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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My So-Called Blog: What I Learned from Jordan Catalano

My husband (coincidentally named Jordan) bought me the My So-Called Life box set for Christmas, and I just got around to finishing watching the DVDs this past weekend. Don’t get me wrong, this is probably the 1,234,868th time I’ve seen this show. But for some reason, the run through these last few episodes really got me thinking about the wisdom of Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano.



The timing of my viewing is quite perfect, because I conducted two interviews recently where I was asked what type of student I was in high school. I answered truthfully:

“I was one of those students who flew under the radar. I was a good student (National Honors Society), but I wasn’t one of the “smart kids” most likely to succeed. I played sports, but I was mostly second string. I was a cheerleader, but it had nothing to do with popularity. And mostly, I think I was in the “background” of the social scene.

Looking back, I can now recognize how insecure I was in middle and high school (what adolescent girl isn’t?). But I think that’s why I enjoy writing for teens. I still vividly remember how I felt during those years, and I hope teens today can relate to that voice in my writing.”


This is very, very true. I was the girl who sat next to you in English, but who you never really gave much thought to. The girl who spent a lot of time wrapped in her own head, silently miserable.

I was Angela Chase.

And I was living high school when that show came out.

Growing up, that show stuck with me because it was such an accurate portrayal of what I was experiencing and feeling at that exact point in time. I had a Jordan Catalano who I obsessed over and who was absolutely no good for me. I had happy, normal parents who I wanted to rebel against while simultaneously not wanting to disappoint. I had friends who I thought were much, much cooler than I was (and who are probably reading this, hi!).

I don’t think I realized it then, but that show was the first piece of writing I ever emotionally connected to. It influenced me as a teenager and it now influences me as a writer.

My first novel ever was my attempt at My So-Called Life. It was a telling of my emotionally wrenching middle school years. It’s the book that landed me my agent, but never sold. And it’s always stuck with me. Because I knew I didn’t nail it.

The story continues to toss and turn in the back of my head, trying to become something. I call it my “white whale,” because time after time I try to revise it, mold it, change it. But it still always ends up feeling wrong.

I won’t give up on it. If I was meant to, it wouldn’t still be tickling in the back of my brain. And I wouldn’t still be striving to make the simple act of handholding seem like the most climatic thing since a meteor was about to crash into Earth.




POP CULTURE RANT: If I Stay

So I just finished reading If I Stay, the book everyone has been talking about—the next Lovely Bones, the next movie to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke. I loved how real it felt. I thought the characters—including the boyfriend, the best friend, the parents—were extremely well developed and unique. Only criticism? I wanted more. It ends on a bit of cliffhanger, and I would have liked to have seen a glimpse of what happens next. But as far as criticisms go, that’s a pretty good one.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Wouldn’t Want to Work at People Magazine Right Now: MJ, Farrah, Ed

As I write this I am watching the “Dirty Diana” video on VH1. I can not tell you how much this song ruined my life in elementary school. There were some tough playground moments. Even my teachers called me “Dirty Diana.” Couldn’t it have been “Pleasant Diana,” or “Awesome Diana,” or “Rockin’ Diana.” Nope, I will forever be Dirty Diana. And the reason the song stuck? Because it was sung by Michael Jackson.



If it were sung by Tiffany, or INXS, or the Bangles, or some other artist popular in 1988, I believe no one would be calling me Dirty Diana today. Because Michael Jackson was an icon matched only by the likes of The Beatles or Elvis. He changed the scope of the music industry—he perfected the video, he invented a style of dance still imitated, and he elevated pop music to a level that paved the way for most of the artists on the Billboard 100 today.

How many of us dressed up as Michael Jackson for Halloween? I know I had the white glove (along with Madonna’s lace gloves). How many of us have tried to moonwalk (badly) in our living rooms? Or yelled “eeh, hee!” on a dance floor? And please, how many of us remember the kid who knew every dance move in Thriller (or sadly, were that kid)?



If it’s true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I believe Michael Jackson was the most “flattered” man in my lifetime, and his death will leave a mark in pop culture history similar to the loss of Elvis.

I hope his family one day opens up Neverland Ranch a la Graceland, because I know I’d love pay homage to the man who shaped the music of my childhood. And I anticipate the music world paying tribute to this icon with a concert, album, or tour sometime soon, because I know all of his screaming, crying “fan girls” would love it.

And the fact that his death falls on the heels of two other iconic deaths, makes this an even sadder week for Hollywood.

