Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Whining From Me

What's Jack up to? From what I hear he's being a sweetheart for Nana and the Dear twins but who knows they may be pulling my leg. What do you think?

The DH and I have arrived in San Fran after two lovely days in Napa Valley sipping wine and enjoying the beautiful country. So no whining from me. I'm a happy girl! I hope you're enjoying your week. Workshops start soon so I'll be hitting the books. I can't wait!


Monday, July 28, 2008

San Francisco Here I Come!

What's Jack up to? As you read this Jack is probably being spoiled senseless by Dear Nana. I'm sure he sitting at her feet while she sitting on the porch and watching all the neighborhood action go by.

Today I'm on my way with the DH to San Francisco and the Romance Writers of America National Conference. Hooray! I'm sure I'll come back with tons of inspiration and fun stories and I hope an autographed book from Ms. Nora Roberts for Dear Nana. I'll try and stop in here when I can with updates.
First stop- Wine tasting in Napa! Lovely and much needed.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mamma Mia!

What's Jack up to? It seems the wild one was just groomed, but he's in dire need of another bath so it's back in the tub for him and more fun for me. Oh my glamorous life.

Wow, I feel like I'm the last to see this movie but the DD and I got to finally see Mamma Mia. It's so hard to pin a busy teen down to see a movie with her dear mother you know. No surprise here- we both love it. In order to show her where the musical inspiration came from I'm posting this tidbit. Thanks YouTube!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Ask The Agent

Here's Ask The Agent for this week. With Fab agent Elaine Spencer from The Knight Agency. Take it away Elaine...

"Can you discuss the genres you represent? (Feel free to talk about your current clients and/or fave reads if applicable) Are you looking for anything in particular and/or what's on your wish list?"

As most readers of this blog are probably aware, the Knight Agency is largely for its representation in the women's fiction and romance genre. Consequently a strong percentage of my current client list falls under this umbrella. Romance is such a fun genre, and there are so many different sub-categories its hard to easily describe my tastes. I would say that the voice and the writing are far more important elements to me than the actual "theme" or sub-genre. I don't typically do anything that is extremely erotic and I don't go too far into the sci-fi/fantasy realm. Those are my basic limitations, there are other things I won't be as eager to look at, such as a Western, but I have to be honest, crazier things have happened. I have a client who is working on the most amazing biblical fiction novel right now, I could not have imagined how much I would enjoy it. Its been amazing to be a part of and I'm so excited about getting to shop it soon.

In general TKA doesn't do any screenplays, poetry, short stories or children's books. I myself am not looking for any real dark horror.

I would love to find a great sweeping historical, an amazingly character driven women's fiction, a brilliant original contemporary, a charming and fresh "chick-lit" type story (key word, FRESH!!). Characters are big to me, big, big, big! I love those characters that you just feel like you know right from the get-go. I have seen some really compelling inspirational titles and some brilliant multi-cultural work. I'm game for any of these.

I also am open to paranormals, typically I'm more drawn to the lighter side of things, such as my client Candace Havens who writes really quirky heroines that just happen to be touched by the paranormal. Or Melissa Mayhue, who has the most charming "Daughters of the Glen" series, the covers alone speak volumes about my kind of taste. I'm not however saying I wouldn't be open to something darker, I think the *right* dark paranormal just hasn't hit my desk.

I also represent some really exciting young adult titles. I would love to find some more high concept stories in this realm. I love reading stories aimed at the teen audience, the emotions are just so raw and point on, and the cross-over appeal is just huge right now. I'm totally open to that. Another of my clients, Linda Gerber, has a great new thriller-mystery series out for teens, that is the epitome of fun, DEATH BY BIKINI; check it out its a great example of why I love young adult novels. For YA I'm wide open, there is so much potential in this market, I want to see it all.

You know, like I said, keep in mind the rules of writing. Tell me a great story with great characters, a great voice, a great plot, and you'll be on your way. Fingers crossed for finding some great stuff in SF!

Thanks so much. As always please post your questions in the comment section. Ask the Agent will be on break next week as Elaine and I will be be in San Francisco for the RWA National Conference. We hope to come back with all sorts of fun things to share.


ATA Coming Soon

What's Jack up to? He's all feisty and barking at me this morning because I'm not getting his food to him fast enough. The nerve. Is he learning from the Dear Twins?

Ask The Agent is coming soon. Sorry for the delay. Check back later. In the meantime...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Project Makeover

What's Jack up to? It's Raining bucket's so he's perched up high on the couch looking longingly out the window willing the rain to stop. Sorry Jack.

Project Runway is underway hooray. Holla at your boy. Not.
Kelli has her immunity so she is free to breathe easy for this challenge. The day starts off with reality setting in for Suede and the other designers. They set off to parsons and the model pick off. Kelli says with her model and Joe stars the switching. Jen snatches Jarell’s model making him salty. I love that word. Salty! Let’s all use it this week.

The next challenge is making cocktail dress for their models. Sounds sweet. Maybe a little too sweet of you ask me. They have to use green fabrics. No not green- green environmentally friendly green. But here’s the twist. The models get to shop for the fabric! Ha! Funny.
The poor models are lost in Mood. One was pulling out some gold lame looking stuff and there were some very slinky things that didn’t look green to me but we will see.
Kenley instantly nixes some fabric from her model and Keith hates some of his models fabrics. Wesley is not happy.
At least Jarell is smiling and so is Suede. Once again Stella is complaining. Waa, waa, waa. Going against what her model wants.

