Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
photo Marie Claire
In Top Model News. Season 3 runner up Yaya Dacosta is now on ABC's daytime soap All My Children playing the daughter of newly back Angie Hubbard. Yes, I've been known to watch AMC. Actually I grew up on on it at Nana's knee. Seems it's old home week on AMC Angie and Jessie are back together and now they are being Dixie back from the dead as a ghost. Wonder if Yaya will help sell some Charmed books and perfume. Ugh.
Tune in tomorrow for a great interview to celebrate the launch day for my bud Marley Gibson and her Sorority 101 series!
Monday, April 28, 2008
The number one thing that I look for in query letters is a professional product. I look for someone who has obviously done their homework on the querying process and on our agency. We hope to see that the potential client has a basic understanding of the business and what is expected of them as a potential client.
The query letter acts as a general introduction, think of it as a first interview. If an author can’t follow directions at this preliminary step it sets off warning signs for difficulties that we may encounter at every step down the line.
There is a plethora of information available not only on the internet but at every imaginable writing event across the country on how to write a great query letter. It is really a pretty straight forward piece of the puzzle. We hope to gain a clear idea of the project being presented and of the author who is presenting it. We aren’t looking for bells, whistles or confetti, just the bare-bones facts about the project at hand and a high-concept pitch!
It sounds too good to be true, I know, but really this is a tough business, we need to see in a very simple way that the project has what it takes to stand out from the crowd.
2. What's the best part of your job?
There are a million great things about my job! I can go on for days and days here. I think that this speaks directly to the favorite part of my: Variety. There is SO MUCH variety. Not only am I working with very wonderful and very different people and projects on a daily basis but I’m working with them in a variety of ways. Some days I’m inquisitively reading, some days I’m evoking my creative muse, some days I am the hard-nosed negotiator, and then others I’m the compassionate shoulder to lean on.
Our job is a million things all rolled into one. Agents act as educators, entrepreneurs, promoters, counselors, planners, you name it, and we do it in some capacity or another.
3.What’s The Knight Agency’s normal response time? How Many queries do you normally get?
The Knight Agency’s typical response time to queries is on average two weeks. Some times (as in right now!) we get a little behind and can lag up to a month, and then sometimes we respond every 2-3 days. This flex’s depending on a variety of things including project loads, travel, etc.
For partial submissions this is more based agent to agent. On average for the agency we are between 3-6 months.
In both of these cases, if it seems that it has been an absurd amount of time more than that between the time when you sent your email off to us and hearing a response SEND A FOLLOW UP!
I can’t tell you how many times messages are blocked by spam filters and such, this sounds like an excuse, but really when our email server is handling as much mail as we receive its unfortunately pretty common. We have tried to combat it but without making ourselves completely susceptible to all spam it seems there is little else we can do to ensure delivery either on our end or yours.
We receive about 300 queries a week and read several hundred partial submissions a year. That makes for a lot of mail.
4.What is the single most important thing an agent and a writer need in order to work well with one another.
Is the answer sand-paper?
Sand Paper? I’m not quite sure I’m following there. The number one thing that an agent and client need to work well together is clear lines of communication. Simple as that. If both parties are communicating what their wants and needs are there shouldn’t be any grey area here.
Now within certain relationships at some point in time it might become apparent that despite clear communication the client/agent just aren’t a good business match. That’s unavoidable due to the ever changing nature that applies to all parts of this business. There is not a one-size fits all agent out there. The best way to find your perfect fit again goes back to communicating clearly up front exactly what you want out of the relationship.
5. Are you still able to read for pleasure? What non-cliented reads have you read lately? And who would you love to represent (besides your current roster, of course)?
Of Course I still read for pleasure. Reading is my passion. Not only is it something that I love in my job, but also its one of the things I love in my life. Sometimes with all of the “work” reading it’s hard to remember what it feels like to just get lost in a great book simply for the joy of it. I try to avoid that though, because at the end of the day there still is nothing better than curling up with a captivating story. The longer I’m in the business the more I realize how important it is to take the time out to remember that feeling.
As a professional it keeps us fresh and reminds us of the most basic purpose of our job, to bring people stories that will have an impact on their life.
Some great reads of late, The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff, The Pact by Jodi Picoult, Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, A Dangerous Beauty by Sophia Nash, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Rites of Spring by Diana Peterfreund, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray – These are all totally random selections that I have loved, as you can see I’m really I’m all across the board.
6. I have a question for you. How do you feel about sharing a client with another agent--i.e., if the other agent only reps one genre of writing, but the client wants to write in another, too, and needs/wants representation for it. Do you or your agency ever run into this situation? Do you think it can work out okay? If so, any tips on how to make it work and how someone in this situation would go about it?
