Thursday, July 29, 2010

Remembering Weetzie Bat

Remember Weetzie Bat? Francesca Lia Block's (Click here: Home Francesca Lia Block) lyrical fairy tale set in the gritty environs of Los Angeles? If you have have not read this one you're missing a treat. Click on the link to Francesca's homepage to learn more.

The novel was recently brought to my attention by my editor, Dan, who said my new paranormal series, Hollyweird, reminded him of the book. No, I'm not at all gifted and lyrical like Francesca--I wish! But like Weetzie Bat, my series is set in the gritty, and not so gritty Hollywood area. You'll see Grauman's and Pinks, the Key Club and The Mint, even Rodeo Drive in my book. My job in the rewrite is to not just mention these areas, but to make them and all of Hollywood sing with life, and history, and kitsch, so that my reader will be whisked away there.

So, I went back and reread Weetzie Bat. Man, I hadn't realized it came out in 1989. Twenty-one years. It was great catching up with Weetzie and Dirk, and Duck, and all the dogs. I remembered loving the book back then, but I had forgotten what a terrific love story there was. I know, duh!

I wasn't so young when I read it, and yet, rereading now was a whole new experience for me. I read it in half an hour (It's a short book). I still can't stop thinking about how much it's making me think about my life, and love, and people, and disappointment, and time. I don't remember any of these things the first time around.

My TV writing career was really taking off back in 1989. I think I was so into what I was doing, that I just read the book because I heard it was good, and probably to say that I'd read it. How shallow, I know. But rereading it now, when I'm at an entirely different place in my life, has made the novel resonate for me in new ways.

Why not go back and reread something you've enjoyed a long time ago, but don't remember so well? It could turn out to be a wonderful experience for you. It was for me. If you do this, would you drop me a line and let me know what you read, and what you think now. You can post it on any of my blog posts. I'll know. Maybe we can get a reread book group going.

Now, the big question for the day is, do I pull out Wifey, or go back to work?

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Love Writing!

I am sooo excited!

Recently, I signed with a real book agent. Not that my agent wasn't real before. My first YA novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, was represented by my film and TV agent, Jim Kellem of JKA. Thanks, Jim. But now, I am pleased to say, I have signed with a bona-fide book agent--Frank Weimann of The Literary Group International. They sound important, don't they? Book agents know a lot more about the book biz than Hollywood TV agents do. If I am going to have a successful career, I will need to be repped by someone who knows his way around the business. But don't worry about Jim. He's good with it.

I had my first face-to-face meeting with Frank last Thursday at my attorney's office. What a pleasure. Frank and Jeff (my lawyer) are cooking up big things for me. Good. I'm cooking up big things for me, too. First off, they have assigned an editor to get the first book in my YA series, Hollyweird, into shape to be sold. The editor's name is Dan Smetanka. Dan has some awesome credentials. He was editor-in-chief of Phoenix Books before they were abruptly shuttered in April. He has recently been named editor-at-large for both Counterpoint and Soft Skull Press, where he will acquire fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, current events, and history titles.

And now Dan is also working with little-ole-me. How cool is that? Last Friday I got an email from Dan telling me how much he liked the manuscript and the setting. I can't wait to get going with him.

I will post here regularly on Hollyweird's road to publication (just as I did with NSDWAZ). I'm sure it's not going to always go as smoothly as I'd like. But you will be here supporting me, and that will make the rough patches a lot easier.

I mentioned here last week that I recently re-edited my second novel, Boyfriend From Hell. I sent it out to Frank's office last week. I can't wait to hear what his reader has to say. It's my favorite book that I've written so far. But I like everything I write :-) Really. Some authors hate their work when they're done. Not me. I look at what I've written at the end of the day and think: "Damn, that's good!" Even when it isn't. I know--embarrassing.

Now I have two manuscripts ready to go into the pipeline. And for the past several months, I've been working on my first boy book. It's a time travel novel. I will talk more about it as I get closer to the end. I think it's a trilogy.

I love being a writer. Can you tell? I love writing books, talking books, meeting with students at schools, and hanging with other writers. It's the best job ever. I like TV writing and producing, but book writing is the B-E-S-T! I also love blogging with and hearing from you. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them. Okay?

One final thing for today: I'm thinking of attending the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) Summer Conference in Los Angeles from July 30th-August 2nd. If you, or anyone you know, is going to attend please let me know. I'd love to look you up. I'm still new at this, and know very few authors.

Oh! The photo up top is of the sign on the horse closing my street down yesterday for the BH Block Party. I spent a few hours there, and got a chance to meet neighbors I only see or wave to as we all rush off to our busy lives. My neighbors are so friendly and cool. Who knew? Thanks Jason and Lisa for organizing it. I had a blast.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


Sometimes I have questions.

I'm sure everyone has questions. But sometimes my questions float around inside my head like smoke, never becoming fully formed, or concrete thoughts. So I can't really say what the questions are, but still I know They're there. You ever get that?

I usually try to ignore the feeling. It's kind of disconcerting to have a question inside your head and not know what it is. So I try to ignore the impulse. Other times I do try to push against the smoke and figure out what the question is. But those times are rare... and rather frightening. I think maybe I don't want to know the answers to these questions that nibble at the edge of my consciousness. Like maybe the answer is some horrible thing.

