Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You Like Me. You Really Like Me.

The first advanced review of my new book "I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)" (soon to be released May 2) is in, and it's positive!

For those of you interested in reading someone else praise my talents (and I know I am), check out Fallen Angel Reviews.

My husband wanted to know if "Fallen Angels" included Lucifer, and if I'd sold my soul for a good review, but I assure you, dear readers, this is not the case. I have no affiliation with Fallen Angels, other than agreeing on their excellent taste. And, for the record, if I was selling me soul, frankly, I'd hold out for the New York Times. My soul doesn't come cheap, okay?

"I Did (But I Wouldn't Now)" is a spin-off of my first book, "I Do (But I Don't)" and it follows the misadventures of Lauren Crandell's little sister, Lily. For those of you who don't know Lauren, she's the neat-freak, compulsive wedding planner from "I Do (But I Don't)" (ahem - Now an Original Lifetime Movie starring Denise Richards).

I must apologize for my blatant marketing message. I suffer from a sad condition known as Compulsive Shameless Self Promotion. I am getting help. I am.

In the meantime, as I seek recovery, let me just say "I Did" is now available for advanced purchase on Amazon. Okay, that's it. Last bit of compulsive marketing.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Return to Abnormalcy

So, a hopeful writer writes:

"When you are writing a book, what does your schedule look like? I am trying to write and I have bursts of genius and lulls where like you, I would rather watch curling than be creative. I would appreciate any light you could shed on helping me figure out what is 'normal.'"

First of all, I think that like body shape and how much pop culture you can take, there really isn't any such thing as normal, except what's normal for you. I, for instance, find that my creativity often goes in spurts, too, and it's really great if my creative fervor happens to coincide with a looming deadline. Not so good if it doesn't.

I am not very good at scheduling or time management, which is probably why I fritter away most of the day IMing, emailing, and talking on the phone. Given that one of the perks about being a writer is sitting at home in your fuzzy slippers all day, I have to work hard to make sure I don't become a social hermit.

Once that's taken care of, I typically realize about 7 p.m. that I've wasted the whole day and I ought to get to work. My husband thinks this a concerted effort to avoid him when he comes home, but really, it's just a by product of procrastination. I find I do my best work from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. most days, but that's because I'm a night person.

Also, because my books are under contract to a very large publisher (Simon and Schuster) I am usually staring down a very difficult deadline (Average time to write a book: 7-8 months). So, typically, in the last two months, I'm writing all the time, whether I'm in the mood for it or not, because I really don't have a choice, unless I want to take my book advance and fly to Costa Rica, and the sad fact is I don't speak Spanish.

But, if there's anything I can tell you, it's this: If you're in the mood to write - by ALL MEANS WRITE! It's hard enough to do when you feel like doing it. Trust me, when you have an editor calling you about deadlines it's even less fun.

Also, I've found that if I write a little bit - even if it's just an hour - a day, that helps keep me in the story, and keep my brain thinking about the story I'm working on. So, I guess, ultimately, my advice is write a little bit every day (if you can) and make writing a priority especially when your creative juices are flowing.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gold Medal in Procrastination

I have to admit that it’s simply amazing I finished one book, not just three (going on four). It’s true. I have a procrastination problem. To give you an idea, I was supposed to be working on revisions to my newest book (a teen, youth lit venture called Bard Academy) and I got distracted this morning by the women’s gold medal curling competition.

As if actually watching two hours of curling (think shuffleboard meets ice bowling) isn’t enough proof that I would rather do almost anything instead of work, you should know that the USA wasn’t even in the competition. We’re not, after all, known for our curling. The gold medal championship was between Sweden and Switzerland (Sweden won – I know you wanted to know this. Try bringing it up at your next cocktail party, and watch the room’s conversation skid to a halt).

I personally think there ought to be a gold medal in procrastination, because then I would definitely win it – that is, if it was okay if I showed up late, and did almost all of my training in the twenty minutes before the actual competition.

Better yet, we could have an entire Olympics based on procrastination. I already have some of the sporting categories: Computer Solitaire Freestyle, Web Surfing Downhill, Deleting Annoying Chainletter Emails Short Program, and my personal best category, Instant Message Cross Country (this involves IMing people in other states). No one can IM as many people as I can at once. I believe my record for open IM windows at one time was nine. Sure, Sasha Cohen can skate, but can she type as fast as I can? I think not.

So bring on the medal competition. I’m ready to fly to Torino. At least, I’ll be ready right after I finish this round of Yahoo Chess.

My Fake Memoir

I'm sure many of you have heard of the James Frey controversy. The author of "A Million Little Pieces" was officially spurned by Oprah, and made a pariah on her hour-long special berating the former addict who likes to lie.

The thing is, I sort of feel a little sympathy for Mr. Frey. I mean, let's face it, if I wrote a truthful memoir, then it would involve me in my pajamas 80 percent of the time, where my most exciting event of the day would involve me standing in front of my refrigerator, sniffing at old yogurt and trying to figure out whether or not it's edible, even if it's three days past it's due date.

It's not exactly the sort of mind-blowing, nail-biting, page-turning writing that makes for a best-selling memoir. I suppose that's why I write fiction. My own life is pretty darn boring.

Still, I can understand why people feel angry about being mislead by Mr. Frey. But, I also think there are bigger problems in the world than having one author mislead us about whether or not he got a root canal without novocain. I am a big believer in the power of books, but I also think books only take us so far.

And I'm going on record as saying that if I ever write a memoir, trust me, I will exaggerate. In it, I'll be model-thin, tall, and have never had a zit my entire life. Oh, and in every argument I ever had with my husband, I was totally right. And for that last one, I don't even have to lie.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Freedom Fries, Supersized

Okay, so I should tell you about how I wowed them at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles Saturday, where I gave a reading and signing for Dixieland Sushi. And by "wowed" I mean that I totally impressed the dozens of relatives who showed up (Second, Third, and even cousins of cousins were there).

But, frankly, the big news is that I finally, at long last, sampled the famous In and Out Burger. You can see where my priorities are. And yes, that's me in the picture below caught by Dad in mid-squat urgently focused on finding some ketchup. You see, I'm very focused when there are french fries around, and I don't care about much else, including how bad my hair is. Next to me is Grandma Mitzi, and across from me is my Stepmom Patty.

By the way, I was not alone in my pilgrimage to In and Out Burger. The line for the drive through (not pictured here) had 35 cars in it. Not kidding. 35! And I thought White Castle was bad at two in the morning.

Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday. It was great to see everybody!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Extreme Home Bedroom Makeover

Okay, I must apologize for being AWOL for the last week. I painted and redid the floors in my bedroom, which seemed like a good idea until it dawned on my halfway through the project that I am not a handy person. In fact, I'm the sort of person that when I got into Home Depot, I ask questions that make the workers there either a) laugh or b) ask me if my husband knows what I'm doing.

Home Depot sexism aside, my husband is actually even less handy than I am, which is why when our friends Eric and Shannon come to visit (Eric - a former contractor) we ask him to do things like replace our light fixtures. It's probably why they don't visit very often.

Anyway, I've been working for a week, and I can't actually raise my arms all that well, which is not a problem for typing, but is a problem for hailing cabs. Luckily, I don't need to hail very many.

I am at this moment at the airport, waiting to head out to Los Angeles. I'll be at the Japanese American Museum tomorrow at two p.m. for those of you in the area. I think my entire extended family will be there. They'll be the people with all the cameras. Don't let the flashbulbs blind you.

I'll be back next week with more witty, semi-witty, or not-at-all witty witticisms. Til then, have a good weekend!

I'll be back on Monday.