Monday, November 29, 2010

It’s Cyber Monday


So, in continuing the discussion of fake retail holidays... it’s Cyber Monday.  I’m not sure if you care—I know I don’t.  I do love shopping, but frenzied and forced “retail holidays” tend to turn me off rather than on.  I sat out Black Friday, Recovery Saturday, and Last Chance Sunday.  If there had been an incredible deal somewhere I might have been tempted to step outside and take a shot.  But nothing in any of the sales circulars seemed worth my time.

I DO love to shop, and I’m notoriously frugal.  (We don’t say cheap… not if we like our teeth.)  Bagging a bargain, for me, feels like a huge victory.  I leave Peter Harris with my bright yellow bags as if I am returning from the great hunt, sweaters and jeans aloft, a spring in my step.  Best part?  I don’t have to skin anything to enjoy the spoils.

imagesCADHGF9ASo today is another fake retail holiday… which, let’s face it, is just as good as the other fake holidays.  I am perfectly happy to find great deals on eBay or amazon or anywhere else.  But I’m serving notice on the rest of you—I’M TALKING TO YOU SITTING IN THAT OFFICE CHAIR NOT FREAKING WORKING, CHUM—shut down the internet trying to get the last Arnie the Electronic Armadillo with Flash Action Prehensile Tail—yeah, I’m coming for you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Do you or don't you?

Today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, the day when retailers offer (supposedly) tremendous deals to those willing to rise before dawn, brave the cold (unless, like me, you're in Florida) and the crowds.

I've never done it. I know that might seem shocking considering how much I enjoy shopping and how good at it I am, but the prospect of fighting all those other people for merchandise seems more like combat and less like shopping.

Still, I know folks who do it faithfully every year and love it.

Which camp do you fall into? Have you already hit the stores this morning? Or are you content to stay in bed ignoring the siren song of low-priced goods? Or maybe you're doing some online shopping today? Tell me!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US of A. I, for one, am thankful for a lot of things. The biggies, of course--life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, friends, family, jobs, love, etc. But let's take some time to think about those little things that keep life rolling.

Here's a list of some of the little things I'm thankful for:

--two-ply toilet paper
--cute shoes
--cute shoes (this was worth thanking twice)
--stores that have clothes for curvy girls
--Garnier hair color (I can pretend for a little while longer that I'm not graying, lol)
--my Mac notebook
--my iPhone
--Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's Christmas album
--deliciously warm gloves

What about you? What little things in life make you happy?

Monday, November 22, 2010

one year later...

Last year on November 22, I blogged about the 10 things I try not to take for granted. Guess what, not much has changed...including the fact that I still don't have a maid. Seriously, what is up with that?

So today, for the first time in a long time, I plotted with my writing partner, Maria Geraci (who's book THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB will hit the shelves December 7...and you should totally pre-order it NOW!) Anyway, this morning I actually worked on a book idea that I've been playing with for a year and a half but haven't written much on thanks to the foggy haze of divorce that was surrounding me.

Which means, I'm adding a couple of new things to my thankful list. Because apparently I took my creative juices for granted...and I never plan to let that happen ever again.

  1. I'm thankful for my imagination
  2. Thank all that's holy (and possibly all that's unholy) for Maria Geraci
  3. Thanks for my 'Nistas who listened to my whiny emails and supported me even though I was acting like I was the only person who had ever been foggy and sad.
  4. And for my agent Deidre and editor Kristin for their patience and understanding while I took the long road back to my creativity. :)

Now, let's all go eat some pie!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Prince Chooses a Bride

As a young girl, I was fascinated with Shy Di--the school teacher affianced to the future King of England, Prince Charles. The engagement, the wedding, and the emergence of Diana, Princess of Wales, as a humanitarian with so much grace were all riveting during my formative years.  

As it turned out, her marriage was not a happy one nor do I think Charles is ever going to get a crack at that throne--but through it all, Diana has continued, beyond her death, to be an icon to me. 

