Sunday, February 27, 2005


Back from snowboarding at Mount Snow in Vermont. Was a great day - very good snow and it wasn't too cold. I love snowboarding. It's such a rush flying down the mountain. And great exercise too. Tonight my DH is out at a concert with friends (he has so much stamina!) I'm exhausted. I'm trying to watch the Oscars but they just aren't holding my interest. Problem is, I haven't seen any of the movies, so I'm kind of like "who cares?" I used to go to the movies every Sunday night with my friend Mary until I moved out of the city and into the burbs. Now I'm more of an "on demand" cable kind of girl. Getting old, I guess!

My cousin's wedding last night was nice. Lots of people! I guess her husband has a big family. She looked very beautiful and very happy so that's good. My cousin's grandmother Silvia, who I consider my own adopted grandmother (nona) as I grew up with her at every family function, was there. She is this tiny Italian woman who must be in her mid 80s by now. She's such a sweetheart and I love her dearly. Sadly now her mind is going and she gets really confused and forgetful, but boy does she remember about my book coming out!! Everytime I see her, the first thing she does is give me a big kiss and we have this exchange, word for word, every time:

Sylvia: "Marianne! When's your book coming out?"
Me: "May. It's coming out in May."
Sylvia: "And you're going to autograph it for me!"
Me (Nodding): "Yes, I will definitely autograph it for you."
Sylvia: "And you won't forget?"
Me: "I promise. I won't forget."

Last time I saw her I gave her a copy of the cover flat and so this time she was going on about how she showed it to everyone and told them how she knows a real author. It's moments like these that make me feel truly proud and happy.

Okay I know this isn't a very exciting entry, but my exhaustion is making me somewhat uninspired. I promise to be more interesting tomorrow. :-)


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Can't wait to read...

Agh - yesterday was such a hellish day at work. I'm sooo glad it's Saturday today. I put in an over 12 hour workday and about 11.5 hours were torturous. I wish I could tell you the whole sordid tale because actually some of it is really, really funny and would inadvertantly say a lot about TV News and the absurdity of the whole thing, but I can't cause this blog is a public forum and until I can support myself entirely on writing, I can't dish all the dirt.

So, um, if you want to learn all, buy my books. Heck, buy two copies. Help me escape the dark pit of existance known as tv news and I promise to tell all. heh.

Ahem.Shameless begging out of the way now, on to our regularly scheudled blog.

This morning I'm off to my dad & stepmom's for a birthday brunch. My brother and his wife are up from Tennessee (for my cousin's wedding later today, not my brunch, just FYI. I mean my brother loves me, but not THAT much!!) I haven't seen my brother since like the fall, so I'm psyched. Then off to my cousin Jen's wedding. She's had a tough time with guys who were like ALMOST the one and then at the last minute it turned out that they soooo WEREN'T so I'm glad she's finally got someone perfect for her even though I find weddings incredibly boring events.

So anyway, a couple of people recently have written me saying they're looking forward to my book coming out, which delights me to no end! I mean people are thinking about my book!! Wow. It boggles the mind that some little Microsoft Word file, created on a lonely morning in the summer of 2003 has grown into something with almost a life and existance all its own. Kind of scary, but cool, all at the same.

ANYWAY - before I get completely off topic, those emails made me start thinking what books I'M really, really looking forward to reading when they're released. So here's my short list. Feel free to add your own, because I'm always on the lookout for good books:

Liz Maverick's Crimson City series (starts July 2005) - action adventure romance about vampires, werewolves and mechs, living in futuristic LA. I mean, can you get any cooler than that? I think not.

Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon - If Buffy got married and had kids and never told anyone about her past. This has also been optioned as a movie. V. V. cool.

Alesia Holliday's Nice Girls Finish First - The sequel to the uber funny American Idle. Alesia is one of the funniest writers I know.

Kristin Harmel's How to Sleep with a Movie Star - Okay, I've actually already read a draft of this as they asked me to do a cover quote. But it's great - something I think everyone who hasn't already read it should look out for.

Jennifer's O'Connell's Off the Record - I'm a bit sketchy on the plot, but heard some of it has to do with the 80s and I LOVE anything to do with the 80s as I was a child of them. :-)

Gena Showalter's Awaken Me Darkly - Book 1 in the "Alien Huntress" series. The cover alone makes it a must-buy and it sounds like a really cool book.

