Monday, July 23, 2007

Title Contest!

Okay, so I'm a bad, bad blogger - I did promise you a contest so here it is. Actually, it's more of a giving-you-incentive-to-help-me-out-contest. I don't know by what stroke of genius I managed to come up with a title I loved with Fashionably Late, but I'm not feeling the title magic this time around. Here's what I've come up with, perhaps you can give me the top three eye-catching titles from the below list, and you can enter a draw to win..... wait for it.... an art print direct from Cuba!!! I've just come back from an art scouting trip there (hence the no blogging), so I can make good on this. Please don't forget to include your name (or some kind of identifier) if you're posting anonymously.

Here's your prize:

It's a flat watercolour so I promise to be prompt in sending it to you (I learned my lesson with the coco taxi debacle). I don't have a ruler handy, but (and I included some trade paperbacks in the pic for your reference), it looks like a 6" x 8".

And the titles are:

Loose Ends
Cutting Loose
On the Loose
Loosely Translated
Losing It
Loose Girls
Coming Loose
The Loose Girls Club

Fashionably Unwed
Fashionably Deluded
Fashionably Jilted
Fashionably Jaded
Fashionably Unsettled

Lipstick Rebellion
Rebels in High Heels
Fashionistas Without a Cause


Adventures in Limboland
Accidentally Unwed
A Season in the Sun

I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say that the book is a spin off of Fashionably Late, the tale of one of the characters who figures out that her relationship is well, not quite what it seemed, and runs off to somewhere HOT (not Cuba!) to figure out her life. Her behaviour is very un-good-girl-like considering her strict background, hence the "loose", and in this new life of hers, she meets two other girls who've made their own lives on their own terms, away from their families... Good luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dallas Baby!

Dallas was F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C (well, except for the food, but I suspect that was more RWA's fault than the city's...)

As always, conferences are hugely inspiring, and among things, the vibe there flies in face of the published-writer-as-rockstar stereotype. Nora Roberts, recently named one of America's top 100 entertainers (not writers - entertainers) grabbed a seat across from me at the bar, another NYT bestselling author was walking around with her dress caught somewhere on her hips... it's all very democratic. And cathartic for the unpublished. So if you're serious about your writing but are terrified of feeling like a guppy swimming alongside sharks, don't be. I met my agent at my first ever conference (which was also in Dallas), picked up Gods knows how many tips on the craft, and cartloads of free books every time (I didn't get as many this time but what I did get I love).

The highlights of this year for me (besides catching up with my writing chicas) have to be the impromptu speech of writing multicultural lit and the St. Martin's/TOR signing.

Allow me to explain. Last year my agent gave a workshop/panel about writing multicultural chick lit, moderated by the lovely Michelle Yu, one of the authors of China Dolls. My book wasn't out then, so I wasn't approached for the panel. Then, a few months after that, Michelle did contact me about a multicultural chick lit panel asking me if I would like to participate. Naturally I was all over it, but (and here's the crux of the matter...) I ASSUMED (what do they say about assuming making an ass out of you and me?...)that this was the same type of panel as last year, and that it was organized by my agent. So, I followed up with my agent, NOT Michelle (stupid, stupid, stupid Nadine) before the conference. My agent kindly informed me that she would be doing her workshops on her own this year, without a panel (I can imagine her scratching her head and wondering what the heck I was talking about).

So I promptly forgot about this panel business.

Until Thursday morning, at the conference registration, where I was handed a 'speaker' badge. Ha ha.

Then I met my agent, and we managed to piece together what had happened.

Fortunately this story has a happy ending: during that period of time when I did think I was going to give a speech about writing multicultural fiction, I did actually think about what I would say, what I think the key commandments are, etc. So I wasn't completely unprepared. I met with Michelle & Blossom and we tweaked our presentation, and were joined by the scholarly Cathy Yardley, author of Will Write for Shoes among other works, and all was well that ended well. I'm actually very pleased with the panel, and we're going to be back bigger and stronger (and with handouts this time!) in San Fransisco next year.

The other awesome thing about the Nationals was... drum roll please... my signing! My editor totally pulled through and arranged for boxes and boxes of Fashionably Late to be waiting for me, together with a lovely gentleman who was charged with explaining the process to me and making me feel cared for. I love you Paul!!!

The signing itself could not have gone better, I had a fantastic turnout with lots and lots of positive comments like: I love your cover, or I've heard about your book (nothing, by the way, is sweeter to a writer's ears than hearing that someone has heard about your book... sometimes it feels like all the PR noise you're trying to make may as well be coming out of Siberia).

The best moment? On the plane back from Dallas a middle-aged nurse from North Carolina struck up a conversation with me where I revealed that I was a pubbed writer, and when I produced a copy of FL, she looked at it and said: "Oh I recognize this... I think I saw it at the airport..."

