Great to be back and ready to catch you up on what's been going on. First off, last week was the first week that I was writing full-time on my new book, What the Spell? I'm so excited to tell you all about this project, but for now I can only give you limited info:
1. The book is a prequel/spin-off and will take place one year before Life's a Witch.
2. What the Spell? will include two characters from LAW and neither of them are Hadley (any guesses to who they might be?)
3. There WILL be a love story mixed in for good measure and a TON more spells!
Anyways, so like I said, last week I began writing WTS? and to my dismay, writing was really slow at first. BUT it just so happened that I'd come down with a horrible cold at the same time, so it was making my brain all foggy. I was trying SO hard to write, but I was tired and run-down and my creative juices seemed to be a bit sick too. Still, I managed to write a nice little chunk of the story, in the midst of all the nose blowing (Um, speaking of nose blowing, I've discovered the most amazing invention of all time: Kleenex Cool Touch. Seriously. You pick it up and it feels like it's been in the fridge. But it hasn't. I know this doesn't sound groundbreaking, but next time you're sick, PLEASE get yourself some. I promise, it will blow your mind in a way that's much more enjoyable than blowing your nose).
This week, I'm back to being healthy--and to my extreme relief--back to being a writing machine! I've already written 90 pages of this book, which is great because I only have about a month to write it! Tight deadline, but a challenge I'm willing to take. I'm pretty happy with where things are going in the book, but the truth is, I'm writing so much that I don't have a lot of time to read back over what I've written! Ahhhh, so much to do!
Coming up: Next week is going to be super exciting and super busy! My lovely agent, Kevan Lyon, is going to be in town for business and we'll be going by Simon & Schuster for a big meeting with everyone. I'm finally going to be able to meet the whole team over there and discuss what the game plan will be for the next year or so. SOOO excited! Oh, and speaking of S&S, take a look at this picture of the restaurant my editor at S&S, the totally awesome Alexandra Cooper, took me for lunch last week! It was Bobby Flay's restaurant, Bar Americain, and it was amazing! Lastly, if you're in NYC, come and check me out on the Digital Hollywood panel next Thursday at 10:15AM. There are a bunch of really awesome panelists (besides me), and you will definitely learn a ton of media secrets! Check it out!
I have been waiting now ten minutes for her response. My hands and feet are cold; my heart is beating so fast that I feel as if I would soon have a heart attack. I bet you she won’t text back! How ridiculous my text was to her… I asked if she was free sometime this week—but the way I asked it… Maybe she’ll just yell at me. I’d rather her yell at me than ignore me. I couldn’t live another moment not knowing if she hated me. I don’t blame her. Sometimes I don’t like me too—but she has always been so friendly. I hope she likes me. I really like her. Please God! I am trembling! Janie please text me soon! I am begging you.
It has been the longest twenty minutes of my life. My hands are still cold—if not colder—and my heart is still racing. Come on Janie please sedate this pain and text me. I’ve checked my phone countless amounts of times and still you haven’t replied. I’ve just received a text! Please be Janie—please be Janie… Raphael! I felt an evanescent ease, but once I saw it was Raphael—Oh it vanished like the wind and my hands and feet grew only colder. I won’t answer Raphael’s text. I am too consumed to ever text again. Until Janie responds I may never write again. But I should do something to get my mind off her. Awaiting her call is poisoning me. It is like one of those suspenseful movies that end during a cliffhanger. I always leave the theatre in confusion wondering if the protagonist will live happily or die miserably. It is a distressful state to leave a theatre in! My hands get cold and my heart also races during those movies. Speaking of movies why not watch some television. That would be a good idea. I will do that. But where is the remote? It is not under the couch and neither is it in the living room. The horrible thing about modern technology is that it only gets more complex. That is not good for the user is it? I do not know how to turn on my TV without a remote. There used to be an on button that one would have to push; but since everyone including me now own flat screen TVs, the button is impossible to find. I also can not search for it in such an obsessed state! Maybe I just need some sleep. No no! I cannot sleep with this heart of rancor! It keeps me restless by beating me into that fight or flight mode. That selfish prick! Thirty minutes now! I don’t know how much longer my heart could beat this way! Maybe if I call Jesse my mind will be relieved of Janie.
“Hey, what’s up Jesse?”
“Oh you know. Just relaxing and eating a turkey sandwich. You?”
“Um. Nothing much. The same—except I am not eating a sandwich, but what a good idea that is. Maybe I should eat something.”
“Yeah, eating is good. I like to eat.”
“I bet you do Jesse.”
“You hanging out later.”
“I can’t—maybe. Depending if Janie likes me or not. If she does I will see you; but if not I’ll probably want to be alone tonight.”
