Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Great Cliche: An Evolution of Acceptance (Courtesy John Hughes)

Any of you who have followed my blog for more than a few months, know that I struggled with the description one agent (during my days of query) saddled my baby...er, manuscript, with. She called it "cliche." OUCH!

My initial response was to fire back an email proclaiming the authenticity of my book, and demand she resign from the literary world because her twenty-five years of experience had obviously left her lacking in the ability to properly access a story as "cliche" or "non-cliche." But after a few calming breaths (and a firm "DO NOT DO THAT!" email from a writer friend) I realized that wasn't in my best interest. Instead, I thanked her for her consideration and settled on Google Earth-ing her place of business so I could fantasize about toilet papering her building and leaving chalk outlines on her front porch. (Relax, Frances. Not dead body outlines, more like sad faces and elephants wearing hats. I draw those really well.)

The great cliche has sort of haunted me since then.

True, I did sign with an agent who believes wholeheartedly in the originality of my book, and the "cliche" word hasn't come up at all during our submission process, but up until this last weekend I always considered "cliche" as something negative. (Like when my 7th grade teacher used my favorite word: AUDACITY, like it was the plague instead of an attribute). That is until I was flipping through channels and came across Pretty In Pink. *blissful sigh* With one glimpse of Molly Ringwald in her hideous, hand-made outfit I was instantly transported from a laundry-induced stupor where cliche was a bad word, to a relaxing nirvana where slightly-predictable story lines were familiar and welcoming, and Duckie wasn't just the second-rate actor standing beside Ashton Kutcher.

What I've come to accept is that writing a "cliche" story isn't a bad thing at all. It works! Just ask John Hughes...er...his estate? Anyway, It's the characters that make a predicable story unique. We all knew that Andie and Blane were going to end up together, just like we knew that Jake *swoon* would bring Samantha her undies, and that Keith would give Watts the diamond earrings. There's a reason we love the plot lines we do. On some level we know how the story is going to end--it's the journey that gets us there that makes it exciting!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

Faithful fan club, today I am thrilled to present to you
the trailer of my novel, Summer on the Short Bus.

As I describe over there ------>
Summer on the Short Bus is an irreverent and sarcastic look
at what happens when you're stripped of your comfort zone
and left to face reality head on,
despite how uncomfortable it might be.

There's no "message" behind this book--not an intentional one anyway.
In fact, it's about as non-p.c. as you can get.
It's meant to entertain.
Period.

If you get something else from it, good on ya!

And now, the trailer...




(And yes, that was Zac Efron. *swipes dibble from chin*
The heart throb in this tale bares a striking resemblance to Zac,
a fact that's incorporated into the story)


*Special thanks to A.G. Howard, whose talents befuddle me on a daily basis*

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A goat. A meme.

The air was crisp enough to see a hint of breath hanging in front of me, the earth looking fresh after the cleansing rainfall it endured the night before. Book in hand, bundled in my favorite sweatshirt, I stepped, slipper-footed, onto the cold landing outside my kitchen door and proceeded down the steps to the patio. The flock of wild, lime green parrots that live somewhere nearby passed overhead, shrieking in a language I didn’t understand but loved to listen to, while the personal-space challenged Labrador I’d come to love tip-toed beside me, matching my stride step for step. A beautiful winter morning in San Diego. Or so I thought...

“Somebody’s up bright and early.”

Eh? The sudden interruption forced my atte
ntion from the lush patio furniture beckoning me and to the corner of the yard.

I extinguished a heavy sigh. “Good morning, Nigel.”

“Good morning, love. What brings outside on such a crisp morning?”

“Oh...you know, just thought I’d get in a little reading before the girls woke up.” I raised my copy of Miss Peregrine’s for evidence, but quickly tucked it back into the safety of my arms. The paper used for the printing of this book was particularly high quality. If Nigel came within a foot of a delicacy like that, I’d find myself on Amazon ordering a replacement book for Anita.

“Well, isn’t that a grand idea,” he said, elongating his pronunciation of the word grand in case I’d forgotten he was English. He dropped his head to the ground, taking one last nibble of dew-ridden grass, before approaching me with a loping gate Heidi Klum would kill for. “What else have you on your schedule for today?”

