Wednesday, April 30, 2008

VEE Reviewed by TeenReads

Thanks to TeenReads.com for giving me a really nice review of ALL ABOUT VEE!

Btw, doesn't the yellow in the girl's dress really make the cover stand out? I love it. I think I may want to get a dress like that for myself for signings and school visits but I'm not nearly as attractive as the model which, of course, is only right since she's a model and I'm a writer who sits in front of her computer all day.

Btw also, tonight is the Idol results show for Neil Diamond week and I just have to say how disappointing the perfs were overall last night. Even my very fave, David C, was not as butt-kicking as he usually is and all I have to say is, WHY NOT? The Neil Diamond canon is vast and expansive yet not one of the contestants seemed to pick the right song or to perform the ones they did pick with any sort of passion or energy. And I'm sorry to say but I think it's Brooke's time to leave: when HH is yelling at the TV because she's smiling through "I am, I Said" because once again she doesn't understand the lyrics, then you know it's time to gracefully exit.

More tomorrow when either Jason or Brooke leaves...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hogfather

I have to admit I couldn’t get through Terry Pratchett’s “The Color of Magic,” which is the first book in the Discworld series (how many are there now, like fifty or something?). I thought I would love it because I loved “Good Omens,” which he wrote with Neil Gaiman. That book was funny and clever and extremely readable. But the problem I find with most fantasy is that is feels overwritten. The description and dialogue sounds like the characters are from the Victorian Age, very stilted and stiff. And many of the names use apostrophes and lots of consonants…I’m generalizing but you get the idea.

I also tried to read Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” but that too was difficult for me. I frankly got bored with its description-laden prose and complex sentences. I’m a simple girl, after all, with a very simple brain. Peter Jackson’s visual interpretation, however, made me love the story and the characters.

And the same was true for Vadim Jean’s television version of “Hogfather.” I loved this movie! The characters were fascinating, particularly Death, who came off as possibly the most sensitive of all the characters in the film. I never felt confused by any of the story – just as with Jackson’s “Rings,” I didn’t feel lost because I didn’t read the books. It was extremely well-written and I think it helped a lot that Pratchett himself “mucked about” with it, as his film credit goes.

The general gist of the story is that, in this alternative world, the auditors of the universe want to eliminate all of humankind’s belief in things like the Hogfather (similar to our Santa Claus), the Tooth Fairy, Death, etc. (anything in which a belief is personified). So they hire a very cold and calculating man with an intimidating glass eye named Mr. Teatime –who kills an awful lot of people in this movie – to “inhume” him. Mr. Teatime begins by going after the Tooth Fairy. When Death finds out what’s going on, he takes on Hogfather’s role, so that the children of the world will still get their presents and continue to believe because if they don’t believe anymore, he will disappear and the sun won’t come up.

I loved the character of Susan, Death’s granddaughter, who wants to live a normal life but gets sucked into helping Death because a) she’s curious and b) there are certain places Death can’t go but she can. And I adored her scenes with the monsters under the bed and Mr. Teatime – she is one butt-kicking chick.

The whole film was simply fascinating and was produced by Robert Halmi, Sr. and Jr. the father and son who brought some remarkable stories to American television, including the amazing “Gulliver’s Travels” a few years ago. The whole production definitely has their brand of visual lushness and high-quality CG.

Watching this movie makes me want to try reading Pratchett again.

2 of 3 Vees would dig this.

Monday, April 28, 2008

LATFOB


That's the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for the non-residents! Yes, I was signing books on Sunday afternoon at Book Soup and so many wonderful people stopped by, including two fantastic YA authors, Paula Yoo and Michael Reisman. Paula was signing GOOD ENOUGH after me at Book Soup's booth and she came by to offer moral (and vocal!) support beforehand. I was super-psyched to meet Michael since he's got a new book out called THE GRAVITY KEEPER and I can't wait to read it!

And how thrilled was HH that he got to meet and have his book signed by none other than THE Joe Hill, horror writer and son of the amazing Stepehen King? It was the highlight of his very hot day!

So here are some photos of what you missed. Can't say I blamed you for staying home since it was over 90 degrees out there! Thanks to all who came out! More photos will be posted at my website by my Ninja Webmaster.











