Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I know, I know, I should have been all over this and this post should have been up bright and early this morning, but it’s crazy times around here…

Last night a friend threw a BBQ in honor of my other friend who had come all the way over from London for the launch party. As if that weren't exciting enough, about halfway through the evening the doorbell rings and who’s there but my single oldest friend in the world. She’d flown in from Montreal, just for the party, and had managed to keep it a complete surprise. Everyone was in on it and managed to keep the secret for at least a month, so kudos to all my peeps (you too mom! I'm very impressed).

Is it a wonder that in all this flurry of activity, the party (tomorrow!!!), the surprise jet-setting friend drop-ins, the spa appointments, the gift bag production lines, the last minute party details, not to mention that I’m not off of work until tomorrow, that the official launch date of the book nearly passed me by??? Hard to believe but true. I’m not even sure I would have noticed had my little brother not set up a Facebook group called “Buy My Sister’s Book or Die”. Gotta love little brothers. And technology.

So, if after this huge lead-up of over a year you’re still curious about FL, you can finally head on over to the bookstore and get it! (Unless of course you live in Miami, then you’ll have to wait until I can sign your copy this weekend!!)

As for our giveaway winner – Reel Fanatic, congratulations!!! Just send me your address and your copy will be sent from Miami this weekend.

Thanks for all your support guys! I may not blog for the rest of the week, but I’ll be back on Monday with news of the party, and lots of pics!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Contest Announcement!!!

I’m sinking lower into in bad blogger (uh – try terrible) territory, and this mere DAYS BEFORE THE LAUNCH OF FASHIONABLY LATE!!!

This is ridiculous.

I think I may just have to give away a copy of FL just to redeem myself. And I will make it as easy as humanly possible. Just leave me a comment, write down anything you want, anything in the world, like say, AAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!! and I’ll put your name in a hat and have one of my friends pick one. And you have until Monday morning to leave your comment, too.

Before I move on to a completely unrelated topic, I would like to sneak in the tiniest little bit of shameless self promotion and remind you of my reading/signing at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Miami, Sunday June 3rd. I will bring goodies from the launch party, but I won’t say what just yet…

I’ll also be dropping by a bunch of Miami-area Barnes & Noble stores to do some stock signings, so if you’d like your very own autographed copy of FL and happen to live near a B&N (or Books & Books), here’s your chance!

In other exciting news, the launch party is in a mere SIX DAYS, and the source of my nervousness and excitement for the past month and a half will finally come to pass… lots of pics will be up on the blog in the ensuing days, as promised.

And finally, I’m being interviewed for June’s Chick Chat, and, time permitting, I’ll be contributing an article about promotion in there as well. If you’re not a member of the online Chick Lit Writers of the World RWA chapter, then watch this space – I’ll try to get the interview posted here as well.

Now do you see why I haven’t been blogging?

Okay – time for the rant of the day.

I’ve been seeing previews on TV for an upcoming movie with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart called No Reservations and thinking about the original German version, Mostly Marta, which has led me to wonder if perhaps the different stylistic approaches to what is essentially the exact same story, explain something about the way we North Americans see the world.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Mostly Marta (and I don’t blame you if you haven’t – if I didn’t haunt the foreign films section of my local Blockbusters, I wouldn’t have either), it’s the story of a brilliant yet borderline bipolar, loner chef (Marta) working at a swanky restaurant. Calamity strikes when Marta’s only connection to the world outside her kitchen, her single-mom sister, dies in a car crash leaving Marta as sole guardian to her young niece. Marta has no clue what to do with her niece – enter hot, sensual, rival chef who tries to bring out the humanity in Marta.

From my brief description above, this sounds like a typical, predictable romantic comedy with its only twist that it’s set against kitchen politics – cute sounding, but probably forgettable. And hinging mostly on the theater-packing power of the lead actors.

