Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dude, you are not my target audience

I've been wanting to write this blog for a long time now. Several things have stopped me. One, the subject matter revolves around something negative. And two, I don't want to write a sour grapes post. Yet, as I approach my one year anniversary (May 5!) as a published author I feel that I've learned so much about this business, about myself and my writing, and about other people, that I have a legitimate reason to post about the subject matter. Plus, the blog is called Writing Romance in the Closet and it's my blog and I can write what I want:)

One recent cold night in January, I came home from a party, happy with the world and ready to write. I figured I could squeeze in at least 2 hours before it was time to fall asleep. As my usual habit, I opened up my computer and checked my email first and found that there was a new review for Bunco Babes Tell All on Amazon (I have a Google alert for such things). It was my first one star review. Bummer. But the shocker part was that the review was from the Sacramento Book Review and the reviewer had given Bunco Babes Tell All a really good review when the book came out so this new review made no sense. Until I figured out it was for the wrong book. The review was clearly meant for Bunco Babes Gone Wild. The reviewer compared my book to Judith Weiner's Best Friends Forever (they meant to say Jennifer Weiner) called my book trashy, etc... Something didn't add up, so I set out to investigate. I looked up the review on the Sacramento Book Review site and found out that indeed there had been an error. The review was meant for Bunco Babes Gone Wild and to my relief, the reviewer was not the same women who reviewed Bunco Babes Tell All, but someone completely different- a man.

Still... it bothered me. Should I bring this up to someone at Sacramento Book Reviews attention? I'll take the one star for Bunco Babes Gone Wild, but I hated that it was listed in the wrong place. After some deliberation and whining to writing friends (Mel and Louisa) I decided to let it go, but I'll admit, for a time, it paralyzed me. All I could think of when I sat down to write was that review. Then a few days later, the review (now with Jennifer Weiner's name spelled correctly) started popping up all over the place. The reviewer posted it on his own review site with the blog title : Shameless. Then a couple of days later, another Google alert popped up on my email. This one with the title "What's the worst book you've ever read?" Um, yeah, you guessed it. Dude jumped in with Bunco Babes Gone Wild (he's gotten the title right now too.) Of course, I have to say my Bunco Babes were in good company. Twilight and The Great Gatsby and a mirage of wildly popular books were also listed under worst books ever read.

So while this wasn't exactly the place I wanted any book of mine listed, it was the push that made me think that as a writer, I've made it! I have written something that another person on the planet truly hated. But I've also written something that other people have written to tell me they loved. I once heard Jennifer Crusie say that she despised 3 star reviews. She'd rather have a one star because it meant that someone was really moved by your work. In a negative way, yes, but you made someone feel something and that's what art is all about. Evoking emotion. Good or bad, it's so much better than indifference.

When I first met my editor last summer she casually let drop that one of the things she liked about my writing was my raunchy sense of humor. I must have looked surprised because she quickly added, "that's a good thing." I'll be honest, I like my raunchy sense of humor too. And if as a reader, you don't, then that's okay. My target audience is largely women, like me, who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary book with a little sex and a few laughs. A book that focuses on things that are important to women- like friendship and family and love.

So after some time has passed I've learned to put the whole thing in perspective. I'm grateful that a book review site like Sacramento Book Reviews took the time to read both my books and post a review, so thank you for that. Without people reading and reviewing your books, you're dead in this business. But I can't let a bad review guide me in my writing. I have to write to my target audience. Which is me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Note to self: Avoid cliches

Still working on revisions for The Boyfriend of the Month Club, which I plan to have finished within a few days. Hopefully. Yes. I will (this is me talking to myself, pumping me up). I still have to change up a few scenes, then take one final look at the manuscript, sweep out the repetitive words, cliches, and unnecessary passages. In other words, put my manuscript on a diet and have it come out a lean, mean, fighting machine. Hmmm.. that sounds suspiciously like a cliche.

Meanwhile, I had a really nice weekend. Busy, but nice. Oh, and I read my first Marian Keyes novel a couple of weeks ago! Won't be my last, though. I absolutely have a new author to add to my list of favorites.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Casting call

Tall blond and handsome (I blogged about this once). It's one of the most popular hits on my blog. Don't know if that's good or bad, because I'd really like the hits to be all about me and my books, but beggars can't be choosers, so what the hell. I'll take it.

