Monday, November 28, 2005

Bah Humbug!

Hi all,

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and got stuffed. :) Sadly, I had to work. TV News does not take a day off. Oh well. It's not my favorite holiday anyway. My favorite holiday used to be Christmas, but I'm not really feeling that this year either. You see, I was always very into my family traditions at Christmastime. Seems silly, probably, but we always did the same exact thing every year - even when my brother and I grew up, we still did it. I could describe the routine, but it wouldn't seem exciting to you. The point is it was something familar to look forward to every year. Something special.

Now my parents are divorced and my childhood home has been sold. My brother's way out in Colorado, my mom's in Florida, and my dad's new family is going skiing. It's just not the same. I know, I'm a grownup now and should be making my own traditions, but if you're single and alone, that's tough to do. I mean, should I bother getting a Christmas tree? Seems silly since I never have anyone over. What, is the dog going to admire it? And besides, trimming a tree by yourself seems kind of lame...

Maybe I'll pick a new favorite holiday. Like Flag Day, maybe. Or that might be bad, seeing as it would require I go out and buy a flag. Hm. Maybe Groundhog Day. As long as I don't get stuck in a time loop like Bill Murray. :) Though that actually turned out pretty well for him in the end...


PS - just so I dont get in trouble with the fam if they read this blog - for the record I am invited to the ski trip on Christmas with the step family. And I'm sure Mom would be more than happy to have me down to Florida if I wanted to fly down. I mean, it's not like I'm being ditched or anything. All I'm saying is Christmas is different this year. And that makes me much less interested in bothering with it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What, No Roses?

Hey all,

Sorry I've been a blog's been a busy, busy week! We're in "sweeps" at Channel 7 and my book is due next week so I'm polishing, polishing, polishing.

Anyway - I got the cover copy for said book - "What, No Roses?" and I'm thrilled with it!!! It's sooo perfect and better than anything I could have written myself. Anyway - I thought I'd post it to see what you all thought. :) Does it sound like something you'd like to read?

And you thought your Valentine's Day was bad?

Unless Dora Duncan can stop it, it's going to be another St. Valentine's Day Massacre. A year ago, her (now ex) boyfriend Nick stood her up at the worst possible moment. That was when she gave up important TV reporting for stories like "Too Stressed for Sex." And though such clips have a certain relevance, things have been a whole lot quieter. Too quiet. Until now. Now she's gotta go back in time (don't ask!) and stop that very same Nick from messing up the time-space continuum. She has to travel back to a place where everybody speaks easy and cuts a rug-and this Chicago ain't no musical. Here, there are tommy guns and torpedoes, guys and dolls, gin joints, flappers, stoolies, rats and a whole lot more; and prohibition means anything but no.

It's the 1920s. Time for Dora to roar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Romance Divas Workshop

No time to blog - busy workshop'ing over at Romance Divas. Topic is "What to Expect When You're Expecting...A Book Contract."

Check it out. Ask questions. :)


Monday, November 14, 2005

Weekends and Workshops

Hope you all had good weekends. Mine was fine. I had a RWA board meeting on Saturday (I'm VP of the New England chapter) and on Sunday night, as I mentioned before, I went to see Bauhaus in concert. What a great show. Peter Murphy's voice was as amazing as ever.

Worked on WHAT, NO ROSES?, of course, as well. It's shaping up nicely, I must say. I'm looking forward to finishing and passing it in!! Sooooon. Soooo soooooooon! I also can't wait to see what they come up with for a cover. I've had good luck on covers so far, but I'm always nervous before I see them. It's BS when people say, "Don't judge a book by its cover." I always do it! I will totally buy a book if it has a cool cover. And I know others do as well. Plus the cover does so much to define the book. For the record, I told them I wanted it to look like the Chicago movie poster. Not that my opinion counts much. We'll see what they come up with. The book is part of a multi-author series of comedic time-travels, so they have to do something thematically that will work for more than one book.

BTW the first book in the Vintage Romance series is Naomi Neale's "I Went to Vassar for This?" which comes out in June and sounds adorable.