I think its possible, but not ideal, we try to avoid it at all costs. Here within TKA we share certain clients within the agency, but that’s a whole different topic I suspect. I do know situations where an author has needed separate agents, so again I’m not saying it is impossible, but its just not that common.
Since I’ve never been involved in a situation such as this I really can’t offer much advice on it beyond the obvious. I think it is most important that all involved parties are offering full disclosure up front regarding all business matters. It is going to be important that each agent is aware of the scheduling restrictions and deadlines that are involved with each other.
My advice would be to TRY to find an agent or agency that handles all the genres you are working on. Not only will your agent/s be able to better plan and prepare for your future but this should help prevent confusion on what you heard from one agent in comparison to the other.
7. I realize that you as an agent may handle this in a specific way that renders my question completely irrelevant at your agency, but *in general,* say an agent reads a full, writes a nice long letter about revisions, and tosses the ball back to the author with the option of viewing it again after a revision if the suggestions make sense to the author. All of this is rather open-ended (ie, I don't know if we're even as far as if-then statements--just "ifs."). What, in general, do you and your cohorts view as a reasonable time to do these open-ended revisions in? A few weeks? A few months? Any idea of a generally reasonable timeline would be appreciated. Thanks!
Hmm. Anything that shows you have put detailed thought and consideration into revising the manuscript as a whole. If someone sends the manuscript back to me within 24 hours (don’t laugh, it happens!) or even within the week, I’m going to assume they breezed through these and didn’t REALLY put a lot of thought into making the manuscript stronger.
I would say that it should take a few weeks to make the changes, depending on how detailed the letter is. Its hard to generalize because editorial suggestions can really be across the board in scope. Obviously it will take less time if they are just asking you to bulk some stuff up versus a request to revisit an entire storyline.
I would suggest that you sit on the edits for a few days after receiving the letter to really let the ideas and suggestions sink in. Let them roll around in your end and really form into a fuller picture. Typically an agent isn’t asking for an easy fix, in most instances the suggestions are things that are really making or breaking the story. They shouldn’t be easy, and they should take a bit to come to fruition.
Plus, remember, this is most likely your last shot, you want to make sure you get it right! I would suggest when you respond to the agent that you outline their suggestions in your email/letter and let them know how you tackled them. This in itself can save both parties some time, it can help identify if the edits are heading in the envisioned direction.
The weekend and Spring Break are both over and it's back to the grind. It was nice to have a week without the daily push and shove, but it will also be nice to have a few hours of alone time in the house again. Possibly a few house of writing time once all the missed errands of the week are done in a a day or two. Can you say laundry?
This weekend before all the yard work the DH and I were super nosey and went to see a house that doesn't know there's a recession going on and gas is at 4.00 a gallon. It's in walking distance from our house and we've watched this mini-mansion being built for the past year and a half so when the sign went up for an open house I was practically running over there acting like at potential buyer.
Of course we started going back and fourth about what the asking price would be in this NY suburb. DH went low which was not low at all and I went considerably higher considering the schools and the town.
As we were walking one of our neighbors drove by and asked where we were going and we told him. "Oh you gotta tell me what they want for that thing when you get back!" he said with excitement.
Real estate is a funny thing. We live in a town where the houses go from modest cottages (like ours) to just a few blocks over Mc Mansions that need intercom systems to call every one to dinner. And in the end it's all about the school. I often say, "we didn't buy a house we brought a school."
Well, I'm proud to say I know my high end real estate. I priced it perfectly at 1.6 mil. Cra-zy. The house is gorgeous. Drool worthy. 4 bedrooms. Office. Great room with vaulted ceiling and stone 2 story fireplace. Basement ready to be finished as you like included in the price. I imagined a small theater and billiard room. The DH a 2 lane bowling alley. But still, 1.6 mil. I sure hope it sells. Will be great for my property value. Hmmm, must go and sweep the cottage steps.
Since it's Monday, that also has me thinking about dieting. I've been doing so poorly. So I'm shaking things up. I've been on WW forever and not really following it forever. Usually being done with my points by around 12:00. But instead of giving up on WW I'm shaking things up by going on core today where you eliminate the white products but get whole grains and fruits. It's more limiting than flex with the food choices but maybe that's what I need. Wish me luck. Let's see if I can make it till 3:00 today. Eek.
Oh, and once again the winner of the Liza Palmer Seeing Me Naked contest was Brown Girl Gumbo. See below and if you missed the interview click here. Liza was so inspiring. Thanks Liza!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Thanks to all who left a comment and entered Liza Palmer's Seeing Me Naked contest. I had the lovely DH pick a winner out of a hat and the winner is:
Who also has the coolest blog check it out when you have some time.
Brown Girl please send me an email with all your info and we'll get your book to you. Congrats.