“Uh, okay. Good luck?”
‘Thanks. I’ll talk to you soon!”I devote as much time as possible to the making of my sandwich. Just so you know I am a man of extravagance. I love to create lively meals—but only meals that one can prepare in less than five minutes. After five minutes, it is no longer fun for me to cook. But anyways, I am going to combine the roast beef with the honey cured ham and salami. I’ll then add some lettuce and tomatoes and a touch of Dijon mustard. Voila! A masterpiece! But she still hasn’t text me back! Well, fortunately I did kill a good ten minutes—but now she is back in my head. What to do now… Eating the sandwich may kill a couple more minutes. And as you may expect from a sandwich that was materialized by an extravagant character like me, the sandwich tasted pretty bad. Fortunately, I dropped it and then my dog ate it. Oh! Thank God. What a miserable time I had eating that sandwich—but now that the sandwich is gone from my mind; Janie is back. It has now been an hour with no answer. What an ass she is. Actually, I don’t even care to ever hear her response! If I had the luxury, I’d throw my phone right upon this very wall, but I will need it later. Janie can hate me all she wants. I’ll just ignore her back! I swear to you, reader—my phone rings! It must be her. Oh it is her and she wants to meet too! She doesn’t hate me! She loves me just as much as I love her! I bet she needed that hour to think of what to say to me. But what should I answer back? Maybe just give her a mere, “Sounds good;” or should I say something funny? Everyone loves something funny...
Hi all! I'm really excited to have a new guest-blogger who will be visiting The Book Slayer Blog once a week, bringing us his insights into music, books, food and anything else that's on his young mind. Please give Sacha Breitman a warm welcome--you'll be seeing his name a lot around this blog!
Hi. I'm Sacha Breitman and I'd like to welcome you to my brand new column, The Curious Corner. Now, a little about me: I'm a young guy who was raised in the fashion industry of this big--but small--city of New York. Some people may call me an airhead but I prefer to call myself a surrealist. What can I say? I'm a dreamer. I love music, poetry, books and rain. I also love meeting new people.
I'm so new to being gluten-free, I’m practically an infant. And for the past six months, I’ve been on the lookout for great gluten-free bakeries in New York City. Lucky for me, these bakeries are no longer difficult to find. Five or six years ago, when my sister told me she had Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disease where the body can’t process the protein in grains like wheat, barley and rye), I had no clue what she was talking about. But today, there's an abundance of people with CD, gluten intollerances or who are just more conscious about their gluten intakes. As a result, gluten-free bakeries are sprouting up all around the New York City. Though this is true, I wanted to single out two of my favorites.
Tu-lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, located on 338 E 11th St, has amazing deserts like brownies, cupcakes, cookies and loaves. They also sell gluten-free paninis that are delicious. To anyone who’s looking for a gluten-free hotspot in the city, Tu-Lu’s is definitely the place to check out.
I’d especially recommend their brownies. Both the vegan gluten-free and the gluten-free options are incredible. Also, their miniature cupcakes are to-die for. My favorite is the red velvet, which is made with a perfectly sweetened frosting. Tu-lu’s is open Sundays-Thursdays 10:30a.m. to 10p.m. and Fridays-Saturdays from 10:30a.m. to 10:30p.m. TIP: If you’re planning on stopping by, I recommend getting your food to go--space-wise, Tu-Lu’s is pretty cramped.
So far though, Babycakes is my favorite gluten-free bakery. It has a homey vibe that captures your attention and draws you inside. Not only is the presentation of this bakery phenomenal but so is the food! Babycakes serves cupcakes, cookies, cookie sandwiches, scones, donuts, loaves and brownies. All their treats also happen to be vegan too. My favorite is the cookie sandwich. In between the two cookies is a sweet white frosting that compliments the cookie. TIP: If you do get the cookie sandwich though, be sure to ask for it frozen or freeze it in your own home before eating--it tastes so much better this way! Their donuts are amazing, too; my favorite is the cookie crunch donut.
Babycakes is located on 248 Broome St (btwn Orchard & Ludlow) and its hours are Sundays-Mondays: 10a.m. to 8p.m., Tuesdays-Thursdays: 10a.m. to 10p.m., and Fridays-Saturdays: 10a.m. to 11p.m. I highly recommend trying this bakery if you haven’t already. It has transformed my once negative perception on gluten-free products into an ecstatic passion.Until Next Time,
Hey all! This has been a CRAZY week for me, full of amazing announcements, opportunities and experiences.
