Thursday, March 31, 2005

Revenge of the Sith Press KIt

BTW this is kind of off-topic, but if there are any Star Wars "Revenge of the Sith" collectors browsing this blog, Hasbro sent me what I guess is a rare, limited release Press Kit with exclusive Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader figures. It also has a DVD and a press kit. Looks pretty cool...

Here's a pic from an eBay auction. (Not my auction)

If you're interested in making an offer, please let me know...

More than Bon Bons and Manicures

If you read the comments section of my previous post, you'll see I was totally taken to task on my description of quitting the day job and working from home. I had described a life of bon bon eating, pajamas and manicures. In other words, everyone's stereotypical work-at-home fantasy. :-) (Okay, not everyone's, but definitely mine!!)

But I think we all know that this is not an accurate portrayal of working from home. In fact, it's really hard work. You have to be self-motivated to get up every morning. Sit down at the computer and stay there and work. You have to ignore distractions like tv and internet surfing and housework even and get real work done. Your friends will call, thinking - hey she's just sitting home eating bon bons! - and interrupt your train of thought. You have to get your own health insurance ($$!!) and you don't get paid sick leave or vacations. If you run out for a manicure it's not on company time and you do not get paid for slacking.

Oh, and the bon bons are packed with calories. :-)

At the same time, I can see so many rewards of working from home. You get to be your own boss. No commute. You can set your own hours. You can choose your own projects. etc. etc.

Anyhow, all I'm saying is I didn't mean to be condescending and snarky to those who choose this type of work. I admire you for it!! All I was trying to say was there are pros and cons to each lifestyle. But yes, I should have described the real pro's of working from home rather than the fantasy ones! :-)


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Quitting the Day Job.. or Not

As I think a lot of you know, my day job is that of a Special Projects Producer at the NBC station in Boston. What that means is that I produce feature stories for the 11pm and morning newscasts. They're producer driven stories, meaning that the reporter is not involved except when it comes to reading the script I wrote. So I take the project from conception to finished product.

It's a fun job and I learn a little bit about everything. In the past I've covered political events like the Democratic National Convention, interviewed celebrities such as Kevin Spacey, exposed a "deadly ride" at Disneyland, went on a UFO hunt deep in the interior of Mexico, went undercover to bad dog breeders, etc. etc. So it totally runs the gambit.

Anyhow, every time I see someone from work in the hall, their first question is "When does your book come out?" (May, still May!!) And that's usually followed by something along the lines of, "When do you think you'll be able to get the hell of this place?" said in an envious tone. Then I laugh and say, "Not for a while!"

It seems like most authors and author wannabees see "quitting the day job and writing full time" as their ultimate goal. And while I have to admit it does sound heavenly to wake up around 10am and leisurely stroll downstairs in my flannel pajamas to type a little before heading over to get my nails done, I wonder if I would miss my day job if I did someday quit. Because when all's said and done, at the end of the day, I like being a tv news producer. It's fun and rewarding and interesting. I like the adrenalin rush. Creating segments and putting them on the air. Oh and I like having coworkers to chat with and go to lunch with. I wonder if the isolation of being a full time author would drive me crazy.

At the same time, if I am lucky enough to be successful at this author thing, won't I want to dedicate all my time to it? And how will I balance that with a full time job? Even now, before my first book has been released, I'm so busy it's crazy. Every second of my day seems to be scheduled to an inch of its life. I wake up at 6am to write til 8:15. Rush to get ready then jump on the commuter train to Boston and write more. Work from 10-6 at the day job, then hit the gym. Get home around 8:30 for a couple hours of free time with the husband (And usually some quality video gaming- hey a girl has to have some fun!) and then bed at 11 -11:30. YAWN.

Anyhow, I'm not complaining. It's a good position to be in - to like both your jobs!!! And only time will tell if I'll ever even get the option to quit the full time one, whether I decide I want to or not. But I would be interested to hear from other authors on what it was like to quit their day jobs and if they ever regret the decision.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Random Info and Thoughts...

Nothing exciting... Just some random Marianne stuff today... Sorry!

1) My Romantic Times (RT) review is out! I got 4 stars! Woot! And the review is really great, too. I can't wait to get a copy of the actual magazine. They did a little article about me as well for the Clubhouse section. I've pestered my agent to fax me a copy cause I am way impatient to see it.

2) I found out that Sk8er Boy is coming out in October, not November as I originally thought. Still waiting to see the cover. As soon as I have it, I'm going to post the cover and first chapter on my website, which is in sore need of update'age. My second YA, The Camelot Code, is tentatively scheduled for April or May of 2006. Scary, considering I haven't started writing it yet! :-) Still have no idea when Boys that Bite will be released, but I'm nearing the end of writing it.

3) Anyone going to the New England RWA conference this weekend? I am and can't wait! It's always a fun conference and this year Deb Dixon's doing her famous GMC workshop! Cool, cool. I myself am giving two sessions - one on pitching to an agent/editor on Friday and one on "Romancing the Media" on Saturday. If you're attending the conference, please make sure you say hi!!!

Okay, enough about me. Too much, probably, but hey - it's my blog!!

Good Read Alert - I got an advanced copy of Michelle Cunnah's latest: "Confessions of a Serial Dater." It is GREAT so far. As good, if not better, than her previous titles. I love that British sense of humor. I think it officially comes out in July or August - so definitely something to check out.

And lastly - a shout out to my local Au Bon Pain cashier, Maureen. She wakes up each morning at 4am, travels by bus from Medford to Boston to be at work for 6am. She then works in the busy bakery until 2pm. And every lunchtime when I come in for my salad, Maureen has a big smile on her face. When some business man commented on her early hours, she just grinned and said, "Ah, I don't mind." Her cheerful attitude is really an inspiration and I feel a lot of us could take a lesson from her.