Farrah Fawcett was the first true Supermodel I remember from my youth. That feathered hair was to be revered. And my brother, who’s ten years older than me and thus a child of the ‘70s, even remembers having Charlie’s Angels trading cards.



That hit show influenced many of the movies, television shows and books to come out since. I know while I was slaving on my WIP, I hoped to capture a bit of a “Charlie’s Angels vibe.” I even have a character who I think of as my “Charlie.”

Farrah was a legend.

And if that’s not enough to make the heads of People magazine’s editors implode over cover layouts, they also have to find a way to pay tribute to the late, great Ed McMahon.



While he was best known for being Johnny Carson’s sidekick ("Heeeeeeere's Johnny!”), that’s not how I remember him. For me, Ed McMahon was the host of Star Search. He was the first Ryan Seacrest.

Through Star Search, he introduced us to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah, Dave Chappelle, Destiny’s Child, Martin Lawrence, Alanis Morissette, Rosie O’Donell, LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake and many, many more.

Take another look at that list. Where would pop culture be today if those artists hadn’t gotten their first big break on that show? Ed was part of the magic that made that show popular, and as a result we have today’s celebrities.

Like I said, as a former magazine journalist, I wouldn’t want to be the one in charge of making People’s cover. It a sad week in Hollywood that will be remembered forever.

My heart goes out the family and loved ones of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Ed McMahon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thripple, and Other Words I Learned from Balderdash

When you go down the shore during a period of continuous rain not since seen since the biblical days of Noah, you got to find some other stuff to do to fill your time. Like go to the Cape May winery, or take a tour of the town, or eat a lot, or rock the skee ball lanes. Or play board games.



My husband and I stayed in stormy Cape May, NJ with one of his childhood friends at her parents' awesome shore house (yay, Big Blue!) and we spent Saturday night enjoying the local spirits (ahem) while playing Balderdash. You know what I learned?

Thripple.

And, no, it surprisingly does not mean the “scientific term for a third nipple,” as my husband suggested. Though I do think that’s a darn good answer (and deemed valid by urbandictionary.com).

It surprisingly means, “an extension device that attaches to the rear of haywagons.” Like, duh.

But I challenge all of you out there to find that definition in existence anywhere, because I’m convinced it only lives in the Balderdash black hole. The game is making up words. Seriously, Google “thripple;” you get nothing. The biggest search engine in the world thinks I’m on crack and can’t spell the word “triple.”

Though Merriam-Webster does claim to know what it means, only you have to pay $30 for its Unabridged Dictionary to see the definition.

Uh huh, sure. I bet if I typed in “o;ijgnvdbho8iahwge,” it would say the same thing.



I also learned that if I ever get on Deal or No Deal, I could make a fortune from Howie Mandel. My husband, our friend, Melissa, and I played the arcade version—which is equipped with pretty models, a banker, tickets, and everything—and we made it the final case with the top prize money (400 Arcade Tickets) or one of the lower numbers (40 Arcade Tickets). We knew we had it. The banker was on the ropes desperate to entice us with his entrancing offers of 220 tickets, but we refused to be swayed! We had the case!

But, um, here’s the deal—we didn’t. Unfortunately, the lovely model holding case No. 7 had the big ticket pay out. So we took our 40 tickets and left (actually, we gave them to this little girl at the counter with her parents who was eyeing the pink stuffed poodle).

We did see sand eventually though. We made it to the overcast beach for almost two full hours yesterday before it ultimately started raining, again. And you know what’s really twisted? It’s beautiful today—sun’s shining, birds are chirping, sky’s all baby boy blue—and I’m at home with my computer.

Damn you, thripple, Damn you.


POP CULTURE RANT: Sushi

So I had my first real sushi rolls this weekend. Normally, I avoid the stuff. I was raised by a woman who works in microbiology, so let’s just say I grew up with unusual knowledge of things like E. coli, Pasteurella, Salmonella and all other "ellas". So I still ordered an entrée of fried and battered tempura (go with what you know), but I at least tried three different types of sushi. And you know what? They weren’t bad. Sort of tasted a lot like the soy sauce I was dipping them into. And if I didn’t know what was in it (ie. cooked or uncooked fish/scallop/shrimp/etc.), I found it was easier to eat. Though I didn’t go near the stuff at the end with the orange fish eggs on top. I have my limits. Great dinner though. Thanks, Berks!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colbert’s 3008, Oprah’s 2000 and Late

There are lots of things writers do to try to promote their books. They send press releases, try to get blurbs from other authors, do interviews, write blogs, tweet. And all these methods work, relatively. But sometimes, you just got to think bigger.