First off, I did an impromptu photo shoot on Wednesday with Matt's brother, Ryan Gielen, because a few news outlets needed new headshots of me, and they turned out AWESOME. I'm not the most photogenic person, but I can honestly say I'm happy with the way they turned out....here are a few we liked....what do you think?
Then on Thursday, Publisher's Weekly made the big announcement that Simon & Schuster will be publishing Life's a Witch, the prequel (titled, What the Spell?) and the sequel. I am beyond psyched to be working with the publishing powerhouse, as well as with my new editor, Alexandra Cooper. She's such a cool chick, who truly loves Hadley and her fellow twitches. How exciting is that?
Almost as exciting as this article that appeared in today's Wall Street Journal which focuses on how publishing companies are beginning to rely on prequel's being published online as a way to create buzz around a book series. The journalist was so sweet and wrote such a great article! It's on newsstands as well as online, so if you're at the bookstore or Starbucks, be sure to pick one up!
And I've got a conference call with my movie/tv agent today to discuss all the buzz that's happening right now! I'll let you know what I know, when I know it! What a way to end my week!
Valentine's Day may be over, but Cupid's certainly left some collateral damage in his wake. Whether it's a wine hangover or a love hangover, most of America is recouping today...myself included. Take a look at what my V-day was like.
First thing yesterday morning, I took my daily walk over to the Bux to make sure I would be able to make it through the day...and along the way, saw this:
Seriously, they were up and down the block...
I have a feeling Isobella was one happy girl when she got up to go to work in the morning! Either that, or she was freaked to find out she has a stalker.
Next, I made a little Valentine's day treat; it was a play on an old recipe, but with a little something extra. These are dark chocolate-dipped chocolate chip cookies. To achieve this amazingly delicious choc-tastic dessert, I used Betty Crocker's gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix and prepared as suggested on box (only, I switched out butter for applesauce, which makes the cookies more fluffy and cake-like). After they'd come out of the oven and I'd let them cool for about 10 minutes, I took half a tub of Cool Whip and a generous amount of dark chocolate chips, put them into a bowl and nuked it for about a minute. Once done, I stirred up the mixture until I had a dark chocolate dip. After that, I took the cooled cookies and dipped the bottoms into the chocolate and then placed them chocolate side up on a plate and let them harden a bit in the fridge. Once they were done, I had a chocolatey gooey mess that was truly delectible.
Next, I had to get Matty a hot V-day present, so I went out and bought him a mixture of loungewear: sweats, pajama pants and boxers. I even flared the boxers out on top of the bag, to make it look like tissue paper (which I think was a little bit genius. Move over Martha Stewart).
By the time I got home around 9pm, Matt and I were officially ready to celebrate the holiday. We did this by ordering in Mexican food, watching "Glee" and exchanging presents. So, what did Matt get me? Well, take a look.
I was not happy when I began to flip through the cards...
When I frowned, Matt started to laugh...
Notice how it says cuddle time is only "2 minutes max." Matt explained to me that that's all he can take before he gets too overheated. Romantic, huh?
By this point, I was like...Seriously? This is it? But after laughing his butt off, Matt handed me this.
So, in the end, Matty pulled through with an amazing gift of an hour-long couples massage and a mani/pedi session. Way to go, babe!
And, of course, Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete without a little present from my mom. Here's what came in the mail for us:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: My mom gives great gifts. How cute are these his/hers pillowcases?
So, as you can see, I had a pretty nice V-day. How was yours?
Happy Valentine's Day!!!!
If you're like me though, you're not IN LOVE with Valentine's Day. It's not that I dislike the day, I just think that if you're single, it's a reminder of that fact, which can make most people feel depressed....and if you're a part of a couple, you're sort of required to profess your love on a specific day, instead of showing your significant other that you love and appreciate them every day. But this isn't to say that I don't like getting gifts (hint, hint Matt: pick me up something pretty) and spending some time with my man....just, do we really need a day designated to do all this?
Anyhow....in honor of this love-a-dub-dub day, I thought I'd give you a little something to start it off right. Whether you're single and a little annoyed at Cupid or involved and looking for love every day of the year, you're going to dig this great read by debut author, Ryan Gielen.
Love Bomb and the Pink Platoon is an adult novel that blends the military with a little don't ask, don't tell action. After pissing off the wrong people, General Newman Ginger is forced to participate in a top-secret government experiment that turns a whole platoon of unwanted soldiers gay. But that's not the only side effect...the men also acquire other special skills that make them into the ultimate fighting machines. Needless to say, the military does not take the news well, and what comes next is explosive.
Here's what author and film director Ryan Gielen had to say about his controversial but love-ly book:
You're doing a big push for Love Bomb on Valentine's Day...Can readers expect an epic love story?