So this week I'm going to be doing a workshop on the Romance Divas website. Be sure to stop by. It's called "What to Expect When You're Expecting...A Book Contract!" Here's the blurb:

It's the moment a writer remembers forever. You pick up the phone and there's an editor on the line saying they love your book. Better yet, they want to publish your book! Suddenly, for one brief, shining moment, all your dreams have come true.

Or have they?

Once a writer sells, she's instantly thrown into a whole new world of trouble. Now, instead of worrying about margins and POV, she's got to deal with contracts, covers, revisions, publicity, etc. It's enough to make your head spin!

In this workshop, Dorchester and Berkley author Marianne Mancusi takes you down the road of publication. From the moment you get the call to the happy day your book hits the shelves, she'll explain what you can expect to happen. You'll learn about contract negotiations, advance payments, revisions, galleys, covers and cover quotes, promoting, option clauses, and more. She'll also discuss editor etiquette - how you can develop a good working relationship with your publisher that will last for years to come.

This is NOT just a class for those who have already gotten the call. This is a class to prepare you for that day, so when it happens, you won't have to scramble.

I should be posting the first lesson in the forum section this afternoon or evening. Please stop by and ask questions so I don't feel all lonley! :) You have to register, but it's free and it's a great site anyway with tons of good writer resources! So what do you have to lose?


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Made up in Manhattan

You all know her as Activity Director, but my friend Mary does more than plan cheesy nights out to fake Neil Diamond concerts. She's actually a very talented, multiple award winning (including many, many Emmys) investigative producer. She and her reporter, Hank Phillippi Ryan recently uncovered a huge ticket scandal going on in NYC.

You see, all these Massachusetts people have been getting parking tickets from NYC, even though they hadn't even been in the city on the dates of the alleged violations. And the cars cited on the tickets don't match up to the owner's vehicles.

The tickets aren't fake - and if they're not paid, they can be sent to collection agencies. But no one knows at this point what's going on - some think the police may be making up ticket numbers to fill quotas, while others believe that there could be some kind of fake or stolen license plate thing going on. The mystery of PlateGate is still ongoing. But in the meantime, Mary and Hank got some kudos in the New York Daily News!! Check it out.

Also, you can find the transcript for their story, "Made Up in Manhattan" here. Pretty interesting stuff!


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gods of the Goth Girl

Sorry I didn't write yesterday - the day sort of got away from me. Between my book being due soon and producing pieces for November sweeps at Channel 7, I've been a bit busier than usual. But it's all good.

This weekend I scored a ticket to go see Bauhaus in concert! For those of you who don't know, Bauhaus are the godfathers of goth. They produced amazing, dark, complex music back in the 80s that is still beloved by black wearing, vampire wannabe teens today. I love them. When I was in high school, I got to see Peter Murphy, the singer, when he was doing his solo tour. I had a front row seat and at one point he leaned down and sang straight to me in his deep, soulful voice. It was a goth girl's dream come true, for sure.

Then when I was in my 20s they did a Bauhaus reunion tour. I saw them down in Orlando with my friends Ali and Bobby. A beautiful experience, especially when Peter Murphy donned his vampire cape to sing "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Sigh. I remember a neighboring club did a goth/industrial night after the show so we spent the rest of the night doing the "foot stuck in the mud" dance to bands like Sisters of Mercy, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Lords of Acid, etc., etc.

It's interesting how when you're a teen music defines everything. If you like goth, you probably (like me) dressed all in black. If you liked electronica, you probably wore baggy pants and whistles or pacifiers around your neck. If you liked punk you had a mohawk, maybe, or at least a bunch of ripped DK shirts.

But when you grow older you can't dress so expressively anymore. It wouldn't go over well at work, for one thing! And now, no one would suspect that I totally still feel like a goth girl inside. In fact, they might think I like (ugh!) Dave Matthews! (yuck, yuck, yuck!) But that's okay. At one time that kind of misconception would bug the hell out of me, but now I'm zen with it. I'm not going to hide what I like, nor am I going to go out of my way to prove I'm cool and unique for liking it.