Suede goes crazy the bias strips and stars talking about himself in 3rd person.
3 designers have the same fabric. How much do I love the models for that? And Korto and Emily and similar dresses and are getting all crazy over it. The competition is fierce
It’s time for Tim’s walk though and Korto confuses him with her inside out stitching. Too green for ya Tim?
Suede excites Tim, but so far scares me. We’ll see.
Leanne has gone circle crazy.
And Tim announces no immunity for this challenge but the winner will have their dress manufactured by
Runway show day and its panic time except for Leanna who is all confidence. And Blayne pulls out the Lisiousness.
Stella is lucky that her model likes the dress even though she didn’t listen to her.
Daniel is still at the sewing machine with 5 minutes to go.
And crazy Stella tried to steam her dress ON the model. Way to burn your client Stella.

Time for the runway show with special guest judge Natalie Portman.
But first sidebar. How much do I love Terri’s wild hair? Did I say that last week?

Now really to the show:

I Likeie: Terri, Jerell, Daniel, Suede, Leanne. Emily, Jennifer, Joe, Kenley

No Likie-Keith, Wesley, Kelli, Stella, Blayne, Korto

I originally had Korto in the likie group until I really looked at the wings on the side of the hips. Not a good idea.

I predict Kenly as the winner and Wesley as going home.

Let’s see. Winner is Suede. Wow. Ok. I’m shocked. But ok. I think Kenley was robbed. What do you think?

Poor Korto is in but teary as all get out.
And as for out it’s… Wesley. You can’t make it under the harsh runway lights with puckered satin.

Whew. No energy for Shear Genius but I’ll give it a go.
Nicole wakes first and there are some flip flops. She picks first then calls the stylist up for a day at the beach.
The guest judge is Oscar Blandi and the shortcut challenge is transforming a client’s hair after a long day at the beach without washing the client hair. The clients are all hot surfer guys who come shirtless and wet out of the water.
The stylist can use shears, batters powers clippers and a spray bottle.
Daniel and Glenn are talking mess about Nicole still being there making her all Salty.
Glen and Dee have twins so the competition is really thick there.
Once again Nekisa is wack. Big surprise. Not.
Daniel and Glenn bottom two
Tops are Dee and Nicole and the winner is Nicole.
They head back and meet the clients who are dealing with Alopecia a disease which has made then completely bald.
The stylists are moved as they cut and style the perfect wig for their clients.
Nekisa is not winning over Rene and neither is Glenn.
The emotions are going wild and the tears are flowing. Even Charlie can’t make any cracks in this room.
On to the hair show. I have to say, I’m not a fan of all the red wigs.
The top 2 here Nicole and Poulo and the winner is…Poulo. All his emotion with his client paid off. But stinker for him, no immunity in the next challenge. Bummer Dude.

Bottom 3 are Gail, Nekisa and Charlie. Who’s going home? Why it’s… Gail.

Charlie had better step up his game it’s his 2nd time in the bottom 2. The rose has lost its bloom.

Photos thanks to Bravo.

Well I'm off for some preliminary conference beauty prep. What's up for your day?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's All The Fuss About?

What's Jack up to? It's getting a bit late, but he's feeling happy and frisky and wanting to play right now, so he's bouncing from person to person in the house to try to get someone to play with him and his darn toy. Joy. Fun.

First off I want to say that fab Agent, Elaine answered some questions posted in the comments of this week's Ask The Agent. So please check here and go to the comments section to see if your question was answered. Thanks Elaine!

I was checking out Marianne Mancusi's blog and she had an interesting topic about these Gossip Girl ads.

First let me say I watch and like Gossip Girl and I've let my own DD read the books. Now to the ads... as a mother and as a writer I'm torn over them. Sure they're provocative and will do the trick to get viewers to tune in to watch what I think is one hot show. But do the ads go to far? In my opinion they do. Ugh! I just gagged a bit over how old I sound.

I'd really be fine with them if they were portraying characters that were over eighteen, but the fact that they are portraying characters that are still in high school doesn't sit right with me. Today sex is more casual then ever which just makes me sad. When I hear about freshmen girls having sex with their senior "boyfriends" of course I know what the senior boys are using the poor girls for and what the next year's round of boys will use the same girls for and so on and so on and so on...

I know that sex always has and always will go on in high school but does it need to be even more highly promoted?

I'll admit when writing my YA's to having some trouble with putting the mom aside. I was writing from the sixteen year old perspective, but I have to admit, although it pains me to do, I'm not sixteen anymore. Thank God.

ads courtesy of Gawker

Oh and did you hear that 90210 is coming back. I wonder how they will up the ante to compete with GG?

I could go on and on with this, but I won't. I'd rather hear what you think of the ads.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Look of Love

What's Jack up to? Dear Jack's in trouble for snatching a juice pouch and going on the run with it. Thanks for the fine mess to clean up, Jack. I needed a little more work to do.