The original Mostly Marta though, caught my attention with its DVD cover depicting a spread of gourmet food, and, being a cooking show addict, I had to check it out. And then the characters charmed me despite (or is it because of?) their utter banality. Marta could have been my neighbor - no airbrushing of her midsection, no flashy wardrobe, no score to give me cues when to laugh or cry - in other words, nothing to distract me from the acting and basic story itself. German Marta did not need to be Catherine-Zeta-Jones-grade stunning to captivate me (in fact, I have a hard time seeing how someone who looks like Catherine will pull off the cold, bitter, no-love-life loner role…) and the leading man, while sexy, isn’t your typical heartthrob. And since the entire movie is German with English subtitles, I can’t say it was a scriptwriter’s tour de force either.

So what was it? That elusive je ne sais quoi that happens when you do your best to de-glamorize life and write real characters going through perfectly believable emotions and life experiences? Besides the mother dying right at the beginning, I can’t say there were any slap-in-the-face type turning points – it was all very subtle. I think it was mostly about connecting, in the most subtle, basic way.

And then I saw the previews for No Reservations, complete with clichéd pretty boy hero, stunning-yet-bafflingly-reluctant damsel in psychological distress, and the gag-inducing sentimental music cue.

My question is: why must we North Americans Disney-fy life? What is our brand of happiness (or the brand that has taken over our pop culture, at least) all pomp and fireworks not to mention replete with shiny, beautiful, and just about perfect people?

Maybe that’s why we’re constantly feeling like we can’t measure up…

You could argue the studios have to do that to make sure the lowest denominator of taste is catered to but that sort of begs the question: what came first, movies that don't trust audiences will identify to what's real as opposed to what's glossy and idealized, or do most people prefer more Disney-fication and less realism in their lives?

… in completely unrelated news, IMDB has listed “Rachel’s Holiday” as being under negotiation, with Catherine Zeta-Jones the only star on board so far. Can you see Catherine as Rachel Walsh, a coke addict who suffers from seriously low self-esteem? Me neither, but I’m thrilled to see (fingers crossed!) one of Marian Keyes’s fantastic novels adapted for the silver screen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Single Mama Drama

1. Drop off Fashionably Late artwork at label place for gift bag labels
2. Buy sticky labels for invitations
3. Drop off sticky labels at printing place, beg and plead that they print them ASAP as party is in a mere 3 weeks
4. Drop off FL ARC for reporter at local paper

... and that was just lunch. I'm in a mind to nap under my desk.

For all my moaning and complaining, here's a timely article about people who have it quite a bit worse, namely unwed moms and how most of them didn't get pregnant the Angelina Jolie way.

What I'm reading: On Writing by Stephen King. I'd always heard this was one of the best but its non-traditional format turned me off - I wanted writing advice and I wanted it NOW! No time for stories about Stephen's older brother Dave and his humble upbringing. Well, turns out it was my loss, because this is a little gem of both literature and how-to craft guidebook.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday: The True Meaning of “Sunny Day” to this Chick

I’ve been tagged! By none other than The Dona (hey – if you can have The Donald and The Dude, why not The Dona?)

So today it dons on me that in a mere three weeks – that’s right people, 21 days – I will be reading from Fashionably Late to a Miami audience.

Fashionably Late. Miami. Moi.

It’s almost too much to handle. This is like one of those fantasies you indulge in when you’re stuck on chapter twenty-three of your virtually-no-hope-to-be-pubbed magnum opus and you start mentally rehearsing the acceptance speech of your RITA award instead of getting your subplots to cooperate.

I feel like going back in time and telling pre-pubbed me not to feel so guilty about the daydreams, that daydreams coupled with many hours at the keyboard (some painful, others that fly by) wondering “what the heck am I doing here, and WHY???” is the stuff magic is made of.

Being able to think back to the daydreams and look at how far you’ve come IS magic.

So, if any of you faithful blog readers happen to be in the Miami area on Sunday June 3rd between 3 and 4:30pm, then you need to be dropping by the same bookstore Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez raves about in her latest, Make Him Look Good, Books & Books Coral Gables.