And boy did she love her children. 

They are all grown up now, and Prince William--possibly the future King of England has proposed to his girlfriend of seven years. She wears Diana's ring now, and though that marriage ended badly--perhaps even began badly, I have to think Diana would be pleased. She would want her son to use that symbol that had stood for so much hope and so many expectations, I think. I find myself riveted once again. I hope Kate isn't forever in the shadow of William's mother--but I hope she learns what she can from the legacy that Diana left her sons and her country. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New directions

So, as some of you may have seen, I've been absent from here lately. My life has been in a crazy state of flux--the day job ended in early October, so I'm freelancing, writing and teaching. It's adjustment, to say the least. I set my own schedule. I work at Panera somedays, surrounded by retirees and stay-at-home moms. Other days, I work at home, nestled comfortably on my couch in my jammies.

I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, the annual monthlong writing challenge that pushes you to write a book in November. This year, I'm taking a big risk and writing a story that is very, veeeerrry different for me. An adult thriller featuring a kick-ass heroine.

It's been a couple of months of change. But I've learned a lot about myself through these challenges. I can take risks. I can self-motivate. I can put my mind to a task and succeed. Is everything perfect? Snort. Man I wish. Life is never going to be perfect. But I took a bad situation and am trying to run with what I have.

To those of you facing big changes--you have a well of strength and resourcefulness in you that is greater than you know. Embrace change. Use it as a chance to reinforce your awareness of your strengths. And be prepared to be flexible.

To those of you also writing, we can do it!!! Let's kick some ass and take some names this month. And don't be afraid to write something completely new. You never know--it could be the best thing you've ever done for yourself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun With Radiation


This past week I began a six week run of radiation for a health issue.  No biggie.  Only the thing is, in comic books all the people who get exposed to radiation—or radioactive stuff—get superpowers.  Like, they fall into a vat down at the treatment plant and wake up with the ability to shoot flaming twinkies out of a secret compartment of twinkanyte in their arms, perfectly placed so that a pair of stylish aubergine gloves, for instance, could be worn to both enhance the twinkie fire power, but also conceal the twinkpockets of doom.

Yaknow… stuff like that.

So far the only things radiation, chemotherapy, cytoxan, and similar chemical experiences have granted me are the abilities to make my hair disappear and my lunch reappear.  Not to complain, but there are no marketable crime fighting skills there.  I mean I really don’t want to be Baldy the Puke Crusader or Vomitta, Mistress of Hurl.  I can’t imagine the get-up would be in a flattering color range. Something in a puse and pea-green spandex/lycra blend?  Not so much.

Plus sometimes I think the way the radioactive stuff manifests is bunk.  Peter Parker?  I think not.  Ever seen a spider that skinny?  Or both red and blue?  Red, maybe, but blue?  No.  And spiders are NOT skinny.  They’re ARACHNIDS.  Helloooo?  Round bulbous critters, those.  So Spidey is full of something other than webbing, if you know what I mean.

fatspideysmCome to think of it… that’s a look I could totally pull off.  I have the bulbous thing going on.  Plus I think I could spin a web of any size and quite possibly catch thieves just like flies.  And if you’re going to toss up gross stuff, why not work that into a venom angle, right?


Don’t make me shoot silly string at you, dude.  I’m serious.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Now where did I put that...

I'm not an organized person and have never claimed to be, but that doesn't mean my stuff is all over the place either. I have my own system, like most people probably do, and thankfully it works okay. I do sometimes wish I was more organized. I have friends that label things, filing them in color-coded files with the precision of a drill sergeant. I have other friends who make spreadsheets for fun and recreation. Those people boggle me. I admire their skill the way one might look up to a pro-athlete and know that I will never compete in their league. I'm actually not even qualified to sit on that bench.

My husband asks me if I'm filing receipts. I always nod and smile brightly and then as soon as he steps out of my office, I shove them all into a folder and scrawl something across the tab in black Sharpie marker like Writing Exp 2010. I have no doubt that this will, indeed, some day be the death of him as he likes to proclaim.