I settled Indian-style into the corner of the wicker couch, tucking the red throw pillow on my lap and thought about the day that lie ahead. Groceries, a little laundry, date night with my husband...

“Oh,” I groaned, suddenly remembering the task I’d unwillingly been assigned. “My friend Cherie tagged me with this meme a couple of weeks ago. I hate those things but...you know, I love her to bits so I guess I have to do it.”

“You’re not fond of the memes then?”


I glanced up at him, his beady eyes intent on me. “No,” I said. “They’re too...dogmatic for my taste.”

“Well that’s a shame,” he said, shooing the dog away with a gentle kick of his hind hoof. Chance, the wonder mutt with Bambi eyes, whimpered before venturing into the depths of the yard in search of his own grass to chew. “Say, I’ve got a brilliant idea,” Nigel said in a surprisingly chipper tone. “Why don’t you let me take care of the meme? I’m quite sure I’d do a smashing job–given my English heritage and propensity for wooing lady-folk.” I had a momentary flashback to the panty meme last summer and felt my cheeks flush. “Cherie wouldn’t mind, would she? As I recall she was quite fond of me...”

My teeth sunk into my bottom lip, as I considered
the possible ramifications of such an agreement. I’m in the middle of submissions with my book, trying to present myself as a serious, professional writer–if Nigel took the reigns, what would I be subjecting myself and my caree–

“Sure!” I agreed, broad smile threatening to rip through my skin. “You know my Gmail password, right?”

“Indeed, I do,” he said behind an unsettling smirk. “Indeed I do.”

And now...Nigel’s meme:

1. What is your dream vacation? It’s quite simple really. An open field with rich, decadent grasses that I could graze on for days. Somewhere in the countryside–perhaps outside of Darlington or Middlesborough...though if I’m dreaming I should say I’d prefer the grasses in Ireland. Unfortunately the Irish are a very daft audience, so I should stick to my homeland. Something befitting a nobleman like myself.

2. Are yo
u spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead?
Spontaneity is for the lower-classes. These suits don’t iron themselves, you know...














3. Tell us o
ne thing you want to do but don’t dare to do.
Oh heavens, I think I should love to run nude through the streets, kicking up my hooves and wiggling my dingly danglies, but a gentleman would never do such a thing.



4. What’s your biggest phobia?
That the Beckham’s should split. David and Victo
ria are quite possibly the most beautiful, well-groomed humans on the planet. If their union were ever to dissolve, I fear it would be the end of a fairytale I've only begun to enjoy reading about.

5. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you (not including your laptop, or family).

Well now...you are a naughty thing for asking such a question, aren’t you? I suppose I’d start with an endless supply of 24 lb. bond paper. Not only does it taste like a tiny slice of Heaven on Earth, but it keeps my nethers running in a timely fashion. Secondly, I dare say I’d bring along Daisy. She’s not the most elegant of my admirers,
but she’s quite entertaining when she’s had a few drinks. If we’re on a deserted island, I might as well cut loose, right? Lastly, I would bring my manicure kit. Without my regularly scheduled spa visits, I fear I might look a bit ghastly if I didn’t at least maintain my hooves. Can you imagine...the horror of a chipped nail!

6. Name three blessings in your life.
The neighbor’s clothesline

My ability to make Americans feel inferior simply by speaking in my native brogue

My ass in a thong


7. What was your nickname in high school?

Dearest, I’m a goat. I skipped high school and went straight to university. There I was known only as, The Great Ramming Horn.

8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?
Where do you get your suits?

9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be?

Bella Swan, for obvious reasons.


10. What is your favorite quote?

“Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that but not with all those flies and death and stuff.” - Mariah Carey. She’s such a visionary...


As I understand, meme rules dictate I should pass this task along to seven other bloggers, however, I cannot see how anyone could possibly improve upon my response so I think we shall consider this memo officially retired. Why mess with a good thing, after all.

Until next time, my beloved fan club.

Cheers,
Nigel