Friday, April 25, 2008

Random Friday Stuff You Should Know

1. Television watchers should know that LOST is back, baby! And better than ever! Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are clearly demi-gods. Last night's Ben episode was so flippin' amazing, I may have procrastinate a bit and see what the chat boards are saying.

2. Netflixers should know that “American Gangster” is a fantastic film that they should put in their queue. Directed by Ridley Scott, written by Steve Zaillian and starring the amazing Denzel Washington, it’s so well-done, you find yourself rooting for the bad guys.

3. Authors should know that there is a great article on blogging by Chandra Rooney here. She gives some great, practical advice to authors who want to blog or who are blogging and want to know if there's more they should be doing. I know it was good advice for me!

4. Readers should know that I will be signing ALL ABOUT VEE at the LA Times Festival of Books this Sunday, April 27, from 2 – 3PM at the Book Soup booth, #329. So come on down and check out VEE and me!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Surveying the Television Landscape

First the reality roundup: HH and I are only watching 2 reality shows this season, Idol and Hell’s Kitchen but both are excellent – and we watch them for completely different reasons. We love Idol because the cast is terrific and extremely-talented and we actually do hope to hear David Cook on the radio someday (although we definitely will not be attending any of the “Up With People”-ish concerts they do). We love seeing the contestants do well and it pains us when they get bad marks from the judges.

On the other hand, the HK cast is dreadful! Each of them is less likable than the last. While we don’t wish ill upon any of them, like poor Vanessa with her burned hand from Tuesday night, we don’t care if they all get kicked off the show. In fact, this season’s cast is so cruel and vindictive that it might be better if Chef Ramsay does show them the door and instead asks one of his show chefs to run his new kitchen in LA. We like the girls group only slightly better than the boys simply because we hate them slightly less.

So…Idol…America gets it wrong…again! The bottom two were supposed to be Brooke and Jason – come on, people, everyone knew that! They are adorable but sang horribly on Tuesday. Instead America chose Carly and Syesha? Two of the best perfs of the night? Wrong, wrong, wrong. And then to kick of Carly??? Quadruple wrong. HH said he wanted to stop watching when they kicked off Chikezie but we kept with it, trusting that the voters would get the top 5 right. As everyone said last night, it was a popularity contest this week. The girls like Jason and they think Brooke is sweet; those are the only reasons those two stayed and they should be planning ways to thank all those supporters somehow.

On a non-reality note: LOST is back tonight and I could not be happier! We have been counting down the weeks (again!) until this show returns. I have no idea how many episodes are left for the season but we will take whatever we can get. That being said, I hope there are a LOT.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A letter and invitation to librarians

To all librarians, far and wide, in these United States and abroad, I gratefully acknowledge your many contributions to the education of young adults (and old ones too!). As a dedicated library patron, I have always appreciated the library and in fact, have written entire scenes and characters in and around them in my books. In LOVE, MEG, an important scene is set at the Durant Public Library (which is an actual library on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood) and in ALL ABOUT VEE, not only are scenes set in the Chester Public Library (a fictional library, albeit based on the one in my hometown in Connecticut), but Veronica’s father and his fiancĂ©e are both librarians. That’s how much I love libraries!

So I offer to you, the lovely librarians of the world, whatever I can to encourage a love of reading and books in your libraries.

Want to do a podcast with me? I’m on it.

How about an on-line chat with a book club? Name the day.

Emails with students about my books for book reports or school assignments? You got it.

And of course, if I'm nearby - either for a trip or you're near where I live - I would be thrilled to make a visit.

I’m open to any and all suggestions you may have and if I can possibly accommodate you, I definitely will. So please, ask away!

Your humble Hollywood library patron,
Leigh

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So what’s VEE all about anyway…?

ALL ABOUT VEE is the story of Veronica May, a plus-sized actress who moves from a tiny little border town in Arizona - where she knows everyone and everyone knows her – to the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles to seek her fame and fortune as a movie star.

Back home in Chester, Veronica, whom her friends Val and Ginny call “Big Vee,” is the go-to gal for the local theater. Since she was a wee Vee, she acted in pretty much every show, usually as its female lead because that’s just how good she was.