In honor of Liza, Seeing Me Naked and Top Chefs everywhere here's a final goodbye to faux-hawk Jen. She's no longer doing it for Zoi. Oh and check out her super cool Casio watch. Perfect for timing dishes.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Today I have the cool honor of interviewing author, Liza Palmer. I have been a big fan of Liza since reading her book Conversations With A Fat Girl and became an instant friend after bonding with her on line at an RWA convention in Dallas while waiting for free books. Somehow the first season of TOP CHEF came up and that was it. We were soul sisters!
Now I've become and even bigger fan after reading her latest book Seeing Me Naked. The story of Elisabeth Page, daughter of famous novelist Ben Page and sister to equally famous novelist Rascal Page who is trying to make a name and life for herself as a pastry chef in in the hottest restaurant in L.A. while coming out of the shadow of her famous family.
For a chance to win a personally autographed UK edition of Seeing Me Naked. Please leave a comment and I will draw a winner at random and Liza will send a copy to the winner. Yay, Liza!
Now to the hard hitting interview:
1.First off I'll start with a couple of traditional questions. Liza did you always want to be a writer? Is it something you always knew you'd do?
I started writing at a very young age – even before I could write actually. My Mom would write my stories down– stories about Animal Land. Hilarious.
But then…life happens. And especially for young girls – writing and being different are not really sought after characteristics in junior high school. So, I stopped. And then high school came along – where you just try to survive. And then it became about putting food on the table – and there wasn’t any room for dreams and silly stuff like that. It was like this numbness set in. Years later I looked at my life and…well, it wasn’t what I wanted, you know? I was working at this law firm in LA and it just freaked me out – I could see myself there in ten years, twenty years. So, I started going to these little Saturday morning workshops at Vroman’s bookstore here in Pasadena. And weekend by weekend I started believing that maybe…maybe I could write after all.
2.Please tell us the story of you 'overnight' success? I always laugh when I ask that one.
So, these little workshops taught me the business of writing – query letters, yaddayaddayadda. You know. So, I wrote the Worst First Draft ever over that summer, gave it to a group of friends (now former…echem). I thought in the time it takes to edit this draft down to something not ridiculous, I could send out these queries. So, I looked in the acknowledgements of books that I thought we like mine (Conversations with the Fat Girl) and queried four agents. Three of them wanted the manuscript and one turned me down…twice.
I thought...okay, they won’t forget about me in a month – so, I edited the draft in about three weeks and sent it back out. I signed with one of those first three. And then that little book just kept wriggling into the perfect situations…it was bought by Warner three days before Christmas and then launched the 5Spot line at Warner (now Grand Central).
3.What is your usual writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser. Do you have a set everyday writing schedule?
I am definitely a pantser. If there ever was one…but, it’s evolving though. I think of it like this: I know that I’m driving from LA to San Francisco. I know where I’m starting and where I’m ending. And I just need to decide if I’m taking the 5, the 101 or the 1. But, the problem with this whole “drive to san francisco’ theory is that most times I get stuck somewhere around San Luis Obispo wondering where the heck I’m going.
Lately, I’ve been going to this amazing little coffee shop everyday because a) I am actively bribing myself with nonfat lattes and b) I’m starting to feel like a shut-in. And you know – it’s totally worked. I look forward to writing again and it’s been a nice evolution for me. I’m probably going to stick with it for a little while.
4. Seeing Me Naked takes us into the world of a gourmet kitchen. How did you choose that as a setting for the book and how did you do the research? I was totally immersed and it felt like it was written by an expert. Did you ever work in a kitchen? How much research do you do for your books?
When I just started percolating about Seeing Me Naked, I thought about jobs that I could see myself doing – if I couldn’t write. And I thought: chef. So, then I did some research and learned that the only place a woman is really tolerated in a French kitchen is in the pastry corner.
I then made a few phone calls and got hooked up with Karen Rawers, who was the pastry chef under Michel Richard (citronelle). I picked her brain for everything…every last detail. She drew out what a French kitchen looks like, told me all about etiquette, staffing, politics…all of it. And then we went to Bastide here in LA, when Chef Ludo Lefevre was still the chef there. We ordered the chef’s surprise menu, had it paired by the sommelier and then got a tour of the kitchen…it was just one of those nights. It gave me everything I needed…until I asked my next battery of questions.
But, I needed it to be right, you know? I hate reading books about certain settings and finding wrong details…, so, I really worked to make that kitchen as authentic as possible. And the recipes in the back are the real deal…my step-dad’s chicken and dumplings recipe, a family friend’s flan recipe (I can’t even begin to tell you how I wrassled that from her grip)…and on and on. I really had fun with all the desserts that Elisabeth made throughout the book…and now, my dish at Christmas is cherry clafouti! Pretty cool.
Sidebar question: With the setting for this book, all I want to know why in the world you had to be coaxed to blog about TOP CHEF? LOL!