Okay, I feel I've fulfilled my bloggerly duties of the day.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Fan Scam

So I got this strange letter from my website contact form the other day:

Dear Marianne :I just love your beautiful way with words and would be so honored to receive a signed photo of you to cherish. I am deeply touched by your lovely prose. Your gifts of heart and soul have given me, your grateful reader, great joy and happiness.Yours,Rebbie

At first I was confused. One, my book hasn't even come out yet, so how the heck could she have read it? Second, I'm a snarky chick lit writer, so I wouldn't exactly refer to my prose as "lovely" or "beautiful." And third, why would anyone want a signed photo of me??

Well, turns out I'm not the only one to receive this. Several other Dorchester authors have said they've gotten the same exact letter. Word for word. One got it twice for her different pen names. So there's got to be some kind of scam going on here. But what? To what purpose would this person in upstate NY (there was an address included) want all of our signed photos? The only thing I can think of is that by sending it, you open up a correspondence with this person and eventually they ask you for money. (Under the mistaken belief that writers have some!!) Other than that, I have no clue!

If anyone knows the "Real Deal" behind this letter, please let me know. The former investigative producer in me is insanely curious to learn the scam.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! Hope the Easter bunny was good to you! :-)

A belated congrats to all the writers who finaled in the RWA Golden Heart and RITA awards on Friday. (For those of you who don't know, these are like the Emmys of romance writing - Golden Heart for unpublished and RITA for published.) I was away snowboarding in Vermont Friday and Saturday, but I came back to a flurry of loop email! So many people I know have been nominated!

On the RITA side, Jessica Andersen, an Harlequin Intrigue author from my home chapter, is nominated for Best Long Contemporary. Nicole Burnham, also from my home chapter, has a nod for Best Traditional Romance. (She won a RITA last year!) And Literary Chicks Alesia Holliday and Lani Diane Rich both got nominated in the Mainstream with Romantic Elements category as well as the First Book one. Sooo excited for them!

There's a bunch of other people too, but if I name them all, I'd probably forget someone. So you can take a look yourself here. So CONGRATS everyone!! :-)

I'm very sore from snowboarding today, but it was really fun. I went with a huge family group of 11 people. We rented this great house with a fireplace and hot tub and skiied/snowboarded Friday and Saturday. The conditions were great, the weather rocked. Couldn't ask for a better time. I'll be so sad when snowboard season ends, and I'm glad it's a late winter this year!

After I finish blogging I'm going to get back to writing Boys that Bite. I was really motivated by my trip to NYC and I wrote like a banshee last week. So now I'm at 36,240 which means about 23,000 words to go. That's nothing! I'm going to aim to be done by mid April. I love this book and I love the way Berkley is planning to market it. The covers for the JAM books are very cool. Sophisticated but fun. I really adore the one for MaryJanice Davidson's JAM book "Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnance" and hope mine will look something like that. (HINT HINT if anyone is reading!!!)

I've also got to do a handout for the workshop I'm giving at the New England RWA conference this upcoming weekend. I'm doing a session on Romancing the Media - how to get media attention for your novel. I love this conference and can't wait to go.

Okay, guess I've blabbed on long enough. Gotta get some real writing done now.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Looking Back...

Since I write YA, I always find it useful to go and read my old journals from back in high school. (You know, when journals were in black and white composition books and not posted online for the world to read!) I like to remember how I looked at life back then, what was important to me, how I spoke, what I was into, etc. etc. Plus it's just interesting. :-)

So tonight, since I have nothing exciting to relate, I thought it'd be fun to post one of the entries. This is from 15 years ago (!) March 14th - when I was 16 years old. (I had a gap in entries so I didn't have one for today's exact date, but close enough.)

Thursday March 14th 5:42pm

Hi. Well today I saw Jaimie. I know you must be sick of hearing his name but honestly he is the only thing interesting happening in my life at the moment so bear with me or skip ahead a few pages into my future as of now unwritten life.

We were painting - just the two of us so it was much nicer than when Darlene is there. We talked for a long time. It was quite wonderful. I found out a scoop about his personal life. He went out with this girl Amy for 3 YEARS! AUGG! I could NEVER go out with someone for 3 years. Not even Jaimie. They broke up last year and he hasn't gone out with anyone since. Hmmmmmm. Well, he doesn't like proms very much but he's been to 3.

I'll write more later. He wrote me a note, by the way. It's not anything great, but it's my 1st Jaimie note, so I guess I'll put it in here. Love, M.A.

LOL isn't that just too funny!! I was so young and naive back then. And boy did I have a crush on the above mentioned Jaimie!! He was the art teacher's son and we had been painting sets for a drama class play. I thought he looked exactly like David Bowie. And he was older and an artist and played in a band. I mean, you can't get much cooler than that, now can you? :-) We never really hooked up, however. I think he felt I was too young for him. (Which, looking back, I realize I most definitely was.) But at the time, I was not about to let some crazy age gap get in the way of a relationship I thought could have major true love potential!! He, on the other hand, illustrated admirable tolerance and restraint for my desperate puppy love and endless advances. :-)

Anyway - this is a good illustration as to why I love writing young adult books. The angst, the drama, the heartbreak. Every little thing is the end of the world.

Anyway hope you enjoyed my self-indulgent trip down memory lane. :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I just wrote a whole post and blogger destroyed it. I have no time to rewrite, so just check out this very exciting news and I'll get back to you later...

Whedon Woos Wonder Woman
Joss Whedon has tackled ghastly aliens and dastardly vampires. So why not work on something Wonder-ful? The Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind has officially lassoed the writing and directing job on Warner Bros.' big-screen version of Wonder Woman, the studio announced Thursday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Boyfriend List Part 2

I promised you a q&a from E. Lockhart about her book "The Boyfriend List" which I'm promoting today as part of the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit. So here you go! :-)

1) What do you believe is the most important thing to keep in mind when writing for teens?

