A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Flip That House, Not The Channel

Been wondering why your favorite ktbuffy is so addicted to home redecorating, design, and organization shows? Wonder no longer! Go read all about it on Divine Caroline!

I'm having a lot of fun with these pieces -- not just the stories, which are always great to have readers for -- but the articles, too. I'm stretching my wings, so to speak, trying out a sort of Glamour-esque, Cosmo Girl kind of voice that isn't entirely me, but is a magazine-y persona. It's not like writing for my blog, which is more personal, I think. There's something glossy, and thus, a little slippery about magazine-style writing. Shiny and superficial.

And to that end, (speaking of superficial!) I'd love to get paid for this kind of writing, so I ask again -- drop by Divine Caroline as often as you can. Click on one of my articles. Do it all again the next day, and you can help me rake in the big bucks, someday. Ah, that ethereal "someday."


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Truly Divine!

Also, fictional! Check out "Margot Tremont Had An Itch." Some of you may recognize it from our second Storyball, but I'd be very grateful if you'd click on over anyway. And, maybe I suggest, recommend that others click too? There's lots of interesting stuff to read -- not just mine. (Although I'm partial to all of mine.) A little tease:
Kentucky was just a thing to travel through in order to get to Memphis, Tennessee. To get to Graceland. She holed up in the Heartbreak Hotel across the road from Elvis's house, and took the tour with appropriate awe. Still, it felt... small, she thought. Margot had expected something grander. He was the King, wasn't he? On the way out of town, heading into Arkansas, she passed a shining black pyramid by the river and thought he ought to have lived there. That would have been better.
More to come!


I'm back, baby. Yeah!

And with good news, too! Doyce got to share it first, because he didn't break HIS blog with all the live posting last night. Anyway, woot! And I should be sharing more links to some fun Divine Caroline articles and stories soon, at which point I'm going to ask you all to start clicking madly, and telling all your friends to click madly, so I look very very popular. (And I can maybe make some money from it.) Stay tuned!

Also, it might have gotten overlooked in all my Oscar posts yesterday, but don't miss my latest round of "Advice from an Agent"!

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

I hadn't actually been wondering where Jerry Seinfeld has been, but you know? He's funny. I miss him.


I wonder if that woman from Babel can even see the stage behind Nicole Kidman and her giant bow.


Question: does American Sign Language translate? I mean, that's what it's called, right? ASL? So when the chick from Babel is signing, does she sign the English words, or the Japanese ones? What about when there's not a gesture for a word, but when you have to spell it out?

Points to ponder.

Go Jennifer Hudson, though! So nice to see someone legitimately enthused by a win.


And Schwarzenegger gets a shout out from the Oscar acceptance podium. That's gotta be a first.

And wow. Those folks from Pilobolus are coo-el!


Hit me with another montage, baby!


Naomi Watts' dress looks like it's falling off. And what's with the belt? And with the win for Pirates, another film I saw, Doyce tells me he's 8 out of 12 for his picks so far.


I like that new Mastercard commercial with the elephant and the monkey, too.


And another win for Pan's Labyrinth! Clearly, I made a good choice in the few movies I did see this year. Although I loved The Prestige, too.


Hey, wow. I actually saw Marie Antoinette!


I like the new iPhone commercial.


Oooh, look, it's a montage! About writers. Kinda surprised that they didn't include any clips from Stranger Than Fiction, though, which was at least a movie about writing released in 2006.


Wow! They even got an animated version of Abigail Breslin in there!


You know, I was almost expecting Al Gore to announce he was auditioning for "American Idol." That would have been as funny as him getting played off.


You know, I kinda miss the interpretive dancers of "Hard Out Here for a Pimp."


And apparently, the Academy did see Norbit.


I really appreciate that the guy who just won for sound on Letters from Iwo Jima had a dad who was a Marine survivor of Iwo Jima. I had someone recently tell me they wouldn't see the movie, because it would be unpatriotic and disrespectful of anyone on our side who lived through WWII. Which, on one side I recognize that the way for anyone to get through a war like that is to make the other side seem like monsters, but on the other hand, I think it proves some real gumption to make a film that can show the humane side of the "monsters" we create.


I didn't know there was a Hollywood sound fx choir, but I so want in.


I want to see West Bank Story. Isn't there usually someplace online where you can watch the shorts? Help me find it!


Short people! Announcing the nominated shorts! So cute!


That was a very entertaining waste of time, what with all the funny singing. John C. Reilly, "I was in both Boogie and Talledega Nights!"


