Thursday, September 30, 2010

To ABC, that's a big fat NO

To the brilliant executive over at Mike Fleiss headquarters who decided to make Brad Womack the next Bachelor? Thank you. You've finally cured me of Sucky-tv-itits (that's the addiction to terrible TV even when you know it's bad but can't help yourself).

Honestly. Are there no better single men in America?

In case you need reminding, Brad Womack is the guy who didn't pick anyone and whose season generated the very classy Deanna. Not.

But that's not why I think he'll make a bad Bachelor. The fact he didn't pick anyone should make him a great pick. Except Brad Womack is about as exciting as Melba toast. I thought Jake the Fake was the worst pick ever. But at least he was watchable (in an awful train wreck kind of way). Brad Womack was a bore fest the fist time, so unless he went to Exciting Bachelor College, I don't see the new season being anything other than a rehash of his last season with lots of emphasis on the huge nail biting theme of "will Brad pick anyone??" He's supposedly been in "counseling" to get over his commitment issues. *heh*

The only thing I can see saving this show is if Brad's twin brother (who made an appearance on his original season) comes in and takes over and fools us all.
I can just see Chris Harrison now, "Something you and the viewers haven't been aware of is that... it's not really Brad you've been dating!"
Now that would be the most dramatic show ever.

Or maybe instead of picking no one, or picking just one girl, Brad will go the polygamist route and actually propose to both girls at the end. We'll just have to see. Or rather, I'll just have to hear/read about it. Cuz I'm not wasting my time on this scuzball.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet Marilyn Brant and a book give away!

Every woman remembers her firsts: Her first kiss. Her first lover. And her first time contemplating an affair…

Publisher: Kensington Books (trade paperback)
Release Date: October 1, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-3462-9
**A Doubleday Book Club & Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate Selection for October ‘10

“Marilyn Brant’s sophomore effort…is a brilliant character study of three very different women each asking the question we all wonder about sooner or later: did we make the right choices during our journey and if not, what steps do we need to take in order to live our best life?” ~Leah Eggleston Krygowski, Manchester Books Examiner & Chicklit Club review, 8/10 rating

“Friday Mornings at Nine is the perfect example of a book by an author whose writing just gets better and better. In her second book, Marilyn Brant's prose is superb…” ~Pamela Kramer, Chicago Books Examiner

My good buddy Marilyn Brant has a new book coming out this week and if it's half as good as her debut novel, According to Jane, then we're all in for a treat. Friday Mornings at Nine releases October 1. Leave a comment below and one lucky person will win a copy of this fab new book!

Marilyn was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and about her writing process.

Q: What’s the premise/back-cover blurb of Friday Mornings at Nine?
A: Each Friday morning at the Indigo Moon CafĂ©, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara meet to swap stories about marriage, kids and work. But one day, spurred by recent e-mails from her college ex, Jennifer poses questions they've never faced before. What if they all married the wrong man? What if they're living the wrong life? And what would happen if, just once, they gave in to temptation…?

Soon each woman is second-guessing the choices she's made -- and the ones she can unmake -- as she becomes aware of new opportunities around every corner, from attentive colleagues and sexy neighbors to flirtatious past lovers. And as fantasies blur with real life, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara begin to realize how little they know about each other, their marriages and themselves, and how much there is to gain -- and lose -- when you step outside the rules.

Q: What is the inspiration behind this novel?
A: I’ve talked with a lot of women about their marriages -- and, in some cases, about their affairs. Sometimes these revelations came in the form of random comments thrown out unexpectedly. Other times they were part of well thought out discussions about whether the women in question should or shouldn’t stay married. I met my husband 20 years ago and we’ve been married for almost 18 of those years. I consider us to be happy, but I don’t know anyone who’s been married that long who hasn’t experienced some ups and downs. I think the fortunate couples are the ones who keep choosing to be together and work on their relationships despite all of those years and the inevitable changes.

Of course, it takes both people to do that, and it also takes a lot of time and effort. The individuals involved have to want to get to know now these people they married (who may be different creatures than the ones they met a decade or more before), and they need to really pay attention to their own needs and desires, too. Sometimes, in the process of that kind of deep analysis, it turns out there was a profound disconnect somewhere along the line. In some cases, it’s possible to reconnect. In others, not so much. So, essentially, I wanted to write a story about three women who have marital disconnects to some degree that makes them wonder what would have happened if they’d chosen differently. Then I wanted them to finally take the time to examine their lives so they could choose mindfully where to head next.

Q: If they made a movie of this book, who would you cast to portray the characters?

A: I'd love to see this onscreen! (And I’d try to find a way to get Johnny Depp in there somewhere…LOL.) For the main characters, though, I imagine someone like Kate Winslet for Bridget, Calista Flockhart for Jennifer and Kim Cattrall for Tamara. Definitely a cast I'd enjoy seeing together!

