Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Paying it Forward

Hi all,

When my house got destroyed by fire, so many of you sent me gift cards and money and care packages. It was overwhelming and wonderful to have such a caring group looking out for me and made it so much easier to rebuild.

Now there are others who are facing far worse situations in the southern part of our country thanks to Katrina. It's heartbreaking to see the video and hear the stories of people whose lives have been devastated by Mother Nature.

One of my dearest friends back from my high school days, Suzanne St. Amand, has been living in New Orleans for the past few years. She's a wonderful, amazing, smart, talented person and I adore her. She's also a singer and before she moved to New Orleans, she was in a successful local Boston band called Violet Tide.

Anyway - when the hurricane hit, Suzanne took refuge at the hospital she worked at. (She teaches music therapy to children.) Now the hospital is being evacuated and there's been reports of people looting the place as well. So Suzanne is driving up to Wisconsin to be with her fiance. She doesn't have much to bring with her in terms of personal posessions or clothes.

Well, when I heard about this, and the fact that a couple friends wanted to put together a care package for her, my first thought was about all the support I'd received in my own recent homeless situation. And I decided I wanted to help Suzanne the way others have helped me. So it's my turn to send gift cards. And I want you to know that I'm doing it honor of all of you. Paying it forward, if you will, to help someone else who is now in greater need.

So, thank you again for all your well wishes and care packages. If any of you were still considering sending something to me, I would ask that you send it to hurricane victims instead. (Or send it to me to forward along.) I am doing great. I have everything I need to get by. And now others need the help so much more badly.

Someone has compiled a list of hurricane victims who are also writers. You can find it here. These are people who have "checked in" and are all right. But many of them may have suffered huge losses just the same.

Thanks for listening.

Garden of Eden

It's September 1st. Fall's on the way. But there's no reason to start shivering. Instead, I suggest you turn up the heat with this sexy futuristic from one of our fine Out of the Blogosphere authors, Jaci Burton. It's got aliens. It's got spaceships. It's got hot sex. I mean, really, what more can you want from a story?

"Garden of Eden"
by Jaci Burton

Dr. Eden Mason has spent the past hundred years orbiting the Earth in stasis. Since a nuclear war destroyed everything, she and the other inhabitants of the space pods are the only survivors of the global meltdown.

One special passenger has joined them-Adam-an alien sent to recreate what was once a thriving, beautiful planet. But Adam needs Eden to fulfill his goal, in a way she never expected. Adam has loved Eden since he first came to Earth, but her father refused to allow him to meet her. Instead, the brilliant scientist kept Adam secluded while they engineered a way to save some of Earth's inhabitants before the inevitable destruction. Now Adam can touch Eden, taste her, love her like he's always wanted to, at the same time fulfilling his duty to revitalize the planet.

His love for her is energizing and Eden begins to hope that life on new Earth will be a lush garden of sensual pleasures. But Adam's not telling her everything that will happen, and his secret may end up destroying them both.

Sound intriguing? You can find an excerpt here.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hiding from St. Anthony

I live in the North End now, which is the Italian district of Boston. And this weekend is St. Anthony's feast. I'm not entirely positive who St. Anthony was, but evidently he was a popular guy, judging by how many people have shown up to his feast. (Or maybe it's just all that yummy Italian food up for grabs!) The streets are packed. The Italian music (and of course the Sinatra) is blaring. The smells are overwhelmingly good. And everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is out and about.

Except me.

Okay, I have gone out and walked around for a bit last night and tonight. Ate some food. Checked out the sights and sounds and the giant Turkey Hill ice cream cow. ("Giant Cows are cool!") But after ten minutes or so I was more than happy to head back and hole up in my apartment and play online videogames with a far away friend (last night) and cuddle with my dog to watch movies (tonight). I don't know why, exactly, but I'm feeling a bit antisocial as of late. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, maybe antisocial is the wrong word all together. Maybe it's me finding peace and contentment with myself. Or maybe my mind/body just needs some downtime from this "go, go, go" lifestyle I usually throw myself into. Maybe I just need a little "me" time after all that's happened.

Also, I'm 31, not 18. I shouldn't feel guilty staying in on a weekend night, right?

Today was actually pretty productive writing wise. I did all the copy edits for my Berkley book "Boys that Bite." I worked on my current WIP, "What, No Roses?" And I even started writing up a proposal for a brand new project I'm hoping to pitch soon. (Which, sadly, I can't tell you about yet, but it's really, really cool!!! (um, if I do say so myself...))