This is why I’m launching Phase I of my “Campaign To Get On The Colbert Report.”

You may be thinking, “Why Colbert?” I’ll tell you why.

A) He’s awesome.
B) His infamous “Colbert Bump” has gotten politicians elected and has sent artists soaring to No. 1.
C) He invented the word “Truthiness.” And,
D) I named a character in my young adult series after Stephen Colbert.

Those who DVR the show know that Mr. Colbert is a huge fan of having international icons named after him—like Hungarian bridges, ice cream flavors, little league hockey mascots, sea turtles, spiders, NASA treadmills, and bald eagles. So when I was creating the Amor and Summer Secrets series, as a fan of the show, I thought it would be fun to join in the crusade. If you’ve read my books, you may have noticed the name but may not have put the connection together.

You see, I spent much time warring with who would be the perfect character to represent his essence, and after much debate, I ultimately decided on a strict, French, long-legged ballet instructor. Oh yes, “Madam Colbert.”

Madam Colbert is first mentioned on Page 12 of series’ debut, Amor and Summer Secrets. But she serves a much more vital role in the final book in the series, Adios to All The Drama, where she readies our main character, Mariana Ruiz, for the lead in their community performance of Sleeping Beauty.

Now, you may be thinking, “But Diana, Adios came out in January. Why are you just now starting this campaign?”

Well, truthfully, it was just a little private joke that I put in my book with no thought of ever bringing the name’s origin to light. Honestly, most of my characters’ last names are connected to some sort of private joke—I mean, come on, Bobby McNabb, anyone? I live in Philadelphia! And in Amigas and School Scandals during Mariana’s birthday party, I even sit McNabb at table Five. Get it, sports fans?

Anyway, I never really thought to bring the name to Donovan McNabb’s attention any more than I thought to bring it to Stephen Colbert’s. But then I started stressing about my WIP, I mean really stressing—like get the padded cell ready and call the men in white coats stressing. And all of the sudden, lots of things seemed like a good idea. Like contacting Stephen Colbert and trying to get myself on his show.



So as of today, there is a package in the mail addressed to Mr. Colbert with a very nice (and rather witty, if I do say so myself) letter, a cheeky bio, an author photo, and a signed copy of Adios to All The Drama with a bookmark inserted to a page where “Madam Colbert” figures prominently.

But don’t think that’s all I’m doing! Stay tuned for Phase II of the “Campaign To Get On The Colbert Report.” It will be forthcoming.

And it may take time, folks, but I’m telling you I will get Colbert's attention. Just wait and see. The guy’s gonna be bigger than Oprah. All he needs now is a book club.


POP CULTURE RANT: Boom! Boom! Pow!

Was anyone else as surprised as I was to find out that the lyric Fergie is singing in The Black Eyed Pea’s hit “Boom! Boom! Pow!” is that she’s “So 3008, you’re so 2000 and late”? I had no idea. I always thought she was saying “2008,” since it makes more sense. But no, Google the lyrics and see. And I’m not just suggesting that to justify why it says 3008 in my headline (ahem, but it’s right).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've Been Hit by the Anti-Secret

So you know how I’ve been blogging lately about how fabulous the Latino community has been? It’s true. I’ve gotten tons of emails from multicultural teens, I won second place at the International Latino Book Awards, and Hispanic schools and organizations have helped me to promote my books. I even talked about how the Latino community assuaged my fears about not being “Latina enough.” And you know what the universe tossed me in response? My worst nightmare.



I call it The Law of Retraction—or the Anti-Secret (or maybe the Blabbermouth?). Essentially after all my heartfelt thanks for the warm welcome, I brought forth from the universe the exact thing I was dreading—the Latina naysayer.

You see, I’ve spoken frequently about how I worried some might claim I’m a poseur for writing a novel with Puerto Rican characters (though I am Puerto Rican). You know because I don’t look like the Latina stereotype and I wasn’t born speaking Spanish. I did study Spanish in school but I haven’t used the language since I graduated in 2000, and right now my Spanish sucks rocks.

But what I am gonna do? It’s not like I’m living in Spain anymore. And I could try speaking Spanish with my cat, but I really don’t think that would help me much. It’s just the world I live in. But I guess there are those who just don't take too kindly to that 'round these parts.

