she supported him because it was something he loved to do.

Of course, being that I'm astrological minded, the fact that they have a double Sun/Moon conjuction probably helps their compatibility. Carl Jung did a study where he found that some of the most successful couples had a Sun/Moon conjuction. In Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's case, His Aquarius Sun conjucts her Aquarius Moon, and her Pisces Sun conjucts his Pisces Moon. Pretty cool huh?
So happy anniversary!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Retail Blues

Has this happened to you? When I went in to buy my televison a few weeks ago, the salesclerk insisted I had to buy this $80.00 cable in order to have my new HD DVR hooked up. Well, when the cable guy came, and I handed him the box, he told me that I didn't need it, that this was just something that Circuit City made people buy when they bought HD TV's. WTF?

So of course, I went back to the store to get my freaking $80.00 back. And here's my other question, aren't these salesclerks on commission? Cause if they are, why is that I always have to chase one down when I go into Circuit City or Best Buy. Shouldn't they be hovering obsequiously, annoying the heck out me while I shop? Instead I see them huddled in a bunch over by the big screen TV's talking about their weekends, and watching what's playing.

Now, I know that most of them are making minimum wages or just a little more, but wouldn't that like motivate you to sell as much crap to consumers as possible so that you could move up the food chain to manager? Or save enough money so that you could get another job?

Am I just crazy?

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventures in Research

Note to self: Not good idea to try and do research when have wicked hangover!

Ugh! I drank half a bottle of champagne last night and today I'm paying the price for having a good time. Some writer friends were going out to a goth club last night to go dancing and I wanted to hang out, even though I knew that I had so much research to do for Veiled Beauty. Plus I'm working tonight and tomorrow night and I needed the ole beauty sleep. So instead I bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate not getting fired from my day job (I actually got a raise and a bonus), and joined them in their super secret lair while they got ready.

So today, I'm feeling mighty fragile. So I gingerly dragged my sorry ass over to the New York Historical Society to use their library. I was searching for an issue of Scribner's Magazine, which they didn't have just Century for June of 1898. I was a little bummed about that but I got the chance to look at the advertisements in the back of the magazine.

Hysterical! Particularly the ad for Ivory Soap. Yes, Ivory existed in the 19th Century, along with Ex-lax which was being marketed as a laxative for children. In the ad for Ivory, the woman of the house is talking to the housekeeper, who remarks at how Ivory Soap is great for washing clothes and keeps her hands so soft. Of course her employer insists that from now on, they will only use Ivory Soap in her house.

This ad could only be American. Can you imagine a 19th Century Englishwoman, middle to Upper Middle Class having a discussion with her housekeeper or maid about doing the laundry? I also learned that skirts and jackets could be bought for as little as $2.50 and a complete outfit for $14.00 in a variety of fabrics. Oh, and bicycles cost up to $125 which is pretty much what they cost today isn't? Although I did see less expensive bikes for $40.00.

It was amazing to have a magazine from 1898 in my hands. Well actually it was a bound copy but it was so interesting to see ads for what books were popular at the time, and what kinds of articles people were reading back then. I got more of a sense of the influences on the young women in my book.

Then I went downstairs to see the Ashcan artists exhibit which was very good, even though the only artist I recognized was Edward Hopper. I definitely need to go back and see it again, along with the exhibition on Lafayette's visit to American in 1824, where he went to all 24 States that existed in the Union at the time.

Oh and I wanted In Country or whatever it's called on CMT where Bobby Brown, Sisqo, Julio Iglesias jr. Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady), Carnie Wilson, Diana DeGarmo, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister try to be country stars. It was actually good and not nearly as exploitive as I thought it was going to be. I'm hooked.

Have a good weekend! I'm off to watch Miss America (seriously it's for work).

Friday, January 25, 2008

People Do the Craziest Things! European Edition

I was going to write my yearly post on how today is the poet Robert Burn's birthday, and how he led a life of poverty and shagging, while writing many poems in the Scots dialect, including the ode to the haggis, as well as everyone's favorite New Year's Eve song, Auld Lang Syne, but I got distracted by reading on Yahoo! News how a Russian woman came home to find out that her house had been torn down by accident by construction workers.

Lyudmilla Martemyanova had been at her country home, when she returned to the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod to find that construction workers clearing a site nearby had torn down her home instead of the one that was marked for demolition. So let's get this straight, a site was clearly marked for demolition, but the construction workers torn down the wrong house? Is this like when people push on a door that's clearly marked PULL in big letters, or those who have a hard time distinguishing between the UP arrow and the DOWN arrow on the elevator?