How much to I love my local library? Thissssssss much. Why? Because I got to watch this over the weekend in between the dust, heat and baseball. So much fun.

And how much to I love sweet smiles, deep voices and happy endings? Thisssssss much!!!

And how much do I love crazy fans that make YouTube videos that show how much they love the above but not in a creepy way. Thissssss much too!!!

Have a great day. Hopefully it's not a heat wave where you are. They say it's the last day for it in New York. I sure hope so. I'm running on E right about now.

Slight Spoiler Alert Here!

This behind the scene is really lovely. Warning Spoiler Alert too!!



Monday, July 21, 2008

RITA Bound

What's Jack up to? Jack is chilling on his mat right now happy that it's still cool out. He's looking awfully cute. I give him five minutes before he decides to get into some mischief, maybe four.

The weekend was full of heat, dust, baseball, teens and heat and I'm glad it's done. I'm exhausted. But now I've got one week before I'm on the way to San Francisco for the RWA National Conference! Let the freak out begin. My to-do list for the week is cra-zy! And that's for the kid's so that I can leave them at home with the dear grandmother. Forget about all I have to do for myself to prepare to go away for the week with the DH. Thank goodness for coffee and sugar. No cleanse for me!

In honor of Nationals, check out this great trash talking RITA promo video from the hilarious single title contemporary nominees. I hope to see plenty of you at the RITAs.

So what's on your to-do list for the week? I'm off to pour some coffee and formulate a plan.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Ask The Agent

For a bit of a change this week. Elaine, fab agent from The Knight Agency, is giving some conference advice in honor of RWA Nationals coming up. I decided to put up a pic of one of our first conference meetings. Without further chat from me here's Elaine...

As RWA nationals hurl towards us at lightening speed I thought today I would talk about conference etiquette. Hopefully I can share some advice that will answer a lot of peoples questions about what is and what isn't ok to do at one of these events and help you make 2008's national conference your best yet.

We all know what its like to watch a golden opportunity pass by because we were unsure if our intentions would be well received. Only then, when the moment is gone does the fog clear and we say "if only I had . . . ". Conferences are a breeding ground for this type of regret. The anticipation of being surrounded by so many published authors, agents, editors, and industry professionals leads to a build-up of expectations and also nerves that can be our own worst enemy when faced with a situation that can ultimately change our career.

I know that for many of you reading this post, attending any conference means having to take vacation from other jobs, make family sacrifices, and spend a substantial sum of money all in an effort to take your writing career to the next level. For all of us industry professionals one of our goals is to help you make the most of these investments. So, with that being said I want everyone to remember these brief pointers - seriously, if you keep these SIMPLE things in your head you will definitely walk away from the conference without any hesitation towards saying "Now that was worth it"!

*I have said this before on this blog, and on many other blogs, and on many panels and in many interviews,* but still, it can never be said too many times - "Agents are just people!" Let me tell you folks, when we step on an elevator and we see people drop their eyes and go quiet, we notice. We can feel the awkwardness that oozes off situations when people are essentially afraid to talk to us. And guess what? It makes us feel just as awkward. I wake up every morning and brush my teeth, and drink my coffee and read the paper just like you. Don't EVER hesitate to acknowledge us with the same common courtesy that you would any other conference attendee. We will not be walking around the Marriot just waiting to breathe fire at the casual passer-byer who politely says hello as they pass. We will not pull out our "blacklist" for the person who makes small talk during the ridiculous line outside of the coffee shop. And we certainly won't call NYC and have it posted in Times Square if you dare enter the restroom at the same time as us. Just act normal!

The conference is a time when we are all focused on the business of publishing and the craft of writing, but remember, this is not all there is to life. We all know that its not always appropriate to pitch your book i.e. that moment you enter the bathroom at the same time. However, it is appropriate to groan about the fact that every one of the soap dispensers is empty. It is not important if I catch your name or what you write during these casual encounters, what is important is that when another instance presents itself that DOES lend itself to pitching I'm going to remember your friendly face. I'm going to think to myself "Oh I remember them, they were so lovely back there", and that is going to make me want to stop and learn more about you as an author. Its a chain reaction. Conferences are great because we are all co-existing, there are hundreds of opportunities to build up a "rapport" that can come back later and really work to your advantage when the time is right.

So what about the not so casual encounters? What about those moments that you *really* want to talk to someone about your novel? When is this ok? Well - building off of the "we are people" mantra use your people skills and some common sense. Realize that at these events we have meetings scheduled one after another. Your best opportunities are going to be after a panel or a session when the hosts are standing around the room waiting to talk to the audience. But remember, be receptive and don't take it personally if the agent is running off to another meeting and seems harried. If you see an agent sitting alone casually approach them and see how the mood "feels" - if they are open to chatting you will know pretty quickly. Sometimes in my down-time I like to just walk around and feel the vibe and energy that is associated with the conference. I am up for meeting new people and often when someone approaches me I'll pull them over to the side and have a great conversation. However sometimes I need a few minutes for just me, to collect my thoughts and prepare for my next event, in these cases my stare is a little blank and my responses are pretty clipped, if someone keeps saying "I need to go", wrap up your conversation. Read the signs and you'll be fine! If I represent your best friend or critique partner ask them if they can introduce us at the literacy signing or during the keynote luncheon. When possible I try to attend the publisher signings and spotlights, if you see me browsing around casually say hi!