Life in Chester has been comfortable for Veronica, if not exciting: she still lives at home with her father; she has a part-time job at the local drugstore, and she hangs out with her friends, the other Vees. When the story begins, she has just completed a run of “Romeo and Juliet,” and the director of the local theater is about to announce the next show. Veronica has been counting on it being the Tennessee Williams play, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” but instead, the director says it will be “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a play with no female roles!

Distraught, Veronica finds out things are gonna get a lot worse: the drugstore is closing and she’s losing the one job she’s ever had and on top of that, Daddy and his longtime fiancĂ©e May Sanchez have finally set a date for their wedding. It seems like no one wants or needs Big Vee around anymore.

When Veronica finds a box full of letters from her deceased mother to her father, she discovers that she is in fact a legacy: her mother had moved to LA to be a star too! Big Vee decides that’s what she will do too.

In LA, Veronica finds it’s not so easy to be the star of the show, that people discriminate against her because of her weight, and that one of her former best friends has changed so much she’s barely recognizable. Will she find success and happiness and love in this strange new city? Or will she have to run back home and seek comfort in the arms of her father and good friends? That’s the million dollar question in ALL ABOUT VEE.

I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it. I would love to hear your thoughts. Drop me an email if you can or post a review on your blog or Amazon and send me the link!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Enchanting Enchanted

Did every critic and movie blogger use this same title for their review of “Enchanted”?

Many people who know my taste in movies will be shocked to hear how much I adored this one. Normally I disdain films that are so sweet I need to make a dentist appointment after viewing them. So kudos to director Kevin Lima and writer Bill Kelly who obviously share a warm affection for Disney movies yet are not afraid to tweak the iconic images. And apparently, if you get the Blu-ray version you can see all of the references to old animated films (the DVD version has a shorter showcase in the bonus features).

The film is perfectly cast: Amy Adams is wonderful and sweet and you just want to scoop her up and take her home with you. She ably portrays a displaced princess who – almost against her will - is enlightened (go feminism!) by her association with Patrick Dempsey’s Robert, a commitment-phobic divorce attorney, and his adorable princess-loving daughter. James Marsden, late of the fantastic “Hairspray” remake and one of the “X-Men,” is perfect as Giselle’s handsome yet egocentric prince Edward. And it goes without saying that Susan Sarandon is flippin’ amazin’ as the evil queen (the only other person I might have liked to have seen in this role is Meryl Streep, whom I also love).

Btw, did anyone else see the resemblance between Amy Adams and Jenna Fisher (Pam in The Office)? They could be movie sisters.

I was charmed by Amy’s singing and dancing and by the film’s adherence to animation conventions (by far, the best scene in the film was the CG-enhanced whistle-while-you-work type song-and-dance of cleaning pigeons and sweeping rats and scrubbrush cockroachs). But what really sold the film for me was how the filmmakers turned the “happily ever after” convention on its ear: the princess’ true love revealed itself in a way I did not expect!

Most surprising of all is the the “strong woman” message. It’s not so overbearing that it scares the younger “don’t call me a feminist” teen demographic and it’s not offensive to us real feminists who wish filmmakers wouldn’t use it as a thin veneer to disguise their actual “someday my prince will come” message.

I think all Vees would dig this film.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vaguely Connected to Reality

Anyone who has ever had an email account knows about the randomly generated subject lines and emails you get as spam advertisements for on-line meds, watches (there are an awful lot of those out there), designer handbags, and herb treatments for manly-type things. There is now an entire literary subculture based on this called "Spam poetry," in which writers use the strange lines they get in their emails and either use them as a basis for a new poem or string them all together. Fascinating stuff. I wonder if anyone has ever gotten an idea for a novel that way.

Does this have anything to do with anything I'm working on right now? Absolutely not and yes, it does. I'm writing something completely new and I'm finding the ground is constantly shifting underneath me. It's like writing on top of an earthquake house, one of those fake buildings they use to simulate earthquakes to see what happens. I feel sometimes like I might as well be writing spam poetry: just one weird thought after another, completely disconnected from each other. Thank god for my outline - each time I change things I can refer back to my outline so I know where I'm going. As I have said many, many times before, writing is where the characters are formed but rewriting is where the story is shaped. When writing the first draft, I discover who my characters are, where they're from, what they do, how they think and interact with each other. And then when I begin rewriting, I restructure the story that I was only vaguely constructing during the first go-round.