I had to be coaxed because I didn’t know if everyone was going to be as nutso for it as I was, you know!?!? I mean, I can go OFF on that show…I love it. But, I wasn’t sure if people were only into Project Runway or if they were sick of the tv recaps. But, I’m so glad I did – I love it. I am totally Blog Envious though…because you are so much more succinct about those shows then I am - you say things and I’m like…ohhh, that’s how to say it so people understand. Good to know.
5. You are so good at your characterization. How do you come up with your characters? Do you do the whole GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) for all of them or is it just something you have in you?
Weird! I just learned that GMC thing in this screenwriting class thing. Weird??! Eerie, even.
So, obviously…I didn’t use the GMC thing for my characters…where was I when that thing came out? I mean, it’s genius!
How do I come up with the characters…I don’t know. How’s that for a bad answer! No, I just build the main character and then just ask why over and over again….like, okay – Elisabeth is kind of snobby. So, how did she get like that? Then I build the parents – Ballard and Ben. Ben is a key element to the novel – so I spent a long time building the biggest shadow that Elisabeth would have to come out from under, you know? I mean, all of our parents are these titans, but I really wanted to create a Zeus in that character. Then I thought I should give her a sibling who she could be in the trenches with (Rascal), but I wanted to make him the opposite of Elisabeth – so she’s this hard-driving perfectionist and Rascal is this Fainting Couch dauphin who is constantly being brought down by melancholy.
And Daniel. Well…Daniel was certainly a lot of fun to write. Sigh. A basketball coach from Kansas? Just this straight shooting man? He almost eclipsed the whole book, because I loved his interaction with Elisabeth…how he made her really look at herself.
6.What's the one piece of writing advice that you would give aspiring authors?
*Do you want to write A story or YOUR story.
*Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.
* Kill your darlings. (Yes, you think it’s clever, but does it move the story forward?)
*and most of all – WRITE!
Stephen King says to ‘close the study door’ as you finish your first draft. Such good advice. Just finish that first draft before really talking about it, sharing it or letting it see the light of day. You’ll never finish it if you keep editing and futzing…something which everyone does and inevitably ends with someone tearing my final drafts from my cold, dead hands.
7.What's next for you, Liza?
I just finished a script for a television show I’m thinking about…I love it. I love working in only dialogue (can you imagine?!?!?!) – it’s awesome. And then it’s back for the second draft of my third book – which is due in May…oh wait…what day is it? The 24th? Uhhhh…maybe I should get on that.
Thanks so much for doing this interview Liza. Once again I'm honored to have you here.
Don't forget to live a comment to me entered in the giveaway guys. I'll announce the winner on Sunday.
Oh and Check out Liza's site http://www.lizapalmer.com/
First let's talk America's Next Top Model
The top model girls land in Rome and Anya’s first step is a face plant out of the van! Poor thing.
Thank goodness the first Tyra mil is read by Whitney alone and not all of them together. Fatima is sick and crying and I’m not feeling anything but wondering where is Mr. Jay and is he really fighting with Tyra and will he be back for another season? Will she? Other reports say it’s totally untrue though.
Are we supposed to be stupid with these “random” women that they are pointing out? Of course they are not random, but models they placed. Did anyone think they were random? Ugh. I’m getting so annoyed by this show.
They had another challenge and what happens? Anya wins again. That girl with the squeaky voice is taking over the world.
Then it’s a Cover Girl commercial in Italian and it’s a full on disaster for most of the girls. And Lauren has to go. What a HOT TRANNY MESS! We’ll see what happens in judging.
We’re in Judging and the bottom two are Whitney and Lauren. Whitney is criticized for being phony but Tyra is still behind her. Come on and just send Thumbelina home….
The verdict is in and it’s…. Lauren. At least they made the right choice.
Now it’s time for the show stopper Top Chef!
The show opens and once again Jen is talking about doing it for Zoi. Ugh. Why do I want her to go home already?
The quick fire is a dessert challenge and the judge is Johnny Izinnu (no, I can’t spell his name). I can tell there are some scared chefs. If you don’t know a dessert then you’re done for. Silly Lisa actually said she swore she wouldn’t do a dessert during this show. What? Has she ever watched the show? Never say Never. Now I want her to go home. I loved that Dale said he had 1 dessert up his sleeve and he was breaking it out! But the winner was… Richard. Ugh. He gets in the Top Chef cookbook.
Now they are going out to Second City for a night on the town and some comedy. But wait it quickly turns bad and it’s the really scary elimination challenge based on horrible improve.