Finally, stay tuned for tomorrow, when I'll be announcing a new contest!!! (and I promise you a very cool prize).

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Seventy Day Challenge

I ran across this post on Diana's site, and I'm thrilled I did - it's EXACTLY the kind of kick-in-the-pants I need. My average output over the past 15 days has been just short of 1,000 words/day which is woefully short of my 2,000 words/day goal I set for myself when I decided to write full-time.

So there were a few "life" events, like moving house, Canada Day, the impending 'moving countries' (back to Canada) and of course Dallas conference, still, I realize these are all just excuses. I know, because when I actually DO start writing, after surfing the net for ages and reading a thousand blogs, I'm pretty good. And when I get inspired (like yesterday, being hit on by a balding Indian waiter who was convinced I too was Indian and was denying it only because I didn't want to flirt back with him - which I didn't, but I wasn't aware this was a crime) I can write pages and pages on the back of whatever's handy. In yesterday's case, it was the back cover of a copy of Newsweek.

So here's my goal: 2,000 words/day for 60 days, every day, including the day I fly back to Montreal (Aug 1) and conference (though I will commit to a reduced workload for conference - 500 words/day).

So there. Now off to write today's output!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Blame it on the Booze, But…

I had a very heartwarming moment a few nights ago standing in line at the local post-clubbing, all-night greasy food eatery. Every city has one – in Montreal it’s the Amir on the corner of Crescent and de la Montagne (yes it’s Lebanese food, so you may be tempted to scream ‘biased’ but I promise you it’s the absolute BEST food you can get at four o’clock in the morning – the mixed-ethnicity, long lines should be evidence enough).

Anyway, Grand Cayman has a similar fine dining spot which seems to do most of business between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.

On the night in question, I happened to be waiting in line behind a couple who I’m guessing were vaguely acquainted before, but who’d just hooked up that night. The gentleman was a good ol’ Texas white boy – as white as white Midwestern/Southern American college kids get – and the young woman was an Indian-American (there’s a med school here in Cayman populated mostly by American kids. Don’t ask me why).

They were talking about some classmates. The girl said “You know Mohammed?”

And what Monsieur White Texan replied just made my heart melt. He said: “Dude - there’s, like, eight Mohammeds in my class – that’s the most random name you can give me… was it short Mohammed, or tall skinny Mohammed, or…”

There’s wasn’t a hint of racism in his voice, the voice of this young white future doctor, this American citizen who would one day vote, and who I can only hope will be in a position to tell a**holes who try and make him fear ‘Mohammeds’ as terrorists just where they can shove their bigotry. Right there in front of me was the kind of American you never read about in the news, or see on TV: regular, smart, educated, traveled American who has eight Mohammeds in his med school classes, and who’d just hooked up with a hot Indian girl.

Like I said, maybe it was the vodka red bulls, but I wanted to cry…

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dallas Signing Confirmed!

Apologies for the late notice but I just found out myself... I'm going to be signing at the RWA Nationals in Dallas this year, in the St. Martin's giveaway room!

I am SO psyched about this! If you're planning on attending then conference, then please pop on over and say hi. If you happen to have bought your copy of FL already, then please bring it along - I'll be happy to sign it for you! (and give you a nifty FL bookmark too)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Romantic Times Review!

Here's a nice little review Fashionably Late got from Romantic Times in the mainstream reviews section... 4 stars out of a possible 4 and a half, chicas!!!

It's actually one of my favorite ones so far - which is to say it's one that makes me see my own writing in a new light (trust me people, when you've read your manuscript so many times your eyeballs feel like they might fall out of their sockets at the mere thought of one more read, a fresh perspective is nothing short of miraculous). Here it is:

Fashionably Late is a great coming-of-age story that is written in the first person, drawing the reader into the characters’ lives. The strength of the story is in the author’s ability to allow the characters to share their heritage, beliefs, and to grow with and despite their differences. Readers from any culture will identify with the characters in this story. Geographical differences and customs are explained in such a way that the reader is educated and entertained at the same time.

A huge fear driving my writing is that the three friends - Ali, Sophie and Yasmin - weren't differentiated enough. One thing I'd read in craft books was that you had to make sure you could tell which character was speaking even if you didn't have the dialogue tag to help. Boy did I worry about that. So to see this kind of review really warms up the heart : )

Also, I've started blogging on Amazon. The posts will be less frequent and less, um, how do I say this? Acerbic? Outspoken?... than the ones here. So if you can't get enough blog goodness, head on over to and look up Fashionably Late. If you've read the book, then don't be shy to give it a review while you're there : )