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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things To Do

I have all sorts of small things I'm supposed to do....nibbled to death by ducks is this decade's overused phrase that I sometimes wish I'd invented. (Other such phrases show up regularly at sites like Smart Bitches and usually involve a lot of Zs)

But having too much to do and avoiding it all is why I'm here. On the list is paying a bunch of bills, returning emails, thanking that fan who listed my mistakes in a book that's been OOP for 4 years. (hey, I'm keeping her list. who knows when someone might buy that book again?)

Now that I'm getting to the bottom of the TTD list, I can see most of what's left pertains to promo and promo type things. Like the crappy car. Yes, we're getting the car. But the thing is, who is getting the car? That's what the people want to know. The car will eventually end up on the UConn campus. The oldest boy wants this crappy car, a lot, and will even pay for his own gas. Knowing the boy as I do, the inside of that car will surpass description within a week or so. Fossilized chicken inside a styrofoam container? Ha. Child's play for my lil slob. He'll skip the styrofoam is my educated guess.

Here's the problem. During the whole "what on earth can we do about Kate's idiocy?" segment of our lives (which lasted for days after I "won" the car) I managed to convince Mike that this really was going to be good promo and, yay, wasn't I smart to sort of draw the notice of a famous cool guy like Mr. G. Weingarten.

So now Mike's convinced that the only way I will get our money's worth out of this event is if the famous Gene Weingarten (if that man only knew how high his stock was in this house . . .) got to meet me. Why of course if we met, I'd charm the heck out of him and he'd be forced to write all about me in the pages of the WASHINGTON POST.

Um, no, this wasn't the way it was supposed to go. Meet me? No, I don't want to go to DC. No, no, no. I don't wanna. Mostly it's that. Ewgh, travel. Also, I'm not very good at meeting strangers. And there's the thing that I think PBW said a few years ago:

When it comes to publicity, most of us don't do ourselves any favors by showing up in public.

Seriously. And if PBW said it, you know it's probably true.

Note to self: Add "Go read PBW more often." to the list of things to do.

It's hard enough to present oneself on a blog-- I can edit all these words, thank goodness. In person? Oh, no no no. I do not think so. I tend babble first, think later. Eh, let's skip the think phase altogether.

Ugh. And did I mention I have a lingering sinus infection? I'm trying to get out of the habit of using a kleenex until it falls to pieces but I can't seem to stop with just one blow. Mmm. There's a sort of clean corner.

Yeah, I think maybe I should just stay private.


Huh. If by some chance the extraordinary legend, Gene Weingarten, happens by and sees all this whining, he should know:
1. whining is my hobby when the garden is dormant. And I'm very pleased about this car. So is Mike, I'm sure.
2. the boy really is extremely excited about this car, and I think it's a good plan too.**
3. someone will be by to get the car in the next couple of weeks, I promise.

That last paragraph with items 1-3 is because I feel sort of guilty -- Weingarten keeps throwing in fun things with this car to cheer me up. How about this extra loser shirt? he says. And I bet I can get an inker for you! It's not so bad!


__________
** my hope is that the kid will finally have his fender bender in this car. We all have to have that SMALL ACCIDENT, yes? It's a rite of passage. I pulled the bumper off my parents' car. Katherine Shorey tried to climb a tree in Rosedale using Eric's VW. Mike sideswiped a Mercedes.

But what if it's not so small in this car? I refuse to think about larger accidents and you can't make me. If parents thought about those sorts of accidents, they'd never sleep again.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We go to Avatar along with everyone else in Hartford

a very crowded theater. And what's with the huge slug of upcoming 3D movies? Yeesh.
After the movie. Not exactly with spoilers, but still, nearly:

Boy1: They were right. It was just like Ferngully and Dances with Wolves.
Boy 2 and 3: And Rambo.
Boy1: Rambo? It was nothing like Rambo. What a stupid thing to say. Nothing like it. I bet you haven't even seen Rambo.
Me: What I didn't like--
Boy2: Was too. Just like Rambo, stupid head
Boy3: And Star Wars. It had that Star Wars thing.
Me: What I didn't like--
Boy1: Star Wars? What? No way. And you're stupid. Rambo? No. Way. Smurfs though.
Boy3: Smurfs???
Boy1: They were blue.
Boy 2 and 3: Yeah. Definitely. Smurfs.
Boy1: But no way Rambo or Star Wars.
Boy 2: There's the hero epic journey thing.
Me: What I didn't like--
Boy 1: And I don't see how you can say it was like Rambo. He was acting on his own.
Me: But that's just it. That's what I didn't like--
Boy 2: Rambo! You're stupid!
Boy 1: (in a patronizing voice that has to be heard to be believed) No, go ahead, Mom. What were you going to say.
Me: You're not going to interrupt?
Boy 1: (still patronizing) No. You go ahead. Go on, really.
Me: starts long diatribe about movies that depict violence against women and use said violence as form of audience titillation. That movie had the same titillation thing with war and battle scenes.
Boy 2: Titillation. Tit. Heheheheh
Me: The point is, the ex-jarhead character is supposed to move away from mindless violence and the climax is straight to that whole booyah rooting for the fight. The standard scene in the movie that--
Boy 2: It wasn't mindless violence. It was justified.
Me: It was just standard movie ending stuff.
Boy 1 and 2: It's supposed to be standard movie! but done well! it's James Cameron, what do you expect from him?
Me: It could have had a more clever solution.
Boy 1 and 2: They TRIED the more clever solution. It didn't work. Maybe you would have liked it better if the whole planet just died? like Titanic.
Me: Titanic 2.
Them: Deeper! Deader! Colder!
Boy 2: I'll tell you one thing that was stupid. What was with the horse army? That was the stupidest solution ever. Dumbest plan.
Me: The mom had to come to the rescue. Notice that? The mother earth had to rescue--
Boy1: The flying pilot fighters were good though.

etc etc etc.

Did we like it? Yup. Though I do not recommend the 3D version to anyone with a fear of heights. Vertigo city.

UPDATED TO ADD:
Mike: You left me out. I said something too.
me: You did?
Mike: Sure. I had something to say.
me: What? I can't remember.
Mike: Neither can I. I'm sure I was supporting you though.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

under the influence of mucus

How old does a kid have to be before he stops leaving a trail of used kleenex? At least the kid wouldn't get lost in the forest--gross, but better than Hansel's bread crumbs. . except

and this is TMI

Seriously, seriously TMI

dog adores the used tissues. Not as bad as dogs' enthusiasm for used cat boxes, I know, but still.

I'm supposed to go wrap presents, so I will, but you can't make me enjoy this season. At least I don't feel guilty about not enjoying it any more. That's a relief. I think less effort and worry about the lack of Joy makes the atmosphere that much less falsely jolly ---- so that if some real jollity should slip in, we're pleasantly surprised.

But not this year, I imagine. I finally managed to shake the cough and got the boy's cold.

You know that part of A Christmas Carol? (And you know you do because you have the damn thing memorized--perhaps against your will but still, you do. I'm sorry.) Anyway. That part when Scrooge looks at the ghost of Marley and says "You're a bit of bad beef." That's the one part of CC that really rings true for me.

Because damned if a bit of bad beef or a bad cold or a stubbed toe doesn't turn me into a whole other character. Bad weather, the sniffles and my outlook on the world is transformed. Hey, we all start out that way. If we don't get some food, our lives fall apart and we scream and shake and howl. Pleasure and happiness as we knew it is over and gone. Just because some of us manage to rise above the infant stage doesn't mean we're all such grand, soulful creatures.

The lil punkins eventually grow out of the worst of the screaming indignation created by hunger but I can see the influence of hunger on my kids even after all these years. Arsenic hour still exists in our lives. And then add on other bodily issues and watch out.

If you'll excuse me, I must follow the trail of used kleenex to see if I can find the box the kid stole away from me and then I'm going to track down all the rolls of wrapping paper we've bought from years of school fundraisers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

if you visit us

if you see this sign I just put up in the bathroom? It's not directed at you unless you also miss the toilet when you pee. I'm done with that one, entirely.

If you live with teenaged males and have found a way to solve these issues without death or destruction, let me know.