Dale and Richard-green perplexed tofu- They are talking curry and other cool stuff with free beef fat what sure has me
Lisa and Antonia- Magenta drunk polish sausage and Lisa is mad. They are doing something with tequila
Jen and Stephanie- Orange turned on asparagus
Marc and Nikki- Purple depressed bacon
Spike and Andrew- are Yellow Vanilla Love and when they left whole food I wasn’t sure what they were making. Something with squash soup and love without a blender. Because now there’s no electrical equipment. Twister.
The guests arrive at the chef house and Spike and Andrew are first up with vanilla love squash soup and everyone is really loving it.
Jen is obviously missing Zoi a lot because first she’s talking threesomes she and Stephanie and doing a whole skit that’s a little, um, icky and so is the dish.
Dale and Richard came out with their perplexed food and the judges weren’t perplexed. They liked it.
Antonia and Lisa and their drunken sausage fell flat. They seem to hate their suggestion and it showed in their presentation.
Mark and Nikki come out with purple depressed bacon and it’s good, proving once again that all things are better with bacon.
Now for the top chefs. They are Dale and Richard and Spike and Andrew. What?
The winning team is dale and Richard and they each get 2500.00 work of Caphelon. These guys are now rockin’.
Bottom two are Antonia and Lisa and Stephanie and Jen.
Not doing Polish sausage was a killer for them and Jen and Stephanie that Goat cheese was the killer for them plus the while crazy phallic thing. Stephanie run from Jen as fast as you can never partner with her again. She misses her girlfriend too much!
Now back to the Not So Glad room and the girls are scared as hell. Strangely so am I.
Here goes… And it’s Jen that goes home! Wow! I know I wanted her to go but I can’t believe it’s her before Lisa or Nikki or OMG. Spike!!!!!
Oh well. She’s not doing it for Zoi anymore and now and I’m sad.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
So did any of you get to watch the reunion show of the Not So Real Housewives of New York City? What a trip it was! Once again Ramona was just nutty, staying true to form and even walking off the stage without a word when Simon was there and talk came up about Alex's nude photos. That Alex and Simon are just so delusional about the world and themselves that its a mess.
At least the other women could admit that the show really did show them as they truly were. These two would not admit a thing. My favorite line came from Ms. Bethany when she called Alex, "All show and No go." That was perfect.
I still think Jill is the best and wonder if they will have the guts to all come back for another season. I hope they will but I have a feeling that Alex and Simon may be breaking out on their on if the others don't come back or even if they do. Those two social climbers will want their own show. Simon is such a Diva!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
I went to a lovely ladies tea this Saturday. Stop laughing. It was for a good cause and I'm a grown up, well, most days. It was my first ladies tea and I had no idea what to wear. Eek!
I ended up going dressy casual in cropped pants a linen sweater and sandals and I was fine up against the other women in the same type of outfits and there were a few with flowing print skirt and sweater ensembles. But I did hear at some of the more upscale teas they go all out and do the super-dressy hat thing. I hope I don't get invited to one of those. Too much pressure.
Now this was through my DH and the women there were wives of friends of my DH and they know I'm a writer and had not seen me in and while. They are all sweet and wonderful women, but I felt like Bridget Jones going at a smug married dinner party with that dreaded, "so Bridget, when you getting married?" question.
About a 50 times I got, "so when is you book coming out?" or "where can I buy your book?" or "you still working on that book?" question.
It's times like that when I almost regret "outing" myself as a writer.
Thankfully, the guest speaker was a totally cool spiritual healer named Nafisa who put all of us into a semi circle and talked to us about stress and how to deal with it. She then guided us through a meditation where I clearly saw myself on the New York Times, USA Today and The Essence Bestseller Lists and I kept repeating my personal mantra "all roads lead to Oprah, all roads lead to Oprah, all roads lead to Oprah..."
By the end of it I was just fine!
Breathe in- Breathe out.
Trust that it will all be purr-fect!
So how was your weekend? Wonderful I hope.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
I could not have enjoyed last night's Survivor anymore if I tried. It was just fab! The whole episode was about getting rid or poor Jason in the worst way and after torturing him with the immunity challenge. The the whole tribe lied to him for pizza donuts and candy and was being all 7th grade by crossing their finger behind their backs and saying, "yes Jason we'll be your friend." Ugh. It was awful. I just knew Jason was going home.
But then a light. I could not believe it. What was going on behind the scenes with Mr. Jason?! I have a feeling that my cagey Cirie was behind it all. I just love her. And James (sorry Eileen) he has to go! In the end it was Ozzy that was gone with the stupid immunity idol in his pocket. Just perfect. I actually clapped. A great hour.
P.S. Chiming in late to say. Buh-bye to Stacy-Ann from America's Next Top Model. Sorry you won't make it to Rome sweetie.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
No time for America’s Next Top Model last night, but I DVR’d it so I’ll catch up.
But I did get to watch Top Chef. It wouldn’t be Wednesday without it!