I don't really keep anything in mind. I write as honestly as I can and I try to be funny -- but I'd do that for any audience. I suppose I attempt to keep the language clean enough so the book won't be banned in school libraries. But that said, Fly on the Wall (my next book) takes place entirely inside a boys' locker room -- and how clean can the language be in there? Not very. I used a lot of goofy euphemisms. Gherkin. Tinkerbell. You can figure out what they mean. But they also swear a blue streak now and then. It comes out in January.

2) The footnote concept is really cool and a very original idea for a novel - how did you come up with that?

I'm sad to say, it's unoriginal. I lifted it from/am imitating shamelessly/am paying homage to the work of David Foster Wallace, grand poohbah of the footnote.They were tremendous fun to write, though.

3) Did you make a "boyfriend list" when you were in high school?

Sure. Didn't we all? Unlike Ruby's in The Boyfriend List, though, mine was private. No one found out about it, or xeroxed it, or told everyone I was a giant slut.

4) If you had to make an imaginary celebrity boyfriend list, who would it include?

1) Ben Chaplin. From The Truth About Cats and Dogs. I'm a sucker for dark eyes and a British accent.

2) Taye Diggs. It's the voice, I think. Do you remember in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, where he said "are you paying attention?" So sexy.

3) Hugh Grant. I forgive him everything.

4) Johnny Depp. Need I say more?

5) Gene Kelly (way back when). I love a man who can move.

6) Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. In Velvet Goldmine. I like femme-y men. I do. And he was cute in Bend it Like Beckham, too.

7) Dan Zanes. He lives in my neighborhood and radiates sex appeal from a block away.


Hmm... that kind of inspires me to write my own unofficial Marianne Celebrity Boyfriend List... So here goes:

1) David Bowie - loved him since seeing Labyrinth as a kid - those tights! Growl!

2) Jude Law - Perfect English perfection.

3) Ewan McGregor - Okay I'm starting to see a pattern here, though at least he's Scottish...

4) Johnny Depp - had to throw in a yank :-)

5) Chad Michael Murray - another yank - for the teeny bopper YA writer in me

6) Michael Owen - amazing British footballer... okay yes, so I'm back to the Brits, sue me.

7) James Marsters - (Spike on Buffy) - He's not really a Brit, he just plays one on TV.

8) Paul Banks - lead singer of Interpol (a wonderful, wonderful band out of NYC that I am
somewhat obsessed with)

9) Ethan Hawke - loved him since I was a teen watching Dead Poet's Society, but he really rocked my world in "Reality Bites."

10) Brad Pitt - well, he has to be on everyone's list, right?

Hey - that was kind of fun! :-) Sooo.. who would be on YOUR celebrity boyfriend list??

GCC: The Boyfriend List

Hi all,

Today we have another fine author to introduce you to as part of the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit. E. Lockhart is the author of "The Boyfriend List" - probably the best Young Adult novel I've read this year! I absolutely adored this book.

Here's what the cover looks like: v. cute, don't you think? I love the frog!

And here's the blurb:

Ruby Oliver is fifteen and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break -- she's had a rough ten days. In the past ten days she:

-lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
-lost her best friend (Kim)
-lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
-did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
-did something advanced with a boy (#15)
-had an argument with a boy (#14)
-drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
-got caught by her mom (ag!)
-had a panic attack (scary)
-lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
-failed a math test (she'll make it up)
-hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
-became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
-had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys' !?!)

But don't worry-- Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

I'm a YA author myself and I've read tons of the genre. Some books are awful. They're condescending and talk down to the reader or are just downright boring. I've become extremely judgemental and picky about my YA nowadays. So that said, I read "The Boyfriend List" last week in preparation for this blog entry and I was blown away! It's soo extremely good! It's one of those young adult books that an "old" adult could really get into as well. It's very well written for one thing - and it never once talks down to the target audience. And she does this thing with footnotes that is incredibly clever and cool. I just wish I'd thought of it myself!! :-) And the whole concept of the "list" is very neat.

You'll also love the main character. She's just so honest and real... someone you'd totally want to be friends with. (As long as she stays well away from your boyfriend, LOL) My favorite boy on the list was Finn, btw. (It'll make sense when you read it.)

I honestly didn't want this book to end and I'm psyched there's a sequel in 2006. This is one YA author to watch.

I've been away, as you know, so I didn't have a chance to interview Emily about her book. I'm going to send her a few questions today to see if she has time to answer them. But in the meantime- today is the day that "The Boyfriend List" hits stores - and I highly recommend you run out and get it. Your teens will like it, and you will too!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

2 More Books!!

I don't know why I forgot to mention this in my previous post, but I've signed on to write two more adult romances for Dorchester!! The first is the sequel to Connecticut Fashionista -- working title is: "A Hoboken Hipster in Sherwood Forest." (I do love my long titles!) As you can probably guess from the title, it's a Robin Hood based time travel chick lit. Fun, fun! I can't wait to start writing it.

And for the second book, I can't talk about it yet, as I've been sworn to secrecy but let's just say it's something really, really unique and cool that Kate's come up with. As soon as I'm given the green light to blab, I'll let you know. But let's just say it's a very exciting project.

Back from NYC

I'm back from my NYC trip. It was a great time. A lot of fun AND I learned a ton at the conference as well, so when I get settled in, I can post some of the more interesting stuff for you to read. For example, we heard from the sales people at Avon about book distribution, from Harlequin editors, on how they're reinventing themselves (they have GREAT new covers!) and from Joanne Powers, on how to promote your book. All very interesting stuff, at least to me.

For celebrity sightings: Denzel Washington, outside his new broadway play signing autographs.

