Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What I Did on My Thanksgiving Vacation

Well, it was supposed to be a vacation

And is was supposed to start at 3:00, like all the other editorial publishing personnel, but I had had a book deal blow up and I was waiting to talk to the publisher. And that did not go well, so I then talked to the author, and we went into the Thanksgiving holiday aggrieved.

So I spent a big portion of the holiday thinking how I might be able to make this book deal work, which was annoying, because instead of watching the parade, or enjoying the pumpkin cheesecake, I was reworking this now very complicated book deal in my head.

Friday I got my nails done, which I was supposed to do on Wednesday, and read two partials, which I liked, but knew needed work, so I had to decide whether or not I (a) knew how to fix them and b) if I liked them enough to commit to rereading and editing.

Saturday decided to get up early and hit the sales and I was surprised that everything I wanted was still in the stores, which just goes to show you that this is going to be a lean year for the economy. Saturday afternoon I took my son to Pizza Uno and Enchanted. I did not find it quite as charming as my colleague, Jenny Rappaport. While I loved the concept and the fact that it was a spoof of Disney fantasies by Disney, it just wasn't sarcastic enough for me. The only part of the story that I felt worked on that level was when the princess cleans up her bachelor-dad's apartment with the help of the urban creatures - pigeons, mice, rats, bugs.

Sunday I cleaned the house (without the help of the magical urban creatures).

Monday strapped myself back in and had the fun of learning that three books I thought were going to sell, didn't. So that meant I start from scratch on those again.

Wrote to the two authors whose partials I had read over the weekend and gave them the news that I thought they needed to rewrite their books. Both were actually pleased with my suggestions, so I now have two new clients. Yeah, I think.

Also got a request to mentor someone. Explored that and found she is interested in agenting erotica, so I have agreed to show her the ropes.

Tuesday was so intense that I made myself breakfast at 10:32 and didn't eat it until 11:45. I was on the phone for an hour straight.

Edited another proposal that came in right before the holiday, and did two readings of a contract that was already a week late (their fault, not mine).

Emailed all the editors who have stuff they promised to get back to me on.

Keep on wondering why I am so tired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mathew Lesko and me!

Any chance of seeing the costume? I'd link to it from my blog.

Mathew Lesko read my blog(!!!) and requested that I post a picture of my son in his Halloween costume, so here you go (I've altered his face a bit, but the image is there).

Happy Thanksgiving

I love this holiday, because it's universal for every American, no mater what your religious or ethnic hertitage.

And I love it even more now that someone else is doing it for me. Since my mother is a minster, she always worked on the holidays, so I have been doing Thanksgiving since I was 22.

But now my boyfriend's family wants to host, and I am over-joyed to just bring pie.

And it's been another busy week. I had hoped to stop working at 3:00 today, but I was on the phone until 5:00.

And not a single one of the five books I was hoping to close on this week came through.

Meanwhile, a prospective client with fame in another publishing dimension had approached me about working with him on fiction, should he ever have the time to write. I liked his ideas, so I sent him a "where's your stuff?" email in the summer. Two weeks into the Writer's Strike, he sent me 18 chapters. My new intern (she's awesome!!) and I read it right away, and it is so good that I had to email it to a select handful of editors right before the holiday. I'll keep you posted.

Enjoy the turkey!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


In case you were in a coma yesterday, or more pre-occupied with the National Book Awards, here's the latest on our fearless fallen maverick, Judith Regan.

What can I possibly say that hasn't already been said by Guiliani or Jane Freidman or half the publishing bloggers on the web.

OK, here's my contribution - I couldn't make up this character, put her in a novel and get away with it. My editor would tell me she was way too over the top.

Judith Regan Sues Ex-Employer News Corp. Over Firing
Patricia Hurtado
Tue Nov 13, 9:29 PM ET

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Judith Regan, who was fired last year from News Corp.'s HarperCollins unit, sued the companies, claiming to be the victim of a ``deliberate smear campaign'' aimed at protecting presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani.

Regan, former president of HarperCollins' ReganBooks division, seeks at least $100 million in damages in a complaint filed today in state Supreme Court in New York. Regan claims in her complaint that News Corp. tried to destroy her reputation because she has information about former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik that would be harmful to ex-New York Mayor Giuliani and his presidential campaign.

``The smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.'s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani's presidential ambitions,'' Regan said in the complaint.

Regan, who published Kerik's autobiography ``The Lost Son,'' was fired from HarperCollins in December 2006 after she backed O.J. Simpson's book, ``If I Did It.'' In the book, Simpson described how he could have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

News Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch canceled publication of the Simpson book and a Fox broadcast special starring Simpson in November 2006, saying it was an ``ill- considered project.'' Regan's suit also names HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman as a defendant.

ReganBooks Division

Regan claims in the suit that she generated more than $1 billion in book sales for News Corp. HarperCollins shut its ReganBooks unit in January.

Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for News Corp. said ``the claims are preposterous.'' He declined comment further on the complaint.

Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Giuliani's campaign, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Kerik couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

In her complaint, Regan said she built a ``publishing and media juggernaut'' whose imprint sold ``tens of millions of books'' after she left Simon & Schuster to join News Corp. in 1994. She said News Corp. had a ``double standard,'' set her up as a scapegoat for the O.J. Simpson controversy, and fired her without cause, fabricating numerous stories that she was a ``disgraceful and unethical publisher.''

Murdoch ``personally'' approved of the Simpson book and suggested paying $1 million for the project, Regan claims in her suit. When the controversy erupted over the project, the defendants planted false stories in the press to discredit her, Regan said, including one allegation that she was fired because she made anti-Semitic comments and had claimed to be the victim of a ``Jewish cabal'' in the book industry.

``The charge was completely fabricated,'' Regan said in her complaint.