Speaking of which... revisions for The Boyfriend of the Month Club are coming along. Changing up a secondary character, even one that's only in the book a few times really does mess up the flow and I'm finding that the book has taken on a slightly different flavor. It's still the same story, but with an altered spice. I like it. I think my editor was really on target here.

As I tweak the story again (and again) I find myself thinking (daydreaming) who would play the major roles if it was ever made into a movie. When I first thought of the character of Joe (my sexy, but commitment phobic dentist) I thought of Curtis Stone. But when I actually started writing Joe, Curtis didn't really fill the part anymore and Joe suddenly became Chris Evans (Harvard Hottie). Chris is slightly younger than Joe's character, but only by a few years, so by the time the movie is made he'll be perfect for the role. Hollywood, are you listening?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My new blog look!

I absolutely love it! Thank you, Tara at Author Web Designs by Tara. I wanted to change up the look of my blog but keep it in sync with my website (which will undergo a few minor cosmetic changes as well over the next few months) and I think Tara did a fantastic job. I absolutely love looking at my covers on the header.

Now back to cleaning house in prep for the Termite man...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Revisions, Termites and undereye bags

So I heard from my fabulous editor WM last week. She really liked the manuscript but wanted a secondary character from the first chapter changed up. She felt he was too cartoonish, which, after some consideration, I agreed with and have made the necessary changes. I think he definitely reads more realistic now and I'm actually excited about the direction his character has gone. The thing is... now I have to go in and change him up in the rest of the manuscript, which means more minor rewrites and since I write at the pace of a snail on Benadryl that means I've got some work to do.

Plus... the Termite inspector (renewal of the termite bond is critical in Florida) is coming this week. He was supposed to come tomorrow but I rescheduled for Wednesday, because just like the when the cleaning lady comes (not that I have a CL at the moment) but I just can't have him come into a dirty/messy house, which means I'll be cleaning house all day tomorrow. Which leads me to my current under-eye-bag situation. No surprise here since lack of sleep and age are creeping up on me. Used to be I could get away with almost no sleep and still look decent. Those days are long gone. So I found this puppy at Target the other day. I love Soap and Glory products, almost as much for the packaging as anything else. So far, I'm not sure if it's any better than slathering hemorrhoid cream under your eyes. Not something I've ever done, but have been tempted to do in the past. The jury is still out...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Kiss!

I'm a huge fan of The Good Wife. Really, great great T.V. Plus it stars the yummy Josh Charles who I fell in love with in Dead Poet's Society (one of my favorite all time movies).

I have to admit, the premise turned me off at first. Politician (played by Chris Noth- another excellent reason to watch) cheats on his wife with prostitute, does a mea culpa to the press, with wifey looking on in supportive terse moment (Julianna Marguiles- who I have a girl crush on now thanks to the show). Politician gets arrested for misusing government funds (swears he's innocent! Yes, he shagged prostitute but he used his own money to do it. Can't anyone get anything right?) and gets thrown in jail. Long story short, instead of kicking Mr. Big and Horny to the curve, wifey stands by her man. I'll admit, it's probably not what I would do, but hey, life is complicated. Now wifey is the bread winner and working at big time law firm where her ex-college sweetheart (Yummy Josh Charles) is now her boss. Add in a fabulous supporting cast- Christine Baranski and the absolutely fabulous Archie Panjabi and it's the best hour on T.V. as far as I'm concerned. Oh, and in recent episodes Alan Cummings has come on board as a deliciously cynical political advisor. I can't wait to see what they have in store for his character.

Last Tuesday, the moment I've been waiting for all season long finally arrived. The kiss between Alicia and Will (Julianna and Josh, or wifey and boss). Yes, I guess you could say it was wrong. She's still married to Mr. Big and Horny, but hey, life is complicated.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Up, Up in the Air, and Avatar

So I've caught up with 3 of the nominated Best Picture Oscar nominated movies this weekend.

Last night Mike Geraci and I went to see Avatar at the AMC theater. I had hoped I'd get a chance to see it on the big screen since this seemed like the kind of movie that had to be seen there first, complete with 3D glasses. Despite the fact the movie has been out since Christmas, the theater was packed. James Cameron must be laughing all the way to the bank.