I'd write more, but I'm tired so it'll have to wait. :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Giving my Regards to Broadway...

Oooh, I'm so excited. Tomorrow I'm off to NYC for the entire weekend!! I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but I'm going to the PASIC (published authors special interest chapter) conference with Alesia Holliday.

Got a busy schedule too. I arrive at the airport (yes I'm flying - totally lazy, I know!) tomorrow around 11am. Then I'm going to have lunch with my step-grandmother, who incidentally is soap actress Kathryn Hays, who plays Kim Hughes on As the World Turns. She's really nice. I totally lucked out in the step-family department, though Sherri always teases me about her being my evil stepmom. LOL.

Anyway, later in the afternoon I'm meeting with my editor Kate Seaver from Dorchester for coffee. She's also a sweetheart. Hopefully she'll have the cover of Sk8er Boy to share. Can't wait to see what that looks like and promise to post it as soon as I have it.

Then in the evening the conference is hosting an industry reception, which is like a big schmooze fest with all the attending editors and agents. So that should be fun.

On Friday Alesia and I are having lunch with our other editors Cindy Hwang and Susan McCarty from Berkley. We're supposedly going to some Korean restaurant. Yum. I haven't met either of them in person yet, so I'm excited to do so. Then after that I've got to swing by my agent Paige's office to have coffee with her. (I'm going to be severely caffeinated this whole trip, I can tell!)

Somewhere between all that we're going to the actual conference! :-)

Then Friday night we're going to go see the new Broadway play Dirty Rotton Scoudrels. And after the conference on Saturday we're going to see Mama Mia. (The ABBA play!) On Sunday - shopping!

All in all, it's shaping up to be quite the fun weekend! So don't miss me too much and I'll report back on Monday with all the juicy gossip I acquire. :-)


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Dorchester Smooch Unauthorized, Unofficial FAQ

As I mentioned last week, I got great response from my agent FAQ. So I figure why not do some editor FAQs as well? So today I'm going to write about Smooch, Dorchester's Young Adult line. I have a two book deal with them. The first book, Sk8er Boy, is coming out in November of this year. The second,, is being released in 2006.

So without further ado, here's Marianne's unofficial, unauthorized Dorchester Smooch FAQ:

What age range does Smooch target?
No racy Gossip Girl type books here. Smooch is for teens and tweens, ages 12-16. And that means keeping them very clean in content and language. Think rated PG.

What is the word count?
Word count is approximately 45,000 words, which is about 180-200 pages in courier double space.

How many books do they release a month?
One at the moment, though that's always subject to change.

What kind of YA stories is Smooch looking for?
They are seeking the kind of story that deals with issues teen girls are interested in. Stuff like boys, family, school, boys, friends, boys. Many of the Smooch books have romances in them, but not all. Most of them are lighthearted and funny - often laugh out loud funny. Think chick lit for teens. They say on their website they're only looking for contemporaries and modern day paranormals. Kate did buy my Smooch time travel, but only after I made sure that a good portion of the story takes place in a modern day high school. So this is not the place (at least for now) for you to bring your historical manuscripts.

What are some good Smooch authors to read to get a feel for the line?
Smooch has some great authors in their backlist. Try Katie Maxwell, Jax Abbott, Stephie Davis, Naomi Nash and Amy Kaye for starters. You can find a complete list of Smooch authors on their website.

How do I submit to Smooch?
If you're unagented, submit a query letter and/or 3 chapters/synopsis to Dorchester, care of Kate Seaver. They don't want complete manuscripts unless requested, just FYI. Complete guidelines for submission are on the Smooch website. (Link is at bottom left corner.) My suggestion would be to try to get a YA friendly agent first, if you can. For example, Nadia Cornier at Creative Media Agency. (She does my YA deals.) Or Michelle Grajkowski from Three Seas.

I submitted my partial to Smocoh "X" months ago? When do you think I'll hear back?
The website states a 6-8 month response rate, but if you're unagented, it's possible your wait will be longer. In addition to single handedly running the Smooch line, Kate also works on the Making It chick lit line as well as regular Love Spell and Leisure Dorchester books. So she's a busy editor! :-)

Anything else?
Smooch books are meant to be fun diversions for teens and tweens who already have to deal with tons of stressful situations in everyday life. They're not "Lesson" books. Don't try to preach to your readers or insist they learn some moral at the end of the story. These books are for fun! And don't ever talk down to your readers. Teens are smart and savvy and they deserve respect. They can smell an adult talking down to them a mile away. And while pop culture references and slang are cool, don't go overboard. After all, if your book is published a year after you write it, you may be dating your references. Katie Maxwell makes up her own slang in her Smooch books which is a pretty good idea.

Okay that's all I have time for today. Hope this was informative. If you have any other questions, feel free to post 'em in the comments section.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Back from Snowboarding

I know I said in my last post we weren't going snowboarding this weekend cause we couldn't find a hotel room. Well, the awesome media relations woman at Sunday River - Susan - ended up finding us one at the Jordan Grand Summit hotel on Friday! Yay!! We drove up Friday night in the blizzard (took my dad's truck - no way my 99 cavilier was making THAT trip!) and then on Saturday we rode in like 2 feet of powder. It was amazing - like snowboarding out west!! And not that crowded seeming, even though every hotel room in like a 20 mile radius was booked solid!! Saturday night we went to this bar called "Tango Mary's" where the band Everclear was supposed to play. I have no idea what happened, but we were there til nearly midnight and they never came on. We finally left so we wouldn't be too tired for riding the next day. But it was still a fun night. Then Sunday we snowboarded for about half a day. I think I strained my thigh muscle on Sat cause I was in some pain on the mountain, which is why we left early.

All in all, a great trip! I'm so glad Susan hooked us up. Would NOT have wanted to miss that powder.