Oh and speaking of writing---I found out I got a Romantic Times 4 Star review for my October YA book "Sk8er Boy"!!! Woot!!!! I'm so thrilled. It's a great review too:

Young Adult (12 & up)
Mari Mancusi
Smooch HHHH

Bored by her shopping-obsessed friends and overwhelmed by the nonstop extracurriculars her parents are convinced she needs to get into Harvard, 15-year-old Dawn Miller decides she needs a change when she meets new girl Starr.

Now, instead of going to yearbook committee and Japanese lessons, she's hanging out with Starr downtown watching skateboarders in a parking garage and praying she doesn't get caught by "The Evil Ones"--aka, her parents.

But even getting caught would be worth it once she meets super-hot "Sk8er Boy" Sean McNally, who's smart and sweet and totally gets her. But she¹s not allowed to date yet, and her parents will never go for a boy from the wrong side of town.

Mancusi has scored a hit. Dawn is likeable, and any teen girl--wealthy or not--should identify with her typical problems. From boys to friends to parents, the author covers it all. She even manages to include one or two deeper messages in the form of "straight edge" teens and a "perfect" wealthy boy who turns out to be a real jerk. (Oct., 208pp., $5.99) Alexandra Kay

Pretty cool, huh? I'm so excited to get such a great review. Now, I just can't wait to see what actual kids think of it!!! :)

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reno Photos (at last)

I promised you photos from Reno. I know by now you're probably like, "Reno? Wow that was so long ago I barely remember it!" But hey - better late than never...

Click on any photo to see a larger image:

First up: Before we even went to Reno, Liz Maverick and I signed books in Northern California.

Here's me at the Literacy Signing. I met so many cool people there! And don't let my innocent smile fool you - I've stashed an In-N-Out burger underneath my table for inter-signing snacking. :)

All that signing sure made me thirsty. So time to head to the bar with fellow authors Jade Lee, Melanie Jackson and Karen Kendall.

After a drink we headed to the Prisms where Dorchester authors cleaned up. Here's me and Liz with the fabulous Susan Grant.

We also spent some time hanging around with Dorch's newest editor - the lovely Leah Hultenschmidt. (She's a Red Sox fan, just FYI!)

Of course we couldn't just play the WHOLE conference. After all, we had writing to do. And the bar was the perfect place to write and spy...

Friday night we attended the publisher parties where Liz checked out the infamous conference chicken. Note the rubber chicken in her hand - courtesy of "Juicy Peach" Gena Showalter. I'd tell you what that chicken does when you squeeze it, but you might lose your appetite...

After a few glasses of wine, my editor Chris Keeslar and I thought it'd be amusing to take photos of eachother taking photos of...eachother. Um, yeah.

Later, after even more wine, Liz and I decided it would be even more amusing to shoot eachother with Chicken Chuckers. Yes, those plastic guns you see there shoot rubber chickens. Yes, I know you're going to keep us away from the conference chardonnay next year.

So there you have it. My adventures in Reno! In all, I had a blast! Can't wait til next year.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Happy Dog

I know a lot of you have expressed your concerns about my dog Molly and how's she's settling in to our new place. Well, a picture's worth a thousand words...

Thanks to everyone who asked after her and sent toys, bones, and PetCo gift cards. :)


Monday, August 22, 2005

CT Fash versus Amazon Reviewers

First of all, I'd like to say I don't really mind bad Amazon reviews. I mean sure, I like good ones better, but I understand the nature of the beast. I mean you go have a good experience at a restaurant, you enjoy it and then go on with your life. The waiter spills something on your lap and your filet is overcooked - you write a letter to complain. So you're bound to get bad reviews from time to time. And hey - in a way it's a compliment to get really bad ones. Because it means your book ilicited a strong response from the reader. Evidently lately I've been soliciting a LOT of strong responses. :(

CT Fashionista is written in a very specific voice. A brash chick lit tone, if you will. So it's not going to resonate with everyone. Some people are going to hate that style. Problem is, since it was published in a straight romance line (Love Spell) I knew I was bound to get a few people who had never read or never liked chick lit to pick it up by accident, believing it was a paranormal romantic comedy time travel. And on the other end, get some total Arthurian history buffs who are going to be outraged how I satirized their precious legend.