These rules are to be followed or you will be required to shower/bathe/brush teeth at the gym at least there someone is paid to clean up after you

1. Dry off most of your body INSIDE THE TUB. Have the towel within reach when you shower. Dry off, mostly, THEN STEP OUT. The mat is there to mostly keep your feet from freezing, not act as a towel. If the mat does end up wet, hang it on the tub so it’ll dry out


2. When finished with your towel don’t just hang it up, spread it out on its own bar.

3. When you brush your teeth and spit, you will notice --HOLY CRAP!--there is gunk in the sink from your spitting. Every single time you spit. There will be stuff in the sink. EVERY SINGLE TIME. . FROM NOW ON , YOU WILL TAKE A SECOND TO RINSE OFF THIS GUNK. It’s easier to do while it’s still fresh and I’ve had enough of scrubbing off other people’s dried up gunk.


4. Pee in the goddamn toilet. Penalties for this one will be that you guys will be responsible for cleaning all the bathrooms.

Other bathroom rules and regulations will be added as I think of them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

stuff

1. omigod snow! end of civilization! Oh! Oh! No!

Before the snow everyone has to go out and drive around slowly. You'd think this was DC from the way the stores jammed up and from all the excited chatter in the check out lines. Snow! OMIFUCKINGGOD!

2. Gene Weingarten is one of the nicest people on the planet. He's written a few columns all about what a curmudgeon he is but I'm no longer buying that act.

2a. What about the car, you ask? The pro and con lists are driving everyone in the house nuts. We're making the lists and checking them twice and then starting again. Luckily we're all doing it so the problem is not just me.

3. I dreamed I accidentally wrote something snide in a promo/press release and was suddenly reviled by everyone with access to a computer. I was getting more guff than Candace Sams. What a stupid, stupid dream. Online equivalent of being nekkid in public, I guess.

And I'd provide a link as reference to the Candace Sams debacle, but I'm too lazy and anyway, you've seen this sort of thing before, I'm sure. Over at Amazon you'll find 24 pages attached to a review of one of her books. The pages and pages consist of her being a serious dope followed by a huge rushing tide of outraged people saying WTF!!! There has to be some sort of internetty term for that kind of dogpile. We need something that sounds more technical than dog pile.)

3a. Now that I'm awake I think it might be marginally worse to write something snide and not have anyone notice.

4. I have a jigsaw puzzle wreath on the door because Leslie sent it to us. Envy me. You'll envy me more once I find the camera and show you its awesome snowflakish pattern.

Oh god SNOW.

5. There's some delay picking up kid from college because he has to get his room to the point where it's "not a fire hazard" No, really, that's exactly what he said. He doesn't have to clean up but he'll get fined if it's a fire hazard.

It's always clear when there's a college break coming along, because the calls crank up. As of yesterday, I stopped answering the phone because he never answers his cell which means his friends call us. We are so 20th century what with this landline and all.

6. I'm not loving the books I'm reading nor the movies I'm watching nor (and this is the bad one) the books I'm writing. Alas. I want to be blown away but it's not happening. No happy little sighs. On the other hand, no slamming the books against the far wall. Ah, blah. We watched Shakespeare in Love for the first time last night. Eh, it was cute. but Eh which is a step up from Meh.

7. And I got another rejection. Tough shit. I'm not going to get the hint, world. You'll just have to put up with the submissions because, I mean, what else can I do? I'm still not fit for the refugees. Their lives are hard enough without having me back in the picture.








Thursday, December 17, 2009

hey.

I posted my latest cover (book out in February) at erotic muses. I like it.

Of course after Butt Genie, I'm not interested in covers that are just pretty. I want covers that will rock the foundation of civilization and get me publicity.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

woof

Colder weather means the dog can join me on errands again. Going for car-rides = highlight of her pathetic life.

But what is with the overprotective world these days? Or maybe I mean kinda dumb world.

**

Today's well-meaning person: You shouldn't leave your dog in the car.
Me: Yeah, I don't in the summer, but it's not hot any more. She won't suffocate.
TWMP: Someone might steal her.

...I don't point out that this is an 80 lb rottweiler shepherd mix, not a toddler.