Molly Jong Fast's Sex Doctors in the Basement - A memoir by the daughter of Erica Jong. I read her first book "Normal Girl" a few years back and loved it. Gritty, funny book about a teen socialite addict living in Manhattan. Kind of Druggie Chick Lit. :-)

Well that's a short list - there are many, many more, but I've got to my birthday brunch. :-) Oh and just a quite note - I just finished Melissa Senate's "Who's Wedding is it Anyway." It was really good. Melissa has a knack for creating really lovable, flawed characters and I think I have a bit of a crush on heroine's brother Emmett.


Friday, February 25, 2005

Talking about Myself

For the release of CT Fashionista, I was lucky enough to score an author profile article with Romantic Times Bookclub magazine. For those of you who don't know, RT is like the Bible of romance writing, so I'm very honored to be included. It'll run in their May issue - same month as my launch. So very cool.

Anyway, the editor sent me a list of questions to answer via email and I just got done doing that. And I was thinking how strange it was to suddenly be on the answering end of things. Normally, as a journalist, I'm always the one asking the questions.

Which brings me to the issue of SSP. Otherwise known as "shameless self promotion." I always feel so weird and uncomfortable talking about myself, promoting myself. I've never been one to be like "Oh look at me. Look how great I am!" And I feel like the book is an extension of me. I don't want to go out and be like "Oh my book is so great it deserves to be on the USA Today Bestseller List." But at the same time I want people to hear about the book and really build a buzz -- which means I have to promote my book at every moment. So it's a weird balancing act authors have to go through...

Another issue I've seen brought up on some of the chick lit loops is promoting oneself as the anti-chicklit chicklit book. Authors who say their books are "smarter chick lit" or whatever. Now with my book, it's a chick lit/time travel and I'd be sure to build up a good media buzz by saying I was sick of reading all those single girl in the city clones with the bad boss, bad boyfriend and good shoes and I wanted to write something different and unique. etc. etc. Totally put a negative spin on the genre and then turn that into a chance to promote my book. Honestly, it's a good hook that would probably get me some attention. But do I want to put down my fellow chick lit authors -- many who I am friends with -- just to sell a few extra copies? And is there a way to use this angle without coming off as negative? I really have no idea...

Okay gotta get back to work now!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Busy Busy Busy

At work sweeps is winding down and that means the last of the segments has to get on the air. I've got one airing tomorrow and another airing on Monday. So I've been scrambling to get them written and edited so they can make it on the air. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the rest of you, the end of sweeps means the beginning of reruns for your favorite shows. But for downtrodden tv news producers like me, it means a far less hectic schedule... at least for the month of March. Come April we'll have to start getting ready for May sweeps. A never ending cycle, I'll tell you what.

Of course it didn't help that in the middle of the craziness, these **loser writer chicks** (formerly known as Barb Pollak and Alesia Holliday ) decided it would be "fun" to call me from their leisurely lunch at a Florida Fridays as they scarfed down burgers and nachos. I pretended to be happy for them as I picked at my boring wilted salad during my 5 minute lunch break.

So not fair.

This weekend I've got a birthday brunch at my dads and then my cousin's wedding on Saturday. On Sunday we're going snowboarding. Can't wait for that!! I love snowboarding. It's fun AND good exercise. Total two-for-one deal. And then the following weekend we're doing a huge birthday bash to celebrate my 2nd anniversary of my 29th birthday. We're going to this thing that's part Indiana Jones, part Choose Your Own Adventure called TOMB. It looks really cool adn we've already got like 20 people going so it should be a blast.

Notice how I'm avoiding the topic of writing? Probably because I have been very bad and haven't done any for the last two days. Not for lack of motivation, mind you. Just time. Precious time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Early Writing with David Bowie

There's been discussion on an email loop I'm on about people writing stories back when they were teens and how they always cast their friends as the stars of these stories. Which is sooo funny 'cause I did the exact same thing!

I used to write stories based on myself and my friend Gretchen's romantic adventures with David Bowie. Of course, because there was only one David and two of us, I so generously let Gretchen have him and I got to date (and eventually marry) his son Zowie (or Joe or Duncan as he goes by now.) Zowie/Joe/Duncan was more my age anyway... just like three years older as opposed to David, who still looks amazing, but is the same age as my dad. I had no idea at the time if Joe was as good looking in real life, but I assumed he must be, with David as his dad!

All these years later, David Bowie is still my favorite musician and I've snuck in references to him in every book I've written so far. I was soo lucky to win front row tickets to see him in concert last year. Truly the best show of my life. He pranced around the stage like a 25 year old, even though he's about 58. He's such a versitile, talented performer and has been such a trendsetter over the years, always one step ahead of the times. I think we writers could take a lesson from that.