Anyway - that said, you have just GOT to read this Amazon review I got over the weekend. Seriously, this person has some major issues!! It's sooo funny how she trashes not only my book, but me as an author and even me as a PERSON.

Some highlights below. I had originally thought to snarkily comment on them, but then I decided they pretty much speak for themselves. :)

  • If I were the publisher? I would have fired the editor or at least docked thier pay for every "Like" this writer used in this awful tome.

  • I do think the author feels superior over anyone who would pick up this book to read, Her supercilious tone about everything comes through her 1 dimensional character. I felt no inkling of empathy for this whiney woman who was supposed to be oh so savvy.

  • If I were the Producers of "Sex in the City" I would sue the author for plagiarism.

  • Please don't waste your time on this banal effort of some spoiled city dweller who thinks to cash in on the "Going to the Past Romance"

  • I doubt this author has EVER been in love, except when she saw a sale on yet another pair of slim black pants.

Heh. You just gotta laugh at reviews like this. And not count on this person to buy the sequel.

And, of course, keep, like, writing the way you want to, like, write. Even if it's going to, like, piss some people off. :D

Marianne - who, by the way, sees nothing wrong with falling in love with a good slim black pants sale!

Friday, August 19, 2005


So the last couple of nights I've been what a friend of mine calls "cocooning" in my new apartment. I'd worn myself out shopping and lugging stuff back to my apartment and then spending all night trying to insert tab A into slot B, etc. The activities and the stress were beginning to make me feel extremely run down and on the verge of getting sick. I always do this to myself - I completely overdo it - go go go - rushing through life without a rest.

So I forced myself to take the last two days off. I was not to go to Target. I was not to assemble objects at home or hang curtains or hammer any pictures onto the wall. I was not to go out with friends for drinks or dinner. I was to cook food at home and watch the entire first season of "The OC" (yes, I know, all geeky cool points I've acquired have now gone right out the window!) and just enjoy my new place.

And surprisingly -it's been amazingly nice. It's quiet and cozy and Molly cuddles with me on the couch. I feel very relaxed and not a bit antsy. (Which is saying a lot for me, who is the queen of antsy and easily bored.) I could totally get used to this living alone thing. No one to bug you. No one to tell you you're a slob or that you need to remember to turn out the bathroom light or that watching 4 hours straight of The OC is pretty sad. It's peaceful. It's relaxing. And if I feel the need to chatter, I can always pick up the phone and call people. So I don't even feel a bit lonely.

Yup. I discovered I love living alone. I never, ever have before. This is the first time there's been no roommate. No boyfriend. No husband. Just me and Molly. It's great. I could really get into it.

But lest you start fearing for my future as the crazy cat lady, I do plan to get out this weekend. On Saturday, there's dog walks and pedicures and Batman Begins on the IMAX theater. (I've already seen it, but I'm all up for seeing Christian Bale on the big, BIG screen.) Then we're going out for dinner/drinks. And on Sunday I'm going to my New England RWA meeting. So never fear - there are some social activities listed on Marianne's schedule.

Until my new computer arrives, of course. Then I'm no longer cocooning. I'm bricking myself in til I get all my geeky cool points back.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I need a new celebrity crush!

So with all the fire news, I didn't get a chance to mention my recent opportunity to do celebrity interviews on the red carpet for the premiere of Four Brothers last week. It was a pretty fun experience to be on the right side of the velvet ropes and actually get paid to interview one of my favorite movie star hotties - Mark Wahlberg - aka Markey Mark.

That said, I gotta tell you - I was severely disapointed by meeting Mark Wahlberg in real life. From growing up with him - on stage rapping, dropping his drawers in Calvin Klein ads, and acting in classic movies like Boogie Nights - I had long drooled over his perfectly sculptured chest and boyish smile.

But in real life? He's not all that impressive. At least not when I interviewed him. I mean, who knows? Maybe he had a rough night. He spent it in his home town of Boston - so maybe there was a huge rager of a party and he was still recovering. But he didn't look all that good to me. He looked tired. With a bad haircut. And short. And pretty nondescript, to tell you the truth. Just kind of, meh.

So he's off my list. As are a lot of celebrity hotties these days. Like Jude Law. Used to be my number one crush. But after his affair with the nanny? Ugh. He's just slimy and gross. Wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole.

And Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo. When I interviewed him last year during the World Series parade, he was so happy and grateful to be part of the team. I totally fell for his blue eyes and charming personality. This year, now that he's all famous, the married guy was caught in Northeastern dorms hanging out with freshman coeds. Bleh.

Sigh. I need some new celebrities to crush on. Any suggestions?


Monday, August 15, 2005

Random Rambling

It's been 2 weeks since my house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. And while this event has taken over my life, I feel it's time to let it stop taking over my blog. So while I want to continue an open thanks to everyone who continues to be soo generous to me in my time of need, here in blog land we're going to move on. I know you'll understand. I need to start focusing on all that's good in my life.

Soon I'm going to be posting my pics from Reno which I would have done a long time ago if it wasn't for the fire. Stay tuned for highlights such as Liz Maverick and I shooting plastic chickens at one another and at our editors in the bar - with our very own "Chicken Chuckers." (What the heck is a Chicken Chucker, you may ask? Well, wonder no more. (You can still worry for our sanity, but at least your curiousity on the infamous chicken guns with be sated.)

....Um, why yes, we are mature, professional, upstanding members of the RWA community, why do you ask?....

Other (non chicken/non Marianne & Liz making fools of ourselves) related conference dish? Well, my friend Barb Ferrer sold her YA to Pocket's MTV Books! Her first sale, people!! And she sold in the middle of the casino floor at Reno. I had just arrived at the conference on Tuesday and walked in to see her standing by the big red truck slot machine, talking on her cell phone. I looked at Alesia Holliday, who was standing right next to her. She says, "Barb's selling her book!" I'm like, "Um, right this second?" Turns out, yup! We all screamed and yelled as soon as she got off the phone. I love when good things happen to good people and Barb's one of the best.

Another good thing for a good person? My friend Lani Diane Rich (who is one of those saints responsible for setting up the fundraising auctions for me - love you girl!) won a RITA! Best first book! Yay Lani! If you've ever read the book - Time Off for Good Behavior - you'll not be surprised at the win.

Hm, I guess that's all for now. Thanks again to everyone who's sent me care packages and gift cards! The apartment is shaping up nicely and when I'm satisfied with its appearance I promise to take pics so you can see what all your generosity has done. And Molly wants to send a special "woof" out to those of you who sent PetCo gift cards and bones and dog toys. Not speaking perfect dog, I'm not quite sure the "woof's" direct translation, but I believe it's something like "you rock!" :)


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Back at Dads for the moment

Tonight's blog entry is being written back at my dad's house in New Hampshire. Why, you may ask, did Marianne leave her new apartment on the very day she got an actual bed to sleep in? Well my new neighborhood - the North End - has been having electrical related fires and explosions under the streets nearby where I live. Not only does it petrify me to see flames shooting out of manhole covers 2 streets away (given my present circumstances) but it has also knocked out all the electricity in the neighborhood.

Now my apartment (with barely any furniture, no Internet, and no cable) is boring enough WITH electricity. I couldn't bear to sit in the dark with no a/c on a 90 degree night. So Miss Molly and I fled to dear old dad's house for one more night of suburbia.

Luckily, I believe the fires are out (for now anyway) - and my new place is in no danger of burning to the ground. But still! Talk about weird coincidences! My friends at work were teasing me by calling me "Firestarter." heh. They're so not funny. :) I'm just hoping the awesome Italian pastery shop on the street where the explosions/fires were (Mike's Pasteries) hasn't suffered any damage. After all, where else am I going to get my beloved eclairs? Mmmmmm. (I'm going to get soo fat living in the North End - for those of you who don't know, it's the Italian section of Boston and home to some of the best restaurants in New England!)

Anyway - I can't write without sending out one more thank you to all of you who have been sending me stuff by mail. It's so fun to go to my PO Box every morning - like Christmas! It really makes this whole experience so much more bearable. And the thoughtfulness of the gifts blows my mind. You guys have sent the most amazing things. Every package I open makes me smile. I love you all!

Til tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Blown Away

Okay, I confess. I used to check my Amazon rankings on a daily (cough hourly cough) basis. Now I've been checking the auction items! I am totally blown away at how many people have bid so generously to help me out. I am soo soo soo grateful to both bidders, volunteers and donors alike You all rock!

BTW a TON of new items (8o+) have been added today. I can't list them all, but they include critiques from:

Kate Seaver - Berkley
Cindy Hwang - Berkley
Leah Hultenschmidt - Dorchester

Stephanie Kip Rostan
The Knight Agency
Ferguson Agency
Kelly Harms - (former Avon editor - now agent with Jane Rotrosen!)