Lyudmilla is suing because apparently the construction company's offer of money was insulting. According to her, it wasn't enough to get a decent room on the outskirts of town.

Then there's the guy in England who built a secret castle hiding it behind a screen of hay bales, instead of getting permission from the local planning authorities. This guy Robert Fidler hoped to take advantage of a planning law that allows buildings to be declared legal if there are no objections made after four years. Since no one knew the castle was there, they couldn't exactly object could they?

But the local authorities in Reigate and Banstead in Surrey aren't buying it. Their argument is that because the property was hidden, he can't take advantage of the law. They want the entire castle demolished, including the conservatory, marquee structure, the wooden bridge, patio, decking, and tarmac racecourse (seriously this was all hidden by the bales of hay? That must have been alot of hay!)

Apparently the house is mock-Tudor with turrets and a cannon. I love it!

Fidler's wife Linda told the Daily Mail newspaperin the UK that their children grew up looking at straw out of the windows of the house and that they kept their son away from playschool on the day his class were due to do paintings of their houses. Just in case he blew their cover by drawing a picture of a big castle.

Anyone else read any good stories in the news lately?

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, January 24, 2008

The art of Info Dump or Backstory Blues

I just couldn't resist this one!

So I'm having that quandary that most writers have when they start the book, how to give the reader information about the heroine that's pertinent to the plot, without it being a big huge info dump that stops the story cold.

My heroine has an intense backstory that I need to dole out to the reader, so that they can know where she came from, and why she made the decision she makes in the book. And I need to do this without dropping it like a ton of bricks in the first chapter. Plus she has a huge secret that I need to reveal preferably before the end of chapter three.

This is why I admire Dan Brown. Say what you will about his paper-thin characters, and clunky prose, but he not only knows how to keep ratcheting up the tension and the plot but he's also the master of the info dump. Anyone who has read Angels and Demons or The DaVinci Code knows what I'm talking about. There's a lot of historical information that he gives the reader, but he does it in such a way that you are riveted and you want to know more about Bernini and the Popes. Or Mary Magdalene and the sacred feminine in The DaVinci Code. I can't think of another author who does it as well as Dan Brown.

Fortunately, there is a workshop at NEC in April that I plan on taking that deals with this exact issue. How and I also registered for National, although I almost gasped at the $425 fee since we aren't having a lunch on Saturday or an opening night reception. No more Starbucks and gossip mags for me until after the conference. I'll just have to make do with reading them at my local B&N. Seriously though, its not like the covers change that much. Every week either Brittany or Lindsay Lohan is on the cover. I don't think I'll be missing much. I can catch Brittany's latest drive-thru break-down on-line.

And the hotel is $225 a night! As much as I love staying at the conference hotel, I think I may have to stay near-by for less money.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger 1979-2008

Last night ex-sweetie pie called me to congratulate me on becoming a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, when he mentioned that Heath Ledger had died. Of course, I thought that there had to be some mistake. I had just seen the preview for the new Batman film where he gives a taste of what will surely be a great performance as The Joker.

Of all the young Hollywood actors out there, Heath Ledger seemed to have a good head on his shoulder, and a firm grasp of the business. If he was in the tabloids it was for the series of beautiful, blonde actresses that he was involved with, from Heather Graham, Naomi Watts to Michelle Williams, the mother of his daughter Matilda.

He hadn't been in and out of rehab like Brad Renfro, or been arrested numerous times for drunk driving like Lindsay Lohan, and Natasha Lyonne. He seemed like a regular guy who just happened to be an actor. The type of guy who would write his little girl's name in the cement near their Brooklyn home.

I'm hoping that this turns out to be an unfortunate and sad accident. Heath Ledger didn't seem to have a death wish like James Dean or a troubled life like Brad Renfro. He talked in interviews about how great his parents were because they didn't squash his desire to act, nor were they stage parents either. He didn't take any script that came to him. He spent two years after 10 Things I Hate About You, before he made The Patriot and A Knight's Tale. He didn't want to be pigeon-holed as a hot teen actor. And he could have easily gone the Freddie Prinze route of churning out teen comedy after teen comedy and cheesy romantic comedies. Instead he took small roles in quirky independent films, and occasionally roles in big budget dramas like The Four Feathers. One of my favorite performances was in Casanova, he went from the emotionally stunted, taciturn Wyoming cowboy, to this gloriously free, light, performance as Casanova. I thought his performance was a delight that proved that he could do almost anything as an actor.

What's even sadder is that people might be making jokes, like the guys I work with, who were saying things like Heath Ledger couldn't deal with kissing a man in a film so he killed himself. Oh, har-de-har har! That's a real laff riot, that joke. Parents just lost their son, a daughter just lost her father, and they're making bad Brokeback Mountain jokes.

