Friday, May 29, 2009

Weekend Laugh

I owe much gratitude to a fellow Janeite for this video gem--thank you so much, Sylwia!! If you've ever wondered what it would be like for a guy to try to pick up women using Mr. Darcy's dialogue (I know, I know, it's an Austen-fan-girl thing to do :), then this hilarious YouTube clip is for you...

Enjoy! And have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Toxic Personalities

I was going to try to write something interesting and insightful today but, alas, before I could even attempt to relax my monkey mind long enough to be appropriately reflective, most of the day was gone...

Thankfully, I came across this interesting and insightful article by Brett Blumenthal on 8 Toxic Personalities to Avoid, and I'll let it do my blogging job for me.

Love the Internet!

Incidentally, not to name names, of course, but I think we've all met a number of real-life people at one point in time or another who fit these categories. Sometimes I suspect we get so used to someone behaving in a toxic manner that we forget that it's a dysfunction...we start to see it as a mere character trait. And speaking of which, for those of us who are writers, you'll probably recognize some of your characters on this list, too. That was the first thing that struck me, actually, as I was reading the article. I wanted to wave and greet them by name. "Hey, David, look at you showin' up here. You've been busy, man."

Anyway, hope you all have a wonderful end to the month of May. And, in case you didn't catch this earlier, I'm drawing three names from all the May commenters and newsletter subscribers for summery According to Jane t-shirts this weekend. Hallelujah for warm weather!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Manuscripts, Page Proofs & Publicity...oh, my!

If I've seemed to be hanging around only the fringes of the Internet lately and a little less than on top of things when I've been here, it's largely due to the three projects above. It's been an "interesting" (read: exhausting, thrilling and somewhat nerve-wracking) week. I'll explain.

Last night--at 2am--I finished the semi-final draft of my second women's fiction novel for Kensington (the title is still pending editorial approval, but I've thought up a number of really bizarre ones :). After nine months of working almost constantly on this manuscript, it's a relief to see it mostly done. There are still a couple of pages of dialogue needed in the ending scene, but I know my process, and I can't write the very last words these characters say until I'm pretty sure of all that's come before. Meaning, I'll need at least one more set of revisions before I'm comfortable doing that.

Also, on Friday afternoon, I got my page proofs for According to Jane. This was exciting--AND scary. I had expected the excitement. I had not expected the bolt of fear. Fascinating, though, to see something I'd dreamed up now dressed in this formal, ultra-polished state. It's like the manuscript is going to prom... It's typeset, just as it'll appear in the real book, and every tiny detail I'd included in my final draft--every chapter number, every Austen quote, every phrase set in italics--is right there, looking frighteningly perfect. Not a hair curl out of place. And, oh, did I mention the proofs need to be checked and returned by next week?

Then there's the publicity train, which never seems to stop moving. I've been floored by how kind so many people have been to me already--fellow authors, interviewers, bookstore managers, countless individuals online and off--and how willing they are to share advice and give support. (Thank you!!) But, man, is there a LOT to learn, and trying to "stay balanced" amidst the many roles I'm attempting to play has sent me back to my old t'ai chi practicing, a healthy exercise offset by my rather large doses of medicinal caramel-filled chocolate :).

So, yes, it's been interesting here... What's been going on for all of you??

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The "Bunco Babes" Are Finally Here!

I've been waiting a long time for the arrival of this book! I first played Bunco about two years ago at the insistence of a few good friends (Joyce, Karen, Sarah...I know you're reading this :), and I wrote--somewhat cryptically--about the experience in one of my earliest blog posts. But now, after months of anticipation, the truly wonderful Maria Geraci has finally released Bunco Babes Tell All (Berkley trade, May 2009), and I couldn't be more delighted for her--and for us! (My Bunco-playing pals, be forewarned. You know how we always talk about starting a book club...I believe this would be a perfect first selection for the summer...AND we could totally drink those margaritas and be "thematic" now, couldn't we?)

