Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Hello, Oprah?"

This past week came close to resembling what I had imagined life would be like as an author. And no, I'm not talking about appearing on Oprah. I'm talking about rubbing elbows with other writers, discussing publishing, and doing precious little writing.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of addressing the members of Joe Levens's writers' workshop. (Joe is a wonderful short story writer and editor-in-chief of the outstanding ezine, Summerset Review.) I'd taken Joe's class a few times in the past, so it was a real treat to come back as guest speaker. It was an intimate but lively group of old friends and new faces, and I had a great time sharing what I've learned about the publishing business.

On Thursday, I got to meet an online acquaintance I've grown very fond of. She's Melanie Lynne Hauser, who wrote a hilarious book called CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM. Melanie was in town from Chicago, doing a Mother's Day push for her book (and it is indeed a great gift!), and I had the pleasure of having drinks and dinner with her and two of her other East Coast writing pals, both of whom are debut authors like me. Jackie Kessler just signed a THREE BOOK DEAL with Kensington (wow!), starting with a paranormal romance entitled HELL'S BELLES, due out next year. Lauren Lipton's first book,IT'S ABOUT YOUR HUSBAND will be out this October, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. All three were super-smart and super-funny, and it was blast to chow down on steak and vodka gimlets with these gals, while dissecting the publishing industry.

On writing front, things are less exciting. While I'm waiting for input on my finished draft of THE SMART ONE, I'm trying to make some headway with my third novel, as yet untitled. It's proving to be a bitch, because the set-up is so hard, and I've rewritten the opening paragraph about seven-thousand different ways. I know, I should let it go and move on to the next chapter, but I can't. I have to nail the opening first. I'm that anal. (That sentence should result in some interesting search engine hits.)

But okay. My writer pals have been circulating this Garrison Keillor essay about what a-holes writers are for whining so much, so I'll shut up now and take my kids to the school carnival and smile as politely as I can when friends and neighbors give me their most sage advice for promoting my book, which is always the same: "You should go on Oprah."


Stephanie said...

You should say, "Oh gosh, you're right! I should call Oprah, why hadn't I thought of that?"

I feel guilty about any comments I've made about that Garrison Keilor essay, btw.

Myfanwy Collins said...

Sounds like such an exciting week, Ellen! Those students in Joe's class must have been so thrilled to have you there. I would have been!


Ellen said...

Steph - Lol. I'd love to say that if I can manage to make it sound gently amusing and not obnoxiously snotty. I'll rehearse! And why do you feel guilty about your Garrison Keillor comments? I'd love to hear them!

Myf, thanks so much! Joe's class was GREAT and I loved chatting with them. If I ever get an opportunity like that again, I'll snatch it right up.

David Niall Wilson said...

Hmmm I have to laugh at the Keillor a good way. I am of about the same opinion, really. If it's that hard to put one word in front of the next, perhaps gardening would suit better? I work a day job, have three kids, a 60 mile commute and do an eBay business with my wife and still find plenty of time to write...during productive periods I manage a journal entry and about 3,000 words a day (that would be in the midst of a novel or project). I never complain about how hard writing is.

I complain about editors, and publishers (lol)


RobinSlick said...

Ha - I just pictured a Fran Dresher voice doing You Should Go On Oprah. That's hilarious. You're probably going to have a whole stand-up routine by the time this book comes out.

And how cool about your doing that class! I must have missed that post somewhere.

Jackie said...

Ellen, I had a blast meeting you and the others--and I can't wait to do it again.

And you know, you really SHOULD be on Oprah. ;-)