For happy go-luck me, that's kind of strange. Everyone thinks I'm so on top of things. And most times I am... or at least, I try to be. But I had the feeling this morning. Almost like there's some unfinished business I need to attend to. And guess what I did when I got the feeling? I pushed it aside. It's gone now. But even as I write, I feel the unasked question on the edge of my consciousness, never ever ready to pounce.

Hmm. Is this too strange to share?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thank You!

I wanted to take a moment today and spread a little zombie love. MY first YA novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie has done extremely well. We are very pleased with the sales; it's been nominated for both a Cyblis and a prestigious ALA Award, AND Talks are percolating around the Never Slow Dance With A Zombie movie. Yowzah! I will talk more about the movie next time.

Today, I wanted to thank all of my blogging friends who held my hand and helped promote my book. I really, really appreciate you: Jill, and Shooting Stars Magazine: Brenda at What Was That, Now; Velvet at VVB Reads, who created the September Zombies blog which featured a lot of me. I want to send a special thank you to my friend Eleni, at La Femme Readers. When I was nervous about bad reviews, Eleni bolstered me with some kind words... and then wrote an awesome review. And a very special thank you to my girl, Amy, at A Park Avenue Princess. She's done so much in the way of support--more than I could ever repay. She hosted an awesome Twitter contest, and offered countless suggestions on how to promote the book and myself. She is a dream.

I also want to thank those of you who gave me bad reviews. It took me a while to come to terms with them, but the truth is, I have learned from those reviews. I have seen things in my own work that I needed to improve. In fact, I pulled back my second novel, Boyfriend From Hell, and did a massive rewrite, all because of what I have learned from your reviews. I just sent it back out last week. So, thank you as well.

Thank you all. I hope those of you who supported me will continue with your support and friendship, and those who didn't--I hope you will give me another chance and read my next book. I am hoping to win you over with my improved writing.

See, Eleni, you were right. Everyone gets some bad reviews. It took me a while to stop being depressed, and use the bad reviews as a learning experience.

Sorry for no links to your awesome sites. I'm working on a different computer (my main computer crashed) and I don't know how to create links on this one. I will learn that as well

And Jill, your book is coming ;-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Winning

George Steinbrenner died today. For many people who didn't know him (and I didn't) if you heard his name it conjured up images of an evil, power hungry man. But if you took the time to read his incredible obit, or listened to the things former and current players had to say about him, you'd come away with a far different image. George Steinbrenner was neither all the good or bad things people say about him. He was a man who put his all into achieving his dreams.

I am a Yankee fan. I grew up in the Bronx, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. When I was a kid, the Yankees were a storied franchise. But they weren't winners... And then, while I was still quite young, Steinbrenner took over. He was like a breath of fresh air to our city. He was fiery, controversial. And five years later, the Yankees were on top again. Now, I know they say the man is guilty of buying his teams. But wouldn't you spend your own hard earned money on your dreams? Only if they are important enough to you. His dream was to make the Yankees winners again. It was important to him. He wanted to win. He didn't cheat. He didn't break the rules. and he NEVER denigrated his opponents. He spent his money on what was important to him--his family, his community, his charities and the Yankees.

I want to be be a winner in my life. I don't want to win at all costs. But like Steinbrenner, I want to win. I know my goals. I know what I want out of my life and my career. I plan to spend my time, and my money, achieving my goals; and the rest of my time will be spent loving my family and friends, and giving back. I want to live my life like George Steinbrenner.

What's wrong with putting your all into your dreams? If you ask me--nothing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Absentee Blogger

Hello. My name is E, and I am an absentee blogger

ALL: Hello, E.

I don't mean to be absent. I actually think about blogging a lot. Not all the time. Not like I once did, when blogging was new to me--but a lot. Sometimes I don't blog because I feel I just don't have anything to say. Other times I feel I'm too busy. And still other times I think: "I haven't blogged in so long. It would be embarrassing to blog now." And so I don't. And to make matters worse, I haven't even taken the time to read any of your blogs. Well.... I read one. But still, I don't know what any of you are up to. Shame. I'm sure there's lots of excitement out there, and I am not a part of it.

I haven't blogged since the NCAA basketball tournament, and even then I was blogging less. I am a true absentee blogger. But I am going to reform. I plan to start blogging again regularly. And I plan to start reading your blogs again, too. I miss it.

I hope some of you will check in from time-to-time. My life has been kind of crazy. I've been doing some TV things, some new book things, and lots of social things. Like today for instance, I went to the Writers Guild screening of Leonardo DiCaprio's new film, Inception. I liked it, but the mood in the theater was not good. Writer's Guild screenings are held for guild members who are mostly screen and TV writers. Screen and TV writers are very, VERY opinionated. Sometimes they even boo. Which is horrible behavior.

I'm sure many of the people in the theater thought they could have done a better job with the film. I'm not so judgemental. If you like Scifi, I think you'll like it. Nuff said.

I will blog again later this week. No more absenteeism for me. I have some really neat stuff happening in my life, and some not so neat stuff. I will blog about it all. Hope some of you will check in.