So in honor of those early writing years, here are some David Bowie links for you to explore:

David's Official Site (BowieNet)

Links related to the movie Labyrinth (my first childhood introduction to Bowie!)

60 Ways to Tell if You're Obsessed with David Bowie (See, I'm not the only freak!)

Bowie Wonderworld (a pretty comprehensive fan site with lyrics, etc)

And sometime I'll have to dig up some of that old David Bowie fanfic and post some for fun. Or maybe, if you're really lucky, some DB poetry. No, sadly I'm not joking...


Monday, February 21, 2005

Slayer Slang

My name is Marianne and I am a Buffy'oholic.

Every Tuesday, when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was still on the air, my friends and I would hold "Buffy Night" at our respective houses. A night of wine, snacks, and the best darn show on television. There were even house rules: no talking until commercials, for example. (Though "ooohs" when Spike took off his shirt had special dispensation.) It was a lot of fun and I definitely miss it.

Now that I'm writing a vampire book, I've given myself permission to delve back into that world, re-watching the old episodes on DVD. And I'm once again reminded of just how brilliant the Buffy universe was. A lot of tv shows, when you go back to the first season, seem dated and cheesy. Buffy really stands the test of time. And the show's writing is so amazing--I'd give almost anything for just a pinkie-full of Joss Whedon's creativite genius. I mean the guy had the guts to create a whole hour of television that was nearly 100 percent silent. And then of course there was the famous musical episode, "Once more with feeling." I remember even I, devoted fan that I am, couldn't believe that a musical Buffy could ever work. It just couldn't be anything but cheesy. And yet it wasn't. In fact, it turned out to be one of the best episodes ever.

I'm also reading a book called "Slayer Slang" which is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer lexicon and talks about how the dialogue in the show has affected pop culture. It's written by a linguist and contains a glossary of all the memorable Buffy phrases from each season. It's so interesting, especially reading it as a chick lit/young adult writer and thinking about the power an author has when writing dialogue in her books. Buffy speak is English, and yet not English. (Or "UnEnglish" as she'd probably say.)

I know I should sum all this up with some Jerry Springer final thought type wisdom on what it all means and what Buffy has taught me about life and writing, but I'm not feeling so philosophical at the moment. So I'll leave you with something far more juicy. :-)

Yours in Buffness,

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Lazy Sunday & Luxury Homes

So the drag show last night was really good - actually it wasn't really a drag show, more like a cabaret. (As in the actors really sang and didn't just lip sinc and there were comedy sketches) If you're in the Boston area and have an open mind, I'd definitely check it out. (Fresh Fruit Productions) Afterwards we went out for dinner and drinks at an Irish pub. Was v. fun night overall.

Being the good girl who doesn't drink and drive, I spent the night over my friend Mary's on her couch. (She lives in the South End and now I live in the suburbs.) Well, that was fine except in the middle of the night, her dog came over and pawed me in the face for some unknown reason so I woke up to being scratched in the face by a lab! My face was all bleeding and now I have a big scratch from my eye to my nose. OUCH! My DH is walking around calling me Scarface. I look like some domestic abuse victim. Damn dog!! I still have no idea why she did that? There are much better ways of getting my attention.

Today I lazed around and didn't do much. I wasn't hung over, just feeling lazy. Aaron and I wasted a bunch of time checking out luxury houses on the web. You should see some of these places! So for today's field trip (I should really come up with a better name as that's stealing from Katie M's blog) check out the following:

Houses Marianne Would Live in if She Became the Next J.K. Rowling.

First up, a lovely 7 Bedroom 14 bathroom costal retreat in San Diego. Priced at a mere 29 million. Isn't it cute? Okay, maybe not cute. But way cool.

If you'd rather be closer to LA, how about this Malibu beachfront property? A steal at only 14,900,000. Course it only has 4 bedrooms...

This one isn't on the water, but I don't think I'd turn it down. It's in Rancho Santa Fe, a San Diego county town. Only a little over 10 million.

Last up, for those of you who don't want to have to deal with mowing the lawn, here's a Los Angeles penthouse apartment. 10 mil and it's yours.

It's so fun to look at these houses and dream, isn't it? But honestly, I'm very happy living in a little rented cottage in the woods of Concord. It may not be much, but it's cozy and comfy and home. I'm sure those big mansions are a pain to clean anyhow. :-)

Tomorrow it's President's Day. I have to work. Bleh.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Weekends, Drag Shows, and Goths

Yay it's the weekend! I love the weekend, even when I'm not doing anything exciting like snowboarding. (It's President's weekend so we decided it would be too crowded on the slopes!) Besides, I'm rather under the weather. I even called in sick to work yesterday. Have ugly sore throat and cold thing going on.