Kind of puts the harsh Publisher's Weekly review that I got in a different light. At least I'm around to read it and process it (and seriously it was way harsh).

Sadly, we won't get to see more great performances from Heath, apart from his final film as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All Aboard!

So I'm revising my first chapter of my new YA so that it's a little less craptastic, when I realized that I knew nothing about train travel in the late 19th century.


1) What was the name of the train station in Philadelphia? Now it's 30th Street Station but that wasn't built until 1934.

2) How long would it take to get from Philadelphia to New York and then on to upstate New York like Poughkeepsie?

3) How much did a train ticket cost? First class or steerage? What would it have been called if you didn't travel first class?

4) Did they still have Ladie's cars? I read in Writer's Digest research volume Everyday Life in the 1800's that they used to have Ladie's cars on trains where women could go to escape from men who might be flirting or harassing them. Since my main character is traveling to college by herself, she would need to sit in the Ladie's car if it sill exists.

5) Was the train segregated? I know that it would have been in the South but what about a Northern train?

6) The workers on a train, black, white both? I know that porters on Pullman cars were African-American but were their porters on other trains that were black?

That's pretty much it. I found a rail lovers forum which I'm hoping can answer my questions, or I might have to go to the New York transit museum and hope for the best.

All this just for the first chapter! Kind of boggles the mind what other stuff I need to know!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Learning to love the Synopsis

I've been working on my synopsis now for 'Veiled Beauty' my historical YA novel now for about three weeks, and I'm actually having a good time writing one for once.

Maybe its because this book means so much to me, and I really want to get the story right before I start writing the book. I need to get it and the first 3 chapters to lovely agent by February 15th. My first draft started out kind of rocky (I posted the original first paragraph a few weeks ago), but its now grown in depth and layers since then.

I've had my critters (critiquers) look it over and make some suggestions, and from there last night while I was sitting at the bar at the Mermaid Inn sipping prosecco and eating a lobster sandwich, I added more layers and depth. The book has a Gossip Girl tinge to it, but a little deeper than the books. My character, Rose, has a pretty big secret, as do some of the other characters in the book. So I need to clarify those secrets as well as dig dipper into the relationships of my characters. All within 7 pages without giving away too much of the story!

The very first synopsis that I wrote about 8 years ago was for a Romance Novel writing class I took at Marymount Manhattan College with an editor from Harlequin/Silhouette. We had asked how long our synopses should be, and she said however long it needed to tell the story. So I wrote a 28 page synopsis for what would have been a Harlequin Temptation. However, it was so in-depth, by the time I was done I felt I had written the book. Needless to say that synopsis now resides in a drawer somewhere. Maybe one day I'll pull it out and see what I can do with it. I think its more women's fiction with strong romantic elements anyway.

I started writing the first chapter this week, and it needs so much work! Thank god, I have tomorrow off so that I can really sit down and pull it apart. I'm struggling as to when I reveal Rose's secret. In the first chapter? By the third? Also, I kind of went off the rails for a bit, but after having written 18 pages, I have a good idea of what I need to do to get it back on track.

I was a little trepidatious about starting it since I still have a lot of research to do, but I've just put question marks in the text to remind myself of what I need to look up. Some things I know that I can get away with making up, other things like etiquette and where the bathrooms were in a 19th century college dorm I can not! I have found some on-line 19th century etiquette books and I plan on spending next Saturday at the New York Historical Society doing research. I can't wait!

Thanks for reading,


Friday, January 18, 2008

Oh my Freakin God - I'm a Semi-Finalist

Oh my god, see what happens when you don't read your email for a few days? I didn't know until last night that I was one of the eight hundred something semi-finalists in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award.

Yes, my YA novel, MUCH ADO ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL made the cut from the 5,000 entries that were submitted. Now I need people to go to Amazon, review my excerpt and write reviews so that I can make the finals.

You can find my entry on via the following link:

If you like my excerpt, feel free to encourage friends and family to review it and others' entries like Maureen McGowan's, which is at

The three customers who provide the most high quality reviews will be qualified to win one of three customer prizes, including an Amazon kindle reader, $2000 in Amazon gift card value, and an HP photo printer.

So quick, go review, while I sit here sipping a glass of champagne to celebrate!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

People Do the Craziest Things!

I thought I had seen and heard everything until I read on CNN about this woman in Texas who had a wedding cake designed to look like her. Yes, she and her groom cut into a lifesize replica of her wearing her wedding dress at the wedding. Does anyone else find this as disturbing as I do?