And now the negatives, a few things that are never appropriate. (And yes, I know these may seem obvious but yet I'm never surprised). Do NOT try to force material on me, or hand me your sample pages at any point during the conference. This is NEVER a good idea, nor will it ever be; Instead ask if you can query me following the conference. Do NOT ever feel the need to open up a conversation with "Hi, you rejected me six months ago". What good is this ever going to serve, really? It only makes the conversation awkward from the get-go. Be mindful of what you say, where, and to whom. Seriously, voices carry and we all have ears, no one ever looks good in the process of smearing someone else. One would be shocked at how much gossip is casually "overheard" in the shared spaces of the event. Do not ever interrupt me when I am in the middle of a sit-down meeting. Period. Do not stop me if I am obviously running through the lobby, I'm probably already late and I don't want to be forced to be rude to get away. And lastly, (and no I'm not kidding), no knocking or slipping things under my hotel room door, its happened before and its never ok. Its creepy. See? These are easy enough rules. If you avoid those major traps I think you are off to a great start and our encounters will be positive!

Remember, we are going to meet hundreds (literally) of new faces while we are out in California, in addition to the hundreds of familiar ones that we have existing relationships with. Its a whirlwind week and the chances of having an earth-shattering moment that is going to sky-rocket you to the NYT list by January is one in a million. Be smart about how to use the conference to your advantage. Attend panels, spotlights and sessions where you can learn more about your craft and how your manuscript realistically fits into the market. Have it in your head that you would like to meet 3-5 people who you can hopefully send material to after the closing remarks on Sunday. During the course of the event take advantage of the small opportunities and remember usually the opportunity to expand your network will be more valuable than the elusive request for a partial. You will be light-years ahead of the competition just by showing that you are another confidant and professional participant in our industry.

Thanks so much Elaine! Now don't forget to post your questions. We really need them to keep Ask The Agent going.


P.S. Scroll down for more of my silly thoughts for the day. Have a great one and a wonderful weekend!

More Changes

What's Jack up to? He's happy it's the weekend and just chilling while sporting his cool new haircut. I'll have him pose for some pics as soon as I can get him still.

I'm still thinking about my Changes post from a few days ago and would love to keep it going. If you'd like to read the original post please check it out here. The comments really got me thinking on life and how it evolves. So I'm posting the question again and for a little fun putting up some videos that were on and poppin' in 1988 when they still showed video on MTV. These are all songs I loved at that time.

I still want to hear your answers to the the Changes question. Please join my little writing exercise. Here it is:

How similar is your life to how you imagined it ten or twenty years ago? Is it how you thought it would be or are you constantly asking yourself how did I get here? Do you mourn for the unfulfilled dreams? (Pioneer Woman said unrealized plans) or are you happy no matter what the circumstances? Oh Life!

Have a great weekend. I'll be doing the baseball thang (how much can one woman drive?) and hanging with the DD while she tries to convince me that Lil Wayne is a real hottie and compare him somehow to my Prince. Honey Pla-ease!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Project Shear Madness

What's Jack Up to? Jack's tired from staying watching Project Runway and Shear Genius. It's too much great reality for one fab yorkie!

Project Runway Season 5 starts with the intro video of the designers and they seem to have it all together. There are some real toughies in this group. They meet Heidi and Tim on the Atlas roof and I know some of them, are ready to push the others off. Watch out for Stella, Suede, Jerell, Jerry and Very Tan Blayne, they all seem ready to push.

It’s the crack of dawn and Tim is ringing the doorbells. Eek. It’s off to the first challenge and they are at Gristedes grocery store. And who is there to meet them, but Austin Scarlett in all his glory. Picture this, white pants, blue tapered jacket, white scarf and fedora. Need I say more? Time to make a garment out of grocery items.

We have designers buying; mop heads, trash bags, shower curtains and kale greens.
I’m so happy Project Runway is back! Make it Work!
Tan Blayne is big on the “lisous” saying and it’s annoying everyone.

Jerry has some fire to him. He looks all unassuming but he’s full of the catty-ness.
Stella is mad because her trash bags really are trash.
Tim comes and stops the action everyone quakes in their boots. Daddy’s home. Tim’s not happy. He sees way too many tablecloths and calls the designers slackers. Uh-oh. Now they really are quaking and so am I. What is Nina going to say?
The designers are scrambling to turn their tablecloths into something else and Stella is declaring that her trashy bags will get her eliminated.
Now the models come in and there are some crazy things being put on the poor women. Crazy scary.
Time for the Runway Show.

My Faves: Emily, Jerell, Korto, Jennifer, Daniel, Kenley, Kelli, Keith, Stella
My not so faves: Leanne, Terri, Suede, Joe, Jerry, Wesley, Blayne, Stella

You can see that Stella is straddling the fence for me. I could not decide on her design. I agree part if it was a yawn but I liked the simple shape of it.

The winner is… Kelli! Thanks to her fab marble dye job.

The loser is …Jerry. I have to say I agree with that one. His look was just scary. I am sorry to see Jerry go though. He would have made for interesting TV.

Whew I’m tired and now onto Shear Genius? Eek!
Remind me never to sign up for Shear Genius. There was some crazy swap stylist challenge where the stylists started with their clients and mid-process the clients had to get up and switch chairs to continue the process with another stylist. Mid-color cut or whatever. They did this multiple times only to end up back with the original stylist. One client ended up in tears. I was right there with you honey.

Now it’s down the line and Charlie comes up with more fabulous one liners. “Big T#ts won’t get you out of every jam.” Ouch.

The loser was Meredith.
The winner was Dee.

The stylists are back home and the claws come out. Charlie starts giving crap and Dee throws it right back. Suddenly I’m loving Dee.
The elimination Challenge is giving the clients a style that they can do at home.
Dee gets first pick and then she gets to pair each stylist with the clients. Oh Charlie had better watch out. The producers know what they are doing with this scenario.
Dee picks Nekisa first and Charlie last. You know Charlie had something to say about that.

Then it was time to Go Shake It! Tell them Rene! You say what?
The stylists style and then are told that the elimination will take place the next day when the clients have to come back and style their own hair.

Back at the old homestead and everyone talks about Dee has a crush on the married Nekisa. DD called that on day one.
The next day the clients are back and trying to do their own hair. How much do I hate that next day hair let down?

Let’s move onto the hair show. This is too painful.
The winners are: Glenn, Dee and Nicole
Losers are: Meredith, Charlie, and Nekisa. Charlie is lucky he has immunity.
The big winner is… Glenn She got her dream and will be published. I’m feeling you Glenn!

The loser is… Meredith.

Whew. This is a lot for one night. I’m spent.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Translation Please

What's Jack up to? Oh Jack is a happy camper now that he has the DD to bark at and fight with his day is that much more complete.

Guess what I got my hot little hands on? My very own copy of the much coveted Black Issue of Italian Vogue. The one fashionistas in the NYC are going ga-ga over. Well my DH came home yesterday with a copy for me! It only took him checking 3 or 4 sold-out newsstands and finally hitting pay dirt in the Met Life building.

What a feast for the eyes and I would suspect the mind too if only I could read it. I'm thinking there are some really interesting articles in here dealing with race in the fashion industry. That darn Italian Vogue teases me with English titles and Italian articles. I'm dying to read the conversation with Bethann Hardison. But I'm sure with a little digging it will all turn up somewhere in cyberspace.

In the meantime, I'll be happy with the amazing pics and hope this is stand by Italian Vogue and Steven Meisel will actually bring about a change in the fashion industry and we can start to see a real global representation of beauty in print and in the runway. Are you listening American Vogue, Elle, Bazaar etc... You can read my past thoughts here. Now for a few pics!



Check out Karen Alexander!

Toccara Jones! Serving up a Pam Grier vibe. Can we talk about how stunning this is?

Ah fashion!


P.S. Thanks so much for your comments on Changes yesterday. I want to keep it going. If you missed the post please check it out and comment here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


What's Jack up to? Jack is up and raring for the day. Already ready for fun and play pulling out toys and hopping around. I have to take a drive to pick up the DD who has been away for a week. I think I'll take Jack with me for a nice surprise. I hope he doesn't drive me batty on the way.

For quite a while now I have been a fan of the blog: Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Her photography just takes my breath away and the way she describes life on the ranch with Marlboro Man, sigh. If you have not read her. Please check her out here. Recently she did a post that got over 1500 comments which is pretty normal for Pioneer Woman. The post was called Changes in Plans.

my own bit of photography from the recent fair on a rainy day

As a writer and mother and woman of a certain age the question she asked really touched me as well as all the responses and got. They were so interesting so I thought I'd post the same question here.

How similar is your life to how you imagined it ten or twenty years ago? Is it how you thought it would be or are you constantly asking yourself how did I get here? Do you mourn for the unfulfilled dreams? (Pioneer Woman said unrealized plans) or are you happy no matter what the circumstances?

I'll start. I would have never thought I'd be where I am today or doing what I'm doing today, although somewhere in the back of my mind I guess the dream of being a writer was always there. But really twenty years ago I'd imagined myself today still being a designer probably with my own label, living in the city, maybe with one small child, maybe on husband number 2 maybe not. LOL. But living a life filled with fashion, meetings, wine, coffee, travel and more fashion. Oh and I'd be way skinnier.

But life sends you curves and mine came in the form of 2 eggs fertilized and suddenly that life didn't feel as important. So other, older dreams came into focus. The writing dream and the new dream of how I could find a way to work and be there for my 2 eggs all the time. Sure, I still wanted the wine, coffee and the success but the travel no longer held the same appeal. So here I am happy in my changes, but like my current manuscript still very much a WIP.

Okay, I'm on a mission. I really want to see some comments. This is a writing experiment so pass this on to all your friends and tell them inquiring minds want to know. Are they happy with life's changes?



Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Monday

What's Jack up to? He's gearing up for a week of fun in the sun, well knowing Jack he'll be hiding out from it while he plans his newest delivery man attack. That sly Jack.