Bleh, back to work today! Good thing it's only for a 3 day week - going to NYC on Thursday. Can't wait!!!

Okay gotta go - sorry so short and uninteresting! :-) Will try to post more later.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I had to get into work early for a shoot and then after work I went out to a "Dinner with the Author" event hosted by fellow Berkley Chicklitter Alison Pace. It was fun and I liked Ali a lot. (We'd only talked over email so this was the first time I met her in person.) She's a real sweetheart. I can't wait to read her book, "If Andy Warhol had a Girlfriend." I've heard great things about it, but hadn't yet grabbed it since I knew I was going to this event. I'll let you know what I think.

Speaking of booksignings... I've set up my first one! Woot! It's a reading and signing at the downtown Borders bookstore on May 24th at 12:30. (They get a ton of lunch traffic in that store cause it's in the heart of the business/finance section of the city.) So if you're in the Boston area, please stop by!

We were supposed to go snowboarding this weekend, but there's not a single hotel room to be had on the mountain. BOOO! We might still go for a day trip to Mt. Snow or something, which really isn't the same, but better than nothing, I guess. I can't believe in mid-March there's that much competition over lodging. I guess the recent snowstorm this week got people jazzed.

One thing I am psyched about is that my editor at Dorchester says they've been receiving a great response from booksellers on both the concept and cover of CT Fashionista. Which is soo encouraging cause obviously booksellers have to love it first so they stock lots of copies in their stores for people to buy. Cause let's face it, most people, if a book isn't in stock, are just going to pick up something else. I would.

Okay gotta go write.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Snow, Shout Outs, and Stupid Dreams

Yesterday was a LOOONG day. I had the brilliant idea of scheduling a shoot at a ski mountain two hours away in NH and never checked the weather report. Even when the PR guy called me yesterday morning and said, "You know, we're supposed to get a foot of snow..." I breezily replied, "Eh, no big deal. We'll still come."

The ride back took nearly 4 hours.

At least the snow should be great for this weekend when Aaron and I go up snowboarding. The Farmer's Almanac was right on the money when they said we'd be having a late winter. But still, I'm sooo sick of scraping snow off my car.

Today we've got two special "Cosmos and Chat" shout-outs.

First goes to Barb Ferrer!! She's a chick lit writer and current prez of our Chick Lit Writers RWA chapter. Yesterday she scored herself THE accessory of the season! What, you may well ask? A pair of strappy Manolos? A Kate Spade handbag? No even better! An AGENT. Yup, our dear Barb is no longer agentless. It's a good example of hard work and extreme dedication paying off big time! Can't wait til she sells so we can all start reading her books. :-) Anyway, if you get a chance swing by her blog and say congrats!

Second shout out goes to our Girlfriend Cyber Circuit guest yesterday, Johanna Edwards. She announced in her blog that she's now a Bestselling Author with her book "The Next Big Thing"! Yup! She made the Barnes and Noble Bestseller list her first week out!! As a DEBUT AUTHOR!! Wow! Isn't that too cool? I'm so happy for her!! I mean, sure, I've already told you how great the book itself is, but a great book by a debut author does not always sell well right away cause they haven't had a chance to build up an audience. So this is extremely good news for her. Yay Johanna!!

In other news.. have you ever had a dream rejection? I mean that literally - as in you dreamed you got rejected for a manuscript you're waiting to hear from an editor about? I did last night. Actually it wasn't a dream rejection - it was a dream revision letter. Sadly I don't remember what the details were cause I'd like to read what changes my subconcious thinks I should make to the manuscript, LOL. But still, we writers already face enough rejection in our lives, don't you think? Having to go through it even more in dreams is just cruel and unusual punishment. Then again, I've had dreams where I've sold a manuscript and was really, really excited... until I woke up. Those are worse. At least with a dream rejection you can say, "Ah, it was just a dream." :)

BTW I got a lot of good response from my agent FAQ so I'm thinking of doing an editor one. I don't know enough about Berkley yet to do one for them, but I can do one for Dorchester - both a general one and a Smooch specific. I don't have time this AM, as I have to write and have already babbled on too much as it is. But maybe later today or tomorrow.

Is it Friday YET?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Girlfriend Cyber Circuit:Johanna Edwards

Hey all,

I've joined the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit and that means every so often, I'll have the opportunity to blog about a fellow chick lit author making the rounds in a virtual tour. Today we have Johanna Edwards, the 27 year old author of "The Next Big Thing" put out this month by Berkley.

Here's an official blurb:

Kat Larson figured she had nothing to lose by becoming a contestant on the new reality show From Fat to Fabulous-except maybe a few dozen pounds. Then she'd finally be able to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Nick, the British hunk she met online, who still thinks she's a size four. She'd finally be confident and graceful and thin-and there's that big cash prize, too, to pay for all those slinky new clothes she'd need. She'd finally have the perfect life.

That's the fantasy, anyway. She's about to find out the reality?

I just finished reading this book last night and I have to tell you, it's terrific. At first I was like, hmm another book on Reality TV? But then I started reading and I was completely hooked. The main character is so REAL. So like a person you'd want to go out and get drinks with. And Johanna really tugs at your heartstrings when she throws Kat and the other contestants into torturous, embarassing reality show "challenges." She also paints a poignant picture of how our society treats overweight people as second class citizens. Should really get people thinking. But at the same time, she's never preachy about it and keeps the book fun and lighthearted.

So even if you're not a fan of reality TV, I highly suggest chick lit fans give this book a try. If you want to read an excerpt, you can do so here.

Johanna's a very talented writer and I can't wait to read more of her books in the future. In addition to writing, she's host of a nationally syndicated radio program called "Book Talk" and an award winning journalist. (Big cheers for author journalists!!!) And did I mention she's only 27 years old!?