Apparently the bride, Chidi Agbuta of Allen, TX had always had a long-time fantasy of having a doll modeled after her. But that didn't happen, so instead she had her wedding cake modeled after. The cake was so big that it took a week to finish it all off. She also had to have two people make the cake, a pastry chef and then someone to mold her head for the top part.

This begs the question, you know the tradition where you're supposed to take the top of the wedding cake, freeze it, and then eat it a year later on your wedding anniversary? That would mean freezing her head! Can you imagine hoping your freezer and seeing a cake version of your head inside?

And in other wedding news, Eddie Murphy and Tracy Edmonds just decided, after TWO weeks of marriage, that they were not going to make their South Pacific island marriage legal in the States. Apparently they decided that they were better off as friends. Does anyone else think that they should have figured this out before their friends and family schlepped to Bora Bora, or where ever the hell it was that they got married, and before they sold the pictures to PEOPLE magazine?

In last week's issue, there was a puff piece about the wedding (seriously who wears sequins on a beach?), and how from the moment they started dating they were never apart. So what went wrong? Between them, they have 8 kids. Yes, 8, six of them his by two different women, and her two by Babyface. I found it curious that their children were not at the wedding, but maybe it was a good thing.

I would be embarrassed to have gotten married and then to have split up two weeks later. Whatever happened to marriage counseling? This is a prime example of why I think it should be harder to get married. You should have to take a test or go through counseling before they even allow you to get a license.

Seriously, Mel B aka Scary Spice, got out when the going was good with this guy!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

7 Random Facts about Me

So Kwana has tagged me to provided to provide 7 random facts about myself so here goes:

1. I could eat sushi every day and not be bored. That's how much I adore it.

2. I've only been in love 4 times in my life, the last being with cutie-pie author.

3. I've seen Star Wars over 30 times.

4. I can do the dance from Michael Jackson's Beat it Video.

5. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

6. I love Tom Jones. Seriously.

7. I once owned a pair of hot pink velvet Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in high school that were awesome.

I'm now tagging Megan, Marianne, Patt, Mary from the Bandwagon, Kelly Parra, Deirdre Savoy, and Charlie Horse.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

V is for Vendetta?

I know I'm a week late chiming in on the whole Cassie Edwards/Smart Bitches plagiarism brouhaha, but last night when I went to my writer's circle, one of the women mentioned that she thought that the SB's had a vendetta against Cassie Edwards, and that they had been out to get her for years. Which kind of shocked me because I can't imagine anyone, even they can't stand someone's books, searching for stuff to bust a writer. IBut I read the comments over at Smart Bitches, and there were some horrible comments, ascribing them all sorts of motives. It's interesting to me how many people have tried to make it look like the SB's had an ulterior motive for bringing the alleged plagiarism of Cassie Edwards' to light.

Let's not forget something here, plagiarism sucks no matter who does it. Whether it's a beginning writer or a multi-published author. You're taking words out from someone else's work and then using it for your own purposes. Making a statement saying that you didn't know romance authors were supposed to credit sources is not a good enough excuse. Read any Susan Johnson historical novel and you will find several pages of footnotes, and most writers acknowledge their sources in their books. In this case, according to the comparison, Cassie Edward's didn't even paraphrase, she copied word for word from non-fiction and fiction sources.

Now back to the Vendetta thing. The SB's may have made fun of Cassie Edward's books in the past, and they may have done a happy dance when they were alerted to the alleged plagiarism, but I have a hard time believing that they've spent their time searching for ways to bring her down. This reminds of me of what happened several years ago on All About Romance, when they reported on a new romance author who it turned out had allegedly plagiarized not just the entire plot but several chunks of description and dialogue from a well-known Harlequin/Silhouette author. The cries at that time were racism, because the newbie author was African-American, so there for All About Romance was out to get her because she was black, not because she had plagiarized.

In this day and age where everyone has a blog and anyone can post reviews, and could do so anonymously, its easy to spew bile at any author that we can't stand or who has slighted us in anyway. I know that it would have been so easy when I got my horrible critique from a Kensington author through RT to have trashed her on-line. To this day, although I tell it as a funny story, I still have never revealed the author's name. It's not important, and I would hate anyone who actually liked her books to stop reading her just because she told me I was promoting smoking in my books and should be ashamed of myself!

There was a time when I was tempted to write horrible reviews on Amazon for a writer that had stabbed me in the back and tried to ruin my friendship with my best friend. And I did indeed write one such review (seriously the book was terrible, I wasn't the only one who hated it) but I couldn't really be objective. And I didn't need the bad karma, so I've refrained from reading her books or trashing her since then, no matter how tempted I've been.

