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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

This is a test.....

Hands up all of you who remember the movie 'Angels With Dirty Faces' . I'll give you a clue, it had James Cagney in it.

I can't believe that everyone I asked yesterday didn't know it (guys as well as girls). It might be an old black and white movie, and clearly made before I was born... but even so.... it's a classic.

The reason this came up was because I was saying about how his character was bad but he redeemed himself in the end.... and I won't say how, just yet.

Of course, I guess no one will remember him in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Did you know he was rated a better dancer than Fred Astaire?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Smile please.......

Today was a tad on the traumatic side. Because, today I had my author pics taken. I'd sort of planned in advance what to wear, but when it came to it I wasn't sure, so a few minutes before leaving I took something else with me.... and lucky I did because they were the best shots.

I had a detailed brief regarding what was required... head and shoulders, neutral background, no hands.... and then details about the size and other technical things that luckily the photographer understood. They also suggested a professional hair and make-up job.... but I didn't want to risk it.

He took over 50 shots and I needed three to send to my editor. Well, it took longer choosing than it did taking them. Finally, we came up with these three:

I wanted to load this one for my blogger pic, but for some reason I can't:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Presenting........ Erica Orloff

This is the first in a series of author interviews I'm planning. And what better way to start than with the superbly talented and highly prolific Erica Orloff, who also writes young adult fiction as Liza Conrad. I can't begin to tell you how thrilled I was when Erica agreed to the interview. I love her adult and young adult fiction. Her books are always a 'must buy' for me. So, here goes:

Please will you tell us about your latest book:

The Poker Diaries, which I wrote under my YA pen name Liza Conrad, is about Tallulah "Lulu" King, a 15-year-old girl who lives between two worlds--her mother's on Central Park West, wealthy, cultured, and her father's in Hell's Kitchen, where she plays illegal back room poker in her grandfather's bar. When she is blackmailed into playing a high-stakes game, the streetsmart Lulu may, for the first time, be in over her head.

How long have you been writing, and what made you start?
I've been writing since the second grade, I think. Basically since I could conceive of short stories. When I was 21, I formed a writers' group, and continue to be in one today, and I worked as a book editor and ghostwriter for a while--and then came into my own as a novelist four years ago. I've always wanted to write. It's just a part of me. I don't think I can NOT write.

Many people spend a long time searching for an agent. What was your agent hunt like?
It was more like an agent accident. I didn't hunt. I was consulting for a publishing house at the BEA in L.A. and was standing next to another booth, and an agent. We chatted and I was so impressed by his inherent class and decency in a business that has its share of divas and difficult people. We kept in touch--Christmas cards. Then in a calamity-filled weekend when I was traveling, I ran into him in New Jersey of all places, at a conference. And by then I had finished my quirky little novel, Spanish Disco. I off-handedly asked if he would read it. He did . . . and I had a deal within three months at Red Dress Ink. I know. Kind of sickening.

Everyone loves a good call story, what was yours?

Well, I really am so in awe of people who never give up despite years of rejection, so I always feel like people want to throw things at me when they hear mine. Basically, I found my agent through serendipity, and then he sent out Spanish Disco to a couple of big houses and was getting really great feedback--except everyone was a little leery of a pill-popping, tequila-swilling b-word of a heroine. But one editor said, "I wish I could buy something so edgy, but I can't--my list plays it safe. But send it to my friend at Red Dress Ink." My editor read it in a weekend and bought it--so I sold my first novel in just a short time--and how amazing is that for an editor at one house to insist my agent send it to her friend at another house? When I did get the actual "call," I have to say, I was numb for three days.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Hone your craft. As an editor, I have read a lot of manuscripts that truly weren't ready--they were so far from ready that I knew these writers were going to get a lot of rejection. And yet the aspiring writers behind them loved writing and clearly poured their hearts into their work, but I felt like they should take a writing class, join a writers' group, go to some conferences . . . Then, when you are ready, never give up. Ever.

What are you working on at the moment and what books you have coming out in the future?

I am knee-deep in a trilogy, writing as Erica Orloff, for Nocturne, the paranormal romance line. My first stand-alone Nocturne comes out February 1st and is called BLOOD SON. And, like all working novelists, I'm honing a couple of proposals and always writing!

Thank you so much, Erica. It's been a pleasure interviewing you.

Erica Orloff (writing as Liza Conrad) is a writer living in
Virginia with her family and insane assortment of pets, including a python that she really doesn't like but her son loves. She's multi-published across several genres from romantic comedies to suspense to YA. In her ridiculously little free time, she hunts for Buddha statues for her collection, knits very lopsided scarves, and plays poker while drinking martinis.Visit her at

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Yay, for me!!!!

I'm sooooooo excited because today I signed with uber-agent Rachel Vater. I've been a fan of hers since forever, and am totally addicted to her blog. And I just know she's going to do great things for my writing career.

Other news..... you want other news??? Okay... American Idol is starting on Friday (much sooner than I'd anticipated). And I'm going to be running a series of author interviews with people whose books are coming out this year.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Where there's a will........