(Hence the title of this post...)

The house will eventually stop shaking, I know this from past experience, so it doesn't help to panic in the middle of it or to go back to the beginning and start over. Not yet. I have to wait until it's all done, all the characters are out there and there's a beginning, middle and end. Then I rewrite. I know I have been repeating myself. I know the first 150 pages need to be cut in half. I know the motivations of my main characters are not clear. I just have to keep notes each time the earth shakes so I can have something to work from when I do finish the first draft.

A couple of ALL ABOUT VEE notes:
--The new book is available in audio form at Audible.com! How cool is that! I just listened to a sample of it this morning. Stephanie Wolf is the narrator and she's marvelous.
--I will be raffling off a copy of my book when I do my writing workshop at West Hollywood Public Library at 2:30PM on May 3. I'm calling it, "Just Finish It!" Catchy title, eh?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ah television...is there nothing it can't do?

Finally, Kristy Lee Cook's Idol journey is over. We - and she - have waited week after week and somehow she kept squeaking by, making it through to the next round on sheer charm and cute outfits. But even she knew it had to end at some point.

I gotta hand it to her: she acted like a true pro last night when told she was leaving the show. Sure there were a couple of tears shed but nothing drastic or melodramatic, a la Brooke White, who seems to have replaced Ramiele in the waterworks department. Kristy Lee graciously took the stage, singing to the judges (and especially Simon) with no sadness or bitterness in her voice. HH thinks her few tears were ones of relief and I have to agree. But she will have a solid career in country music if she wants one.

I have to laugh because when I was writing this blog yesterday, I accidentally wrote that I thought the bottom 3 would be Brooke, Kristy Lee and Syesha. I posted it and then re-read it and saw I had written Syesha where I meant to write Carly so I went back and edited it. Lo and behold, who were the actual 3? I should have gone with my apparent instinct.

On another note, I have discovered Hell's Kitchen, the Top Chef-like show on FOX that Gordon Ramsay hosts. OMG! I luuuurve this show! It's no Kitchen Nightmares, which is still my fave, but it'll do for the time being. Can I say how happy I was Jason the misogynist left on Tuesday night? This show is the true definition of "guilty pleasure." Just like a raspberry and chocolate fondant...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mariah Week

Talk about separating the wheat from the chaff...it's not easy singing Mariah Carey's songs as the contestants on Idol are finding out. I had no idea she has a 5 octave range, until Ryan Seacrest pointed it out last night. No wonder it's nearly impossible to imitate her.

Easily the bottom three of the night are 3 of the girls: Brooke, Kristy Lee and Carly. And frankly I think Brooke is gonna go - if it's based on last night's perf only. Otherwise, Kristy Lee should leave, but I think she was surprisingly good enough to stay another week.

The boys, though, were outstanding! I was so happy for Jason and David C about the stupendous praise they garnered from Simon (although how funny was it that Simon didn't know what a luau was?). I loved David C's perf but I never know if the judges will agree with me; what do I know about singing, after all? It's nice to know they recognize and appreciate the original talent on the stage.

Could the final two be the two Davids? Who would have guessed? I suppose I owe David C an apology for the Hollywood week comments I made. I said he wasn't a real rocker but he knows what he's doing and has vastly improved from week to week. Even from last week when Simon thought he was being pretentious: this week he came back with a solid, humble showing.

Rock on, dude.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pseudo Sightings

I’ve been going through a dry spell recently in regards to my celebrity sightings. Either they’re all staying away from me, knowing I will mention them on my website, or they’re out of town. It all adds up to no new sightings for me in the past few months. I thought I might have seen Julianna Marguilies in her car near West Hollywood but it was wicked fast and it could have been nobody. And I’m not gonna cheat you and say it was when I didn’t have a witness.

So what do I have instead? Pseudo sightings. HH and I were in Frankie and Johnny’s Pizzeria on Sunset this weekend (we had walked there and it was hotter than Hades that day!) and we noticed that visiting celebrities have written their names and notes on the walls with Sharpies. Well, of course there’s a big sign that tells the regular folks not to do any such thing but if you’ve got a TV show, go for it!