There's also the suggestion that the SB's were just doing this to get publicity for themselves. Well, there are better ways than accusing a best selling author who has published a 100 books of plagiarism. You can bet, as evidenced by their blog, they diligently searched and made their case, before they did anything. Don't forget, it hasn't done the romance industry any favors to have yet another plagiarism case in the newspaper. Which is another thing that people have been bitchy about, that it makes us all look bad. Don't blame the Smart Bitches, blame the newspapers or Cassie Edwards for plagiarizing.

Look, the mainstream media has no interest in romance writers unless there is a hook to the story, ie. Eloisa James being a well-respected professor of Shakespeare at Fordham, Sherrilyn Kenyon's swan hat, or Suzanne Brockmann writing a wonderful love story about two gay men who just want to get married and donating the royalties to charity. This story was just another hook, unfortunately it happened to be an unfortunate one. And picking on Nora Roberts for being interviewed? The woman went through her own trauma at finding out she was being plagiarized by Janet Dailey, of course, they were going to contact her!

I think it's sad that this happened, but I don't think we should bitch-slap the Smart Bitches because they were the ones to first report it.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Miss America - Reality Check

So I had to watch Miss America Reality Check, this new reality show on TLC consisting of all 52 contestants living in a house and competing in challenges before they actually compete for the crown.

Okay, who thinks this was a good idea? Anyone? I mean it's not enough for these girls to have to go not only through a local pageant, and then the state pageant, but then they have to compete on a reality TV show before the actual pageant? And the point of this is what exactly? Oh, the winner gets a measly $10,000 and some Crest Whitestrips for their pains.
Oh and since when does the Virgin Islands count? What's up with that? And why not Puerto Rico? They're citizens too. For years it was all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Why confuse things and add more contestants? Just my opinion.

I can't help feeling that this show is making a mockery of a show that people already consider to be a mockery in the 21st Century. Seriously with all the reality shows on television, being a beauty queen is not what it's cracked up to be anymore. Even Donald Trump has a reality in the works featuring Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe since they all share an apartment in one of the many buildings that Trump has littered the city with.

I remember growing up loving watching the Miss America pageant, culminating in the year that Vanessa Williams finally became the first Black Miss America in 1983. As a budding actress, I used to think it would be cool to be part of the pageant, plus I had tiara envy. Seriously, I've seen it up close, it's a pretty cool crown. But then they pressured Vanessa to resign after those nude photos came out and I lost all respect for the pageant after that. She only had two more months to go in her reign. I seriously doubt it could have damaged the pageant anymore than some of the stupid changes they've come up with over the years.

The contestants playing a version of Jeopardy? Testing their current event knowledge? Puleeze. Everyone watches pageants for two things, the swimsuit competition and to make fun of the contestants during the talent portion. Now they've eliminated the top ten doing talent, and you only get to see the top 5. What's the fun in that?

I went to see the Miss America pageant in 1985 in Atlantic City when Miss Mississippi won, and it was a hoot. Miss Michigan's talent was karate, and she had a plastic box with her name in engraved on the side, filled with broken glass which she jumped in and stomped around during the talent portion. It was brilliant! Miss South Caroline clog dancing? Love it. Contestants doing ventriloquism, bring it on. Performing magic tricks? Yes. Doing a monologue? Not so much. Who can forget Kaye Lani Rae Rafko doing a tahitian dance in a big ole headress, shaking her hips? Excellent!

Who cares about their platform? Seriously, it's nice to know that they're interested in an issue, but the only reason they came up with this is because Leanza Cornett spent her whole year talking about AIDS, which they didn't want her to do, and it was successful. But it's like asking the contestants on America's Next Top Model to pick an issue.

I know that the pageant officials still like to believe that Miss America can be a role model, but not when they make her do challenges like Friday's episode Called Are you Smarter than a Miss USA contestant and 3/4 of the contestants failed and had to jump into the pool. Miss Florida actually freaked out because her make-up was going to be ruined. Seriously that's what you're worried about?

And we had our dramatic moment when Miss Illinois declined to cut her hair unlike the other contestants who took the advice of Kim Vo and Napoleon Perdis. Because of her convictions Miss Illinois was in the top 3 of the evening. Oh and the judging is called "Tops and Bottoms," sending every gay man in America into hysterics.

Oh and the judges for this show are an editor from US Weekly, a photographer, and some stylist. That's how lame this show is. Where's Carson Kressly when you need him? Michael Urie from Ugly Betty had to be the worst host in the world. The expressions on his face say it all, he knows he's slumming.

Miss Alaska caused controvesy because she did a war cry when they cut off her ponytail leading to some kind of weird intervention where apparently the other contestants told her off. Unfortunately we didn't see that bit, just her weeping and apologizing, which totally didn't lead to a Kumbaya moment, since the other contestants seemed not to care.