I'll be honest and say that I wasn't looking forward to seeing this movie, so I went into it a little prejudiced. For some reason (probably because I've been living in a bubble since October) I thought the movie was about a video game. Where I got that idea from I have no clue. But it's not. It's basically Dancing with Wolves with Blue people and a lot of special effects. The first 30 minutes or so I was bored out of my mind. To the point that I took off my 3D glasses because there was no point to them. Then the movie took off and the special effects were absolutely unbelievable. Mike Geraci turned into a little kid. If I had a dollar for every time I heard him say "cool" under his breath, I'd probably have enough money to take us to the movies again (tickets for this show were $13 bucks a piece). The movie was way too long, the story was a rip off, but the special effects make the $13 ticket totally worth it.

Up in the Air. I should have liked this one more than I did. I really love Jason Reitman. Juno and Thank for you Smoking are great films and while the cast of Up in the Air was terrific, the film suffers from a horribly sagging middle. The George Clooney/Vera Farmiga romance, while believable, took second fiddle to the George Clooney/Anna Kendrick relationship, which for me, was the best part of the story. Actually, anytime Anna Kendrick was on the screen, the movie came alive. I didn't understand from the short clips they showed at the Oscars why she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but after seeing the movie, I get it. She was a terrific antagonist to George Clooney's protagonist, and while I did feel for the George Clooney character, she was the character I was actually rooting for during the film. One funny bit was a cameo by Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down). Just looking at this guy makes me laugh.

Now to my personal favorite of these 3 films. UP! All I can say is that this is not solely a kid's film. It's a movie for everyone and I loved every second of it. I cried, I laughed, I cried again, and I want the DVD so I can watch it whenever I want. If you haven't seen it, go rent it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bunco for Charity

Last night I played Bunco with the MOPS (that's the acronym for Mothers of Preschoolers at Killearn United Methodist Church). They had the brilliant idea of sponsoring a fundraiser for their group by playing Bunco. One of the leaders of the group (Beth) had read Bunco Babes Tell All in her book club and contacted me to see if I wanted to play. Well, of course I did!

I have to say, the whole thing was a lot of fun and so well organized! There were probably about 14-16 tables of women playing, some of whom had never played Bunco before, but the whole thing went off smoother than a baby's behind (one woman even had her 12 week old baby with her and still managed to play- best baby ever). There was a $10 cover charge per player and there was also a silent auction going on during the evening. Great way to raise money, have fun, and meet new people.

On another note, look what I got in the mail! This fabulous glass was sent to me by Liz, a friend of my sister's who read my books and was invited to her first Bunco party last week. Liz was a winner and she sent me the prize. Love it! (I'm starting a collection). In case the picture is too dark, the writing says Bunko Babe 2010. Thanks, Liz!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Hurt Locker

In an attempt to rectify my shocking lack of Oscar 2010 knowledge I began with the simplest movie to watch. The one that was On Demand. I expected that I would probably like or at least be interested in The Hurt Locker, a film about an EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) unit based in Iraq. One of the most interesting trivia about the film is that it was directed by a woman, Kathryn Bigelow, who by the way, is the first woman ever to win for Best Director. yay! (And about time).

This isn't the sort of film you'd expect to be directed by a woman, because it's a guy's kind of movie- war, exploding bombs, lots of testosterone slamming in the air. But I have to say, I was absolutely riveted from the first second. The story takes off when a new Sargent (played by Jeremy Renner) comes to the 3 man squad. He's the sort of brash, dangerous, risk-taking protagonist who on the surface seems doomed to bring the squad down. But he's a complex character and I really grew to root for him, even when he did stupid things. There are cameos in the film by Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lilly and Ralph Fiennes. It's gritty and makes no pretense that war is anything but dirty business.

One of the "fun" things about watching this movie was of course, Mike Geraci. His sideline commentary, I have to say, in this case, actually added to the film's experience. I'm always amazed at the stuff he comes up with. Although I have to say it's a little scary to realize just how much your husband really knows about explosives.

Monday, March 08, 2010


I love love love love movies and I love watching the Oscars. It's like being a kid again and getting to crash your parent's grown up party for a few minutes- a sneak peek into a glitzy glamorous world.