For those of you not familiar with Maria's debut, here's a quick blurb:

Meet the Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay. Every Thursday night they roll dice, drink frozen margaritas, and catch up on all the gossip in their small north Florida town. Kitty Burke is the only Bunco Babe who is still single—which is okay—but she’s thirty-five and may need to face that her image of Mr. Right is all wrong.

Take Steve. Very sexy—but on paper, with three failed marriages and a shady career, maybe not great husband material. And yes, his ring tone is “Freebird.” Certainly fellow Babes Shea Masterson and Pilar Diaz-Rothman vote thumbs down. But maybe there’s more to Steve than meets the eye? Is it time for Kitty to take a chance and hope that she can be as lucky in love as she is in Bunco?

My Amazon copy has already shipped and, I'm told, the sequel--Bunco Babes Gone Wild--will be out in November--yay! BTW, the second novel opens with this enticing line: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a woman gets a boob job, she must show it off to her closest friends." LOL!!! (You can read excerpts from both books on Maria's website. :)

Congrats, Maria! We're all celebrating with you!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's a Modern Marvel

If I hadn't seen it with my own stunned eyes, held it in my hands and flipped through the pages in awe, I'm not sure I would've believed it...but thanks to the absolutely wonderful Pamela Cayne, I now know there's a comic book in existence that I LOVE.

After decades of never quite getting the allure of the comic-book world, I'm a changed woman. (Cue the chorus of "Hallelujah!" and "Amen, Sister!") The cover on the left shows the first in a five-part limited-edition series that Marvel Comics just released last month on--you guessed it--Pride & Prejudice. Next Wednesday, part two comes out--and, yes, I already have my calendar marked for a field trip to the comic-book store!! Part one has garnered the adoration of fans old and new. Take a look at this article snippet:

Critics agree that Marvel's adaptation of Jane Austen's PRIDE & PREJUDICE is a smash hit and has sold out at Diamond (though copies may be available at the retail level)! Two-time Rita Award-Winner Nancy Butler and acclaimed artist Hugo Petrus present this groundbreaking love story in a way you have never seen before! A passionate story of a strong woman looking for true love, Marvel truly brings this tale of romance and betrayal to life in a manner that any comic book fan will enjoy.

Yeah. Life is good :-).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Always a Little Patience

In the classic and, IMO, positively brilliant 1940 film The Philadelphia Story , Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart are having a conversation about the social classes--she being quite wealthy and he being rather not. He's a short-story writer/poet at heart with one book published but, so as to enjoy the luxury of eating regularly, he's turned his literary talents to tabloid journalism. He and his photographer girlfriend, Ruth Hussey, are assigned to cover Kate's high society wedding to a coal-mining tycoon, thanks to an "invite" weedled through Kate's ex-husband, the dashing Cary Grant. Oh, the plot complications that ensue!!

But, despite Kate's horror at this intrusion of privacy and Jimmy's irritation at having to work such a frivolous event, it turns out the two aren't really at odds by the movie's midpoint. They, in fact, find themselves discussing writing--one of Jimmy's short stories in particular--which includes the line, "With the rich and mighty, always a little patience." The prejudice (on his part) is that there's an element of cluelessness amongst the very privileged, and you have to just take a deep breath and slowly explain to them how things work in the real world.

This weekend, it occurred to me there should be a similar phrase with regard to novel publishing: "With debut writers, always a little patience." Perhaps I need a t-shirt...because my level of cluelessness about a number of non-writing elements (i.e. marketing details) has led me to want to clasp the hands of understanding ad designers who, I can see in my mind's eye, are taking very deep breaths while emailing me back and trying to explain the latest thing I don't understand. Scan it as a what? A "two-inch wide, 300 dpi resolution" image, you say? But, um, I don't have a scanner. And, what's a "tif" file?? Oh, and, I've got another question about the formatting. And about Design Option 2...

Yeah. With non-techie-digital-photo-challenged debut writers, always a little patience.