Specifically, I was recently chastised (in person) for not being fluent in Spanish, for not writing my novels in Spanish, and thus for not contributing to the Latino community in the way this person thought I should be. Um, yeah.

First off, I’m not going to apologize for how my parents raised me. No, my dad didn’t teach me Spanish in the home. But my mom didn’t teach me Polish either, yet there don’t seem to be many people criticizing me for that (and my mom’s parents spoke Polish as well as my dad’s parents spoke Spanish).

And secondly, my books are about a character who’s dealing with these exact issues, which makes the criticism really ironic. Clearly this person hadn’t read my books, but if anything the remarks just provided further validation that a character like Mariana Ruiz is needed for today’s multicultural teens.

Personally, I think I’ve made a lot of strides to connect to my parents’ roots. But I guess there will always be those who feel the need to criticize, considering this same person also asked “what I else I did?” besides the whole novel-writing thing. So if I have to explain how being a young adult author is an actual career, I think it’s safe to say we’re not going to be getting those BFF charms anytime soon.

So haha, universe, you got me! Maybe next time I should start ragging on Oprah’s book club selections and in return maybe the Law of Retraction will put me at the top of her YA list.


Cartoon from the New Yorker

POP CULTURE RANT: Gossip Girl

I realize this is YA sacrilege, but I just started watching Gossip Girl. I’ve read a couple of the books, so I’m not completely out of it. But I never really dipped into the TV show, and given the reruns I thought I’d give it a whirl. Can I say I’m now obsessed with Chuck and Blair? And I just found out that the actor who plays Chuck, Ed Westwick, is British! Love his real voice (what girl’s not a sucker for a British accent), but I’m really impressed by the deep, raspy, American voice he’s perfected. I think if my WIP ever gets made into a movie, I might have to cast Ed as the male (British) lead.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How to Create a Summer Beach Read

‘Tis the season, right? In the winter, we’re all expected to be depressed under our wool sweaters snuggled up to fires and reading books of child slaughter games and morbid suicides. But once that sun comes out, bring out the suntan lotion and the rainbow covered paperbacks.



Even the New York Times has caught the buzz. They (shockingly) devoted an entire article not only to books written by women, but to books that could be classified as (dare I say it?) “chick lit.”

And in honor of the summer sun (which is probably shining somewhere, though it’s been raining like the end of days here in Philly), I’ve decided to take a deeper look at what publishers consider a vacation-appropriate read. This is a completely unscientific study based on my observations of books presented on the front tables of stores lately, and books that are blatantly being labeled as beach reads by major retailers (and by that, I mean Borders’ “If you want great beach reads” list).

So here it is, writers. Tips to creating the:

Next Great American Beach Read

1. Cover must be in pastel colors.
This is non-negotiable. Who wants to be the girl with a black-covered book on the beach? It’ll absorb all the sun rays.

2. Main character must be female. I can’t say this with absolutely certainty, but I’m pretty sure you can’t have a male protagonist in a beach read. It goes against the grain (of sand).

3. Keep your titles beachy simple. Don’t over think it. Go with “The Beach House,” or “The Beach Road,” or “Barefoot,” or “The Last Summer.” (All books currently on beach read lists.)

4. Try to get sand dunes or an Adirondack chair on your cover. Now is not the time to experiment with abstract corpses or machine gun graffiti art.

5. Hope you’re funny. The goal here is to make your beachy reader spit her waterice on the sand. So start studying the female comedy greats (or just watch a few episodes of My Life on the D-list, same difference).

6. Make your heroine self-conscious, awkward, and chubby while smart, witty, and clever all at the same time. While these books are read by women in bikinis, you don’t want your main character to look good in one.

7. Chose the heroine’s name carefully. Go with Cammie, Bridget, Lizzie, and avoid any urge to select Gertrude or Blanch.

8. A female friendship must be central. Preferably the novel should feature a friend the heroine has known since grade school, and the friend must be prettier than the heroine (goes back to the bad bikini bod rule of No.6).

9. Romance, romance, romance. It can be of any variety: vacationer-lifeguard, vacationer-bartender, vacationer-young male neighbor, vacationer-townie. The only exception to the “heroine must be on vacation rule” would be: heroine-high school sweetheart, heroine-college sweetheart, heroine-first relationship after college sweetheart.