I do what I can organizationally and while I dream of better things, I know my limitations. What are yours? Are you uber organized or furiously stuffing papers in a shoebox when no one's looking?

PS. That is NOT my office. No matter what my husband may have told you.

ETA: The winner of the copy of "Morning Glory" from Amanda's Wednesday post is...drumroll, please...Andy!
Please email amandabrice (at) romancedivas (dot) com to collect your prize!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now in Theatres!

My good friend Diana Peterfreund is joining us today to talk about her experience writing the novelization of the new movie "Morning Glory," which hits theatres TODAY and stars Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diana Keaton, and Patrick Wilson.

Here's a blurb for both the movie and the book:

BREAKING NEWS: Ambitious young TV producer Becky Fuller is fired from a local morning show in New Jersey, and her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life.

Desperately in need of a job, yet still full of boundless optimism, Becky vows to land on her feet and stumbles into an opportunity at Daybreak, a floundering network morning news program in New York City. Abysmal ratings are only the tip of the iceberg: Executive producers seldom survive beyond the next commercial break, and the outdated cameras belong in the Smithsonian.

Promising the head of the network that she can reverse the downward spiral, Becky makes legendary newscaster Mike Pomeroy an offer he can’t contractually refuse. She successfully adds Pomeroy to the team, but he refuses to participate in any Daybreak fluff pieces and morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion, and crafts. What’s more, he takes an instant dislike to his equally difficult co-anchor, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen.The only bright spot in Becky’s career is Adam Bennett, a gorgeous fellow producer, but Daybreak’s dysfunction spells trouble for their blossoming relationship. As Mike and Colleen’s on-air chemistry proves more explosive every day, Becky must scramble to save her love life, her reputation, her job, and, ultimately, Daybreak itself.

Please welcome, Diana Peterfreund!

DP: Hi, Amanda! Thanks so much for having me!

AB: Glad you could be here! Let's talk writing. What was it like to write a book based on a screenplay?

DP: In a word: invigorating. I'd just come off writing ASCENDANT (a killer unicorn fantasy), which is my darkest novel to date. It was the depths of winter and I was in desperate need of writing something light and funny. When the script for Morning Glory came in, I sat on the couch and laughed my head off the whole way through. My husband, sitting in the next room, kept calling over to me and saying, "So it's good, huh?"

The process was pretty simple: they sent me a working script (there are differences between the script I had and the final film) and I tried to keep as true to the dialogue and storyline as possible. The challenges were how to translate the occasional montage into a cohesive narrative and of course, to fill in all of the action and the main character's interior thoughts. The needs of a screenplay and feature film are very different from those of a novel. In a movie, they can do a lot of visual short cuts. I can afford to be more expansive, to add in explanatory scenes and to flesh out parts that take more development on the page than on the screen. Whereas a film can get a lot of mileage from two attractive co-stars (in this case, Rachel McAdams and Patrick Wilson) making goo-goo eyes at each other, it doesn't come across as well in text, so I enjoyed adding to their romance.

After turning in the draft and doing revisions with my editor, we had to go through another round of approval with the studio and the the producers. We made some changes because they had updated the script. I had no descriptions to go by and only the stills I could find online, so sometimes I made changes to certain scenes so they'd be more in keeping with the actual sets/costumes/hair in the film. After the producers signed off on it, Random House put it into production.

AB: I usually write my books by "casting" them in my mind. Did you know who the stars of the movie would be before you agreed to write the novel?

DP: I did. In fact, that was one of the reasons I was so keen to do it. I've been a fan of Rachel McAdams since her Slings & Arrows days (an awesome Canadian show about a Shakespearean theater troupe), and I've loved Harrison Ford since my early childhood. To get the chance to write a character for Han Solo -- um, Ford? Awesome! Additionally, Patrick Wilson is from my hometown. He's a few years older than me, and I remember all the drama kids in high school would talk about him as one of the guys who "made it."

