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Saturday, April 24, 2010

News of the Year

Maybe you thought I'd won a Pulitzer? Got down to a size 2? Sorry, folks, but this news isn't about me.

It's about my all-time favorite under-employed actor crush.

Yup, that's right. Ben. Ben Brower.

The 411 is he's doing a pilot for the CW, a "dramedy" called Hellcats. The show is about (wait for it) college competitive cheerleading...! And no, Ben won't be appearing in one of those tiny dresses. He's playing Lancer University's football coach, Red Irvine, who also happens to have backstory with the cheerleading coach. Seems they had an affair while he was still married and after he left his wife for her, she dumped him. Now, he's looking for payback and trying to get her fired. He's described as "a handsome rogue who never lost the boyishness of youth." Can't think of a more perfect part for Ben.

The show is on CW so of course the young women on the team are the leads. My fingers are crossed that the two coaches will get some good air time, though.

Hopefully, the show will be picked up. And if it does get picked up that they'll keep Ben in the cast. It would be great to see him working again.

Give me a B! Give me an E! Give me an N!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's Up, Doc?

I'll tell you what's up. My final romantic suspense.

TWO LETHAL LIES is in its last production throes. I've got the copy edits on my desk and they're done, done, done.

Tomorrow I'll overnight the ms to my editor and, hopefully, that will be that.

Hard to believe. Eight books.


If someone had told me I'd get one book published, let alone eight, I would have laughed in their face.

Who's laughing now, eh?

Well, the journey isn't over yet. There's still the release to come in October. I want to do another blog tour, so that will keep me busy. And some interviews and chats and whatever else comes my way. I also have a ton of behind-the-scenes stuff to add to my site. Some pretty nifty things, too.

But by then I also hope to be deep into Stella Moon and a whole new world.

My heart is pounding just writing those words.

A whole new world.

Gives me goose bumps.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Miss Communication

I was talking to my daughter the other day about writing. She's a poet, and her work is fun, often child-like, contains beautiful twists of phrase, but is sometimes difficult to understand. Why not make it more accessible, I asked.

She responded with an interesting view on literary works. There are some that envelop you in a new world. The reader is cushioned by that world, passive, surrendering herself to what the author creates. This is what I write. I do it consciously, aware of what I want the reader to think and feel and manipulating words to that end.

But there are other ways of enjoying new worlds. She prefers to dive in and swim around--surrounded by the work, but not enveloped in it. In this way, the reader imposes herself on the work, testing, wondering, probing its meaning. Two readers may end up in two different places and conclusions. Which is not only fine, but encouraged. This way allows the reader the freedom to create their own world out of hers.

Fiction is often (usually?) the former, although there are plenty of books that are prickly and interpretive and difficult to understand (James Joyce). Poetry is often the latter, though again, there are plenty of poets (Ted Kooser, Billy Collins) whose creations take you exactly where the writer wants you to go.

Which do you prefer? Or do you now and again like to sample both? If you're a romance reader you've experienced one kind of writerly intention. Here--one of my favorites of my daughter's poems--is another:

Mrs. G's Domestic Tale
197 Dolliver Street
Apartment 3E
Muscatini, Iowa USA 52761

There lived a man once, who invested
himself in the cutting of prime
numbers. "Glynis!" he would say,
"How I do love those prime numbers!
How finely they do cut."

"In decomposable," would come Mrs.
G's retort, which really meant: "Rogers,
you will be driving me to distraction!"

But our man Rogers, he might just
whistle or such and eventually Mrs. G
would go back to her soft-boiled
eggs and other likewise things safely
without a point. then
what with all apparent, Mr. G
would move those prime numbers,
and up and over they went.

Past the tomato patch.
Past the tar and chip driveway.
Past the town's 613 stop signs.

Until our lady Glynis, when she woke,
well, the day would be broken

sliced to pieces at the farthest edge
where its belly was nice and pliable.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cover Up Redux

Way back in January I posted about my cover struggles. All's well that ends well, I suppose, since the cover looks great. But in that post I mentioned an article about James Patterson in the New York Times Sunday magazine.

Several weeks later, as is their want, the magazine printed reader reactions to that article, and one resonated so deeply with me that I want to post excerpts from it here. The letter-writer, Joe Claro of Irvington, NY, had been an English teacher for 40 years and took umbrage with the article's criticism of Patterson and his readers for "not measuring up to some vague standard of literary worthiness."

Claro continued: "Why do self-appointed critics allow for popular taste in television, music and movies but drift into almost religious solemnity when discussing books?"

Well said, Joe, and I couldn't agree more.

Years ago I was in a book club whose members read mostly "literary" works. When it came my turn to suggest a book, I was a little out of my element. But I chose Elinor Lipman's Isabel's Bed, about a tabloid blonde who hires a bookish, risk-averse would-be writer to author the femme fatale's memoirs. It's a fun read with lots of inside jokes about writing--and Lipman, who is often touted as a modern Jane Austen, is hardly a pulp writer. But you wouldn't have thought so from the group's reactions. Some went so far as to call it "trash."

But when I asked them about, say, Who Got Mail or Grey's Anatomy--those they all loved.

Like you, Joe, I don't get it.

What IS is that makes people go all proper and still when discussing books but not movies?People expect motion media to be entertaining, and if that's all they get they enjoy the ride. But a book that's merely entertaining--there's something wrong with that.

And yet millions must disagree because even during this recession, romance is still selling well. And the James Patterson, Inc company has another book on the best-seller lists.

I guess the solution is to ignore the bluestockings. Oh--and when you buy one of "those" books, just don't tell your book club.

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