And Miss Utah got points off for not knowing how to pose before a camera, and showing up with dangling earrings and full make-up at the pool challenge as a joke. The judges were not amused with her. And she keeps using the fact that she was in the army as an excuse for not being girly. Then why did you enter a pageant?

I think the time has come for Miss America to leave the airwaves or they need to come up with another way to reinvent this pageant. I'd hate to see it end because it is an American institution.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mamma Mia - Here I go again!

Anyone who is a fan of ABBA or Meryl Streep will be excited to see the trailer for this summer's movie version of MAMMA MIA, starring Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, reason enough to go to the film.

Here is the link to the trailer:

Pierce and Colin are not singing but Meryl is and she sounds fantastic. I can't wait to see this film.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What does Your Name Mean?

What Elizabeth Means

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are incredibly wise and perceptive. You have a lot of life experience.
You are a natural peacemaker, and you are especially good at helping others get along.
But keeping the peace in your own life is not easy. You see things very differently, and it's hard to get you to budge.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are full of energy. You are spirited and boisterous.
You are bold and daring. You are willing to do some pretty outrageous things.
Your high energy sometimes gets you in trouble. You can have a pretty bad temper at times.

You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.
You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.
You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.
Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia.
Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lucky Post # 800

Geez, I can't believe it. Today marks my 800 post here at Got it Goin On! It's hard to believe I had that much to say considering how hard it is for me to write my President' s letter every month for our newsletter.
In the 3 years since I started this blog I have:

1) Gone to two RWA National Conferences
2) Written 4 manuscripts, 4 partials, and 1 novella
3) Started another blog Scandalous Women
4) Started my second term as RWA NYC President
5) Worked 2 jobs
6) Had many bad dates
7) Had some good dates
8) Fell in hard core lust with Fun Guy and got my heart stomped on
9) Fell in love at first sight with Cutie Pie author and got my heart broken
10) Gone to England twice
11) Met many wonderful writers both in person and in cyber-space
12) Watched way too much reality TV
13) Started taking Latin Ballroom Dancing classes
14) Dreamed of going to Australia and back to Italy
15) Had my full manuscripts requested several times by agents
16) Entered the Golden Heart
17) Entered the Brava Novella Contest
18) Led a conga line at the New Jersey conference
19) Hosted 3 Golden Apple Awards receptions including the one for our 20th Anniversary
20) Read many many books

Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Speaking of other wonderous news, last night or should I say this morning at 2:00 a.m. when I got home from my night job, what did I find in my mailbox but the new issue of Marie Claire with Megan Frampton's contribution to the article "How to Survive an Office Affair." I would have posted the cover with Reese Witherspooon but its not up on Marie Claire's web-site yet. But it's a really cool article about how Megan met her husband Scott, and now she's going to be doing book reviews for them and sharing all the wonderful ARCs and stuff she gets with her friends (right Megan?). So check it out and then mosey on over to her web-site and leave comments and stuff.

Thanks for sticking me with for 800 posts. Here's to 800 more (if I don't die of exhaustion first!)


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Indecision 2008

So Hillary Clinton and John McCain surprised the crap out of everyone by winning the New Hampshire primary. Good for them. I like McCain, he's the only Republican that I can say that about. I think he's great when he talks off the cuff, before the Republican National Committee tries to muzzle him, and he retreats back to the party message. Then I get annoyed. First of all, if he can survive how ever many years he spent in a Vietnamese prison camp, he should be able to take on the RNC. Secondly, the RNC should respect him more than they do. He's the only really who has any experience fighting a war.

As for Hillary, I think it's sad that she had to cry and get emotional to get people to vote for her, or that it even came up in the debate that people think she's not likeable. It has to be hard for her, particularly with the 'Bill' question. Just as there are a lot of people voting for her, because it means Clinton back in the White House, there are just as many people who hate him, and don't even want him to be allowed on the tour of the White House let alone back living there.

As for me, I'm still torn about who I want to support. I do like Hillary even though she voted for the war, and I'm one of those people who would be happy to see Bill Clinton as First Husband. As a woman, I'm proud to see another woman actually have a good shot at being the first female Presidential Candidate. On the other hand, it's thrilling to have a man from my generation running for the job, and a man of color. But I have reservations about both of them because of their lack of experience with government.

Say what you will about Romney, Huckabee and Guiliani, they know how to run a state and the largest city in the United States. Hillary has only been a Senator for what 8 years now? And Obama, three? Is Obama seasoned enough to deal with the office of President? When was the last time that we had a President who didn't have experience in Government? Was it Eisenhower? But he was a war hero, responsible for the European Theater during WWII. Man had experience! Wilson? He was President of Princeton University.