SOO... go check out THE NEXT BIG THING. And please feel free to post your own review in the comments section. :-)


So Tragic...

I did the saddest interview yesterday. It was with this 32 year old mom who has stage four breast cancer that's spread into her liver and lungs. I mean 32 YEARS OLD! That's only 1 year older than I am. The worst part is she had gone to her doctor in August complaining of breast soreness and the doctor totally blew her off!! Told her to put a compress on it. It was only after she was in so much pain she couldn't stand up that they finally tested her and found the cancer.

I hear this happen so many times with women. Doctors blow them off, say it's all in their head. My friend Liana had lime disease and the doc basically told her she had housewife syndrome or whatever. Remember girls, you know your body better than some doctor. If you think something's wrong, don't take "no" as an answer and be your own health advocate.

This woman has a six month old baby and a two year old. She's very optimistic and quite the fighter. She's determined to beat the disease and be there for her babies. But still - it broke my heart to hear her tell her story.

It also put a lot of things in perspective. Frustrations at work, over writing stuff, little things that bug us and stress us out and make us explode. Yet at the end of the day these things are so minor. So an agent rejects your manuscript. Or your boss yells at you cause you had a mistake in the last project you turned in. At least you have your health. At least you're not 32 years old and dying.

Gah! I can't think about it anymore. But anyway - please send your thoughts and prayers to this woman. Her family is having a fundraiser on Saturday (which is why Ch7 is covering the story) because they're strapped for cash at this point. So if any of you want to donate, email me and I'll pass along the contact info.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Acting Your Age

On Romancing the Blog this morning, Kassia Krozser made some good points about the romance genre - along the lines of it being out of touch with pop culture. As in the heroines are supposedly in their twenties, but act more like they're in their 40's. I agree wholeheartedly. Many romance heroines seem to be 25 going on 45. They don't go bar hopping, they listen to classical music, they own their own businesses, are already divorced with children, etc. I'm TOTALLY generalizing here and I know there are many exceptions to the rule - but you get the point.
I think what's behind this idea is simple. One, the authors themselves are oftentimes in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. So they're writing the world they live in, even if they say on paper their character is 25. Second, much of their audience is older as well and probably would prefer to read a story about a character that relates to them and their life. And it's important they have the opportunity to do so. After all, at the end of the day, a lot of romance is escapism fantasy.

So then, why not simply make the character older? Well, some lines are starting to do this. We now have mom lit, lady lit, Harlequin's new NEXT line, and lots of women's fiction books. These types of books celebrate the fact that you can still be hip when you're over 30. Can still be searching for "the one" at forty. Maybe it's the second time around, but that's okay. And you can still have an enchanting, once-in-a-lifetime fantasy romance at fifty. It's good to see the industry is now accepting the fact that women are still worth writing about after they celebrate their thirtith birthday and I hope this trend continues.

But now, Kassia's point was that younger readers aren't going to be interested in reading traditional romance because it's characters are unrealistic 20-somethings who are unhip. (She used maybe a bad example of classic rock, which people jumped on, but the point is still well-taken.) The younger reader wants the same thing an older reader does. To read about characters they can relate to. And I think that's why chick lit has become such a phenomenon. The chick lit heroine listens to retro 80's music and goes out clubbing with her friends - even on a work night. She drinks $9 martinis even though they're threatening to shut off her cable cause she hasn't paid the bills. She works hard at her job, but doesn't think it's the be all and end all of life. She is a reflection of the real life society we live in. And she can still fall in love, but she might do something slutty, like sleep with the guy on the first date. Or go for Mr. Wrong before she realizes she's best friends with Mr. Right.

That said, there's still a definite place on my shelf for more traditional romance. Not every character I read about has to be wearing the perfect Manolos. Sometimes I just want to lose myself in a love story. And let's face it, a good book is a good book, whether the character is meant to be 25 or 40.

After all, age is just a number.


Mary's Mercury

Last Monday I did my last sweeps story on mercury toxicity. (Yes, once in a while we get to do serious stories that aren't about killer clay or celeb c-sections. haha) Mercury is a real serious problem in the US. Power plants and improper trash disposal have polluted our lakes and oceans. And eating too much of certain types of fish (such as tuna, salmon, swordfish, etc) can put you at risk. While an average adult has to have pretty high levels to have personal health problems, it can be devistating to a baby or child. So if you're thinking of becoming pregnant, I highly suggest you get your mercury levels tested. Greenpeace is doing a hair sampling project and you can get home test through them for $25.

What does this have to do with writing? Absolutely nothing. Just consider it a public service anoucement. :-) But I do have a funny story to go with this.

When I did the story, I wanted to test three women. So I found the first two (volunteers from a Craigslist ad) and I needed one more person. Well, my friend/coworker Mary said she ate a lot of fish and was curious about her levels. So I let her take the test too. Well, it turned out she was the only one of the three who tested high. Not like she's going to keel over or anything, but if she were to become pregnant it could be a concern.

So she reluctantly agreed to be featured in the story. Fine. No big deal, right?

Well, when you're in a 7-News report, you're seen by a lot of people. Especially if it airs in the 11pm news on a night when CSI is a repeat. Especially if your part in the story is also featured in the promo. Especially if that promo is run all through the weekend, nonstop from Friday to Monday.

Everyone in Boston now knows about Mary's Mercury problem.

It's become almost a joke. Friends have called her up, all concerned. Strangers at the bus stop have asked her about her "condition." People have sent her worried emails. Even the Greek salad guy asked me yesterday whether Mary was okay 'cause he saw her on TV.

Mary's now become an accidental spokesperson for mercury toxicity in Boston!

Luckily she takes it all in stride (she's a good sport!) and has actually been using the opportunity to educate people about mercury and the dangers of eating fish. So hopefully some good will have come out of this embarrassing situation.