Q: What got you writing contemporary women's fiction?

A: I love reading contemporary women’s fiction stories -- both dramatic and humorous. They were not only what got me into the genre, but they were what inspired me to be a writer in the first place. Aside from a lifelong love of classic Jane Austen, I really enjoyed the domestic dramas of Sue Miller, Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Berg, as well as the lighter touch of Pamela Redmond Satran, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Wiggs and Jane Porter. I wanted to find a way to merge the relationship themes explored in my favorite novels with my own humor and writing style and, hopefully, be able to write stories that would resonate with other women.

Q: Do you have any favorite books on the craft of writing that you often use?

A: Oh, yes! I’m a BIG fan of craft books! I used Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT! almost religiously in the plotting of my past several books. I’m still very sad that he’s no longer with us. As far as a great reference guide, Robert McKee’s STORY is incredible. It has more information about writing craft than I can ever internalize. Also, whenever I need a more emotional pick-me-up, I grab the Ralph Keyes book THE COURAGE TO WRITE and Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD. I recommend these to everyone.

Q: What is your advice for those who looking to get their novel published?
A: Don’t follow trends just because you think it’ll be an easier sell. And write the books that fit your voice. If what you love writing happens to be a hot-selling genre, great. If your writing voice happens to be perfect for the genre you want to write in and love to read, that’s awesome, too. But -- if not -- write long and hard enough to find what DOES fit you and your style best. Because then, even if it takes longer to make that first sale than you expect, you’re writing the kinds of stories you most enjoy, and that passion has a way of working itself into the projects you’re creating.

Q: What's next for you?
A: I’m in the process of beginning blog tours, library visits, book-club chats and other public events featuring my second novel, Friday Mornings at Nine, which is a Doubleday Book Club and Book-of-the-Month Club selection for October 2010, as well as still doing some fun Austen-related promo for my debut novel, According to Jane. I’ve just turned in my third novel, the title is still up for debate, but it’ll be out next fall, and it’s a modern “A Room with a View”-like travel adventure. It has characters that play chess, Sudoku and Mah-jongg, eat lots Italian gelato and linguini, and spontaneously sing Andrew Lloyd Webber songs and other musical-theater selections. Finally, I’m starting the writing process all over again for my next women’s fiction project, which I’m really excited about… I’ll, hopefully, be able to share more info on that story soon!

You can learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website right here.

Comments are open till Wednesday at midnight. Winner will be announced on Thursday morning. Good luck!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sugar cookies and football

What do they have in common you ask?
Not much but they are both on my agenda today.
I'm making Pioneer Woman's favorite sugar cookies to send to my son in college. He has 3 exams this week (Physics, Statistic, and Computer language) which all sound rather horrible to me, to tell you the truth, so he deserves some cookies. And sugar cookies are his favorite. Will let you know how PW's recipe holds up. It calls for Cream of Tartar, which I've never used before, but I like the way it sounds. Tar-tar... Isn't that a song from the 80's or something? Oh, well.

And this afternoon, it's Seminoles football once again. Go Noles!

Friday, September 24, 2010

He's not your mother's Steve McGarrett

I have to say I'm kind of excited about the new Hawaii Five-O. As a kid, it was the premiere cop show. Bad guys, cheesy lines (Book 'em Danno!) and of course, that great theme music.

Every week for years (or at least a couple of them) I would lace up my tap shoes and dance to the opening credits of Hawaii Five-O on the terrazo floor in the Florida room (that's what we call a rec room down here in the Sunshine state) while my family cheered me on. I was certain that if I practiced enough, Miss Nancy (my tap and ballet teacher) would let me do a solo tap number to Hawaii Five-O at the next big recital. I think I was envisioning a hula skirt for a costume.

I never got to do a tap solo, but I did get to do a tap duet. Only it was to the music of "The Good Ship Lollipop" in which I was forced to channel Shirley Temple, right down to the ringlets, PLUS carry a giant lollipop in my hand while I tapped, but that's another post altogether.

I'm happy to report the first episode passed my muster and has made the permanent scheduled series status on my DVR. Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that the new Jack Lord is being played by the yummy Alex O'Loughlin. Nothing at all. My 8 year old self does not remember ever being faintly attracted to Jack Lord, aka Steve McGarrett. The rest of the cast is pretty awesome too: Jean Smart, Scott Caan, Grace Park and the awesome Daniel Dae Kim (from Lost!)

Monday nights, 10 pm est. Be there. Aloha.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Chicklit Club interview!

Recently, I was interviewed by the very lovely Annmarie over at Chicklit Club. She asked some awesome questions. Like who my ideal literary hero is (and it's not Mr. Darcy!) You can check out the interview here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chick lit Lives On

I just love a good surprise. As opposed to a bad surprise, which would be anything I don't have complete control over. Us control freaks (and yes, I am one of those) don't like the bad surprises.