The next Head of State is going to have to deal with some difficult shit, from what to do with Iraq, where in the world is Osama bin Laden?, not to mention all the domestic crap that has to be cleaned up with the environment, and big business. Say, here's an idea, stop squeezing the middle class and squeeze the big guys for some money. Trump should be supporting me, not the other way around.

So I'm still on the fence at the moment, and I'm waiting for Hillary and Barack to come a'courting for my vote. Take me to dinner, try to persuade me. I'm puddy after a good meal and some wine.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Agony of TV

So, after I waited around on Sunday for the Cable guy to show up, I discover that the problem is that my picture tube blew out, not that the cable isn't attached properly. Which means of course a trip to Circuit City and serious damage to my credit card. I'm now the proud owner of an LG 20 inch Flat screen HD TV. Can I just say that I had heart palpitations and my palms were sweating when I handed over my credit card to pay the $411 that this TV cost me. The good news is that I get a $100 rebate for signing up for Time Warner Cable HD. So now I have to wait again on Friday for the Cable guy to come and switch DVR boxes.
Last night after our SWAT writing session at the lovely Morgan's who fed us spaghetti and rice krispy treats, I came home to set up my new TV set (the nice super had taken my gigantor old one down for me since it was too big for me to take down from the wardrobe where it was sitting). Very easy to set up, although it looks kind of forlorn sitting on top of my wardrobe because its so small compared to the old one.
Then I went to plug it in only to discover that the plug on the TV set has 3 prongs, and my extension chord only allows for 2! Guess what? Yes, a trip to Radio Shack to buy a new extension chord so that I can plug in my TV set.
Please god let this nightmare be over before Persuasion comes on Masterpiece Classics on Sunday!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Queen Must be Plotzing!

I was going to blog about Britney's complete and total melt down, and Lindsay Lohan being caught on camera swigging champagne a few months out of getting out of rehab, but I think we're all a bit bored.

So I was shocked when I saw this on Hello! magazine's site.

Apparently Lord Snowdon is set to share intimate details of his marriage to the late Princess Margaret in a new biography. According to Hello! Magazine:

"News of the book, which is set to hit UK stores in the summer, may come as a surprise to many royal watchers.

"There has always been an understanding that no biography would be published during his lifetime," says royal author Tim Heald - who wrote a biography of the Queen's late sister. "He has never spoken a word in public about Margaret," he continues, "He has remained very loyal to her and to her memory."

"However, the royal snapper, who married the beautiful, blue-eyed royal at Westminster Abbey in 1960, has given his "full agreement" to the new biography by well-known journalist Anne de Courcy. "I am now happy for people to know about my life and I want to put the record straight on some things," says the 77-year-old, whose famously turbulent union ended in divorce in 1978.

Snowdon: The Biography will be published in June."

Wow, the Queen must be plotzing at this news. The last thing she needs is another tell-all book. Especially after the TV movie that was shown on British television about a year ago, whcih portrayed Princess Margaret as a sad lush. Although I wonder how much he's going to say given their two children and the fact that he's managed to still have a good relationship with the Queen.

Still it must be giving the Queen fits behind closed doors. This falls on the heels of Diana talking to Andrew Morton and Fergie publishing her own book.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Princess Margaret. I don't think she wanted to be Queen, but I think it always bugged her that she was just 'the pretty one.' And not being able to marry the man that she loved because he was divorced, and had two kids, and was a commoner. Given the martial misadventures of the rest of the Windsors, it seems a shame that she never got to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. But things were different back in the 1950's, particularly after the whole debacle with Edward VIII, the future Duke of Windsor.

I think the government and the Queen just felt that there didn't need to be any more scandals. Even though she was only the Queen's sister, she was still third in line to the throne after Charles and Anne.

I was lucky enough to sit two rows behind her at the Royal National Theater one night about ten years ago. She was so tiny and pretty even in her late sixties. I even got to stand close to her a bit while she was waiting for her car afterward. I floated for days knowing that I was so close to royalty.

I hope that Lord Snowdon is kind to her, particularly since she's no longer here to defend herself.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Let the Crankiness Commence!

Well, I've seen everything! Starbucks is now doing child labor! I just had my no water no foam soy chai latte made by an 11 year old. One who had to stand on tippy toes to squirt the chai into the cup. Isn't there a minimum age requirement to work anymore? I thought it was like 15. And I know that this kid's balls hadn't dropped yet.