Ryan Gielen: Absolutely! A bitter, old washed up general must learn to love his all-gay platoon in order to survive his mission. Because the central experiment potentially turned him gay, too, he also wrestles with his love for himself--is it great enough to withstand such a life-altering event?
Where did you get the inspiration for your book?
Ryan: The book is based on the true story of the military's secret aphrodisiac testing program. They wanted to sexually arouse the enemy to distract him on the battlefield. It felt like the perfect vehicle to examine the military and government's bizarre fear of all sexuality--I truly believe that most self-righteous politicians are terrified of their own reproductive organs, and that makes me laugh.
You tackle two very controversial topics in the book--people's stance on the military and war, and homosexuality. What do you hope people get from reading the book?
Ryan: I hope people laugh, and see a few things they've always wanted to say or always thought, in print. I hope the book does for some people what Orwell or Dr. Strangelove did for me--they enhanced my distrust of "very serious people" and helped cement my complete and unwavering distrust of authority. If I can make even one person point to a pundit or politician on TV and yell "bullshit!" at the screen I will feel like it was all worth it.
Do you think some people are going to be angry after reading the book? Do you care?
Ryan: I do not care at all. I'm sure if the book is successful enough, and reaches enough people, it will anger some of them--but good art challenges. There's no fun in playing it safe.
You're actually a film guy who's written several screenplays, one of which has been made into a full-length film that's garnered quite a bit of attention from indie fans [The Graduates is available to watch on Hulu and Netflix]. In fact, Love Bomb was actually a screenplay before you adapted it into a novel. What was that experience like for you to switch over to novel-writing and why did you decide to turn it into a book?
Ryan: I was always a writer--growing up, I wrote and sketched and took photographs constantly, and I write humor pieces for websites, so the novel wasn't a huge leap. And 90% of the filmmaking process is writing and rewriting, even in the editing room. So the process was both familiar and new. I was thrilled to be able to discuss the inner life of characters--in a screenplay you have much less room, a fraction of the words, and you can't really jump into characters' minds. I loved having the room to follow a thread inward, on the page.
I think the next 5-10 years will favor those artists who work with multiple forms of expression. The audience has exponentially more options for entertainment now than even 2 years ago, and that's only going to continue to increase exponentially. We have to be prepared to express our ideas across media to reach as many people as possible.
Read any good books lately?
Ryan: I absolutely loved Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser. It was simple, honest and moving. I also really loved Life, the Keith Richards autobiography. He was pretty honest if you read between the lines, and lived 10 lives in one.
You're an indie guy who's had a pretty good track record for self-distributing.... what made you decide to self-publish and do you have any advice for others who are thinking about going down this path?
Ryan: I forced myself to go through the whole agent submission experience, which was just as pointless as the screenplay submission process. Gatekeepers want something familiar and easy, and Love Bomb, in my opinion, is bold, new and complicated to sell. So, predictably, it was universally rejected. I was fully prepared for this with my marketing plan already in place. I'm taking from my experience marketing my films and others' and adapting that approach to book selling.
My advice is to let go of the romantic notion of the tortured author who gets paid to write and paces around his cabin in the woods, then hands his manuscript to a waiting, eager publisher who markets it to the world. Accept that when the laptop is put away, you are the marketing department, and start studying people who have created their own success in book selling. John Locke is a good place to start, regardless of what you think of his books. I'll be creating a whole series of videos and blog posts about my approach as well.
What's one thing people might not know about you?
Ryan: I have more pictures of my golden retriever, Tyler (it's a girl), than of the rest of my family combined. I love my family but I--like most golden retriever owners--believe I have the greatest dog in the world.
Whose career do you admire?
Ryan: Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Stanley Kubrick, the writers of "Modern Family," Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney and Louis CK. There are too many authors, screenwriters and artists to list them all.
As a film director, can we expect to see the book made into a full-length film one day? If given your pick, who would play the cast in the movie-version?
Ryan: Yes--and you'll have to wait and see. ;)
So, there you go. Love Bomb and the Pink Platoon is available nationwide today. For more on the book or the author, visit the site at www.lovebombbook.com, or you can purchase it in paperback here, for the Nook here, the Kindle here, the iPhone/iPad here and the Sony Reader here.
Happy Valentine's Day to all!
So, I'm sure all of you have been wondering where I work now that I'm not going into an office everyday. Well, contrary to popular belief, not all full-time writers pen their masterpieces at their local coffee shop (which, and let's be honest, for most means Starbucks)...thanks Hollywood. I mean, put me in a Starbucks and I'd spend the whole day people-watching and being annoyed at what the other patrons (and their kids) were doing to distract me from the writing I was supposed to be doing. Ugh. I get anxious just thinking about it.