I've got tons on my mind this Monday morning. Just because it's summer it doesn't mean the work slows down for Dear Mom. My to-do list for the week kind of makes me want to... to-don't. But being the adult in the house, that is not an option. Rather than list things here I'd like to think of more pleasant things so I'm posting some progress pics of my garden. You can see the old pics here and I think you'll agree there has been some major progress.

It's slightly slow going in the tomato area and I could be tending things better than I am, but all in all I think it's progressing nicely. Check out the collard greens.

Look squash blossoms.

Check out these string beans. Aren't they pretty!?

What's on tap for your week?


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mamma Mia! So many men/books, so little time

What's Jack up to? He's having a happy Saturday. Right now he's in his chilling out spot under my bed. It must be cool under there. Too bad I can't fit.

Last night about about 2:oo AM I finished Hannah Howell's Highland Bride. (Yep the DH was not too happy about the light still being on) It was a fun read. 4 stars from Romantic Times. A total escape and it got me happily through a few baseball games and practices with the DS.

My lovely agency sistah Kristen got me thinking with her recent blog post about how few book I actually read as compared to how many I used to read. It's sad really. I used to be a 1 or 2 book a week girl now I'm lucky if I can do 1 or 2 a month. My TBR (to be read) pile is just sick. Not to mention I'm heading to the RWA national conference in a few short weeks where I'll be coming home with a ton more books that I'll want to read. What's a girl to to? I see many more 2:00 AMs in my future.

On another happier note, look what comes out this Friday. I can't wait to go see this with the DD!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Ask The Agent

What's Jack up to? He's happy it's Friday and ready for a fun filled day of play and bouncing around. Slow down Jack. It's still way early.

Here's this week's Ask the Agent post with fab agent Elaine Spencer from The Knight Agency. Today she's talking film rights! Very Interesting.

Will a literary agent be more likely to gain a movie option for me than my small publisher?

A lot of authors have a lot of questions about film rights. Typically we find that these sub rights are an area where many authors have unrealistic expectations and misconceptions. A forewarning, my answer to this question is going to sound pessimistic. Unfortunately I feel this is a case where regardless of the pleasantness of the truth its something that needs to be said.

It often seems that authors fall into the trap of believing if their manuscript has the stuff to be turned into a novel, then naturally that novel would also make a great movie. This is just not the case.

To begin to understand why this is, one needs to have an in-depth understanding of the film business. While the ins and outs are far too complicated for me to explain here, (and in all honesty much more all-encompassing than I even understand) the best way to explain it is that it is a VERY different market than the publishing business. People need to remember that as with any differing markets the needs and demands for each are separate and unique to their own individual market. Its absurd to assume that what works with one is naturally going to work for the other.

Plain and simple, you might in fact have the best book in the world, but unless the specifics of your story perfectly align with the needs of a production company, it is going to be a one in a million shot that you will find someone who is going to invest the time and money in making your book come to life.

Books are unique in the fact that a large part of what makes them special is the individual voice and style that a reader finds as they travel the pages. We've heard it before, but its nearly impossible to find a "new story" - most novels these days are in some form or another the retelling of a formula that has been done before. It is the new tone and style that the author weaves into the pages that make it a new story. To translate that tone and voice off of the page and onto the screen is a very difficult task, so while something may feel magical on paper, when it goes "live" it may instead end up feeling very "done".

As to the specifics of your question, is an agent more likely to find you a deal than a small publisher. That depends on the agent I suppose. I can tell you that the Knight Agency (as similar with many other comparable literary agencies) is not looking to take on "film rights" to a project that has already been published. I can also tell you that when we are looking to sign on a new client, the salability of film rights associated with a prospective clients' projects are far down the list of things we are concerned about. We are a literary agency and so our number one concern is the literary rights.

Keeping that in mind, I don't want to give off the false impression that we don't work the film rights on behalf of our clients. We do, and we have seen great success in the sale of several notable projects this year alone. However, we do this in association with a film-agent. We know that we don't know the film market as well as a film-agent will, so we pair ourselves with partners that become advocates on behalf of our clients interests in the film/TV industry.

Whenever we are negotiating a book contract we try in as many instances as possible to retain the film rights for a project. We believe that we will in fact be more aggressive of these sub-rights than the publisher simply because we have an invested interest in the overall career growth of our authors on a more one-on-one basis than many publishers do. (And I'm not saying that publishers aren't interested in film rights, I'm just asserting that a publisher's number one concern is selling a profitable book).

So in the case that we retain the rights, we then put together a film-rights list that we will in turn offer to a variety of film agents of varying specialties. Out of these rights, after having been reviewed, film agents typically are only interested in seeing @20% of the projects we offer to them. Again this is because they are using their expertise and they know that the project isn't going to be sale-able to a production company (much in the same regard that literary agents only take on a small portion of projects pitched to them, believing that they will be unable to find an editor interested in buying the others). A film agent may fall in love with a book, but that doesn't mean they are going to be able to sell the rights. You know how editors have standard rejections such as "I just didn't fall in love"? Well In many cases film agents have these same response, the projects they see are too "soft" or lack the "high-concept" demanded by the film industry's needs.