And many, many, many top romance authors! It blows my mind! There's so much good stuff I have to restrain myself from bidding on my own auction!!!!

You can see the entire list (and bid) here.

Also, a BIG SHOUT OUT to all of you who have sent me cards and letters and gift cards and money and care packages - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I promise real life thank you cards to each and every one of you wonderful women -- as soon as I get a table and chairs so I can sit down and write them. :) But in the meantime, please know that your generosity and well wishes have brought me to tears (the good kind!) on more than one occassion this week.

I will never forget this experience, but when I look back on it, now I'm going to remember not the ashes and what was lost, but all that I have gained through the wonderfulness of friends and strangers. I could not have gotten through this without you all. :)

And for those of you following my Adventures in New Apartment Land, you'll be pleased to know that I'm totally becoming one with the screwdriver and getting the hang of this "some assembly required thing"!! I assembled my computer chair and microwave table and now tonight will take on the daunting task of assembling the actual (gasp!) computer desk. I got to tell you, in a weird way it's kind of fun putting things together. I feel very self-sufficient all of a sudden. :)

Thanks again all. More to come soon!

Monday, August 08, 2005

New Auctions

For those of you following my new apartment assembling progress, I did purchase a screwdriver and successfully put together a towel rack for the bathroom last night. It not only looks very similiar to the item on the box, but it doesn't wobble (much). Cheer! Score one for GIRL POWER. :) Tonight, watch as Marianne tackles the dreaded microwave stand.

Today was my first day back at work, btw, which started out a little rough. But people here are very sweet and understanding. I just need to take things one day at a time. Or one moment at a time.

And things over in Auction Land are heating up as well. Twenty new items were posted today!

Signed copy of THE BEAST WITHIN by Suzanne McMinn
Signed copy of CONFESSIONS OF A SUPER MOM by Melanie Hauser
Signed copy of IF ANDY WARHOL HAD A GIRLFRIEND by Alison Pace
Signed advanced copy of JANE MILLIONAIRE by Janice Lynn
MIA ZACHARY signed book lot (3 books)
Guest Smart Bitchery sessions with Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Tarot reading by STEPHANIE LYNCH
Character named after you in ALESIA HOLLIDAY'S next book
Manuscript Critique by ALLISON RUSHBY
Manuscript Critique by BETH de GUZMAN
Manuscript Critique by CHRIS KEESLAR
Manuscript Critique by DIANA PETERFREUND
Manuscript Critique by JENNIFER CRUSIE
Manuscript Critique by KRISTIN PAINTER
Manuscript Critique by LANI DIANE RICH
Manuscript Critique by ROBIN FLURY
Manuscript Critique by MICHELLE CUNNAH
Manuscript Critique by STEVEN AXELROD
Manuscript Critique by SUZANNE BROCKMANN
Manuscript Critique by THE KNIGHT AGENCY

Bid Here

Can you believe all these people stepping in to help me? I mean top agents and editors and authors! From dear, dear beloved friends to complete strangers - all willing to donate their time to help me out. It simply blows my mind.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I need a man! (Or at least a screwdriver)

So last night I decided to forgo the invitation to see an 80s cover band (though sorely tempting!) to try to sit in my new apartment and put newly purchased things together.


Why is it that everything you buy these days has "some assembly required"? And further, why is it that this phrase sends fear through the hearts of women everywhere? Why is it that guys so easily get this stuff? They open up boxes full of loose wood, metal, screws and other unidentifiable odds and ends and an hour later you have a beautiful desk or butcher's rack. Sure, there may be a moment or two of cursing and screaming and kicking the partially assembled desk in question, but in the end, it always looks just like the picture on the box.

Why can't we women do that? We can vote. We can hold jobs. We can compete in marathons. (Well, not me personally...) We're supposed to be equal, right? So how come after an hour (or two or more) later, the small kitchen rack I was trying to assemble didn't look like what was pictured on the box? How come I had extra parts lying around? And how come they don't mention you'd need to use screws to ensure cart non-wobbly'ness in big letters on the box? Do they just ASSUME everyone who buys their products has a handy man with a screwdriver at their beck and call????