Top chef starts with Spike in his mustard fedora. Good times ahead.
And Jen whining about lost love and Ryan is feeling completely delusional talking about possibly winning. What?!
Dale is apologizing and Lisa not really taking it at all. Oh well, no love lost there.
No onto the Top Chef drunken beer challenge and the chefs have to create a dish that has to go perfectly with beer. All the Lushes say, “Hoo!”
Antonia is talking about dining down. Sounds like the kiss of death to me. Take everything n the TS kitchen seriously girl.
Spike has on a black and white fedora.
That guest judge, Koren looks like she’s seen the bottom of a few beers in her life. Not a smile cracked there.
Jen and Lisa were so catty when Dale and Spike were in the bottom and the winner was Jen. Spike then turned catty and was all, “Yay lesbians.” Stop Hatin! But he doesn’t have on a fedora. Could he be running out? Fingers crossed. oh please let it be...
The Elimination challenge is a tailgate party. Ugh. I can’t stand the tailgate challenge. I think it may be my least favorite and now Jen has a cause and she doing it for Zoi. Ugh again.
On to Whole Foods to tear the place up. They must hate to see them coming.
Dale-Pork and he’s being over confidant so I’m worried.
Nikki-sausage and Peppers- are you surprised?
Andrew- Very good sounding shrimp
Stephanie- Pork- Yum.
Jennifer- Is making a bunch of stuff an honor of Zoi.
Lisa- Skirt steak and she actually said, “beating her meat”. What? Now I’m watching Bevis and Butthead.
Antonia is doing a Jerk chicken sandwich.
Ryan is doing a poached pear. Mmmm. Just what I always want when I go to a ball game! What a fool.
Now the chefs are back home and drinking and Spike and Marc are the in tub wondering why no one wants to join them. What?! Ewww. But I do love the sexy music.
Back at the field the chefs are showing their true colors. Dale is a fan, Spike is a jerk and Andrew is just silly with getting his helmet stuck on his head. He may have to wear it to judging. And poor Nikki, the ding didn’t leave enough food for the judges. So dumb.
Now into the Not So Glad Room. Funny there is no more Glad in there. Glad is probably thinking their reputation is being ruined by all the bad vibes.
The top three are Stephanie, Antonia and Dale. Even Tom is smiling at them. And the winner is…. Dale!!! Ahh my little Psycho boyfriend. I’m so happy for him. No trip to Italy, but you did get a gas grill? Lisa stop laughing at him. I know you are.
Now the losers Nikki and Ryan and Marc. Why am I not surprised? I can't believe Ryan is strongly defending those pears. Bring in Donald Trump to guest fire him now.
Why are they making me wait?
Finally the loser is announced and its California poached Ryan! Buh-Bye. I guess it’s back to his dad’s sweat shop now.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thanks to all of you who submitted questions on Ask The Agent yesterday. There's still time to chime in. If you want to ask submit here. I'll be writing up the interview soon and submitting it to Elaine. I'll give a shout out as to when it will be posted. Great Fun! Thanks again.
Speaking of fun...
Happy Birthday to my dear DH! My own sweet knight in not so shining armor (not his fault. I'm just a poor armor shiner). No this is not my DH in this photo, but this is me at about the time I met my DH about 20 years ago with my big time forever crush, Prince.
Then my DH came along. He was my total opposite with his southern charm and cool demeanor, but he and give me the same type of chills as the very best Prince song. I was a lost from the start.
He really is my true BFF, my toughest critic and greatest supporter. Sticking by me at my best and worst and understanding me when no one else does.
Happy Birthday DH!
I Love you. But you already know that.
Monday, April 14, 2008
What's Jack up to? It's Monday morning and he's wandering around the now almost empty house and I hope happy to have me back home from my weekend away. Although he'll be terribly sad to see Nana go home since she's been secretly been giving him little treats all weekend. Mmmm! Fresh baked ham!
So I'm back from New England and the NEC Romance Writers of America Conference. The theme of the conference was: Come to the edge. What a fun and inspirational weekend it was! I got to meet my fab agent, Elaine Spencer, for the first time face to face! It was like meeting your old pen pal from Zimbabwe except in our case it's been all emails with the occasional telephone call sprinkled in. I'm happy to say it was a wonderful meeting and Elaine agreed to be interviewed here. So stop back tomorrow for more details. Yay!
There was a breakfast keynote speech with Susan Wiggs on the writing life and on Saturday Suzanne Brockmann gave a talk about going deeper with your characters that rocked the room. I also really enjoyed a deep POV workshop with author Virginia Kantra which I so needed for my work and many other helpful workshops. Thanks NEC!
But you know the truth, this weekend is mostly about making connections with old and new friends. Check it out:
Here I am with my New York buddies in our black dresses. There's Megan my PIC in her stunning vintage Geoffrey Beene on the left and on the right is Elizabeth my NYC chapter Pres. in a gorgeous black dress with the coolest back that you can't see, sorry.