So what's a good surprise? Opening my email to read that my Kindle has just been sent my electronic copy of Mini Shopaholic! I must have pre-ordered it a zillion years ago because I totally forgot about it. Of course, first I have to finish reading Louisa's Just One Taste, which is utterly fabulous. I would have finished it the day I started it except I went out of town this past weekend and haven't had a chance to pick it back up again. But I will, and then it's on the adventures of Becky Bloomwood and her mini me.

And speaking of chick lit... check out the new blog here by the RWA chapter of Chick lit writers (of which I'm a proud member). Should have some great upcoming posts!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What I thought of Boardwalk Empire

I have to confess to being both kind of excited and not excited about the premiere of Boardwalk Empire. Excited because it was an HBO mini-series and they are generally pretty good TV. And not so excited because it was a Martin Scorcese/Terence Winter brainchild and while they are terrific writers/directors/whatever they are not particularly chick friendly. And it's not the blood/gore part of whatever they do that gets to me. After all, I'm a fan of True Blood and you don't get much bloodier than that. I think it's the gangsta mentality that I don't find particularly interesting anymore. Al Capone? Lucky Luciano? Yawn... I've seen The Godfather. Let's move on.

However... there was one character I did find kind of interesting and that was Margaret Schroeder, a pregnant immigrant on her third baby with an abusive drinkin/gamblin' husband played beautifully by Kelly Macdonald. I love Kelly Macdonald. She's a fabulous actress who always adds a quiet intelligence to whatever character she plays. It will be interesting to see where they take her.

As for Steve Buscemi playing the lead role... Yes, he's a good actor. But if you're going to do sex scenes with your lead male role, couldn't you have made him a little... sexier? Of course, I will admit to laughing at the scene involving the reverse cowgirl position. I do love me a cheeky sex scene (no pun intended).

Bottom line? Thanks to On Demand and my trusty DVR, I will watch again next week at my leisure. The premiere didn't earn me gluing myself to the TV next Sunday at 9pm if I have something better to do or watch.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tall, Blond, Handsome, Cuban, Bunco cupcake eating squirrels

Okay, let me splain' that title...

Other than looking for Maria Geraci or any of my fabulous books, the most common search words that bring people to my blog are: tall, blonde, handsome, Cuban, Bunco cupcakes and squirrel. What do these words have in common, you ask?
Well, I've written posts with the following titles:

Imagine how much blog traffic I'd get if I could actually write a post that combined those 7 magic words. Maybe just having a title with all the words together will do the trick ;)

On that note, I will leave you with this. If they ever do a movie version of The Boyfriend of the Month Club, I KNOW who I would want to play Joe. From the second I wrote him he was always Chris Evans for me. So here's the tall, blond, handsome part. Now all I need is a Bunco cupcake to hand feed him. (Maybe next week I'll find a Cuban squirrel I can blog about.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Proofread, Dummy!

Lest anyone get offended by my title post, the only dummy I'm referring to is myself :)

I think my internal proofer died out after the last round of edits on The Boyfriend of the Month Club. For anyone not aware, the very last time an author sees her book before it actually goes into print is the called the "final pass" (or at least that's what it's called at Berkley). This is when you see your manuscript typeset the way it will look in the book and it's your last chance to catch a mistake. You can't change words unless it's an actual factual mistake but this is when you proof for typos and punctuation.

Not sure if I mentioned it, but I found tons of punctuation mistakes in my final pass. I think most of it is my fault because when I did the final copy edits, I made so many changes to the manuscript, some periods (as in final dot at the end of a sentence) were either omitted or doubled (due to inability to see the manuscript clearly with the color markups).

I took extra care with the final proofs, checking my manuscript up to 3 times, reading it over and over and over... until I was pretty sure I had marked everything that needed correcting. Of course, it didn't help that Mike Geraci came up with the statistic that people miss "about 15%" of errors due to whatever. Thanks for that info, Mike Geraci. If you know me then you know I'm a compulsive freak and it will drive me crazy if my book comes out with a typo.

So... imagine my reaction when I got my new note cards in the mail yesterday. Aren't they pretty? Hopefully, no one will notice the back of the card!

(totally my fault for not proofing the spelling carefully enough on the final order!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My crick in the neck

I woke up this morning with a massive spasm in my neck. Did I sleep wrong? Probably, although I suspect it has more to do with the hours I spent at my computer yesterday (am really making headway on the new novel!)

As we speak, I can only move my head to the right. Well, okay, I can move it to the left some too, but only because Mike Geraci has spent the last ten minutes using his superb super massage/rolfing techniques on me.