So, I thought I'd let you see where the magic happens for me. Take a look and then tell me if you think Starbucks is still the better writing environment...
Yep, this is what my writing space looks like. In the morning, I snuggle up in my little blanket cocoon, laptop on my lap, Murray at my feet, pink pillows at my back and the television on in the background!
Murray thinks of himself as my muse, so he's always giving me the, "Get to work" eye.
...And then he promptly takes a nap as I get to typing.
Sometimes I even do some arts and crafts. Here is my paper pile after cutting out pics to create my character collage for the prequel/spin-off to "Life's a Witch."
Here's your sneak peak at who I would cast to play the characters in my next book. What do you think?
So, where's Cohen during all of this? In my bottom drawer, inside my dark closet, where he's planning his own evil book.
Now, to all of you guys out there...what does YOUR work space look like? Send me pics of where the magic happens for you, and they might end up here on my blog!
Ugh. So, it's my first official day writing (I talked with my editor yesterday and I promised I'd have an outline for the prequel/spin-off of Life's a Witch by Monday)...and I woke up late! Usually I wake up about 10 minutes before Matt leaves for work and then head out to the Bux to get coffee and then am back to the apartment by 9 to get my day started.
Today, when I woke up, it was 9:40!!!
I was not happy about this, considering I have an outline to get started on! Luckily, I already know a lot of what is going to happen in the book, so it'll be more a matter of getting it all down on paper (or a word document, really). But FIRST, I'm going to focus on a little, good old-fashioned crafting. I like to make collages of my characters before I get started, so I have a very clear idea of who they are, their likes and dislikes, what they look like physically, etc. And THEN I'll get to writing.
But I'm still a bit miffed about waking up late...UN-acceptable.
However, I DO have some good news to share....I just found out that I sold Life's A Witch in Romania!!! Woo hoo!
Now, back to work!
Soooo, I have a meeting today to talk to my new EDITOR (I know!!! I'm still trying to get used to the sound of that, too!) about my first writing project, which will be a prequel/spin-off of Life's a Witch. And this means that my days of being a woman of work and leisure is about to change to just a woman of work.
Don't get me wrong...I've been working every day since I left Cheerleader, but it's definitely been at a low-key pace (with some mid-day workouts and talk shows mixed in for good measure). But after today, I will officially get down to the business of writing! Woo hoo!
So....before I crawl into my writer's hole (otherwise known as my blanket cocoon on the couch) and refuse to come out until I've written at least 10 pages a day, I wanted to share some fun pictures that I've been hoarding on my desktop, but haven't gotten around to sharing with you yet. So, here goes...enjoy!
Okay, how cute is my friend Colleen's daughter, Sailor? I think she may be my youngest fan yet!
This guy's broomstick apparently broke down and he suddenly found himself stuck riding the subway like the rest of us non-witches.
My friend, Kate, knew just what to get me for Christmas: "Everything I need to know I learned from Buffy."
All she wanted for Christmas was a new car...her parents gave her Life's a Witch and said, "It's going to take a spell to make that appear out of thin air."
Cohen was so happy when he found the prize at the bottom of the box....And now I know where all my hairbands go.
So, in the mornings, a friend of mine likes to chat online to catch up and talk about our upcoming day--but on occasion, I'm not always on there right away. Needless to say, she is NOT happy when this happens and that's when the e-stalking starts...
Check out the message I had waiting for me in my inbox last week when I finally logged on:
I post this to warn all of you out there of the possible consequences of not being available to your friends online. Google sees you when you're sleeping (what do you think the webcam is really for?), it knows when you're awake, it knows if you've logged on or not, so you better get your butt in front of a computer (or phone) and press the available button. Trust me, there's no telling what could happen if you don't.
So, yesterday I get an e-mail from Matt with a link to a list of 20 amazing recipes using Buffalo Chicken as the main ingredient. In case you don't finish off all the buffalo wings you're sure to be munching on this Sunday, here are some of my faves:
1. Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
2. Buffalo Chicken Bread Bowls
3. Buffalo Chicken Mac-N-Cheese
4. Buffalo Chicken Bites
5. Buffalo Chicken Pizza Rolls
6. Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
7. Buffalo Chicken Pasta
8. Buffalo Chicken Sushi
9. Buffalo Chicken Cheese Dip
10. Buffalo Chicken Soup
11. Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak
12. Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes
Yes, I know Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes are pushing it a little, but make the cupcake cornbread and you've got a good little meal!
So what do you think of the roundup? Will you be trying any? If you're looking for more, be sure to visit the original roundup here. In the meantime, happy eating!