Here it is also important that film agents, regardless of their specialty are going to be more inclined to look at a certain type of story. It is nearly impossible to sell the film rights to a straight Romance. And a thriller has to be amazingly different to stand out from the thousands of other thriller movies that have already been made. While this is frustrating it only makes sense when you really think about it. To write a good book it is important that authors follow certain conventions and rules, these rules and conventions then in turn work against you in the film business, hence the whole other business of "screen-writing" and the ability to use different rules.

So in conclusion and in summary; Can an agent sell your rights more effectively than a small press? Probably. But I'm only saying this because I'm betting your small press most likely doesn't have a very expansive department working your film rights as it wouldn't be a profitable venture. Most importantly; Can an agent sell your film rights? Probably not, and if that is what is most important to you, perhaps you should re-evaluate the field you are writing in.

So there it is. Thanks so much to Elaine. Please post your questions and comments in the comment section and we'll see you next week.



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shear Striaght

What's Jack up to? He's rocking out to Guitar Hero down in the basement as I'm typing this right now. Seems there's no escaping it this summer since the DS in on some Guitar Hero quest. Sigh. Jack would like to go to sleep now and so would I.

On Shear Genus they have 1 hour to style the hair of women, some of whom have not cut it since maybe birth. And they are not allowed to cut any of it. Crazy. When judge Campbell used the word bridal on Charlie I thought he’d throw up in his mouth. Then he told Nicole she had six minutes and left could she take her style in another direction. As if?

Matthew was the winner of the challenge and he dedicated the win to his wife who he evidently styles hair with side by side. Everyone wanted to toast him, well suck up to him but Matt wanted none of it and had to be coaxed into the suckery.

Then for the elimination challenge it was red carpet hair and the stylists picked dresses before picking clients. Matthew took the opportunity to go on and on about how much he loves his wife again. We get it. You’re a male hair dresser, but you’re not gay. No need no say it again, Matthew. We’re not demanding video proof. It’s not that deep. If you say it a few more times I really won’t believe you.

Matthew got to pick the order of who would choose their dresses and Nicole and Glenn were picked last. We see you didn’t suck up properly the night before
Matthew mentions his wife again and now I’m getting skeptical. And he just called Charlie a b$tch which makes me even more skeptical. I must read David Dust’s take on this.

Daniel seems to have had too much coffee because he is way pumped up and nervous and making Rene nervous too. Eek.
The models have to walk out of a limo and down a red carpet in the daylight. Very unforgiving.

Glenn, Charlie and Gail are the top 3. The winner was…Charlie! What tha-! Again?

The bottoms are Nicole, Matthew and Paulo. The loser is…Matthew. His final words? Something about how much he loves his wife and can’t want to get home to shag, maybe? Blah, blah, blah. Now I’m really not believing his story and I can’t stop laughing. I’d better watch out for that bolt of lightning that's sure to strike me any moment. Poor on the DL Matt. Buh-Bye.


The DS must have been reading my blog (see below) I'm deep into Highlander Bride at last night's baseball game and what do I hear as he's about to go up to bat in his Peter Brady hi-low voice but, "Mom, mom are you paying attention?" Sigh.
Oh boy was I in trouble. But he had a great game. 3 base hits and they won I think 12 to 4 or something like that. It's me ya know. I could be wrong about the score, but they did win.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm no soccer mom

What's Jack up to? I've decided Jack has way too many stuffed toys. Every time I turn around he's underfoot with another toy for me to play fetch. Who has who trained here?

I'm trying to come to terms with my soccer mom, well baseball mom, status. My DS is on a travel baseball team this summer that has me constantly up and down the road. Ugh! Now it may not win me any prizes, but I really no soccer mom. Most times when I'm at the field my nose is usually buried in a romance book or I've got my lap top out and I'm hiding in my car. I just don't quite fit in with the other Ubermoms that know all the kid's names and the stats and have extra waters, Gatorade and ice packs at the ready. I never quite have it that together. Sue me.

Oh well. We all have our gifts I guess. To that end on the way to a game the other day I was feeling very 80's and played this for the DS over and over while I sang at the top of my lungs. He laughed and tied to out sing me.

I think for today's game we may rock this (thanks Megan):

I may not be a baseball mom but I know good music. That should get me some points. Right?


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Well, well, well...

What's Jack up to? He's very barky at every little car that drives by as I'm typing this tonight. Feeling feisty Jack?

Well, I really don't know what to say. The snowboarding, the jackets, the wings? Ugh!
All I can say in the end is that this video is for you Mel...

Till another season...another show. Hey Project Runway is coming soon!


P.S. scrool down for cleanse update sigh...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday Monday

What's Jack up to? He's getting over the 4th of July weekend activities by relaxing. Big fun was had by man and beast alike.

So I made it for 5 days in the 21 day cleanse. Not so good huh? The July 4th holiday totally derailed me. I caved and had a cocktail or 2, okay three. Sigh...
Oh well. Then when it came down to the stupid cleanse or dinner with lovely friends. I went for dinner with friends and neighbors. Besides our electricity went out. A sure sign from God to head on out of the house and congregate with the friends and neighbors and a wee bit of cheese. I'm not sorry either. I will say I triumphed over coffee and sugar. I have not had any and I'm dying for some. Check out the video below blatantly stolen from Dooce. Just plug in the word coffee for cookie and it perfectly describes how I feel.