Yesterday, I gave away an ARC for my upcoming book, BOTMC. The winner was announced in my edited post on Girlfriends Book Club. Congrats to Sarah!

Plans for the day: keep writing on the new novel. Go mail my Fresh Fiction contest winner her goodies (a signed copy of Bunco Babes Gone Wild and a gift card to Borders), run to Publix to buy some more Motrin (best drug in the world) and make a quiche. I'm not a huge quiche fan, but I've decided I'm going to make a really moist and delicious one today. Oh, and finish watching Letters to Juliet. I started watching it last night and fell asleep. Not because it was bad or anything, but because I was tired. It started out very cute and I really really want to like this movie, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

ARC give away!

It's Monday! And you know how much I love Mondays (no, really, I do, I'm one of those people).

Today I'm over at Girlfriends Book Club, talking about writing romance in the closet. I'm also excited to be giving away an ARC for my December release, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, so go on over and leave a comment right here. I really love this book so much and I can't wait to hear what people think of it!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Real Life versus my closet life

My closet life for those of you who aren't aware, is the the metaphor I've given to that part of my life that involves my writing. In other words, the made up part of my life. The one where the people don't really exist. Lately, I haven't been spending too much time there.

Part of the reason is because, to tell you the truth, I'm simply worn out. Writing my last book took a huge toll on me. A few days ago over at Girlfriends Book Club we discussed how long it takes to write a book. The consensus was somewhere between a few months but less than nine years (heh).

I've written a book in six months and it's a struggle. Not because I can't finish a book in that time. But because I really need time between my drafts to let my words marinate. Someone asked me once what I thought of finally reading my book in print. The answer was, "I don't read my books in print." Once I send off the last draft I never read the book again. I simply can't. If I can't edit it, then I can't read it. Because I'll always find something that can be improved. I think a lot of writers feel the same way.

So... last night (after I got back from Bunco!) I sat down to open up my latest manuscript (tentatively titled Girlfriends are Forever) in which I've been struggling heartily because I haven't found the right opening. Well, I'm happy to say that I think I found the right beginning. Which means, it's back to my closet life and I think I'm happy about that.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Recipe for Love series giveaway

So I'm kind of cheating this week on the Tuesday give away. My good pal, Louisa Edwards is featured today on The Season Blog in a fantastic Q&A that gives some great insight into the writing process and the world of publication. If you go over and comment, you could be entered to win all 3 of the Recipe for Love books. It's a great deal!

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Boyfriend of the Month Club book trailer

I did it! For those of you who aren't aware, I'm about the most techno-challenged person on the planet (I also don't read directions). So for me to actually make a book trailer is more than just a feat. It's a miracle. And then for me to upload it to YouTube. Well, let's just say, I'm smiling pretty big right now! I would have had this up yesterday, but I got bit by some kind of stomach flu that had me in bed for almost 24 hours. Yuck.

Happy Labor Day! And happy viewing!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

More Book give aways, and go Noles!

How long does it take you to write a book? Weigh in over at Girlfriends Book Club and you might win a copy of Allison Winn Scotch's latest The One that I want.

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! I'm starting my weekend by watching the Noles. Yay for college football!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Good things

First off, mea culpa! Please forgive my lack of blogging. Won't happen again. I promise. Well, I say that now, but you know sometimes life interferes with the best of intentions, so let me say that I promise to try not to let it happen again.

The winner of this last Tuesday's give away, All I Ever Wanted, is Marian Pearson Stevens. Marian, please email me at with your address. And congratulations!

So now for the good things:

1. My awesome friend and critique partner Mel had a fabulous review for her latest novel, Love Sucks! at Fresh Fiction. You can read it here. I'm so happy for Mel! She's an awesome writer and her books deserve the wonderful reviews they've been receiving.

2. My other awesome friend, Louisa Edwards' 3rd book in the Recipe for Love series came out this week. It's called JUST ONE TASTE and it too has been garnering fabulous reviews. I haven't read Louisa's latest, although it's on my list for things to do this weekend and I expect it to be as wonderfully entertaining and romantic as her first two books are.

Bad-boy chef Wes Murphy is dreading his final-semester cooking class—Food Chemistry 101—until he meets the new substitute teacher. Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a feast for the eyes, though her approach to food is strictly academic. So Wes decides to rattle her Bunsen burner by asking for her hands-on advice—on aphrodisiacs…

Rosemary is a little wary about working with Wes, whose casual flirtations make her hot under the collar. But once they begin testing the love-enhancing power of chocolate, oysters, and strawberries, it becomes scientifically evident that the brainy science nerd and the boyish chef have some major chemistry together—and it’s delicious…

Doesn't that sound awesome? Hint: I'm going to be giving away this book next week, so check back on Tuesday to enter!


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