I was going to write my post on how I got my monthly friend early with no feminine hygiene products or underwear in sight, but I'm still in shock at my underage barista. It's just been one of those days I guess. And fyi I wasn't wearing underwear because I had on pantyhose. And how was I supposed to know I was going to be three days early? Dang cold weather must have brought in on.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

ABC = Absolute Bastards Corporation?

So I'm on the ABC Daytime web-site, and I see a banner saying that the "real Greenlee" Rebecca Budig is coming back on January 16th. WTF? So the actress who has been the playing the role for the past 10 months must be the "fake Greenlee"? What a slap in the face for Sabine Singh who worked her butt off in storylines that were borderline ludicrous.

I've been watching ABC Daytime since All My Children premiered way back in the 70's (yes, I was a mere niblet). AMC was the first daytime show that I actually got into, from the love story of Phil and Tara to the shenigans and many marriages of Erica Kane Martin Brent Davis Chandler Marick Montgomery (I'm sure I've missed a few, the woman has been married like 10 times!). I haven't really watched it in recent years because I hated the headwriter Megan McTavish who has ruined more shows on daytime yet still seems to get hired.

And I wasn't a huge fan of Greenlee Smythe DuPres as played by Rebecca Budig once Josh Duhmel left the show. I thought the character floundered and then they put her with Ryan and got her embroiled in a feud with Kendall Hart (once played by the too young Sarah Michelle Gellar). But then they recast the role after Rebecca Budig left to go hang out with her hubby Bob Guiney (did he marry up or what?) in the greener pastures of Los Angeles where I figured she'd end up on Desperate Housewives.

You know what, I really liked Sabine Singh as the recast even though the new headwriters made her a total sap over Ryan, trying to get him back, still mad at the world for not being able to have his child. And they worked the poor actress to death. In the 10 months, she's been on the show, she's been in almost every single episode, mainly crying her eyes out.

Apparently TPTB constantly told her how much they loved her portrayal of Greenlee, they signed her to a 4 year contract and then just before Thanksgiving, they lowered the boom and told her that she was being let go and replaced by the original actress. Now this happens all the time in daytime, but the way ABC handled it sucks. Not only did Brian Frons, who is President of ABC Daytime, give an interview saying that Sabine shouldn't be too upset because she's been replaced by the Emmy nominated original actress, but now they have this stupid countdown clock on the web-site counting down the days until she comes back.

Meanwhile Sabine Singh is still on screens playing Greenlee until January 15 while all this is going on. They even have an interview with Rebecca Budig on the web-site talking about her return. Like this couldn't have waited until she actually appeared on screen? I shouldn't really blame the whole network for this but I do blame Brian Frons who has single-handedly over the past several years made ABC Daytime suck.

Remember the old days of Love in the Afternoon? Well now it's Violence in the Afternoon. On GH alone, we've had to endure a hostage crisis, a text message killer, and a crazy mob boss holding an entire island of party-goers in a reign of terror, not to mention killing off two Emmy winners and one of the most appealing characters on daytime.

I hate ABC Daytime and Brian Frons!

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all are nicely recovered from your decadent New Year's Eve celebrations. I for one went out to my friend MJM's in Brooklyn, which if you know anything about the city takes about as long as it does to get to Philadelphia via Amtrak. I'm not kidding. I had to take the 1 train to 23rd Street, get off and then walk one block to 6th Avenue to take the F train. In heels no less.
See I was wearing this very cute dress that I bought from Express to celebrate the oncoming of 2008. Purple and fuschia stripes. Totally awesome and 25% off. Unfortunately, apart from my friend MJM, there was no one else at the part to appreciate my outfit since the entire guest list for the most part consisted of gay men. Who I love, but it would have been nice to have a handsome straight guy to give a kiss to at midnight. Ah well, there's always this year.
Drank way too much punch and champagne, watched the fireworks from the roof deck and then headed home around 1 am. and eventually arrived home around 2:30 so I didn't go to sleep until 3:00 a.m. on January 1, 2008.
Saw Juno before I went work. Excellent movie, snappy snarky dialogue although Jennifer Garner is starting to annoy me. She has this expression when she's supposed to be sad that just bugs me. Had to write both the CBS Evening News and Biggest Loser: Couples last night at work. At least with the news it keeps me somewhat informed. I have mixed feelings about The Biggest Loser. While I applaud the fact that the show helps people lose weight, the fact that the winner receives $250,000 for his/her efforts makes me wonder if they would make the effort if there wasn't a monetary reward at the end. Plus the fact that they get eliminated each week if they haven't lost as much weight as the other teams seems harsh.
No New Year's resolutions apart from remembering to take my vitamins this year. That's all.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year!
Thanks for reading,