Here's the amazing Deidre Knight Pres of my agency with my other secret twin, Marley Gibson at lunch on Saturday. Are they not two peas in a pod?
Marley and me!
New friends and Japanese buffet conquerors Megan and Maureen. Hi Ladies!
Friday, April 11, 2008
So I'm off to New England for the NEC Romance Writers Conference. I can't wait to see old and new friends and to meet my Fab Agent along with some of my other Agency Sistahs. It should be a fun weekend full of inspirational workshops and lots of ideas. I love just love romance writer's conferences! Any place where I can freely bond over Mr. Darcy is fine by me.
So what's up for your weekend? I hope it's Happy.
P.S.- What did you think of the merge on Survivor last night? I'm going to be so mad if Ozzy wins this thing!
P.P.S. Wanna see something funny? Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piKQsnZl7I0
Thursday, April 10, 2008
America's Next Top Model was a recap show. I just don't have time for those. It's like a long commercial break.
The show starts out with Jen being so cute and defending her girl who didn't cut it last week. The we are introduced to Ming Tsai for the quickfire and the blind taste challenge. Antonia is excited. The chefs have to choose the more expensive dish. Stephanie was the worst which is surprising and Antonia rocked and won so she has immunity.
Now onto the elimination challenge. It meals on wheels! Wheee! And its another team challenge based on the 4 elements of earth, water, fire and air and doing a starter.
Water team: Richard, Andrew and Mark are poaching fish and way too happy about it. WAY to happy with the high fives and of course Richard is in charge and assuming the role as executive chef on the 1 dish starter. Gag me!
Air is Jen, Nikki and Ryan. They are doing duck and pomegranate. Ryan messes up and uses all the pomegranate. Someone get him off the island.
Earth is Spike (with a herringbone fedora) , Antonia and Zoi who are arguing over soup from the start. Chill babies. Get it together.
Fire is the power team with Dale, Stephanie and Lisa. The tension is hot. Lisa is not happy with Dale or his devilish eggs. I love all of Dale's snide impersonations of Lisa. Oh Dale you are so dry! Onto Whole Foods and Lisa is mad and now fighting for Asian. Way to fight girl! She wins out. Good for her.
Sidebar: I just noticed that Spike is wearing a crazy hat in the confessional that really does look like a Ricky original and I'm nervous for him.
Sidebar over and folks are coming in hungry. Team water's poached salmon doesn't look too good. Scaly? Oh very bad.
Team Fire and some good looking grilled shrimp and the judges are happy, happy, happy!
Team air's Duck is next and uh-oh I head some complaints.
Team Earth and the beef and more complaints from the judges, the diners and Spike! Yech.
Time for the judges table and the Glad not-so-glad room. Richard is whining. Why you not so bad now, Dude?
And the Fire team is called in and congratulated. They are so happy. I'm glad Lisa won this big prize since she really fought for this. Dale is bitter but man enough to admit it.
Now Earth and Water are called in for the bad news. Richard is in TROUBLE! Mark and Andrew are just there. The Earth team is called on the carpet for their dish being bland. Zoi is fighting for her herbs and Spike is still bringing up his missed soup.
Back to the Not So Glad Room and the big fight. Jen is bigging up Zoi telling her she's an amazing chef. Is love blind? Richard is whining and Spike is mad at himself.
Back to the judges and it's the end for Zoi. I saw it coming.
The Not So Glad Room is a mess. Jen is in tears. There is hell to pay and even with the show over the arguing continues. What tha-! Spike jumps on Antonia and Jen loses it, then Dale says something, Lisa jumps in and Dale tells her off because he's pissed about not going to Italy. Spike goes too far with Jen and she kick a chair. Yikes! It's Top Chef guys. Chill out and cook something.
Buh-bye Zoi. Thanks for the memories.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
This weekend I’m excited to be attending the New England Chapter of Romance Writer’s of America’s Annual Conference. On top of getting to sit down for first time face to face with my fab agent I’ll get to attend workshops with some great authors which is always pretty inspiring.
One of the inspiring authors giving a workshop this year is my own PIC (partner in crime) and author of the regency historical, A Singular Lady, Megan Frampton. Megan will be doing a workshop called Plotting by the Seat of Your Pants which I got to hear her do recently for our local New York Chapter. Listening to this workshop caused me to bug Megan for a quickie interview on plotting. Enjoy.
Hi Megan. Thanks for doing this interview. It’ll be quick and painless. I promise.
