Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peter Pool Time

I know it's freezing back east, and I don't mean to make you jealous, but I had to post a few pictures of Peter (my nephew) and me in the pool last week Don't worry east coast will warm up, and eventually you'll find yourself in a pool with your loved ones, too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This picture says it all. Happy Obama era, everyone.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jack With A Twist

Brenda Janowitz is the author of JACK WITH A TWIST (Engaging your adversary and other things they don’t teach you in law school) and SCOT ON THE ROCKS (How I survived my ex-boyfriend's wedding with my dignity ever so slightly intact), as well as the short story BASED ON A TRUE STORY. You can learn more about Brenda at and check out her blog at

M: Which came first, the title or the novel?

B: The book idea always comes first for me.

When I wrote SCOT ON THE ROCKS, I had a general idea of where it was going, but by no means a real outline. I just let the story take me where it wanted and I did a lot of editing and re-writing to keep it tight and make it work the way I thought it should.

For JACK WITH A TWIST, I created an outline first to show to my editor so that she’d have a sense of the type of story I wanted to tell. It was really great to work off of an outline since it gives you the opportunity to layer on the things like themes and symbols that I added to second and third drafts of SCOT ON THE ROCKS. I feel that it made for a much richer first draft.

What other art form inspires you as much as writing?

Music. I just love how music can make you feel a certain way—cheer you up when you are sad, get you on your feet dancing when you have something to celebrate.

I wish I had some musical talent, because I think that to be musically inclined is such a gift!

Which comes easier for you - beginnings or endings?

I love beginnings! It’s always so much fun to get started with a new project and set the stage.

The hardest part for me is always the end. (Isn’t it for every writer?) You’ve taken the reader on a journey, and it’s so important to deliver on everything you’ve built up, and to give them something memorable and satisfying.

What are you reading right now?

I recently finished TIME OF MY LIFE by Allison Winn Scotch, which I loved, as well as THE DIVORCE PARTY by Laura Dave, which was heartbreakingly beautiful. Right now, I’m reading PRACTICAL MAGIC by Alice Hoffman. Every time I pick up an Alice Hoffman novel, I know I’m in for a huge treat and this book is no exception!

What's next for you?

I’m working on a commercial women’s fiction novel, and I’ve also got a Young Adult proposal brewing. I always have lots of ideas going at the same time! We’ll have to see which one shapes up to become novel # 3.

Thanks, Brenda!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Prince and the resolution

I've been thinking a lot about Prince lately. Do we call him that these days? He's not that squiggly sign anymore, right? His latest cover is Crimson and Clover, originally by Tommy James and the Shondells. Prince manages to take a tired, perhaps even rote, song, flip it on it's head and turn it into a Prince-ified gem. The first time I heard it a few weeks ago I was in the car and turned on the radio, mid song. I knew IMMEDIATELY that the sexy guitar licks were coming from Prince. I've had the pleasure of seeing him in concert a number of times, including once at the Hollywood Bowl, another time at the Staples Center. 

What is it that Prince has? 

In the writing world, there is a lot of talk about 'voice'. Your voice is not necessarily your literal voice. It is that ephemeral thing between your thoughts and what gets captured on paper. It is your body of work, your style. Flannery O'Connor, for example, has a very distinct voice.
 Some books are forgettable and that is often because the author's 'voice' or the narrator's 'voice' isn't distinct, isn't resonant. Prince's voice, both literally and in the way he plays/strums/manipulates the electric guitar/piano/whatever-other-instrument, is. 

Then there's the charisma. Would someone please explain to me how, at the sold out Staples show (seating 20.000), it felt like he was performing solely for me? How does someone connect on that level? 

There's the sheer volume of his work spanning decades and always fresh and interesting. What creative well is he mining from? I don't even know how old he is because he truly seems ageless. 

I've been thinking a lot about Prince because I yearn to be Prince (Princess?) in my world. I want to be at the top of my game, I want to connect with masses of people, I want a distinct voice and the respect that comes with it. I want my work to evolve and thrive over the years. I want to be ageless, and to have creativity flow like hot lava. I'm aware it's an odd choice for a nerdy writer to pick Prince as her role model, but in '09 I'm going to dig deep and summons my inner rock star, my inner Prince. Sure, it's aiming high, but what's wrong with a little healthy ambition? 

I leave you with a picture of one Sexy Motherf**ker...

...and another of a girl still trying to find her voice.

Happy New Year!!