If you've been reading my blog you'll know about my continual battle with Blogger.... not any more, honey!!!!

I've cracked it..... and quite by accident. When I was having problems staying in chats I was taking part in Diana suggested I use a different browser instead of Internet Explorer. So, I now have Firefox. And what do you know.... I can get into dashboard with very little difficulty. Yay, for me!

I'm still getting kicked out of chats, but a small price to pay...

What else to report???? Not a lot. Though I may have a little bit of news soon. I also have to confess to not keeping all my hundreds of resolutions. Blogging twice a week seems to have passed me by, as has walking 5 times a week. But I am writing at least 5 times a week - though my CPs are taking issue with the times it only amounts to a sentence. Buy, hey... did I mention quantity???? I don't think so.

What about your resolutions..... are you still keeping to them????

Btw... TV is looking good these days. Ugly Betty has just started and I LOVE it. House is coming back, as is Greys and Desperate Housewives ... and I'm desperately waiting for American Idol - that won't be for a while but the best thing for me is it's on 5 days a week (Mon-Fri) at 5.30pm...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

How was it for you?

Something that really fascinates me is how I can read the same book or see the same movie as someone else and have a totally different reaction.

And this reaction can be extreme, to say the least. And I don't just mean the difference between guys and girls. I understand perfectly that a chick flick or chick lit might not be so enjoyable to guys. But between girls. And girls who are my friends.

So, it got me thinking. What is it about a book that makes me love it? That makes me want to pick it up every hour of the day, at the expense of everything else - much to the annoyance of my family.

Is it just the characters? I don't think so. As much as I relate to characters.... clearly, otherwise there would be no incentive to see what happens to them... it's plot. I love action. I like my books fast paced, with elements that keep me guessing, and lots of different things happening. And I hate description... I always flick past those pages. In fact if there's too much won't continue reading.

Movies, it's more balanced. I have to love the characters, but I still want the action. If I take my favourite movie 'Love Actually'. Definitely character driven, but so much more. There's always something happening. And they cut away from the action just at the right time, so I'm left wondering for a while what's going to happen next. And, of course, let's not forget the emotional pull of a movie like this. The characters make you laugh, cry, angry, frustrated.....

How about you. What is it about a book/movie that gets you hooked?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Quick, before they move the goalposts again..

All day I have been trying to get into my blogger dashboard. First of all, I could get in but this blog totally disappeared and all I could get was a group blog I'm part of. Then later, I couldn't get in at all... and that was the situation ALL DAY. Then, suddenly I did a test post on my friend's blog and then I tried to get back on and I could........

Does blogger not realise I have better things to do with my day? That I have resolutions to keep, one of which is to blog twice a week????

While we're talking resultions, how are mine going? Well, so far so good. Okay, some of them might have fallen by the wayside (not forever, just for the moment), but the important ones I'm more or less sticking to. And because I've scheduled monthly reviews on my calendar then it will remind me what I'm meant to be doing. Well, that's the plan....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh no, not again...

I was celebrating my daughter's birthday with her at the weekend and she commented about my 'stupid genes'. Excuse me. Stupid. Me? Hadn't I spent all her formative years explaining why you never call people stupid???

Okay, so occasionally I might do silly things. In fact there's one thing I do with monotonous regularity and, you guessed it, I did it again at the weekend.

I stopped at McDonalds to use the bathroom. Being desperate to go, I charged in, quickly scanned the room and thought this doesn't seem familiar (this is one of my regular stops, so I know it well), then suddenly realised I was in the men's. I made a hasty exit and went into the, more familiar, women's. Lucky for me there was no one in there.

I have barged into the men's bathroom and seen men standing there before, but the worst time must be about ten years ago.

I was at college and went into the bathroom. It was empty and I remember fleetingly thinking it strange there was only one cubicle, but it didn't deter me. Anyway, after I'd finished, I picked up my bag, unlocked the door and walked into a room of guys. OMG it's the sort of stuff nightmares are made of. So, I did the only thing I could... put my head down, held on tightly to the bag on my shoulder, pushed my way through and shot out of the door.

And in case you're wondering, no I didn't stop to wash my hands......

How about you? Tell me some embarrassing things you've done.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bring it on.......

New year.... new resolutions.... and new blogger!

I accepted the invite to move to Beta Blogger.... like I dare do anything else after the last time!

I love the start of a new year. I'm full of good intentions and have a list of resolutions that I've actually written down and will monitor as the year progresses.

And so far, day two, everything is going to plan. I did some writing (yay, for me), did some exercise, and after day one of the diet lost 2 pounds (yes, I know you shouldn't weigh yourself every day, but I can't help myself... I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't step on the scales in the morning).

And talking of withdrawal, it's been nearly 4 weeks without diet coke... and I don't miss it. Okay, I'm probably the supermarket's biggest customer of Light Ginger Beer and Zero Sprite now, but it's not DC. The one thing putting me off drinking DC again is the week long headache I endured after stopping. OMG I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

So, here's to a great 2007. One of my resolutions is to blog twice a week.... see, something else I'm sticking to....

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