(They used to do this at another pizza place we liked called Albano’s Brooklyn Pizzeria on Melrose but that’s gone now, taken over by Enzo and we haven’t been back. Anyway, celebs wrote on their walls too. It must be a pizza joint thing.)

So here are the names we were sitting next to along with one of HH to prove we were there. Hehe…

First is Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum who plays Lex.

And, drum roll, please…the one and only Paula Abdul from the one and only Idol.


I have a hard time imagining that tiny little thing eating a slice of pizza. Maybe she just had a salad.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Southland Tales

This movie, from the director of “Donnie Darko,” one of my all-time favorite movies, was not seen by anyone I know. In fact, no one I know saw “Donnie Darko,” so I guess I shouldn’t have expected much. The movie was trashed by critics when it came out: too long, too self-indulgent, too confusing, etc. It is all of those things – and brilliant.

The cast was amazing: I loved how Richard Kelly played everyone against type (Cheri Oteri was a tough chick with a powerful uppercut, Mandy Moore was a total witch married to Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Geller played a porn queen with a talk show who has dreams of running her own business empire, and Justin Timberlake (nearly unrecognizable to me!) was a turret gunner in the military –among many more).

Narrated by Justin Timberlake, the film has an otherworldly feel – a sort-of future, rooted firmly in our current terrorist-obsessed culture. There is a stifling police presence, a broadcast landscape filled with product placement, politicos being blackmailed by porn stars, and a neo-Marxist underground intent on disrupting the next election. It all takes place in California’s “southland,” Los Angeles and its vicinity. If you live around here, you’ll recognize many of the locations. It’s quintessential LA.

As in “Darko,” the world in “Tales” is facing an apocalypse which would make you think Kelly is a complete pessimist, and yet the world does indeed get saved – by one person who must sacrifice himself for the greater good. In “Darko,” it was Jake Gyllenhaal’s character and in “Tales,” it’s Seann William Scott who was part of a military experiment involving Dwayne Johnson. I would like to believe this speaks to a more sentimental philosophy on Kelly’s part, that good can triumph but yes, there will be blood.

As for charges this movie was long, I think it probably could have been trimmed but there are a ton of characters and their stories take a while to wrap up. Also, I wonder if Kelly suffers from the same problem I do when I write: I have such a great time setting everything up and introducing characters and plots and intertwining them, that the story ends up being twice as long as I had intended. In my case, I always cut back because I’m not famous. But in Kelly’s case, perhaps his success with his first movie gave him license to be a little more indulgent with his second. Personally, I don’t care: I thought every single scene was great. Humor, pathos, surprise, confusion…

…oh yes, confusion. Look, it’s like a Lynch film…you sort of have to let it wash over you. Don’t try too hard to figure it out. Get the rhythm of the characters, watch them interact, enjoy. It all works out in some fashion and you absolutely cannot figure it out from the beginning as you do with many other movies.

I loved this movie. I have to put Richard Kelly on my list of people I would like to meet.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Friday Stuff

1. I can’t wait to see ALL ABOUT VEE on bookshelves. If anyone sees it anywhere, PLEASE snap a photo and email it to me! Or post it on your blog or something and let me know because that is just about the most exciting thing for an author. That and seeing it in someone’s hand as they’re reading it (and I don’t mean my mom or dad!).

2. I’m super-thrilled to be guest blogging today at Paula Yoo’s site. Come check it out! You know from reading my blog that I loved LOVED Paula’s book, Good Enough and I can’t wait for her next one, so if guest-blogging gives her time to finish it, then bring it on. Go, Paula! Write, write, write!

3. I couldn’t watch Idol Gives Back on Wednesday. I mean, yes, I could but I just couldn’t. The show makes me too sad. I watched last year and it was really depressing. I’m sure there was a lot of great stuff going on and I’ve read about all the terrific performances but I just…I couldn’t. I did, however, watch last night’s results show…

4. …and I couldn’t believe Michael Johns was voted off! Well, I guess I can, based on his ascot-vest combinations and the fact that he doesn’t actually understand the lyrics of the songs he sings (e.g. the Beatles “Across the Universe” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On”). He’ll do fine – heck, they’ll all do fine – but certain of them will do more fine than others. Like David Cook who has been humbled a bit after all his great perfs.