That said, I'm not exactly going to be wearing florescent pink to see Bauhaus... ;-)


Monday, November 07, 2005

Various stuff

Hi all,

Hope you had a fun weekend. Saturday night I went out with a group of like 12 people to BarLola - this cool new Spanish tapas restaurant on Comm Ave. Activity Director picked a winning place! The food was delish and the restaurant had a fun atmosphere. And a great martini menu as well. I like tapas cause you aren't wedded to one food choice. Very fun. I'd definitely go back!

After dinner we went out to a few bars and I didn't get back home 'til 2am! Yawn!

Sunday I slept most of the day but then went to my mom's. She recently sold my childhood home and I had to go collect some of my stuff before the new owners took posession. It was weird and sad to walk through the rooms and think that this would be the last time I ever did. I looked at my old bedroom and remembered closing the door, cranking the music and dancing away my teenage angst. I looked at the stairs and remembered every Christmas, my brother and I running downstairs to gasp at the presents under the tree. I looked at the family room and remembered all the warm cozy nights, reading by the fire. I looked at the backyard and remembered the awesome treehouses my dad built and all the fun we had in them.

The house has so many memories for me. I lived there from birth til I went away to college. My dad built the place - so it wasn't even like it had ever known any other family except mine. I kept it together until I left, then cried in the car on the way home. :(

The place was sort of my touchstone. No matter what happened, it was always there to come back to. Now it belongs to someone else. It sucks. I wish I had money - I would have bought it myself just to keep it in the family. :( But oh well, what can you do? I guess if I've learned anything at all this summer and fall it's that material posessions come and go and you have to concentrate your love on people, not things. It's just a house. It's bricks and wood. My family- the people who gave that house its meaning and memories - are still here. And they can never be sold or destroyed.

Anyway - probably way too melancholy for a Monday morning, but whatever.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Channeling Writer Zen

If any of you have met Dorchester author Marjorie Liu, you know she's a very zen like person. I would love to have the focus and serenity that she exudes on a daily basis. So when she explained her secret to writing a book in a month, I paid attention. I hope she doesn't mind, but I'm posting her secret here:

1. I sit down at the computer.
2. I let go. I give my mind permission to do its thing.
3. I don't get up from the computer until a) I really have to go to the bathroom, b) the dog really has to go to the bathroom, c) I have to eat or else my stomach will eat itself, and d) it's time to sleep.

Simplistic but smart, right? So I decided to try it today. I wasn't in the mood to write. I wanted to do anything BUT write. I even had the urge to clean my apartment - which shows you how much I just did not want to write. But I had to do 3,000 words today to get back on schedule with The Book that Will Not End. So what the heck? I decided to try it.

I took a shower first, and thought of what I was going to write. I formulated the scene in my mind. Then I sat down at the computer. I let all of the week's stresses go. I didn't reread earlier parts of the manuscript. I started at an empty page. And then I didn't get up from the computer til I wrote my 3,000 words.

I was tempted. I wanted to go do other things. Nap, clean, watch movies, go jogging. But I didn't. Because I had to write my book. And I gave myself permission to do that. To let everything else go and just disolve my conciousness into this imaginary world I am creating.

And it really worked. I wrote my 3,000 words. And now I can go out tonight without feeling guilty. Without feeling all behind in my work. Without worrying whether I will finish my book on time.

Thanks Marjorie!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Random Firefly Rant

Sorry to be a blog slacker yesterday. The day just got away from me. But I did finish watching the Firefly series on DVD. So you can rest assured my time was well spent! Though I have to say, I'm very disapointed I can't go out and buy a season 2. Why the heck did they cancel such a good show after only 14 episodes? So not cool. Firefly could have been the next Star Trek. They could have had Firefly, The Next Generation! Now I'll never get to see whether Mal and Inara will admit their love to one another. If Kaylee can ever get the good doctor to loosen up. Will Zoe and Wash have a baby? Will we ever learn about the Shepard's past? What the heck will happen to River? And will Jayne ever meet a girl who can change his ways? (I think that would be a FUNNY episode!) The series ended in a such an unfinished fashion. I assume because they probably hoped to do another season.