**

Another person at trader joes: You shouldn't leave your dog in the car. He barked at me.
Me: I'm sorry. She's usually pretty good about not barking at people walking past. (I get the person's point--bugs me when a dog startles the hell out of me with random barking when I'm just walking past)
APATJ: I was just trying to say hello.
Me: Did you put your hand in the window? (I leave it open a half inch sometimes)
APATJ: I knocked on the glass.

**

Person at Best Buy: You shouldn't leave your dog in the car. What if she gets out?
Me: The only way that would happen is if someone let her out and I lock the doors. (I did that day, anyway)
PABB: She could stand on the lock thing, open it.

She could also maybe put the car in neutral, let down the parking brake and maybe the car could drift into the car behind. But....

I think I blame the lawyers and insurance types for the lurid accident-prone imagination of the general public these days.

The dog is the best car companion, ever. She doesn't whine, she doesn't pace and she doesn't even poke her head out the window as we drive (which is sort of a pity, actually. I know it's bad for their ears, but I love the sight of dogs enjoying a good wind on car rides. That's one of the naturally joyful moments in life) . She just sits and steams up one of the back windows. If I say "look! A squirrel!" she'll look out the window. Otherwise she sits and stares into space. I don't get why she likes the trip so much. But if I pick up my car keys, she goes nuts. She'd rather go for a car ride than eat, which is saying something.


Friday, December 11, 2009

on the other hand...

it's a good thing that we have the internet to pry into the minds of the people we meet. I was just writing a scene in someone's house .... and realized the nosy character wasn't going to get squat from her snooping.

She's looking around for CDs and books and whoops, no way. Those are all on the Blackberry or the Kindle.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

wow, what a bitch

Turns out when I give anonymous star reviews, I'm a real asshat.

Our library has a five star system for its online audio books. For each online book, there are two lines of stars: "average rating"and "my rating" and I've been using it for my own purposes. I'm not clicking to promote anyone's work, or tell the world my opinion, but to keep track which books I've listened to and whether or not I liked the damn thing. Memory failing, don't you know.

I've listened to a gazillion books and given out only a few five star ratings. Most of the time I'm clicking two, three stars---with a fair number of one stars.

It's a huge difference from my usual instincts for star rating--kind of a reverse, actually. (I give lots of fives in the real world but that's in part because I don't go rating the one star books. Me 'n Harriet Klausner.) I think it's because the author is unlikely to come across my rating at our public library. And I doubt other library listeners pay attention to the average star ratings, only because I don't pay attention to them when I'm picking a book from that source.

The strange thing is that in both cases, the star rating in public and in private, I feel like I'm being honest.

Maybe it's because there are practically nothing but "new to me" books at the library. I'm always trying authors whose work I don't know.

Maybe it's because I don't think about the person behind the books when I click at the library and in the other rating world, I always do. That doesn't make the rating less honest, just adds another dimension to the book, one I can't usually ignore. (I can for those hyper-famous people)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Promo

The promo budget for 2010 is now the crappy car. I won't participate in any online ads or group Romantic Times and I'm no longer featured over at Noveltalk or Fresh Fiction. Hmm. That almost covers the car cost. Hey, if I was going for a single full-color ad in RT, I could have gotten TWO crappy cars. **

I wasn't planning to lay out the bucks for anything huge because so far I have three books scheduled for release in 2010 and two of them are m/m with Bonnie Dee. Nothing big, nothing NY so no advances.

The $30 here and there for those online banners are out. I have to use this purchase as my promotion. How can I connect the historical romance or the hot sexxx with the 1991 mazda 323?

I asked some writer pals for ideas. Here's what I got:

1. Paint your name and website url on the car. Looks like it needs a paint job anyway. (more than one person)

2. Sandy Blair's suggestion: “Win a fab car once owned by noted columnist Gene Weingarten and now by award-winning author Kate Rothwell! Comes with chip paint, a questionable transmission and no heat, but not to worry. Kate's including something sure to keep the new owner warm...an autographed copy of her hot new release.”

3. Send Weingarten samples of your most purple writing. He won't be able to resist mocking it and your books will be in the Washington Post! (oh, thanks a lot, Lisa. [And actually, I thought of that too])

4. Donate it to your favorite charity for a raffle item? Put it on eBay and play up the "owned by celebrity" angle? (Tori Scott over at Facebook)

5. Hire a tow-truck to haul it around the streets of New York with balloons and streamers and signs attached to it. (don't forget your name) Readers and people like editors will feel sorry for you and buy your books . . . because everyone knows that editors buy books from writers they pity. (me, before coffee)

You got any ideas? Let me know.'