5. It’s finally getting warm again where I live which makes me feel soooo much better. I adore warm weather and sunshine, even if it does distract me from my work. My excuse for not getting my pages done these past couple of days? My new book is out! Whoo-hoo! Yay, VEE!!!

:) leigh

Thursday, April 10, 2008

VEE Arrives!

From her tiny town of Chester, Arizona, Veronica May has arrived in the big city of Los Angeles to find stardom. She will live with her old friend, Vivian Reed, but discover Viv’s lost her Vee and isn’t quite the sweet girl she used to be. She will get a brand new job as a barista in a coffee shop where she will fall in love for the very first time with her very handsome boss.

And she will audition and audition and audition and she will learn that in Hollywood, size does indeed matter.

Can she push that all aside and find happiness anyway? Can she be the success her mother wished she had become so many years ago?

Read and find out…

ALL ABOUT VEE – in your local stores and available from Amazon, Powell’s and other fine online retailers.

And a personal note: please review the book when you get a chance or just drop me a line and let me know what you think! And keep an eye on my website for all new VEE content: www.leighpurtill.com!

Thank you!!

xoxo leigh

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Genrefluent Likes VEE Too!

Last year, the website Genrefluent.com gave LOVE, MEG an amazing review so I was a little apprehensive about ALL ABOUT VEE. After all, could lightning strike twice and give me another great review?

Yes!

I was so happy to read my book is one of this week’s 3 Teen Picks of the Week! And here is the review.

There are so many great teen books out there – I mean, a LOT – so getting your book in front of someone who reads and reviews and then posts about it is a big deal. That’s why it’s so heartening to get a good review somewhere (and painful to get a bad or mediocre one). You know that someone took the time to read your book when there are probably a million other things that person needed to do. Believe me, I have the best intentions when I buy or take books from the library – and yet I still have a massive stack to get through and I am constantly renewing my books.

So an extra special thanks to Genrefluent.com for the great review! Keep on reading!

And in case you forgot…ALL ABOUT VEE will be released TOMORROW!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I am Not a Guitar Hero

Very recently I learned how to play “Guitar Hero.” Yeah, I know – finally, right? I mean, everyone and their dog know how to play this game.

It’s HARD!!!

OMG, I missed over half the notes on my first song. I would see the little colored blobs coming and I would put my finger on the right fret and get ready to strum and then…

…twang!! I would miss it. And then I would be staring down at my hands trying to figure out how I had missed the note - and I would miss another one – and another and another and another! It was very frustrating. I should probably mention that I totally blew the training sessions too. Those were utterly hilarious. And I was only playing the songs at the easy level and in practice mode so I wouldn’t get booed off the stage. That was HH’s idea; he must have sensed I would suck.

I figured my hands were too small since I was having a hard time getting my fingers on the right colors but then HH showed me some really young kids playing the expert level songs at top speed (see link below). Holy whammy bar, Batman! They were amazing. So I guess it’s not hand size at all, huh? Too bad. That was a good excuse for me.

After about 4 songs, I had enough in my first session. I don’t mind losing at all; I am definitely not a competitive game player in that regard. I would probably play it again but I don’t think I’ll ever get out of practice mode. I would hate to be booed by a virtual crowd.

Check out this 8 year old kid playing the expert level. He should probably go play outside in the fresh air more often.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Taft’s Passport to Awesomeness

On Saturday, I had a great time at Taft High School’s Passport to Reading event and got a chance to hang out with my student escort Dorna and her sister Aida who are pictured here with me and their friend (whose name I didn’t get, sorry!!).


They showed me all around the school –which is HUGE! I would certainly get my workout running from class to class there everyday. They even took me to the brand new art gallery which showcased some amazing work from the students. I was majorly impressed.

I also got a chance to meet the fantastic, award-winning author, Sally Nemeth, who is in the picture with me below. She told me all about her book, “The Heights, the Depths and Everything in Between” which has been nominated for an Oklahoma State Sequoyah Award! Whoo-hoo! How awesome is that? Come check out her website for more info.

Thanks to all at Taft but especially Dorna and Aida who made my visit totally memorable!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

Trying to unclutter my mind before I get started on writing today...