I actually got a lot out of my few days on the cleanse. I didn't lose an ounce, but I got a slightly clearer mind and a renewed energy toward my WW goals. I will be back to a meeting this week and back on track with that. So there's a plus. And I know I'll be eating cleaner. I also fell in love with Trader Joe's gluten free pancakes and Morning Star farms veggie burgers and sausages. Who would have thunk that?

Till tomorrow. Who knows what track I'll be on?


It's the big Bachelorette finale tonight. Will it be the roaming life or the ready made family for DeAnna? Oh and I hear Jeremy is not out for the count yet. Hmm...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What I'm Watching... The joy!

What's Jack up to? Getting over the July 4th festivities. Oh the hangover!

So check out what I finally got out of the library. I only had to wait forever.

With such horribly campy lines as "I shot the sheriff" and "No, you shot the deputy." I had to wonder who was writing this thing and what were they thinking?

Then the question arises why would I watch something with lines this bad?

Need I say more?



Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

What's Jack up to? Just chillin' by the grill today for the 4th of July BBQ! We hope you have a great July 4th. Stay cool!! Jack will.

Since it's the holiday today we're talking a break from Ask The Agent. Fab Agent and I will be back next week. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Enjoy yourself and have loads of fun.

Enjoy your Independence!
How much do I love this movie?! Wayyy too much.




If you missed any past Ask the Agent posts please click on the Ask the Agent label to the right or below to read the old posts. They are great. Elaine gives loads of insight into the agent's mind.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shearly Perfect

What's Jack up to? A person would never know that Jack went to obedience training with the way he tries to attack all delivery men and workers that come to my house. I do apologize to the electricians that came by and got scared out of their wits by my Yorkie yesterday. I swear he's all bark. Well mostly.

First off I just want to say: I WANT COFFEE!!!!!! WITH MILK AND SUGAR!!!! A big ol super iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts would be nice and heavenly. Freakin herbal tea ain’t cuttin’ it. Can you tell I’m getting cranky in the cleanse? And in further proof the DH only occasionally scans my blog, and only half listens to me, he came home with an ice coffee for me from Starbucks last night. What a sweet DH enabling he is. Crack would have been easier to resist. But resist I did. UGH!!! Lord help me! Ok rant over. See me in 10 minutes for my next rant.

Yay for Sheer Genius! It’s still so much fun.
The shortcut challenge was taking clients hair from long to short and Daniel as the winner last week picked first and the order. Then before time ran out Jaclyn said scissors down and the guest judge, the witch Tabitha from last season arrived full of vim and venom. Screech!
I loved all the back talk on the walk through with Tabitha. My what a talkative crew this is! The Shortcut winner was Charlie but I thought it should have been Nicole the runner up.

The elimination Challenge causes squeals of delight. It’s the Real Housewives of Orange County! Daniel turns out to be a total groupie and a bit nuts, dressing to watch Lauri’s wedding on TV. I love that amount of crazy.

The housewives are lots of fun to watch especially Vicki who seems thrilled to be back in the spotlight again. Whoo Hoo!

Kim Vo coined the phrase Blonderexic last night if I heard correctly while crunching on my sugar free energy bite. Perfect. As if he's one to talk.

The Winner of the challenge was Charlie! It was his night.
The loser this week is...Parker. But not before Daniel has a little melt down and Charlie is a witchy. Ouch!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shiny and New

What's Jack up to? He's trying to get used to having the kids around most of the day. I know it's strange, huh, Jack. I'm trying to figure the whole thing out too.

So I've been consumed with thoughts lately of the whole cleansing thing that been all over the place. On Oprah, and I've had friends do their own version and then this past week the cleanse idea has been popping up all over the blogs with Dooce giving it a go and making it about 8 valiant days and Isuwannee saying she wants to give it a try too.

So since it's been so on my mind I woke up yesterday morning feeling like today's the day. As if that would be so easy. But I've been feeling so sluggish and run down that I felt that I needed some sort of jump start to get me on track.

The idea is to eliminate: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten and animal products. I seem to be able to make it though most of a day pretty well, but by dinner I'm dying for some meat. So I'm doing the gently leaning in thing that Kathy Freston talked about and taking it slow.

What do you all think of all this crazy cleanse talk, anybody gave it a try?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Color Me Shocked!

What's Jack up to? Things are heating up so Jack's been lounging around a bit. He's like me when it comes to the heat. Ugh.

Well, well, well, I don't really know what to say about last night's Bachelorette. How could DeAnna get rid of Jeremy and not Jesse? Man, I just don't understand love. You know it's good TV when you're Nana calls you screaming, "What the--!"

I know there are quite a few of you out there that called Jesse from the beginning (Mel) but I just could not see it and still can't. Is DeAnna going to follow him around the slopes and live all willy nilly happy with whatever he wants to do once he grows up? And the wings. I can't even start on the wings! Somebody get me some clippers!

At this point I say take whoever you want DeAnna. More power to ya girl. Will it be the man/boy who is not quite ready to grow up or the ready made family? Talk about apples and oranges.

Sidebar: I have a feeling with Jeremy we're looking at the next Bachelor. What do you think?


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