`Personal Relationship'

While not specifying what information she has about Kerik, who she claims had a ``personal relationship'' with her, Regan said that an unnamed News Corp. executive told her to withhold information and documents from investigators in their probe of the former police commissioner. Kerik was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury on tax evasion and conspiracy charges.

``It is now widely accepted that one of Giuliani's major political vulnerabilities is his association with Bernard Kerik,'' Regan said in her suit.

``A senior executive in the News Corp. organization told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani's presidential campaign,'' according to the complaint. ``This executive advised Regan to lie to, and withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.''

Best Sellers

Regan published books about radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, as well as a book about porn star Jenna Jameson. All were best sellers for either Simon & Schuster or ReganBooks, she said in the complaint.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Norman Mailer and Ira Levin R.I.P., Van Hallen, Rachel Ray and Walt Disney

I took a brief family vacation to Disneyworld, where I managed not to work (wait - I did meet with a client for breakfast). We jammed four days of Disney into three overnights, so we were up at dawn to fly out and in at midnight when we came back. But I love it, and I am so glad that my teen-aged son still wants to go with his middle-aged mom.

It should be no surprise to my readers that my favorite Disney ride is The Haunted Mansion, but I do love Soarin' and Mission Mars (the kinder, gentler version). My son and I also stayed for a full showing of activities at The Adventurer's Club on Pleasure Island, and that was a hoot and a highlight.

In order to take one day off (I was gone for Veteran's Day, but that should be a holiday, so it doesn't count), I was working until about 10:00 the night before. I did four contracts that week and two major submissions (meaning getting 15 copies or more of a proposal out) as well as mailing out the week's checks.

Came back to another contract to review and the changes to two of the contracts I had reviewed last week.

I am hoping to close on four books, possibly five, before the Thanksgiving break.

I went to a Women in Publishing meeting on industry blogs last night, which was great. It's amazing how many people in this industry are sharing their wealth. Made me ask myself the question, "Why Do I Blog," which I'm hoping will be answered in my next post.

But then I had tix for the Van Halen concert, which was probably the best one I've seen this calendar year (and that includes The Police, Sprinsteen and Rush, who were all pretty awesome). Said hello to Rachel Ray, who was in front of us (and much cuter and tinier in person) - a New York moment (I keep on seeing Tony Bennett walking his poodle around Central Park too).

But, as you know, Ira Levin died today, which is a loss. He was a major horror/fantasy writer who really brought my favorite genre into the social zeitgeist. Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives and The Boys from Brazil were amazing social commentaries.

When I was in high school he also wrote his social science fiction novel, This Perfect Day, which I loved, but it appears no one else did, because it didn't even make it into his obituaries.

Norman Mailer died while I was in Orlando. He was a mainstay of my literary pantheon, always there with Updike, Vidal and Roth. I kind of think of them as my literary uncles.

But I was never particularly fond of him. I read The Naked and the Dead when I was in college, and was not old enough to be impressed by how young he was when he wrote it. Then I discovered feminism (or it discovered me) and I was so appalled by his essay on giving women oral sex as the answer to all the problems between the sexes (I'm sure you can google this), I just gave up on him. The Gary Gilmore years were interesting, but let's not forget that he stabbed one of six wives and got a murderer released from prison so he could kill again. He was colorful, but just not my favorite uncle.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Greek Chicken Soup

I am better. I did absolutely nothing Saturday, but sleep and rest, which was very hard for me.

And I felt much better on Sunday, when we all had an extra hour's sleep.

But I credit my speedy recovering to Avgolemono soup (it means egg and lemon soup), my comfort food of choice. Recipe below:

One large can of chicken broth with fat (That's four small cans of broth).
3 eggs
2 lemons
1 cup cooked rice

Bring to boil one can chicken broth and one can water.
Make one cup of white rice (you can also use orzo, but I prefer the taste of rice in this soup).
In a large bowl, beat the three eggs. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze in half a lemon at a time, beating with the eggs as you go along. When all the lemon juice is added and beaten in, add the cooked rice to the lemon egg mixture (for those who care, the lemon cooks the eggs).

Ladle the broth into the egg and rice mixture and stir as you go along. This is a little slow and tedious, but if you rush it, the soup will curdle. If you do it right, it is an amazingly creamy texture. When the entire broth is ladled and stirred into the egg mixture, give it all a good stir and serve.

A Bronx Tale was incredible. I knew it had been a play before the movie, but was unaware it was a one man show. Chazz Palminteri was incredible for 90 minutes straight playing something like 20 characters. And he wrote the play.

We had to wait on line to get into the theatre even though we had tickets. This is a 14 week run that is practically sold-old already, but definitely worth it, especially if you are interested in the creative process of going from play to film.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I am Sick

I actually started to get sick yesterday, but popped Ibuprofen after Ibuprofen hoping that the headache that would not go away was just a headache. But I woke up with it this morning, with a congested head and only half my throat sore.

I am sick because I did too much. After all the family gatherings last week, I had promised to take my retired minister mother to Atlantic City (where I mostly watch her gamble), so I was gone Monday and Tuesday (but was up at 7:00 a.m. and worked until noon on Monday and was on the blackberry the whole time there). I got back Tuesday night and stayed up until 2:00 a.m. sewing yellow question marks on a purple suit for my son's Halloween costume of infomercial pitchman Matthew Lesko (he looked fabulous), but I was already tired.

And then I worked like a tornado the next two days trying to make up for lost time, working until 7:00 on Wednesday night.

I took two naps Friday, but that didn't make a difference.

So I am holed up in bed with my computer and I will spend all day today reading in an effort to outfox this cold. I have tickets to A Bronx Tale tomorrow, and I don't want to be under the weather for that.