I decided to save the microwave table for another day. I mean, there's no rush, really, considering I don't have a microwave yet. :)

Anyway - being in my new place is sort of like camping out in a fort. I've got my donated TV and DVD player and some classic movies like Princess Bride, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cassablanca, and my personal favorite - The Last Unicorn. I've got a futon that serves as couch and bed. And I've got Molly my dog (good for cuddling.)

What else do I really need? :)

PS Auctions are going strong in Day 2. Make sure you place your bids now!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Apartments and Auctions and Awesome Authors, Agents and Editors

Snuck into work to blog to you as I don't have a computer in my new apartment. And being the computer junkie that I am, there was no way I could go a whole day without being online.

So yesterday was the easiest/hardest moving day ever. Physically easy - there was hardly anything to move! But mentally hard - for obvious reasons. People have been so generous donating all the necessities to get me on my feet, but I got to admit, there was one moment where I looked around my new place and realized it was full of other people's stuff. Wonderful, giving, lovely people ? but other people just the same. There was hardly anything that belonged to me. That I identified with. That said, "Marianne lives here." I felt like I had stepped into someone else's life. And it was at that point that I kind of lost it for a bit. So for all of you out there who keep telling me how brave I am being and how upbeat - let me tell you the tears do come at odd moments.

But my friends were there to pick me up off the floor and drag me out to dinner. I wasn?t even hungry - just sad and stressed and sick. But after a glass of wine and a lot of really funny jokes, they managed to pull me out of my depression and soon I found myself laughing too.

For those of you who?ve asked about Molly (my dog) she?s a little freaked out as well. She spent the night in the closet. I guess the closed in space made her feel safer somehow. I was tempted to crawl in there myself and see if it would make me feel safer as well. Instead, I called a dear friend who talked to me until I was tired enough to fall asleep. I really do have the best friends in the whole world.

Anyway - enough of that. Let's talk about the auction! The lovely, lovely Literary Chicks, along with honorary saint Gemma Halliday have put up the first items up for bid! And when I signed on this evening I was shocked (in a good way!) at all the action already! I am so touched that these ladies worked sooo hard at organizing this auction. And now to see all these people bidding! I love you all!

So from what I understand the first 10 items are up for bid now, with more coming each day. Right now we've got signed books from Michelle Cunnah, Lori Avocado, and Kelly St. John. Author critiques from Karen Rose, Amy Knupp, Gail Dayton, and Melissa Senate. An agent critique by The Knight Agency. And editor critiques from Ellora's Cave editor Briana St. James, and my very own Dorchester editor Chris Keeslar.

Anyway - I just can't tell you how amazing and wonderful it is to see these auctions and the bids and all the emails and calls and notes and gifts that have been sent so far. This is a horrible thing to go through and I don?t wish it on anyone in the world, but if it were to have to happen to someone - I'd hope they'd be as truly lucky as I have been to have this overwhelming support. I feel so truly blessed.

Thanks everyone. And if you're interested in the auctions, all the info is on the Literary Chicks site. I have very limited access to email, so it's best if you direct any questions to Alesia or Lani there.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Moving Day

Hi all -

I'm moving into my new apartment in Boston today. (Thank goodness I had already planned to move out this month anyway and had already rented a new place!) And now I have no need for a UHaul! Life works in a mysterious ways sometimes...

Anyway I am so lucky to have my dear friend Mary who has rallied the troops at work (she works with me at Ch7) and has managed to fill my apartment with the essentials I will need to move in. She's been so amazing - as has my boss Nancy who has also been on the task of finding me stuff. And my reporter friend Hank called the Emmy people and even managed to get me replacement statues - which was so cool of her!!! And then there's the donations from all my coworkers - as well as all the calls and emails and volunteering to help in any way. They have blown me away with their generosity. It's so amazing to see people come together like this.

Anyway - I believe someone is donating a computer, but I won't be online for a few days (need to set up DSL), so this may be the last you hear from me til Monday when I return to work. I'll be in touch with Alesia though, through phone, to give updates and will take pics of the new place! :)

So before I go - I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have sent me stuff so far and those of you who plan to do so or to bid on the auction, etc. Once I'm on my feet I will thank EVERYONE personally, but I wanted to throw out a general one cause I am sooo grateful. I can't wait to go out and buy the things I need. It's a weird feeling going into Target and needing EVERYTHING. But thanks to all of you, I know I will be able to get that "everything" and be okay.