____________
**And hey! If I skip RWA's conference, I'll have saved enough to buy this car and its gas for a year. I tell you, this car is FOUND MONEY.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Oh. My. God.
The car is ours.


The good news the "revolver" listed is a bike rack and not an actual gun....for my husband's sake.

He's looking up blue book value. $350 trade in. WOOT! But once the oldest son and his friends get finished painting it, this vehicle will be worth a great deal more.

UPDATE: And the more I read about the Weeks family, their boys and the charity, the better I feel about this business.

I was feeling slightly miffed at this whole thing--there are only so many times I can be called a doot brain*** before I start to sulk--when I read about the Weeks's loss. Whining seems beside the point. Especially with that that additional why-are-you-discontent----you-still-have-your-boys factor. (Linton and Jan Weeks strike me as too generous to want any other parent of boys to feel slightly guilty. That sort of response just comes along naturally).

_______

*** I'd say the doot-brain name-calling is pretty evenly divided between Mike and me.

Shitshitshit Save me from myself

me: hey, mike, look at this listing. Gene Weingarten's selling a car for charity.
mike: Pretty sweet wheels. We definitely should bid.
me: ha! ha! ha!

two hours later....

me: okay, I bid
mike: wt? f?
me: It's fine. I mean Gene Weingarten is famous! A famous funny guy!** Surely someone will outbid this paltry sum of mine.
mike: How much did you bid on that piece of crap? Do you recall we have a kid in college?
me: He's at a state school. It's fine!
mike: Didn't you tell me that your writing income is going down rather than up?
me: Oh, it's fine. It really is a good cause. And this conversation is moot because any second now someone else will outbid me.

six days later
....

Oh, shit.

the auction's going to end in an hour and fifteen minutes.

No one has outbid me and I'm freaking doomed.

Here's what I tell myself: On the plus side, there's a clock and a cool teeshirt thrown in--a teeshirt I'd never get in the usual manner because I'm not funny enough to enter the Style Invitational. (But I plan on wearing that shirt anyway and maybe wrapping the seat in duct tape and garbage bags. I might not know about short and witty but I know from crap cars.)

And hey, maybe I can somehow connect this 1991 POS Mazda to my glamorous image as a rrrromance writer. It's about half the price of a full page ad in Romantic Times. That's a fabulous deal, I remind myself.

Here's what I tell Mike: It's fine! There's still plenty of time. Someone else is going to bid. Any second.

_________
*** I'd like to point out that this is all basically Mike's fault. He's the one who reads me Weingarten every Sunday.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

more random

why why why did the library get this book? and why why why did I start listening to it? why can't I stop? the most simplistic of the spenser testosterone myth stuff dumbed down to for kids. how is it that people can give romance the middle finger when there's this kind of stuff to moan about? fight fight pose pose hero hero etc Here's what I think: This is the xy equivalent of the xx of trashy romance. there, I admit it: there is such a thing as trashy romance...and I'm reading it all. xx xy allllwwwlllwlw.

uuuhhhhhhhhhhh Kate's moan of anguish. all that PLUS about ten mentions of susan's harvard phd education. **

the good news: it's short. why can't I stop? why? The description of the river is cool. the title is nice and fits...but. why? why? why? do I do it?


Speaking of romance, all the carrying on about White Collar's main lead is fun to see--swooning on twitter-- but what I like are the Relationships. The FBI guy and his wife is one of the best marriages out there in teeveeland, and although it would be nice if she had a life, it's not really about her. (though come to think of it, there is something about it. She's some kinda caterer or something? ) It's nice that she knows the cutieboy is hawt and she can look at him with googoo appreciative eyes but we know she'd never hurt her guy. The details--like the socks FBI guy wears because she gave them to him, the watch she gave and took back--make it lovely. And then there's the way the three interact, also fun.

_______
**my husband has a harvard phd education--and get this--we manage to go YEARS without mentioning that fact to each other. These people can't get through a single conversation.