Tonight my friends and I, being the urban open-minded city girls from a "blue state" that we are (heh!) are going out to see a show called "Chicks with Dixie." In case the name doesn't clue you in, it's a drag show. It's supposed to be really funny though. :-) Of course, the husband has claimed he will "have a headache" and so will regretfully not be attending. So sad. :-)

Hmmm.. since this is technically an author blog, I should probably talk about my writing, huh? Well, my latest manuscript, "Boys that Bite" is at the 16,000 word count point. Since it's YA and only has to be 60k total, that means I'm more than 25 percent done. Yay! I've always wanted to write a vampire book and this one's a lot of fun to write. At some point I'll post the first chapter on my website.

Author Katie MacAlister always does "field trips" on her blog (a really great blog, btw) which I think is really fun and cool. So in that tradition, I give you one writing related link and one fun one.

The writing related one is the "Girlfriend Cyber Circuit" which hosts virtual book tours for Chick Lit authors such as Allison Pace, who's book "If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend" is getting great buzz. I totally want to read it, but am waiting, since Allison is coming to Boston for a book signing in March. (At the Trident Booksellers and Cafe.) ANYWAY - back to the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit. It's such a great way to get publicity for those of us who have no money to hire a publicist!! Basically they get an author featured on various other author blogs and have them talk about their book, etc. I'm going to see if I can get involved with it somehow.

Today's fun link is "What Kind of Goth are You?" Yes, I used to be a total goth girl in high school. I still love the music to this day, but have to play normal for work. :-) However, in Boys that Bite, one of the lead characters is a goth so I've been delving into the world again to see how it's changed. (Surprisingly not much!)
So that said, according to the quiz:

Yet Another Goth Test

HA! An Old Original Goth. So true. Sigh.

ANYWAY - got to get back to writing. Have a great day!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Wine and Video Game Night

My name is Marianne Mancusi and I am a gamer grrrl.

Okay confession time, even though I know I'm going to come off as a total geek! A few years back, when my husband (then boyfriend) and I were broke and unemployed, we started this tradition every Thursday called "Wine and Video Game Night." It's basically just how it sounds - drink wine, play online computer games. We're both avid gamers and at the time, we didn't have much $ so we had to designate a special night for wine indulgence. :-) It was something silly to look forward to.

Today we're much more financially secure and can afford more than one bottle of sauvignon blanc a week , but we still find wine and videogame night a great tradition. No matter what comes up in our lives, Thursday is set-aside and sacred for this purpose. It's a lot of fun, though when I admit this to my coworkers, I do get some strange looks. Oh well! Like I care! Right now, we're playing World of Warcraft which is a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game. (MMORPG). Sort of Dungeons and Dragons for the computer. We have friends from all over the country that we meet up with play with. Yes, I know geek, geek, geek. :-p But hey - I'm happy!


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Introducing Me

Okay I think I'm the last person in the known universe to start a blog. I feel soooo unhip! But here I am - better late than never!

Guess before I take the plunge I should introduce myself. I'm Marianne. I live in the Boston area and I'm 30 going on 18. At least that's what everyone seems to think. And I'm okay with that. Really. Well, maybe I'd like to be 30 going on 21 so I can at least go and buy wine without the liquor store guy chortling to his buddies. "Look at her, she's 30! Can you believe it? No, really, check out her ID." Meh. I've been able to buy booze for almost 10 years now and still get it everytime.

But actually the "awh isn't she young and cute" thing is working for me, at least in the writing world. I've sold four Teen Chick Lit books to Dorchester and Berkley. First up, in November, is Sk8er Boy which is sort of Romeo and Juliet wtih text messaging. A lot of it's semi-autobiographical so it was real fun to write and will most likely save me big on the therapy bills later in life.

Speaking of Dorchester, my first book "A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court" is coming out in May! Only three more months. I sooo cannot wait!! Though I'm more than a little nervous. Like, what if everyone hates it? What if I get terrible reviews on Amazon? What if the medieval purists hold a book burning outside my house 'cause I messed with the King Arthur legend?

Yes, all writers are this neurotic.

Okay that's enough for now. Gotta get back to the day job. I'm a TV news producer at the NBC station in Boston. It's kind of fun - we get to learn a little bit about everything. But still, I'd rather write full time. Maybe someday...