10. Paperbacks fold better into beach bags. Not that women won’t read hardbacks on the beach, but why make it harder to tote? And see if your publisher will splurge extra for water proof pages or built-in bug repellent. Could be a big selling feature.

So everyone go out and buy some fun summer beach reads! I know I will—though I did recently buy a book about a fatal car crash, but whatever. I’m weird.


POP CULTURE RANT: Colbert Report

Did you know that Stephen Colbert is reporting from Baghdad, Iraq all week? He is! And to make him even cooler, he let one of the army guys shave his head live on stage on Monday in a moment of solidarity (there's even a cameo with Barack). Check him out—he’s no longer coiffed and sprayed. Though I hate to admit that the new buzzed do does bring attention to a less fortunate hairline I believe he was previously hiding under a lot of hair spray. But whatever, props to him for entertaining the troops!


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Gets His Hair Cut
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorStephen Colbert in Iraq

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Lack of Patience Is Making Me See Dead People

Is it just me or are things in the publishing world actually starting to move even slower? I didn’t think it was possible. When I first landed my agent, I had come from the world of magazine publishing. Magazines as you know have a long lead time—they’re working on spring issues before the snow even starts falling. So you’d think I’d be accustomed to waiting; however, when my methodology of dealing with impatience is to have staring contests with my phone to see who will ring/blink first (I haven't won yet), I’m not helping things.



And at this point, I think the publishing industry appears to be doing business at a crawl so infinitesimal that I really think there’s an old man with a white beard transcribing my manuscripts with a feather pen somewhere. Because that’s the only thing that makes sense. That, and the fact that most publishers laid off so many employees that there is now one person doing the job of 12.

But that said, I still have four years of dealing with this snails pace. I remember having to send agents query letters in the postage mail, and then having to wait for a mailed self-addressed envelope to get a reply. It boggled my mind that anyone would do business this way when email would cut that transaction time down to about five seconds. But whatever, I dealt with it. (By that, I mean I considered stalking the postman for every SASE in his bag.)

I also had to learn how to physically Fed Ex hard copies of my manuscripts to my editor, and then receive a physical hard copy in return with little red squiggle marks on it that I had decipher with a decoder ring (because what recent college grad is taught copy-editor shorthand anymore? I went to J-school, we used “track changes.”).

However, I accepted these things. Some industries take a little longer to adapt, but I figured once they discovered these newfangled things called computers, the rate of business would pick up. Only this hasn’t happened—mostly because you need bodies to work the computers, and publishing houses have fewer of those these days.

So now an industry that I thought was maddeningly sluggish four years ago, is now moving at the velocity of a time-elapsed photo composite. It takes forever to get manuscripts read, for emails to be returned, for edits to come in, for offers to be made, for publicity to be generated. Honestly, I think coffee even brews slower at these houses—the laws of physics have ceased to exist there.



And for someone who will admittedly tell you that patience has never, ever, been one of her virtues, I’m starting to wonder whether I’m secretly part of some Dharma initiative lab experiment: “Let’s see how long we can make an absurdly impatient girl wait before she actually loses her mind and starts seeing dead people or smoke monsters.” Honestly, one more week, and I think I’ll be playing chess with Mr. Echo.


POP CULTURE RANT: Adam Lambert

OMG, he’s gay! I had no idea! (I’m kidding.) But apparently it’s cover news for Rolling Stone Magazine. Is it me, or is finding out a glam rocker is gay like finding out a fashion designer is gay? Really, are there people who were surprised? Maybe it’s the world I live in, but I really don’t see this as news anymore. However, I’m psyched he’s now able to just be himself. That’s gotta take a load off his shoulders. Though I doubt any more girls will be stripping naked at his appearances. Still, can’t wait for his album!

Friday, June 5, 2009

I’m a Poet and I Didn’t Know It: My Haiku Reviews

I’m admittedly ripping off another author here. Yes, you read correctly, I’m stealing inspiration. But if I come clean and tell you that, that makes it less wrong, right?

You see I read a lot of blogs. I have dozens upon dozens of publishing-related blogs saved in my Bookmarks. I don’t read all of them regularly, but I do scan them all occasionally. And recently, I came across a cute blog that was reviewing books in Haiku form. However, for the life of me, I can’t remember where exactly I saw this (if you know, please tell me).

But I thought the idea was so clever, I’ve decided to give it a whirl.



