Monday, 27 April 2009

Soft Pink and Baby Blue

I like those colours. Maybe not in my house, but I don't scream and run away when I see them. From what I heard lately in the publishing world, book covers in pink and baby blue had lost their lustre.

After Bridget Jones and The Devil Wears Prada, the explosion of Chick Lit produced a plethora of pink dresses, stiletto pumps and shopping bags. Hollywood and television followed suit with shows and movies about 'women in the big city'.

Eventually publishers started to cringe at the term.
Agents began to discourage submissions of chick lit novels.

Has the genre run its course in New York? Maybe. But hang on. Evidence suggests it's still strong elsewhere.
Kristin Nelson's blog touched on the continuing popularity of humorous contemporary women's fiction in the UK. Perhaps NY will take a second look if they see something fresh.

Yesterday, I walked around my local Chapters bookstore (while constantly checking to see if Bad Ice was nice and comfy on its shelf), and noticed there were still a healthy number of books with funky lettering and pastel covers. I've read a few - Marian Keyes for example, and was delighted at the depth of the stories. I still re-read Bridget Jones on occasion.

Chick Lit isn't all selfish urban twenty-somethings running around wreaking havoc in the big city. There are lots of intelligent, character-driven stories out there -- tender, sexy and full of laughs.
I would hate for Chick Lit to die just because of a few spoiled brats. Perhaps it just needs a different name.

Image: I borrowed this from The Gardeners Glove. What pretty artwork from C. Dianne Lieber.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

I'm Allowed to be a Couch Potato

As some of you know, I only recently began the journey to publication. Like a lot of authors, I slaved away at a full time job and raised a couple of kids (and a husband) for twenty or so years before deciding to put my fingers to keyboard. As a result, my 'butt in chair' path converged with my 'middle age' path.

In my younger years I was fairly active, running after toddlers or running after sales reps. I crawled under desks to help hook up printers, I walked my kindergarteners to school because we had no bus service. I hacked away at weeds and mowed the lawn. I even hand-sawed a fallen tree because I was deathly afraid of chain saws.

I camped, I canoed, I biked and I hiked. I took horseback riding lessons. I wandered the streets, taking photographs of anything that took my fancy.

And then something happened. Was it the technological age? Was it the fact that my kids were growing into video game-playing homebodies? Was it a feeling of defeat, knowing that the mess would always pile up behind me, the weeds would keep growing, the wood would keep rotting?

I stopped. Stopped walking, riding, schlepping. I spent my free time networking, typing, plotting. At the same time, the dreaded Menopause (I like to call it Mentalpause) reared its head and declared an end to anything resembling metabolism.

Suddenly, I had a gut. Where the Hell did that come from? I didn't eat fried pork chops as a midnight snack. I passed up the drippy, sugary butter tarts my co-worker brought to the office. My family consumed a gallon of ice cream before I even noticed it in the freezer. What was happening?

I decided something had to be done. So last week I joined my fellow Production ladies at the newspaper and suited up for a Lunch Time Power Walk. I thought my leather loafers would be sufficient for the job, but I was mistaken.

We set off to walk around a small lake at a local park. Suzanne set a blazing pace from the start. She's older than me, but she's very fit. She's been hitting the gym for the last year or so. She led the pack, her legs pumping efficiently. Mariella and Rebecca kept up easily. Mariella's been visiting the gym too, and Rebecca is still at that fortunate child-chasing age.

I tried to keep up, really I did. My feeble excuse is my short legs. With each stride they took, I had to take a stride and a half. They had six cylinders and I only had four. Therefore I had to work harder. Old ladies were passing me.

By the time we returned to the office, I had two blisters and a cherry-red face. When I stopped walking, my legs felt six inches shorter.

I was a little sore the next day, but the experience encouraged me to try again today. This time I wore proper footwear. We made good time but I wasn't much faster. Suzanne graciously slowed her pace so I wouldn't have to keep running to catch up. I ate a Lean Cuisine microwave meal afterward, and I'm convinced I burned more calories than I consumed.

So, I'm putting my feet up tonight without a speck of guilt. So there.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

One Week To Go

Yes, folks! My first book signing!

If anyone is in the Southern Ontario vicinity, please join me at Chapters bookstore at 17440 Yonge Street, Newmarket on Saturday, April 11th from 2 to 4 p.m.

I'll be signing a limited number of copies of my hockey themed romantic suspense, Bad Ice.
It is during the Easter Weekend. Hopefully, people will be suffering from Good Friday shopper's withdrawal and will pack the store.

There will be cookies.