AB: How did you get involved with the project?

DP: My editor at Random House is the same one I had for all my Secret Society Girl novels. She called me up and asked me if I'd be interested in the project. I'd been hearing a lot about novelizations from some fellow writers in NINC (Novelists, Inc.) and I was keen to do the project. She thought we'd be a good fit because of the voice of my other novels. She pitched me to Paramount and they said yes.

AB: Are you working on anything new at the moment?

DP: My main project at the moment is caring for my newborn daughter. She's a month old now, and so I'm still on my one-woman shop's version of "maternity leave." But since my husband's paternity leave runs out soon, I'm going to have to figure out the details of how to be a mom and a writer all at once.

Just this week I signed on to do two new short stories for anthologies (yay!) I had so much fun with the short I had out this year: "Errant" in Kiss Me Deadly and "The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn" in Zombies Vs. Unicorns, and they seem to have found a readership, so I'm excited to do more. I have three in the hopper for 2011 and 2012. Additionally, I'm working on a YA post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion which should be out in 2012.

AB: OK, you hooked me with "YA post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion." Awesome! I can't wait! And congrats on your little girl!

OK, Fictionistas readers...I'm going to give away a copy of "Morning Glory: A Novel" to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment!

We'll post the winner on Friday's blog.

Monday, November 08, 2010

baby you can drive my car

Yesterday I gave my oldest son (he's 16) his first driving lesson.

I remember begging my mom to teach me to drive when I was 12 years old. My 13 year old son is begging me to learn. My 16 year old? Has had absolutely zero interest until now.

I'm okay with that, mostly. The older he is before he's on the road, then the safer he is...technically. But, he's still riding around with all his 16 year old friends who are driving, so I suppose really it's the same no matter what.

I tease him all the time that the only reason I allowed him to make it to 16 alive is so that he could take over Taxi duties and that his lack of drive to learn to drive is an Epic Failure.

But the truth is, it's fine if he takes his time to learn. If he feels any sense of unease then there's no reason to unleash him on the public behind the wheel of a killing machine. Ya know?

Still, I find it odd that he hasn't shown an interest until now...just 4 months shy of his 17th birthday. Have you guys noticed a trend in teens not wanting to learn to drive. Ian isn't the only one in his group of friends. It seems to be a bit of an epidemic around these parts. What about around your parts?
BTW, he did a damn fine job for his first real time behind the wheel. He even drove down a neighborhood street!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Dear Hayley Nicole

Dear Hayley Nicole,

Eighteen years ago, you came into my life and changed me forever. You're not my baby anymore--today you're a young woman--and I am so proud of you.

You are such a bright, shining star. As much as it hurts to let go of you as grow, I'm also so pleased to send you into the big world. It really needs someone like you.

Happy Birthday to the best daughter a mom could ask for.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Ghosty Shows

ghosthuntersLast night, as you all know, was Samhain, or Halloween, or All Soul’s Eve.  Pick one.  Hopefully you were treated, not tricked, and had a good time.  In a related, but not necessarily specific to the holiday, note—I spent the night watching the annual Ghost Hunters live show.

paranormalstate I love Ghost Hunters.  I think Jay Hawes and Grant Wilson get it right, and I love Steve and Tango.  I laugh just as often as I get excited about possible evidence, which is why I remain a fan.

I used to be really hooked on Paranormal State, too.  Ryan, the head honcho of the crew on that show, has become a tad too melodramatic for me.  They are less likely to rely on science, in spite of the fact that they have the tech on hand.  I still tune in occasionally.

ghosthairGhost Lab was interesting last season… but I am not yet hooked. I have to admit, Ghost Adventures occasionally sucks me in just for the pure dweeb-factor. I mean, basically we’ve got frat boys hyped up on Red Bull freaking out in the dark.  But that one dude’s hair is absolutely not of this world.  For sure.

What’s your ghostly poison?