And the first award goes to Pan's Labyrinth for Art Direction, one of the few nominated movies I actually saw. Woot!


Oh good, Jennifer Hudson took off the half-jacket. Phew! Ellen's funny. I like her.


I really liked that opening montage of the nominees. Clint saying "things like that" = funny. So is Eddie Murphy just standing there. And the guy saying he's there for The Queen.


And on to the actual Oscars! Andre Leon Talley, next time, loosen up, ok? You're awesome, but that was kinda stiff for a man who regularly wears capes.


Heh. Eddie Murphy on his favorite Eddie Murphy film: "I like 'em all. I even like Pluto Nash."


Doyce writes, "I'm going to have to eat raw meat with my bare hands for week to counteract how girly I'm being for you." That being said, everyone gets to comment on Oscar clothing. It's like, a national pasttime.

Also, he adds, he's totally only doing this between revising. Cuz that makes it better.


And on to ABC! And... animated penguins.


How come a commercial for Babel is able to call it the year's most honored film, with seven Oscar nominations, when Dreamgirls got eight?

And E!'s best dressed list is Penelope Cruz, Gynweth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren and Beyonce. Hmmmm. What's with the bow, Nicole?


Meryl Streep just admitted on the red carper that she's a size 14. I love her. Don't love the dress, but I love her.


I love both Cate and Kate. Winslet's dress is gorgeous, but her hair is a little boring. Blanchett is totally glam.


Seeing a lot of very long, straight, flat hair: Gywneth Paltrow, Celine Dion, the chickie with Mark Wahlberg, Nicole Kidman, Beyonce... Kinda boring.


Cool -- Ken Watanabe's date/wife/whatever is rocking a kimono. Also, sorry Doyce, but I would totally do James Bond. Daniel Craig is SMOKIN'!


The world may be ending. I think I like Celine Dion's dress.


Ryan Seacrest, put your underwear away! And in front of Helen Mirren -- the shame!


I really want to pull up Nancy Walls' dress strap. It distracts me. I don't know which is worse, if it's supposed to hanging all loosey-goosy, or if it just keeps falling.


Also, Save The Internet. Do it now.

And now back to your irregularly scheduled live-blogging of the Oscars.


Jodie Foster: "I dyed 'em special." Nice.


Penelope Cruz looks purty. I'm not so in love with Cameron Diaz's look. She couldn't actually bother to do anything with her hair?


Man, I hope Jennifer Hudson takes off that Buck Rogers-ish half-jacket!

Also, Guiliana just tried to hire Michael Buble to sing at her wedding. This was the best time she could choose to do that? Tacky!


Awesome color on Jessica Biel. I must remember to move "The Illusionist" up on my Netflix queue.


Seriously, Jennifer Lopez? Really? What's with the chains? Mark Anthony making sure you don't run away?


Catherine Denevue looks like a tank. Bad neckline choice. Seriously bad.

Also, if one more of E!'s correspondents feel the need to explain a joke, I will seriously throw something at my television.

Also, on the red carpet with Melissa Etheridge, Elena's former AMDA roommate!


And, by the way, I know that lots of other people, many with actual entertainment or fashion credentials, are also live-blogging, but I will be sticking here, and not allowing myself to be influenced by other people's opinions. Although if you want to, feel free.


Who are those little British-looking hobbit-like fellows? And why couldn't they find a hairdresser? And is that Sarah Paulson looking like J.Lo?


What the hell is Al Gore doing at the Oscars?

Oh yeah. He's nominated. Wacky.


Debbie Matenononopolitis needs to eat a cookie. Her shoulder blades could cut glass!


Larry David's wife has enormous hooters!


Also, Maggie Gyllenhaal looks friggin' awesome. Didn't she just have a baby, like, last month?


Everyone else is doing it: Live-blogging the Oscars

Sitting here watching E!'s pre-show coverage, and I'm already horrified by one of the presenter's attemping to nickname Cate Blanchett at "Cate B." versus "Kate W." for Kate Winslet. J-Lo I accept. For everyone else -- use their full name, for pete's sake!


A Question For This Agent

Yes, folks, it's time for another round of Advice from An Agent! De asks
If you're planning to write across multiple genres/ages/formats, would you be better off looking for an agent that can span all the categories, or look for multiple agents as the need arises?
My guess is that at the time you're probably looking for an agent, you've probably got one manuscript in mind, one that you feel is your best and strongest project. Ideally, you'll be looking for an agent that is perfectly suited for that project. So, yes, say it's a YA fantasy, and you're lucky enough to land an agent who sells it. At some point during the conversation you and your agent have about your writing, likely the subject of your other projects has come. Likely your agent has already expressed an interest in seeing what else you come up with, even if it's not the exact same genre/format/age range as your first project. Why's that?