Now, let me warn you—I’m not a poet. Like, not at all. I took one poetry class in college (EN 246) and when tasked to either create a Shakespearean-esque sonnet based on one of his timeless themes, or to create a sonnet using all of his rhythms and structures—I chose the latter.

Everyone else in the class took the assignment oh-so-seriously and wrote deep college-sounding sonnets about love, turmoil, and death (for which most of them got a ‘C’) while I instead wrote a very technically sound sonnet entitled, “Shall I Compare Thee to A Dental Visit.”

I think it ended with something like, “So long as men can eat and gums can bleed/So long live germs that lead to cavities.”

I’m not joking. And I got a B+ on that poem.

Anyway, I’ve decided to dip back into my poetic bag of tricks and try to create some reviews for books I’ve read (or re-read) within the last month. So here goes:

MY HAIKU REVIEWS

"Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
Kids fight to the death
Mad Max meets Project Runway
Could not put it down

"Paper Towns" by John Green

Funny and witty
Too many Walt Whitman quotes
Writing style rocked

"Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown
Just filled with clichés
Writing needed lots of work
Plot was very good

"Bridget Jones’s Diary" by Helen Fielding
Just as funny now
Literary comfort food
Her Singletons rule

"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
Fighting through pages
Need to read all the footnotes
A smart person book

Feel free to leave your own Haiku reviews in the comments. I’m always looking for book recommendations!


POP CULTURE RANT: So You Think You Can Dance

I guess I should have known they’d split up the brothers, but man, did that suck. Could you imagine knowing that the reason you got the chance of a lifetime was because you prevented your brother from getting his chance of a lifetime. And at the same time, wouldn’t you feel guilty for watching your bro on TV and wishing that were you? That was cold, Nigel. Not that they had to put them both through, but it was mean to leave them to the final two. I think it would have been kinder to deliver the news separately, so their fates weren’t tied. Regardless, can’t wait for the season!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yay! I’m Officially “Award Winning”

Not to get all “Secret” on you, but I will say that I’m a believer in the loosely interpreted Field of Dreams philosophy of “If you think it, it will come.” And I got to say, it can’t be coincidental that the week after I write a blog acknowledging my relief that the Hispanic community has been so supportive of my novels that Amor and Summer Secrets gets awarded 2nd place in the 11th Annual International Latino Book Awards for Best Young Adult Fiction-English.

Come on, there’s got to be some sort of cosmic alignment there.

The winners were announced at BEA by the Latino Literacy Now. And while I knew my publisher had submitted a nomination for me, I got the news of the win while I was down the shore and completely in non book-mode. So I was totally surprised—and crazy excited.

I now get to say I’m an “award winning author.” Well, sort of. Since technically I won second place, so I guess I’m a “second-place finishing award winning author.” I’ll have to tinker with the wording.

And of course, I have to admit there was that tiny piece of me who upon hearing I won second immediately thought, “Who won first?” But I’m happy to report I got over it when I learned I was in killer company.

The first place winner was Pulitzer Prize winner author Oscar Hijuelos who won for his young adult novel, Dark Dude (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing). This is the guy who wrote The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, a novel which later was turned into the movie The Mambo Kings and then turned into a Broadway show.



I say I got a little ways to go before I come close to reaching those credentials. But, hey, it gives me something to reach for. So I will gladly, enthusiastically, and overwhelmingly take my second place finish if it even puts me in the same category as an author of his caliber.

And since the universe might be listening to me right now, I’d just like to put it out there that if Amor and Summer Secrets does ever get turned into a movie, I would be happy to follow in Mambo Kings footsteps and have Antonio Banderas star in it. Maybe we could go to lunch one day to discuss character and theme and whatever important actors think about when taking on a role. (Of course, my husband probably wouldn’t like this plan as much.)

So thanks to the judges, nonprofits, and everyone who put together the awards!


POP CULTURE RANTS: MTV Movie Awards

So I’m sure we all expected Twilight to be the big winner, to the point where even reading the other nominees seemed unnecessary, but I bet no one expected Borat to land half naked on a ticked off Eminem. I don’t know if it was staged or not, but even if it was, how big does your death wish have to be to risk putting your bare butt cheeks on Eminem’s face? The man raps about celebrity’s who happen to mention his name in passing, and this guy stuck his naked butt in his face on national television. Crazy. I now officially think Sacha Baron Cohen should join the Jackass team because he’s got to be missing a few brain cells.


Copyright © 2008 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, All Rights Reserved