The moral of this story is: don't ever willingly agree to be on the news. Heh!

In other news:

I'm back in the writing groove these days, which is good. Up to 23,000 words of Boys that Bite. I thought I'd be further along by now, but the end of sweeps was sooo busy that I just decided I needed to take a week off of writing, concentrate fully on the day job and force myself not to feel guilty about that. I don't know why I have this burning overachiever thing going on all the time. I mean the book is not due til May 31st. Which means I have close to 3 months to write 37,000 words. I could do that in my SLEEP. That's only like 400 words a day. And I average 1,000 normally. So why, when I take a day off, do I become racked with guilt? I should be enjoying the writing process. Having fun with the book.

I know some authors have these crazy deadlines where they have to write a 100,000 word book in a week. I just couldn't do that. I only have so much creativity in me in a day and when I'm tapped, that's it. No more writing til my batteries recharge. I envy those writers who can just keep going and going and going like an Energizer Bunny or something.

One writer that's especially prolific like this is Katie MacAlister. I think she's said she can write over 3,000 words a day. So impressive. I'm currently reading her book "You Slay Me." It's soo good. I love the demon Newfoundland dog. Katie is one of the most funny writers I've ever known. She just has this knack for humor. If you've read her books you know what I mean. If you haven't, what are you waiting for??? I also bought her Sex, Lies and Vampires book so I'm on to that next.

Happy Saturday everyone! :-)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Get Your Stiletto in the Door

BIG Cosmos and Chat SHOUT OUT to all the winners of the first annual "Get Your Stiletto in the Door" contest, sponsored by the RWA Chick Lit Writers group. You ladies rock! And even more exciting - we had an over 40% request rate from our agent/editor judges! That's right - top chick lit agents and editors liked these entries so much - they requested 11 of them!!

And they say chick lit is dead. Ha!

Special thanks to Diana Peterfruend our fearless contest coordinator. If she billed us for the amount of hours she spent on this chapter we'd be bankrupt and she'd be living large. Diana - I hope you're taking next year off!!

For a list of the winners, you can go to the Chick Lit Writers webpage.

Now onto our reguarly scheduled blog...

It's FRIDAY! Woooot! Yay! Cheer! I'm sooo psyched it's the weekend you don't even know. Tonight I'm getting my hair cut/highlighted. (I know not that exciting of a Friday, but if you've seen it lately, you can understand why I'm thrilled!) Then tomorrow night is the big birthday party.

Next weekend my husband and I are spending the whole weekend snowboarding at Sunday River. My dad gave us a hotel stay there as a Christmas gift. Can't WAIT for that. And then on Thursday I'm going to the PASIC (published authors special interest chapter) RWA conference in New York City. I am SOOOOOO excited about that. I'm going to get to meet my editor at Berkley, go to Broadway shows, etc. etc. (Oh and attend the actual conference as well, LOL)

You might notice I started adding writer links to the side of the blog. If you're a romance and/or chick lit writer and want to be added, let me know. I'll be adding more links as well - it just takes a while to add them so I'm doing it in stages. And if you want to link me from your blog, I'll love you forever. :-)

Okay gotta stop slacking and go work on Boys that Bite!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Agent FAQ

I figure once in a while this blog should have some useful info in addition to my ramblings. So today I present you with my agent FAQ.

If you're not interested in getting an agent and/or don't care how I got mine, I invite you to go blog hop over to one of my favorite blog sites EVER. Conversations with Famous People. It's written by a pre-pubbed chick lit writer named Cindy Smith who goes under the guise Distressed Jeans. She is SOO FUNNY. I can't wait til someone buys her book 'cause if she's half as funny at fiction then it's bound to be a bestseller.

Okay if anyone is left now..

People ask me all the time about my agent. Who she is, what she's like, how I got her, do I like her, etc. etc. And as much as I love to refer people, typing all the answers out from scratch every single time I'm asked is hard on the fingers. So from now on I can refer you here.

Who is your agent?
Paige Wheeler at Creative Media Agency. She is an RWA approved agent from NYC who represents romance, mystery and nonfiction. Another agent at CMA, Nadia Cornier, agents my Young Adult deals.

How did you get your agent?
I had almost finished my book and was going to the New Jersey RWA conference. (Great conference, btw!) I selected Paige Wheeler as first choice of agent appointment. However, when I got to the conference, I'd been given two editors and no agent choices. And one of the editors was the senior editor of Harlequin Silouhette - not my target market, me being a snarky chick lit author! So I went up to the table and asked to trade. They said they didn't have anyone. At that very moment, the heavens opened up and an angel approached the table with a piece of paper in her hand. It was her appointment with Paige Wheeler's then assistant Lisa Hanes. This angel wanted an appointment with Harlequin and was willing to make the trade. I have no idea who she was, but she definitely changed my life!!

I met with Lisa and she requested a partial which I sent in. A few weeks later, she requested a full. A couple days after that I received another offer of representation from an agency I'd mailed the manuscript to. So I called up CMA and asked if they'd like to make an offer as well. Lisa said, "Give me the weekend to read your book." At the time, clueless me thought, "Oh poor thing I'm making her work on the weekend!" Anyway - on Monday they came back with an offer of representation. I actually had three offers when all was said and done. I interviewed all three and made an agonizing decision. But I'm very happy with my choice!

How does your agent feel about revisions?
She loves them. She's very hands-on in the editing department and won't send out your work until she thinks it's perfect. Some authors would prefer their agents to just send out their work and not be editors for them. But for me, I like having the input, though at times it can be a bit frustrating cause it means extra work. But I'd rather fix problems in the agent stage than have a manuscript rejected in the editor stage. CMA helped me make CT Fashionista one million times better before sending it out.