Well, because for an agent, signing a client isn't JUST signing a book, though of course that's a big part of it. It's believing in their work, and wanting to help them further their career. Under those circumstances, someone who signs a YA fantasy and then gets a women's historical fiction next isn't usually going to turn their nose up. If it's truly a matter of not being a great match, often they'll recommend another agent -- either within their office, or a colleague/competitor. I often get things passed to me from my colleagues, and know other agents that recommend their clients contact another agent, for an adult book, for example, when they only rep children's.

The thing to keep in mind is that your agent wants to help you in your career, and so, even if your next novel isn't the same style as your first, they'll want to help you make it a success.

Keep those questions coming!!


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Where the hell have I been?

Well, after getting back from Denver and all my travel, I headed back into work on Wednesday ready to tackle the pile of work that had developed while I'd been gone. More of that on Thursday, followed by a geekfest, followed by a Very Bad Kind of Day on Friday. Yes, believe it or not, Lady Optimism is as prone to bad days as anyone else, and this was a big one. Work to do, library organizing that took me and my colleague AWAY from the work we had to do, staffing issues, and big things to discuss with several clients, not to mention a financial headache of my own to deal with. All is well, I promise, but it was a huge and happy thing for me to get home from work last night, curl up on my couch, and enjoy some Tivo'ed entertainment. I'm finally almost all caught up with my tv -- barring a two-part Masterpiece Theatre new version of Jane Eyre with Toby Stephens, and an adaption of one of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhardt novels, starring Rose Tyler from Doctor Who. Oh, and High School Musical. Because I feel I must see that sometime.

Today, I sat down and contributed a few more articles to Divine Caroline (links to follow shortly), had a big bowl of Cap'n Cunch, and gave writing advice to various friends and clients. I still hope to dive into some manuscripts for work before heading into the city for a birthday soiree, but I've also got one more hour of ER to watch, and dishes to do. Maybe I'll save my reading for tomorrow.

For now, I'm just happy to sit and enjoy my refreshly recovered chair in my little reading nook. Laters!

P.S. On Wednesday, I considered writing a whole "why I'm currently mad at the Catholic Church" post, but I decided not to. Ash Wednesday and all. And despite being mad at them, I still promised myself I'd give up candy for Lent. Not chocolate, mind you. Just candy. I am queen of loopholes.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Looking out windows in SoDak

This one, literally out the dining room window at the Testerfolk's, early one morning.SoDak1
This is me being arty, on the farm.
And this one's just purty, out the window of the car as the sun set across Iowa, I think. Maybe Nebraska.SoDak3


Home again, home again, home again, Jeeves.

Back in New York once more, unpacking, uploading pictures, clearing off my iPod, etc. Happily, one of the benefits of traveling with others is that they write up recaps of your travel adventures, so you don't have to.

I will add, though, my heartfelt thanks for being welcomed by the whole Testerfolk clan, and all the outlying branches thereof. Also, prezzies! Thanks bunches.

Pictures to follow soon. Though so very different than the view I see out my window, the landscape of South Dakota was really breathtaking sometimes. I'm glad I got the chance to see it. Also -- four more states I've been to now! I should update my map!

Create your own personalized map of the USA!


Monday, February 19, 2007

That's a lot of driving.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Rapid is a matter of perspective

Bathroom break outside of Rapid City, South Dakota, at the edge of the Black Hills. So far, Doyce has efused to stop at a wild horse sanctuary, turn off towards Mount Rushmore, let me bathe in Hot Springs, or go to see the World's Lagrest Ball of Twine. There was no sign for that, but I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

In other news, we drove through Wyoming in a wind stroms and were nearly overtaken by a swarm of tumbleweeds.

More later!

(For some reason, I couldn't get this to post any of the multiple times I tried to send it fom my blackberry, a casualty of the lack of service, I guess.)


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Catching up with the birthday girl!