1. Tomorrow I'll be at the Taft High School Passport to Reading event in Woodland Hills, CA. I present at 11A but the event begins at 9A. Lots of great authors and presentations going on. I've never been but I'm excited to see what they do over there.

2. I'm crazy about John Kraczinski from The Office. He's got that soft squishy face you just want to roll around in your hands. How awesome for him that he's in George Clooney's (swoon!) new movie, "Leatherheads." Lucky Renee Zellweger!

3. If I were suddenly famous - for something good, like my books or something not, ya know, infamous because I was dancing on a table at George Clooney's house when he didn't invite me - I'm pretty sure I would handle it well. I don't think I would do anything stupid like insult people about their funny accents.

4. If I could eat anything and not gain weight, it would be Fritos.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Discount Blogging

Let's get the Idol stuff out of the way: Ramiele was voted off last night during Dolly Days and while I'm sorry she didn't make it farther (and honestly, certain others should have been kicked off before she did), I don't think she's ready for what comes with stardom. She cries much too easily, gets thrown off her game, for someone who needs to be professional at all times. Not just in front of a mic but out in the real world, talking to people, doing things, and yes, even being criticized. Making a little sad face when someone gives you bad news is not how pros do things.

And now...okay, here's something. My book, LOVE, MEG, is at Amazon for like, six bucks. It's a whopping 62% off the regular price - and it's 2 dollars cheaper than the paperback which will be released in a week. So, while I don't completely understand the logic behind it (maybe they're trying to get rid of some stock and figure people looking for the book will buy it in hardcover first?), I say, if you ever wanted a copy of the book, NOW is the time to get it. Hey, if you order enough copies, you can even get the free shipping!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dolly Days

She's so cute, isn't she? Dolly Parton is indeed like a doll, like one of those Barbies that you can dress up and braid her hair and change her shoes. I used to love to change Barbie's shoes. She had such tiny feet for a grown woman.

The Idol contestants didn't do so badly last night, with my fave, David Cook, adding yet another song to his repertoire. If I were a music producer, I would definitely be looking at him and these songs for an album when he's finished with the tour. I literally close my eyes when he's on and pretend he's on the radio.

As expected, Kristy Lee and Brooke did very well but the latter kept smiling through her rendition of "Jolene," which really felt awkward with the lyrics about a woman begging another woman not to take her man. How do you smile through that?

I think Ramiele was probably the weakest although I have to say I didn't think Syesha should have tackled a song Whitney Houston made famous. There are inevitable comparisons - and no one can possibly live up to her. Christy was fine but I have to agree with Simon: she is not dressing the part of a star. She looked very pedestrian last night.

As for the boys, I still love Jason but he did "his thing" last night which made him just all right. He hasn't really tried anything to make himself stand out from the other 8. Michael Johns was, for the first time in a while, very good and very watchable. I didn't feel like he was trying to be anybody else but himself. And then there are the Davids, both of whom were outstanding.

Oh and David C - great new haircut! Totally worked for him. I hope he keeps it.

So who's going home? Bottom three could be Ramiele, Syesha and Jason, based purely on performance.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Google P.S.

And if you have Google Mail, you've gotta check out the new Gmail Custom Time feature. LOL!!

Google Fools!

I admit to being a big fan of April Fool's Day jokes. I remember one very cool one years ago when co-workers where I was temping set the computer system to count down from 10 to 0 and when it hit zero, every screen went blank! After about three minutes of people freaking out, the system went back up again and had a cup of coffee as its cursor. That sounds kind of silly but it was funny because it happened first thing in the morning before people realized it was April 1st.

One of the best hoaxes ever was the Sports Illustrated article about Sidd Finch, the baseball phenom who grew up with monks and could pitch over 150 miles an hour. It was written by George Plimpton and got EVERY baseball fan excited. People were hugely disappointed to learn there was no such person.

And now today, we find this on Google, those wild and crazy guys. Virgle is a joint venture between Virgin and Google to colonize Mars. The beauty of the hoax is the great lengths they went to make it look real. Very clever.

Here is a great list of the Top 10 April Fools Day jokes according to the San Diego Museum of Hoaxes. Enjoy! And keep your eyes open!