Sorry if this is blabbing, but I've been sick on top of everything else and I think the Nyquil is still making my head foggy.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Life, The Universe and The Great Generosity of Friends

I've avoided blogging up until now cause I don't even know where to start. Should I talk about Reno? My house burning down? Or the amazing, overwhelming, awe inspiring generosity of my fellow writers who have stepped in to make this horrible experience more bearable?

Well I guess first things first. My Reno adventures can wait til all this is over. (Though I do have great pics of conference chicken I'm dying to share!)

I took a red-eye flight home from Reno and my dad picked me up at the airport. My cell phone has been on the fritz and so I couldn't get it to turn on. No worries though - who would be calling at 7am? The flight was a half hour late, luggage took forever, and we got lost trying to find the car, etc. So we finally pull out of the parking lot. I'm sooo excited to go home. Exhausted after being in San Fran and then Reno. Hadn't been home in a week and a half and just wanted to change into pajamas, curl up on the couch and watch DVDs and be alone for about a year. (Okay I had to work the next day, but still - you know the feeling!)

So then my dad's cell phone rings. It's my stepmom. She says something really bad has happened. My house was hit by lightning and is completely gone. She starts telling me details but I can't really focus. I start to cry. Suddenly I can't go home. There is no home. And everything that was in my home - childhood photos, drawings, journals from high school, writing, etc. etc. is gone. Forever. It feels like my whole past has been wiped away in one swoop.

Plus I am so tired from the red-eye flight and now I have no place to go. No place to curl up and be safe. I have to be around people. Field phone calls. etc. etc.

We go to my dads. My stupid cell phone will STILL not turn on. That gets the brunt of my frustration and anger - I think I had to focus on something tangible to stress over. All my phone numbers of people I need to contact are stored on that stupid phone and I feel helpless without it. I go online and email and IM a few friends. No one can believe it.

I take a nap but can't really sleep. Too wired, too stressed, too upset. My dad talks to the fire marshall and I find out craziest part...If I had been there at the house I would most likely have died! They believe the lightning struck at 4am the back of the house - right where my bed was. And the whole thing went up in 20 minutes. If I'd been asleep there it's doubtful I would have made it out. Or at least not with major major burns and probably the death of my dog.

When I think about that, I realize I can't be too sad about losing my possessions. Sure I am sad - I lost EVERYTHING and I have no insurance. And the things that can't be replaced - I had borrowed my mom's photo albums to scan in some pics and so now I have no childhood photos! And I lost all my stories and drawings and awards and things I had archived from growing up. My journals from high school, my really bad books of poetry. All gone. It's like my past has been wiped clean except what exists in my memory. That's the true tragedy. I don't care too much about the furniture. I do feel terrible that my kick ass computer was burned up. BACK UP YOUR WORK EVERYONE! (I luckily only lost 1 day of work on my book but there were a lot of other things on that hard drive.)

To switch gears a bit - one thing amazing has come out of this tragedy and that is to see a community of people come together and help me. Alesia, Lani and Barb - you guys are my heroes! I mean these women have a lot on their plates - they have books due, Alesia is moving, Barb just sold, etc. etc. and they still are taking sooo much time out of their busy schedules to organize this fundraiser. I am so overwhelmed and just so so so grateful. And I can't believe the list of editors/agents/authors who are donating critiques for the fundraiser. I mean - Jenny Cruisie? Stevel Axelrod? Can I bid on my own fundraiser? :) heh. And my dear, dear wonderful former and current editors - Kate Seaver, Cindy Hwang, and Chris Keeslar - have all volunteered to donate critiques as well!! Do you know how busy these people are? And yet they're willing to do this. I am in awe. I love you guys! And there are lots more people on the list - which I don't have a copy of or I would name them all and thank them individually. But go to the Literary Chicks website and soon you will get a list and be able to bid.

Anyway - I've gotten a million emails from concerned people and in time will try to respond to them all when I get back on track. But I did want to publicly say thank you and that I read every email and each one is so precious to me. It feels so good to know that there are people out there thinking about me and praying for me. I know with this kind of support, I will have no problems getting back on my feet.

Okay this is probably such a babbling, incoherent blog entry so please excuse me. Thank you all again for your support and I promise to keep everyone updated. I'm going to move into my new apartment tomorrow. (Luckily I had been planning to move anyway so I had a new place lined up - and just think - now I don't have to pack!)

I'll write more soon.
PS I took photos of the remains of the house. You can check them out here. As you can see there's not a lot left...