Horrible travel issues aside, I finally made it to Denver around 4:30 yesterday, and was, I think, barely off the plane before hightailing it to the nearest McDonald's and indulging in an aptly-named Happy Meal, to tide me over until dinner, and keep my head from exploding. Consider this -- woke yesterday at 6:15, left for the airport at 7:30, boarded the plan at 8ish, sat on the plane, sat on the plane, sat on the plane, got off to grab two donuts and a blessed Diet Pepsi, got BACK on the plane, sat on the plane, sat on the plane, FINALLY pulled away from the gate around 1:30, with almost another hour (it seemed) before we took off, and the snack service started... which did NOT feature the delicious Frontier white chocolate chip cookie I love so well. No, it was muffins. Inedible muffins, to my taste. So yeah, by 6:30 my time, with only two donuts eaten hours before, I was ready to tackle the next person who waved edible food at me. Luckily, such was not necessary.

Got my bag, met Doyce outside (he was kind enough to pick me up, though our original plan had called for me to take a shuttle downtown to meet him at the office -- a plan shot mostly to hell by my delayed flight), and headed back through some icky weather to the Casa, confirming my arrival to all the need-to-know parties.

After a very happy birthday/Valentine's Day present exchange (Shiny!!), we changed and went downtown to dinner at Strings, for a set four course meal in a room bestooned with balloons. Bestooned with balloons, bestooned with balloons... I just like saying that.

I had champagne, a crab and shrimp "martini" appetizer, heart-shaped ravioli in a red wine and beet sauce, NY Strip Steak with fingerling potatoes, and creme brulee. Yum-MY! Doyce had a mushroom soup, faro spaghetti with lamb bolognese, really yummy pork chops, and cheesecake. So good!

I was practically napping on the drive back home, so we sacked out, delighted that despite the way the day started, it turned out to be a very good first Valentine's Day together.

Today, we're just puttering around the house and running some last-minute errands before heading up to SoDak this evening. Toodles!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Landed! Finally!

Pretty much been on the plane for more than 10 hours, but at least I finally made it! More later.


Drat weather!

Still sitting on the ground in New York, three hours after we were supposed to take off. My innate optimism is pushed to its limits believing that we will, in fact, take off soon, and I will make it to Denver for my birthday, and for the dinner we have planned for tonight.

Send me good thoughts for a safe and speedy flight, that actually takes off soon!


Me Day!

I used to have a little button or sign or something that said, "It's my birthday, aren't I beautiful this time of year?"

Well, it is, and I am. And quite modest, too.

Also, compulsively checking the weather, as well as airport and flight information status, but so far it seems like everything is ok. The way I figure it, the crew is going to want to get back home to Denver, so they'll do all they can to get us to take off. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How Divine! Part Two!

Want something great to read? Check me out!

Four more of these little postings coming in the next few weeks.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

SCBWI wrap-up

Was at the SCBWI winter conference this weekend, and had a very interesting, very good time. As always, it's fun to hang out in social situations with my peers, especially some of those whom I officially "compete" with on a daily basis. But it was great to actually be able to sit down and talk with the writers, to repeat some of the advice I've given here, to help them shape their manuscripts, and start thinking about editing their work. Sure, there were some people at different stages than others, but that, I think, is one of the greatest strengths of the Society. Unlike the SFWA, for instance, which requires an accredited publication for full membership, all the SCBWI requires is a membership fee and a love for creating children's books. Sure, that leaves the group open to a wide range of skill and knowledge levels, but I think that's its strength. Neophyte writers can learn from older, more experienced members, passing along knowledge like a proper old apprentice program. I'm looking forward to becoming much more involved with the group, and to participating even more in some upcoming conferences.

Because, as it turns out, I have some knowledge of my own, and I like sharing it. Or at least using it to refute other's misconceptions. Whee!!


Are you frakkin' kidding me?

Oh Maureen Dowd. This is still news? Thanks to Galleycat for the original commentary and link.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Playing on both sides of the business

Looks like it's back to the drafting table for HtDaS, with another revision forthcoming. It gets better every time though -- or so I think.

In other news, I'll be at the SCBWI Winter Conference tomorrow, and somewhat out of touch. Looking forward to touching base with lots of fellow agents and editors I know, particularly at tomorrow night's VIP cocktail party. Woot!

I feel like I should provide some patented Advice From An Agent on the occasion, but all I can do is tell you what I hope for: that no writer corners me to tell an endless synopsis of their epic novel, "the next Harry Potter," and forces pages on me. Except that I hope to get some reading done of my own on the subway rides to and from the conference, I was thinking of not even bringing a tote bag, to make it easier to refuse material. I must remember business cards, though. But those fit in my purse.

Don't burn down the internets in my absence.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Now or never!

Frakkin' toaster t-shirt. Go buy it. You only have until February 28th to order.