1. Tell me a little about your workshop and what made you decide to put this type of workshop together?
In the course of attending various writers’ conferences, I realized—perhaps not a rocket scientist moment on my part—that there were very few workshops for pantsers, probably because of our seat of the pants style. As I tried to figure out how to write a story, and not just pretty words strung together, I came up with some ideas to ask myself in the course of writing that don’t involve “plot,” “outline” or “stay true to the synopsis.”
[And I gotta give props to my faux critique partner, Carolyn Jewel, who worked on the outline with me. Some day we will present this workshop together, but meanwhile, buy Carolyn’s Book, My Wicked Enemy, when it comes out this summer. End of commercial.]
2. When you said, " a writer has to decide if they really are a Pantser and not a plotter looking to get out of the work," it made me laugh and made me think. Can you tell me what that really means? How can a writer tell if they really are a true Pantser or a Plotter?
I think true pantsers feel freest to write—and write best—when when they have only a vague story trajectory in mind. Wannabe pantsers work well with structure, but might not want to put in the advance work that pantsers do on the fly. Either way, it’s work that has to get done; it’s just a difference in when you do it.
3. Another great point you make in your workshop deals with the fact that romances always have the happily ever after and you talk about how NOT to get the character together for 400 pages. Can you talk about that concept?
Real-life romances are boring: You meet, you have a first date, it goes well, you have another one, and so on until you’re I-do-ing. Great for life, not so great for a fantastic story. The whole point, the big question the reader should be asking herself through the course of reading is not ‘when will they I do?’ but ‘how is the author possibly going to get these two together?’ THAT’s why you read. In a romance, the HEA is a foregone conclusion; it’s your job as a writer to make it less foregone, at least in the reader’s mind.
4. You also bring up the clothes line approach. Can you tell me a bit about that and how it helps the Pantser?
For me, I can write really pretty words (see above) but the scenes they’re in might not have much storyline significance. In order to make it to the final edit, you should ask yourself if the story can exist without that scene. If it can, rip it out, no matter how pretty your words are. If it can’t, keep it, and that becomes one of your clothesline items: You move from sock to sock (event to event) until you reach the end of the pole (no double entendre intended, btw). Each sock is more crucial as you advance, and you can work from one point to the next without having to know the whole wash in advance.
5. How can a Pantser feel confidant when they type THE END that they really are at the end with all the loose ends tied up neatly and completely.
Oh, for goodness’ sake, ask me a hard question, why don’t you! I have no idea. I know I feel confident that it’s done because I am COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY OVER IT, at least until I pull it out and edit it. I guess when your characters are smooching you are at the end, hopefully with ends tied. As you re-read, keep a notebook and make note of threads of plot you may or may not have tied up. Chances are you did, since your unconscious helps you, but if you didn’t, you can work it into your edit.
Ha! Don’t get mad at me. I was hoping for something divine. Humph! I guess we’ll have to keep relying on each other. Ah-hem. Ok. Back to interview mode.
6. Finally, please tell us what's next for you.
I’ll be working on a super-sexy high-concept novella called “Fortune’s Lady” (although I might name it My Lady’s Pleasure), and then the next book in my Road series, Road to Desire. I am searching for a new agent, and am committed, for the time being, to historical, although I would love to write another contemporary (I did one that didn’t sell—yet—called Mothering Heights which is being shopped around).
Thanks for doing this PIC! See you in New England! Well, there and on the bus going there:)
Megan majored in English literature at Barnard College with a double minor in political science and religion. She worked in the music industry for 15 years, editing and writing music reviews for a music industry trade magazine. Eventually, she became the Editor-in-Chief and went on to develop music industry conference programs.
Megan married one of her former interns and lives in Brooklyn, NY, with him and her son. Now that she stays at home, Megan has returned to reading — and writing — the fiction that was her first love. She is a member and was President of the Beau Monde (2004-2005), the Regency chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and a member of the NYC chapter of the RWA as well. Find out more about Megan here.
Monday, April 7, 2008
This weekend was my monthly RWA/NYC local chapter meeting and we were treated to an exceptional talk on self promotion and blogging by Sarah from Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books (that would be us ya'll!) and Ron Hogan from Media Bistro's Galley Cat.
Thanks to Sarah and Ron for being so candid on with their views and generous with their advice for the newbies of the group. Love the bit about not being a Troll. You know someone who goes around saying inflammatory things just to stir up trouble. Don’t you just hate people like that? They are not as cute as these litte guys to the right. If I ever get Trollish and it’s not about reality TV, feel free to give me a verbal smack-down.
I walked away from the talk feeling like I was a least doing some things right with my little blog here by being my true self and sharing my thoughts on: Writing, TV, Knitting and life. Being a pre-pubbed author this is really a way to show my voice and get some words on a page every day even when my WIP is not flowing like I’d like. And let’s face it, it’s a bit therapeutic. Even if you’re not really listening I like to think you are!
This blogger thanks you for tuning in.