I'm ashamed to say that this year for the first time ever I saw NONE of the nominated films. This is partly due to the fact that I've been under deadline since October and most of the films nominated all come out in one swoop drop at the end of the year, so I have some catching up to do.

I loved the duo hosting gig done by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin (It's Complicated was the one and only film I saw during the holiday season. It was cute and uncomplicated, so it was a pleasant no-brainer).

Highlights of the night? Gerard Butler. Yummy. Sandra Bullock looked beautiful. Penelope Cruz did too.

Films I most want to watch after seeing the show: Nine, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Precious.

Films I least want to watch after seeing the show: Avatar, The Blind Side (although I'm sure I will probably watch them both.)

I've heard Avatar is so-so from almost everyone who's seen it (including my kids). The Blind Side, on the other hand I've heard is awesome. But really, who did the trailer for that movie? Because it's the awful trailer that puts the movie further down my to-be-seen list.
unknown voice: You're changing that boy's life."
Sandra Bullock: "No, he's changing mine."
Cringe worthy dialogue to be sure. The movie has to be better than than, though. Right?

One last thing. Can someone in charge of the Oscars please start them a little earlier? I finally went to bed at 11:30 and they weren't even close to coming to the big ones. I set my DVR with the 30 minute extra time thing and it still cut off at Best Actor. Grrr....

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Round One goes to Me

I finally turned the manuscript that won't stop writing itself in to my editor this week. A huge sigh of relief was let out by all. Mostly by me, of course. And probably by Mel, who's been urging me for weeks to just turn the damn thing in. Of course, she's listened to me whine incessantly about it. How it just wasn't "done" yet, how it needed just a tiny bit more tweaking, how in the eleventh hour I've discovered *one* more loose end that needs tucking back in. I joked that I'd wake up one morning and find that instead of a word doc. on my laptop, my manuscript had grown hair and nails and teeth and fists and was ready to beat me up. In the end, however, I won round one.

As I sit back on day 3 of the waiting period (this is the excruciating period in which I wait to hear from my editor to see what she thinks of the book) I'm already thinking of ways to sharpen the plot. Because the book sold on synopsis, I had to pre-plot the book, something I think is important to do, because I need direction. But pre-plotting isn't written in stone and the last half of the book turned out to be very different than the original idea I had in mind. Once you start writing characters, giving them dialogue, they take the book over and there's not much you can do about that except go along for the ride.

Meanwhile, I'm taking a much needed break from the manuscript to do things I haven't had time to do. Like clean house. Catch up on emails (I have millions) and read:) I've already read the first 2 books in Madeline Hunter's awesome new series- Ravishing in Red and Provocative in Pearls. Loved them both. And have also read Kristin Higgin's newest The Next Best Thing. LOVED IT. I'm currently reading Table Manners by Mia King which has been on my TBR pile for months now. Next is Louisa's book On the Steamy Side. (can't wait) and then I'm going to try a new author for me, Julie James. Her new release Something About You has gotten some great reviews and I've wanted to read her for awhile now.

And in some extremely exciting news, Jim and Pam are having their baby tonight! I'll be glued to my telly, that's for sure.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On the Steamy Side

Yay! There's no more waiting because On The Steamy Side hits bookstores today! This is Louisa Edward's 2nd book in her Recipe for Love series and it promises to be just as romantic and funny as Can't Stand the Heat the book that introduced us to all the wonderful characters at Market, the upscale NY restaurant at the heart of the books. I had the privilege of reading a rough draft of the first few chapters a while ago and it was absolutely fantastic.

On The Steamy Side

She’s Never Met A Man So Mouth-Watering
When Lilah Jane Tunkle fled her dull life in Virginia for the bright lights of New York City, she didn’t expect to wind up a nanny to a gorgeous celebrity chef’s ten-year-old son. Working for the delectable Devon Sparks is a sure-fire recipe for disaster, especially after Lilah gets a tantalizing taste of his perfectly seasoned kisses . . .

And He Can’t Resist Her Down-Home Spice
Devon’s not sure he can handle one more surprise ingredient in his life—he left his popular TV show, his culinary reputation is on the line, and now the son he barely knows is back for seconds. Lilah’s Southern sass is supposed to keep the boy in line, but soon enough she’s teaching Devon a thing or two about homespun food . . . and turning up the heat.

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