How Divine!

Check it out, my lovelies! My first piece is up on Divine Caroline, here. Enjoy! Make lots of links. Tell all your friends!

More soon!


Agenty stuff, again

Ok, we're back for another round of "Advice from an Agent." I'm not sure I've seen this discussed elsewhere, but it's a form of bookkeeping for all you aspiring writers out there, and it's pretty simple:

Track Your Submissions.

You don't have to go all out and design something fancy, but try making yourself a spreadsheet with each title you're submitting, the date you contacted an agent, how you contacted them and with what (query, query with 3 pages, sample chapters, full manuscript), any follow-ups you may have sent, and their reaction or the result.

We agents may get an awful lot of submissions, but what we do with them is read them. And most of us have gotten very good at remembering what we read. If you write to us in October and describe your novel, if we like the sound of it and ask for a couple of chapters, but ultimately decline, chances are if you write to us AGAIN in February with the same pitch, it's going to ring a bell. Even if it never gets past the query stage, be aware that sending a pitch twice doesn't make you seem persistent (and bear in mind the difference between persistence and annoyance I spoke about before), so much as it makes you look sloppy and forgetful. And that's not the image you want to present of yourself.

Likewise, if you sent us Novel A and it got to the chapters stage, but was ultimately declined, if you're tracking your submissions, you can reference that in a new query for Novel B: "Last summer, you requested and ultimately declined several chapters of Novel A, but I've been working on a new project that is even stronger, and I'd love to share it with you." What this says to me is that I liked something about your work the first time you wrote, and I'm more likely to look at a new manuscript. It's not a slam dunk, of course, but you're looking for every little edge, right?


Monday, February 05, 2007

Lords of Kobol

Via Bear:

Instructions: Use your media player set to random to answer the questions with random song titles.

What does next year have in store for me?
Donegal Joe by The McCabes -- so, travel?

What does my love life look like?
Night Visiting Song by The Fenians -- Oh, I love this. Listen.

What do I say when life get hard?
Isle of Inisfree by The Irish Tenors -- I'm sensing a theme...

What do I think of when I get up in the morning?
Tell Him by The Exciters -- Actually, this fits!

What song will I dance to at my wedding?
Roxie's Suite from Chicago -- Well, it is big with the horns and the swinging. I like it!

What do I want for my career?
I'm the Bomb by Electric Six -- I so am.

Favorite saying?
Boxing by Ben Folds Five -- Well, considering I don't have a song entitled "Woot!"

Favorite place?
Strange Boat by The Waterboys -- I do like boats.

What do I think of my parents?
Black Horse and Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall -- Hmmmm...

Where would I go on a first date?
Black-Eyed Gypsy by The Prodigals -- There was a time I would go to hear The Prodigals play at Paddy Reilly's for any occasion, so this works! Kinda.

Drug of Choice?
I Know My Love by The Corrs and The Chieftains -- Ah, love!

How do I describe myself?
Permanent One by Eugene Edwards -- that's strong. I can live with it.

What is the thing I like doing the most?
Whitefall/Book from the Firefly Soundtrack -- I do like watching Cap'n Tightpants!

What is my state of mind like at the moment?
The Best Man (I May Not Be) by The Fenians -- apparently, Irish. You may have noticed.

How will I die?
Domino by The Billy Lawlor Band -- NoooOOOoooOOOooo!

Song they'll play at my funeral?
Endless Deep by U2 -- How... deep.

What song will I put as the subject?
Lords of Kobol from the Battlestar Galactica Soundtrack -- wacky! it wasn't even on last night!



The days just fly by, and are not likely to get any less speedy in the coming weeks, since I just found out today that I'll be going to the London Book Fair in April. Oh, you say, poor ktbuffy, your life is so hard, jetsetting around Europe. And sure, if you look at it that way, it's pretty sweet. On the OTHER hand, in addition to all the work for my current domestic clients, including a fab new one I've just signed, and all my usual work in the foreign markets, I have to arrange a very heavy schedule of meetings and prepare for them, getting notes from my colleagues, making sure I'm up on all the current books (not just mine) and basically doing a ton of work. It's a good thing I love my job, that's all I'll say.

So, not that I've been the world's best blogger lately ANYWAY, but it's likely to be even more sporadic. At least I'll have a bunch of articles going up on Divine Caroline soon, so you can get a fix there if you need one!

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Neil Gaiman told me to.

Penn Jillette. Ah, those famous folks hijinx!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bestill My Heart!

Words cannot express the depth of my desire.