How is she about communication?
When I emailed her yesterday she didn't write me back, which actually surprised me. She's very communicative normally. Answers my emails right away. Calls me when the checks and contracts come in and gets them out immediately. Reads my work in a timely fashion. Even though she has tons of clients, she always makes me feel like I'm important. Of course I am always bugging her, asking questions and checking in. But hey, I'm a journalist. It's my job to get answers.

Can I email my query?
No. You can't email your query. Snail mail the query. However, unlike some writers were moaning about on one of the loops, just because an agent doesn't take an email query, doesn't mean she's stuck in the dark ages and doesn't use email! Once you're her client, you can definitely chat over cyberspace. But before that, put a stamp on it. Actually I think Nadia may take email queries... not sure. But for Paige: mail, mail, mail.

How does she go about submitting work?
I am assuming this varies depending on the book and situation so I am only answering about how she sent out my work personally. She wrote up a pitch letter (based on my original query) and made seven copies of my manuscript. Then she called seven editors from the major houses (after consulting with me about where we were going to send it) and asked them if they'd be interested in reading it. They all said yes, so she sent out the manuscripts to each. Then, after a certain amount of time passed, she'd call and follow-up.

How was she when "The Call" came?
She was great! Very happy for me and supportive and explained my options and what everything meant. She got the publisher to agree to contract terms on her boilerplate that were more in my favor. I was so excited I couldn't think of all the details, but she took care of everything. I could have never done the contract stuff myself.

Anything else I should know?
Finding an agent is a very personal thing. It's almost like finding a date. One size does not fit all. Paige is a great agent for me, but may not be for everyone. So if you get an offer from any agent, interview him or her extensively. Find out how they conduct business. Cause once you sign, you're making a long term commitment. So make sure you're sure.

If you have any questions, feel free to post comments. :-)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Happy Birthday to me!! Happy Birthday to me!!

I just noticed it's also Yahoo's birthday today. I think it's Jon Bon Jovi's as well. Yeah.

Okay I've got work to do now. Will write more later.


Dorchester, Armani, and Birthdays!

Lots of fun stuff to mention this evening so let's get started.

First off, my book description, excerpt and bio are up on the Dorchester website! I feel so legitimate now! Like it's really going to happen - in two months the book is really coming out -and no one's going to pull the rug out from under me three days before publication and say, "Oh yeah, we were just joking about that whole thing. Did you think we'd SERIOUSLY publish YOU???"

Yes, I really do think that sometimes. Though it was worse when I first got the offer from them back in August. I was afraid to tell people I sold just in case Kate Seaver called back and said she'd made a terrible mistake. Gah!

Moving on... At work this reporter friend of mine (who has always been like a mentor to me) called me in her office and showed me this amazing black fitted Armani blazer and told me she decided she didn't like how it looked on her and did I want it? It's like brand new and it fits perfectly! She said she wanted me to have it for booksignings etc. How cool is that? So I have my very first piece of Armani. I feel like a real life fashionista, LOL. :-) Totally made my day!

And lastly - tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY. Happy birthday to me. I love birthdays. I don't get why some people hate them. My DH made me the most adorable birthday card using Photoshop. He's such a sweetheart. I'll try to upload it tomorrow so you can see it. He also promised to make me whatever dinner I desire and have it served by candlelight. Can we say awhhhh? It's especially nice cause he's not a mushy guy whatsoever. Very manly man. But he does have his moments. :-)

Okay I had more to blab about, but I'll do it tomorrow in the AM.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Scam SPAM, Stephen King and Snowstorms

So I got this in my inbox today:

"I?ve spent a lot of time at your website and I think your books are perfectfor our stores. I especially like "A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court" and "Boys that Bite". We work hand in hand with the largest stores in the country, plus thousands of small to medium sized specialty businesses stretched across the U.S.. If you want the opportunity to sell your books through major retailers like Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waldens,Target, QVC, HSN, etc the other 51005 gift stores, 16826 bookstores, and over 24000 mail-order catalogs...check us out at Sincerely,Brian"

Now mind you, I'm a news producer who used to work in the Investigative Unit, so I can usually spot a scam a mile away. But this one I really had to think about. I mean he uses the names of two of my books in the email which makes it seem a lot more personal. So I guess he must have actually been to my website. But then there's the part in the email where he asks if I wnat the opportunity to sell my books at Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. Um, that's sort of what my publisher does? In fact, if come May I don't see CT Fashionista in Borders and Barnes and Noble something is truly wrong and no Vendor Pro service is going to be able to help me at this point!!

So anyway guess we've got to file this one under personalized SPAM? Or maybe just a misguided sales pitch? Anyone else get one of these? I'm trying to figure out where he harvested the emails... (Once an investigator, always an investigator...)

In her blog today, Barb Pollak was talking about editors bemoaning their writers who are way behind in deadlines and are spending time BLOGGING about how behind they are! Ironic, really. So if my editor is reading this, just fyi, I am NOT behind. In fact I'm way ahead.

Okay. The rest of you want to kill me now, right?

Speaking of my darling publisher, I should offer up proper kudos to Dorchester for signing Mr. Stephen King himself to do a crme pulp fiction novel. Yes, THE Stephen King. They announced the news today. I mean, how cool is that? I wonder if he'll attend the Dorchester RT party. Ha ha!

Wow. I'm all over the place tonight! Maybe it's restlessness due to the big snowstorm barreling our way. I am soooooo sick of winter! Luckily work didn't stick me in a hotel tonight. Whenever there's a big snowstorm, the tv station puts employees up in hotels so they can't give the old "I can't get to work" excuse in the AM. (okay they say it's for safety reasons, but I know the truth, lol!) Cause snow is BIG news, as you've probably gathered, at a tv station.

That's all the rambling you get tonight.