Oh yeah, I forgot. There's a movie. It better answer all my questions or I'm going to be seriously mad. Of course, someone I know who saw it gave away the fact that people die in it. Like main character people! :(

Okay I"ll try to see it this weekend and then let you know what I think...But right now, what I think is Joss ought to revive the series and continue where he left off. I bet it'd be super popular now. As always, he was just ahead of his time...

Still, now what am I supposed to watch? Maybe I should start Buffy again. With seven seasons, it should keep me busy for a while... Or maybe Angel. I never did watch Angel...

Okay that's all I got today...Feel free to discuss Joss's genius, Firefly and Serenity. Just don't you dare post any movie spoilers!! We can discuss AFTER I go watch it!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not so Desperate Housewives

One cool thing about my day job as a TV news producer is I get to interview a lot of different people from all walks of life. Some interviews are hard - especially those with mothers who have lost their children to tragic accidents. Others are quite fun.

On the fun end, yesterday I aired a story about the women of HRT - short for Hormone Replacement Therapy. They're a bunch of Massachusetts moms, sick of gossiping at the coffee house, who got together to form a rock band. They have a CD and they play shows locally.

To be honest, when I first got assigned this story I was sort of like, oh how cute, suburban mom rock band. But when my photographer and I went to film a rehearsal, we was blown away at how professional these the group sounded. They are amazingly good! Their lyrics are hilarious, too. They sing about things that women their ages can relate to: fighting with their families, drinking too much coffee, spending their husbands' paychecks, etc. Really funny stuff.

At the same time, they insist they're not some "Desperate Housewives" type band. And they're right - these women really rock out. They know how to play their instruments and the singer (Lisa?) has a great voice.

Anyway - I very rarely mention stories I cover in my day job in this blog, but I had to make an exception cause these women were so cool. I could totally see someone writing a Lady Lit book based on this concept. A group of women (all with various life issues) coming together to form a rock band. Wouldn't that be a great book? Quick - someone take the idea and write it!

The rest of you go buy their album. It rocks!


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Three things about me...

I've seen a lot of these about me type quizzes lately and I'm a total self-indulgent sucker for them. :) I think I stole this one from Barb Ferrer.

Three screen names that you've had: mari2, starrgirl, starrgrrl

Three things you like about yourself: my eyes, my creativity, my free-spiritness

Three things you don't like about yourself: my tendency to overthink and obsess about everything, my tendency to cry at the drop of a hat, my tendency to procrastinate

Three parts of your heritage: Italy, Holland, and British Isles (England, Scotland, and Ireland)

Three things that scare you: Right-wingers, jellyfish, and angry alcoholics

Three of your everyday essentials: coffee, chocolate, Internet access

Three things you are wearing right now: gray top, black pants, "I Did Not Vote 4 Bush" bracelet

Three of your favorite songs: "How Soon is Now" (Smiths), Heroes (David Bowie), Just Like Heaven (The Cure)

Three things you want in a relationship: Appreciation, love, silliness

Three things you can't live without: computer, coffee and cell phone

Three places you want to go on vacation: Iceland, Italy, Japan

Three things you just can't do: cook, do math, conform to society's expectations

Three kids names: Collin, Astrid, Rayne

Three things you want to do before you die: Become a bestseller, live in NYC, play videogames in Japan

Three celeb crushes: Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, David Bowie (Yup, I like the Brits!)

Three of your favorite musicians: David Bowie, Morrissey, Simon LeBon (heh)

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you: eyes (am a sucker for blue or green eyes), long eyelashes, and good hair

Three of your favorite hobbies: playing videogames, snowboarding, watching movies

Three things you really want to do badly right now: quit my day job, travel abroad, finish my book

Three careers you're considering/you've considered: writer, teacher, reporter

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: I like videogames, I like Dungeons and Dragons, I'm not obsessed with shoes.

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: I am overly emotional, I love unicorns, and I'm secretly a hopeless romantic.

:) Mar