I am oozing awe. I’ll stop talking about it now before I jinx myself.

Now, about this Tuesday’s topic… yes, I live in the Cayman Islands where nine and a half out of every ten days are likely to be sunny (on the flip side, that half day is for hurricanes), but I moved here because I’m a true-blue sun bunny. So no complaints… but… with all this wonderful weather, you start taking sunny days and all summer connotations for granted. So I’m going to take myself back five years to a time and place where summer was an event more awaited and celebrated than Christmas… Montreal.

Montrealers WORSHIP summer. It’s like we hide all winter long (and in Montreal, boy is winter lo-o-ong…) and burst out of our cocoons with the first green bud to show up on the first maple tree to bloom. Like wearing t-shirts in plus 5 weather (that 5 Celsius, y’all… somebody translate please!). Summer is more than a season for us, it’s an industry, a state of mind, an end to the Winter Blues, its…

1) Tim Horton’s Iced Coffees. Tim Horton is Canada’s answer to Dunkin’ Donuts but only like, a bazillion times better.

2) A meal at one of Montreal’s thousands of outdoor terraces. Any meal, in any neighborhood. I know lots of cities do this now, but this tradition comes to us straight from Paris baby, where artistes would sip their cafés au lait on scraps of sidewalk masquerading as a “terrace” and lament about the miserable state of the world. Nowadays this is a bona fide marketing strategy.

3) Cutting work early so you can get to aforementioned outdoor meal as quickly as possible.

4) Hitting the bars/clubs in short skirts, flimsy tops, open-toed sandals, and best of all… no coats!

5) Sundresses. Denim sundresses, short yellow sundresses, white eyelet sundresses, sundresses from K-Mart or sundresses from Kookai. Whatever. It all works.

6) McDonald’s 49 cent soft ice-cream cones and the special counter open only in the summertime, where you can by them right off Ste. Catherine’s street. I bet they’re a dollar now.

7) Weddings. Everywhere I look, in the paper, blocking traffic, blaring car horns, the magazines, you name it.

8) Festivals. The Just for Laughs fest (yours truly’s favorite), the jazz fest, the film fest, the fireworks fest…

9) La Ronde. This is Montreal’s lone amusement part, as venerable and traditional as Shepard’s Pie. There was some talk of Six Flags buying it way back when and I’m not sure if this has happened in my long absence… When I still lived in the city, I never missed one summer without hitting La Ronde. Even worked there when I was 18!

10) Becoming Canadian. My family traveled to Montreal on an “emigration scouting trip” back in 1986. That summer was one of the best of my entire (admittedly short) life, holding up to such other summers as ones spent in Greece, Spain, Lebanon, and Jordan. I remember standing in front of a fountain in Marineland (Canada’s version of Sea World), tossing a penny in, and making a wish: that we would move to Canada forever and ever.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Countdown Begins…

Once again I’ve sunken into bad blogger territory, and this just 25 days till the release of Fashionably Late!!!

Why am I being so bad you ask? Two words. Launch party. I decided to hold it here in Cayman since that’s where I’ve been living and working for the past five years, and where I thought I’d be able to round up the biggest amount of people willing to get together and get sloshed using a book launch for an excuse (any excuse is a good one).

I keed, I keed… since this is such a small, tightly-knit community, people down here are among the most supportive I’ve ever met, and ninety of them are coming out to celebrate with me on May 30th!

And yes, of COURSE I have the dress picked out already. It’s a deep aqua blue short kimono dress by Geren Ford (purchased from the fabulous Shopbop.com… I wouldn’t have survived living abroad without them).

I had so much fun planning this party, from the venue to the food down to the gift bags – I would seriously consider a career in this is it weren’t for my complete inability to stick to a budget!

Don’t worry – I promise you lots and lots of pics in a months’ time. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at the invite: