Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Lineup

    by Christie Kelley

    Fall is here, which means World Series, cool temperatures and spooky things. But in the Lair, we have launch parties, guests galore and of course, hot cabana boys!

    Since we all love a party, let's start with our launch parties for the month! Mark your calendar for October 8th when Beth Andrews will be bringing out the drinks and the boys for her release, His Secret Agenda. You know wild things will happen that day.




    Not to be outdone, on October 27th, Anna Campbell will be celebrating her release, Captive of Sin. Who knows what wild things Anna will have for us that day.


    Just when you thought it couldn't get any better than two launch parties in a month...I bring you our guests for the month.

    On Friday, 2nd October, Harlequin Historicals author Michelle Willingham will be Anna Campbell's guest in the Lair. Michelle writes passionate, action-packed romance set in medieval Ireland and is about to launch her first Victorian trilogy. She's giving away her two latest two books so make sure you swing by!


    October 5th, Ellen Dugan joins us in the Lair. She'll be talking about writing paranormal and how to get things right!






    On October 6, Claudia Dain will be guesting with Nancy Northcott and discussing what inspires writers, among other things. She will also be celebrating the mass market reissue of The Courtesan's Secret, the second amazing installment her scintillating Courtesan Chronicles. No chance to chat with The Incomparable Claudia Dain is to be missed!




    On October 9, the vivacious Deb Marlowe will be visiting the Lair with Caren Crane. We will be among the first to hear about the American release of her Harlequin Historical, Her Cinderella Season. Make sure you stop by to hear how Miss Lily Beecham gets herself invited to a Society ball and what sort of naughtiness ensues!




    On October 11th, Lair favorite Denise Rossetti returns to chat about her upcoming release, Thief Of Light, the second in her hot fantasy series, The Four-Sided Pentacle.






    Join us on October 12 when Sarah arrives to chat about her debut, Renegade. Sarah will be along to entertain us with tales of her Renegades.


    October 16, Laura Anne Gilman makes her first appearance in the Lair to celebrate the release of Flesh and Fire, the first volume in the Vineart Wars fantasy series.


    October 19, Patricia Rice returns to chat about Mystic Warrior, the concluding volume in her Mystic Isle paranormal series.




    On October 20th, author Samantha Hunter will be here to talk about getting Caught In The Act, her latest release for Harlequin Blaze and part of the Dressed To Thrill miniseries!


    October 21, Jacquie D'Alessandro makes her Lair debut with her Blaze Historical, Touch Me.



    Join us on October 22nd when Kate Walker will be in the Lair. Kate Walker has been writing for Harlequin Presents since 1984. In that time she has over 54 novels published in over thirty-five countries and total sales amount to over twelve million copies of her books. Kate Walker is also the author of the award-winning 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance. Kate will be here to celebrate the launch of her latest book from Harlequin Presents, Kept For Her Baby.



    October 26, Berta Platas, better known in the Lair as half of Gillian Summers, will make her first solo appearance. She'll discuss how life, love and winning the lottery mesh for the heroine of Lucky Chica.


    Last but certainly not least, on October 28th, we welcome back NY Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath to the Lair.



    Finally, our Bandita Contests for the month:

    Anna Campbell is offering readers a chance to win Captive of Sin! By the time this contest comes to a close, Captive of Sin will be available from a bookseller near you. To celebrate this portentous moment in the history of the world (or at least in the history of Anna Campbell), she’s giving away not one, not two, not three, but FOUR signed copies of the book to people who enter this contest.This question is really easy. All you have to do is tell her the name of Gideon’s house and where in England it is situated. Just a hint – you might find the answer in the excerpt from Captive of Sin on her Books page: http://www.annacampbell.info/captivesin.html

    Just email Anna on http://us.mc1102.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=anna@annacampbell.info and she’ll draw at random from the correct responses. The contest closes 31st October, 2009.

    For more information, please check out Anna’s contest page: http://www.annacampbell.info/contest.html

    So what do you think? Sounds like a great month, doesn't it? What guest can't you wait for? Or maybe you're waiting for the launch parties, like me!

    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Sky, Lines

WCHA Final Five Tickets


    Hey hockey fans! Guess what! Ticket King has just added and priced our WCHA Final Five tickets! We have some great seats for both the womens and mens tournament. If you've never been to one of these, I hear the WCHA is a very fun and exciting tournament! I can imagine it is, being that hockey is such an aggressive and competitive sport. Please do keep in mind that if the Minnesota Gophers do well this year, we will have to raise ticket prices. They are currently very reasonably priced but we don't have a ton of tickets either. I would suggest getting yours today while the availability is at it's best and the prices are at their lowest! GO GOPHERS! Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Ticket King is Poppin!

    This is a picture of the newest addition to the terhand doel office- a popcorn maker! We thought it would be a good idea to get one so we can give popcorn away during Vikings games and also just to have around the office. We tried it today and it tastes just like it does at the movie theater.

    Be sure to stop by before the Vikings game to get your popcorn and your tickets to the game! Ticket King is your one-stop shop!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Wednesday Giveaway!

Vikings vs. Seahawks Tickets

    The Minnesota Vikings will be playing the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, November 22nd for their 5th home game of the regular season. This game has been pretty popular so far so I wanted to remind you that ticket prices may be increasing if the Vikings continue on their winning streak! Ticket King currently has Vikings tickets for this game starting at only $35 each for upper level tickets and $100 each for lower levels. If you're looking for cheap tickets, you've found the source!

    Get your Vikings football tickets today before the good ones are gone!
    GO VIKINGS!!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Gopher Hockey Tickets

    Hey Gophers hockey fans!! This Sunday, the Minnesota Gophers will begin their 2009-2010 hockey season at the Mariucci Arena. Their opponents for the first game will be the British Columbia Thunderbirds. Ticket King currently has Gophers hockey tickets for the opening game starting at only $40 each for tickets right by the goal! We also have some really great seats for only $80 each. Check out our entire inventory online and remember that tickets can easily be picked up from our Minneapolis or St. Paul offices for any event. GO GOPHERS!!!!Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Dappled forest

Iowa Goes Hollywood

    When I was back home in Des Moines for the Springsteen show I picked up a copy of the Des Moines Register (Iowa's answer to the Ypsilanti Courier) along with my delicious coffee at Zanzibar's and happened upon an article detailing my home state embroiled in a serious film industry controversy. Yeah, that's right, punks, the film industry...in Iowa. How do you like us now?!

    Well, as it turned out, the film industry liked Iowa a whole huge bunch after the state introduced - its words - "half-price filmmaking." What does that fancy-pants nickname mean? Basically, this: A production company filming in Iowa can qualify for tax credits equal to up to 25 percent of what is spent in the state on the production while the film investors can also qualify for tax credits up to 25 percent of expenditures.

    This has become all the rage. The state of Michigan introduced a similar scheme early last year in which they offered up to 40% in tax credits to spark a fledgling film industry (enticing, amongst others, Clint Eastwood and his "Gran Torino") and many other states have done the same with variations of how many tax credits and what sorts of incentives they will provide. Earlier this year Iowa decided to enter the game and up the ante. 50% was the highest going rate.

    Of course, these film projects must be shot in Iowa and they "must spend at least $100,000 in qualified Iowa expenditures and must have a state or local economic impact sufficient to justify assistance" (according to the aforementioned Des Moines Register).

    It seems it did not take along for "half-price filmmaking" to go awry. The program began rather modestly in July 2007. According to a memo from Michael Tramontina (the same Michael Tramontina who resigned his post last Friday), Director of Department of Economic Development, to Iowa officials for the program's first two years "twenty film projects (were) awarded a total of $31 million of tax credits." Then suddenly "from May until August 2009 approximately $100 million of projects (were) induced by the DED board." Filmmakers saw what was happening, obviously, and climbed aboard the, as they say, gravy train.

    The memo (read the memo here) goes on to list a slew of improprieties. A few of them are as follows:

    -"Files on each film were inadequate. Most of the necessary information was in unsorted email archives."
    -"Contracts were amended, often to increase amount of credits requested substantially, after Director/Deputy approval."
    -"There were only receipts for two of eighteen film projects. Some receipts were obviously prepared in a single batch by the filmmaker who claimed for all of their vendors on identical receipts which were usually not signed."
    -"Ledger sheets that were accepted as claims were vague and overly broad. It appeared everything was allowed. Tax Credit certificates were issued for the full amount requested. It appeared nothing was ever disallowed."
    -"Many vendors clearly resided outside of Iowa."

    But the most explosive claims (by which I mean the claims getting the most play in the media) were "reports of two vehicles purchased through the tax credit program that were not used directly on a film." Especially when you consider these "two vehicles" were (gasp!) "luxury vehicles" - specifically a "Mercedes Benz and a Land Rover". Plus the "amount of credits claimed (for the vehicles) was the full purchase price rather than the lease cost during the project."

    I think, though, my favorite nugget from this whole debacle has to be the one reported by Jennifer Jacobs regarding now fired Iowa film office manager Tom Wheeler that stated: "Even today, the entire film office is one cubicle inside the state's economic development offices."

    One cubicle! Sweet Maria! My workspace is bigger! Couldn't they get the poor guy an actual office? It could have even been a windowless office! I'm sure Mr. Wheeler wouldn't have complained!

    The same article by Jacobs also indicated "the tax incentives were announced with little fanfare the year before partly because leaders feared too many simultaneous projects could overwhelm the state's limited resources." Ah, foresight.

    All this is why Iowa Governor Chet Culver, whose seat is as hot right now as Dev Patel's in "Slumdog Millionaire", has put the whole program on a halt (for now) and leading to the whole situation being deemed a "fiasco", and as "Elizabethtown" taught us: "a fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions. A fiasco is a folktale told to others that makes them feel more alive because it didn't happen to them."

    Except it appears this is happening to just about everyone. Every state that decides to "spark" its film industry is taking it on the chin one way or another. Maybe we should look a little closer at Michigan's program. They were a state, like Iowa, that was hit hard by unemployment and saw this as an opportunity to create jobs and boost the economy. According to the New York Times "The first round of Michigan credits cost that state’s taxpayers about $48 million in 2008, while generating about $53.8 million in new employment income, and the equivalent of 1,102 full-time jobs."

    But upon closer investigation it is revealed "(t)he MSU report mentions direct gains of 2,763 jobs, but adds that these involved short-term employment of just 23 days on average, producing a 'full-time equivalent' of just 254 jobs." Hmmmmm.....

    Donnelle Eller of the Des Moines Registe reports "the state acknowledges it currently has little way of determining how many jobs - most of them temporary - the film industry creates in Iowa." Well, that doesn't seem good. Shouldn't they have considered this before they set sail? In the same article Susan Christopher of Cornell ("Maybe you've heard of it?") University sheds some unfortunate light. "Film projects create work, it doesn't create jobs...It's like a renaissance festival coming to Iowa. There's a lot of activity, so it's very visible, but it's temporary."

    Naturally Iowa's filmmaking community is up in arms over the sudden halt to the program as Governor Culver and his cohorts attempt to figure out what the hell is going on. They are fearful the industry will leave and never come back. "Hollywood has come here, Hollywood is looking at us, and Hollywood is very pleased and impressed at what it's discovering." This is what local actress Kim Grimaldi told the Des Moines Register. (Then again Grimaldi was in one of central Iowa's most famous film productions to date, "The YooFoo Club", a film so wretched she probably thinks working opposite Rose McGowan as a crackhead is a dream come true.)

    Hey, I love movies as much as anyone. I think that's obvious. Maybe there is benefit to luring filmmakers to Iowa (so long as they massively restructure this entire program, like putting a cap on it - as Michigan has done - and, you know, keeping a few actual records of the whole enterprise), but maybe not. I don't live in Iowa anymore so it's not my tax dollars at work. (Do my Iowa friends have any comment on this?)

    Oh, and consider this quote from the Iowa Fiscal Partnership's Victor Elias: "The average cost of salary and benefits for a teacher in Iowa is $56,800 a year. That $50 million would put 879 teachers in the classroom every year. As we’re looking at cuts, we’re saying these are 879 teachers we don’t have to fire or that we can actually hire. As opposed to 15 film projects that will be here for a few months or so and then leave." Hmmmm....

    John Carlson of the Des Moines Register pegged this as being "hooked on Hollywood." Perhaps there is a bit of truth to this sentiment, though his article seemed to single out Iowans and, for God's sake, Iowa is not alone on that obsession. This is a society where you can hop online and in three seconds find photos of Sienna Miller in New York exiting Starbucks (not that I know about this) and where I once witnessed Jennifer Aniston on location for "The Break Up" on Michigan Avenue exit a hotel to hundreds of people screaming like they were from Manitoba and Labatt Blue had suddenly just become free. Everyone's hooked on Hollywood, John. Wisconsin got hooked and then had to shut the whole thing down. Louisiana hooked and found itself in the midst of a bribery scandal before real tragedy struck and an ex-Nebraska Football Player got screwed! Oh no!

    I don't believe that was the driving issue, though. When people need work and states need money it's only natural to gravitate to the quick fix and if one state has already proclaimed a quick fix then your state simply needs to grab hold of the same quick fix and take it up another notch which leads to the next state in line taking it up another notch and before you know it Delaware will be offering 100% in tax credits! Film in Dover! Please! We'll give you anything!!!! And then a year later Delaware will be so broke it will have to merge with Maryland to create Maryware. It's how the business goes. You wanna play, you gotta pay. A lot. Hollywood doesn't mind fleecing all of us. Even in a recession.

    "I'm in the big game with the big players. My experience I can give you in a nutshell and I didn't dream it in a dream, either. Dog Eat Dog. From now on, the best of everything is good enough for me." - Sydney Falco (Tony Curtis), Sweet Smell Of Success Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Wedding kiss

Bling

Run Out of Opinions and Patience


    My asshole hurts now.

    I wake up, looking at the ceiling. I sit up and a stab of pain hits me in the gut so that it makes me lay the fuck back on down. I'm hurting! I do my sit ups though, go figure. Today is the big day. I'm heading all the way over to my school to see if I can get my High School Diploma. I set out pretty early and get there before lunchtime. I walk through the front and there are New York City Police Officers in there. I almost shit. I'm thinking that there's a police action going on and they have 'school security' embroidered over the shoulder shield.

    Holy shit! The need the police in the schools now? UNheard of in my day. Everything is exactly the way I remember it 29 years ago though!! Has it been THAT long? Jeezus. I go by all of the offices that have NOT changed, and the rooms that have NOT changed, and into the main office where I inquire about my diploma.

    They actually go through a file cabinet and pull out a folder "Here it is," the older secretary exclaims, holding up the folder. Cheese and Rice! They have records going back that far? Baby I'm amazed as the song goes, but unfortunately no copy of my diploma. "We'll have to give you a certified letter." Certified, that's fine by me. A simple letter that reads:

    To Whom it May Concern
    This is to verify that Hobobob graduated from Aviation High School in June of 1980 and received a High School diploma.

    Signed and stamped with the school's raised seal. Tell me, what more do you need to figure this one out? With paperwork in hand and a folder full of documentation to prove that I am me, I head to the NYDMV. I get there and there is an asshole long line with only two clerks working it. No wonder it's so long. Typical Civil Servant thinking. It takes a fucking hour to get through this line. I get to the counter and hand over my ID cards, birth certificate, and wait up for the diploma. "You need the one more point of ID." I got it right here. I carefully unfold the paper from its envelope and lay it down on the counter in front of him. He picks it up, his limbic mind looks at it, he sits it down on the counter and slides it over to me. "This is not a High School Diploma." Look sonny, I slide the paper back to him. They do not issue out High School Diplomas after twenty years, you get a signed letter from the school. "But it's not ID". He slides the paper back to me. Look, give me somebody else to look at this. This IS ID. I don't know what you're talking about.

    So the kid signs a dispute paper and sends me to a seat in the grand waiting room with a number to be called. I sit here for a half hour until my number pops up. I run to the counter and slide my Certified Letter with the dispute paper. The Supervisor looks at it as asks me: "Do you know.... inaudible slurring." Who? Mumbles "mmm...he graduated Aviation High School when you did." Don't know him. He hands me my paper back. The note says: "Yes," and is initialed. I'm feeling good now. I head back to the front of this long line and hand all of my documents over, to a NEW clerk this time. I fill out more paperwork, my picture is taken, and I am given a number. "Go sit until your number is called."

    A half hour later my number is called and I go up to this next clerk and she tells me to give her over all of my documentation. Then she gets to my Diploma and hands that shit right back to me: "This is unacceptable. Do you have something else?" WHAT?? That is fine lady. I just got through speaking to your supervisor over THERE that said it was! "It's not considered ID." It has my full name on it, right there. "It's not ID." I want to speak to ANOTHER supervisor. I wanted to call her a moron, and with the other an idiot, but they might take the time to jump over the counter and whip my ass right there in the grand waiting room, stomping me to the flooring. NO THANKS. She calls over a Supervisor, and to stack the fucking deck, she says: "This ISN'T ID is it?"


    How much of a fucking bitch can you be? You're wrong and you're trying to get your supervisor to save your face. "It's ID," he hands it back. If I had two guns I would have unloaded them in the ceiling. YEAH!! Begrudingly, Little Miss WRONG had to go through the work of processing the paperwork, which she did slowly and nastily. Fuck her, I thought. I'm getting my ID! She slides me my paperwork, asks me how long do I want to pay before it expires. I choose eight years. She takes my cash, and gives me a temporary ID. I wanted to ask her, what the fuck is this. This isn't acceptable as real ID you ugly assed Rotweiller. But...well, see above.

    I walked out of there feeling like a million. In two weeks the ID will be mailed to me. Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me! If I had two guns I would have sparked them shits straight up into the air the second I stepped outside. I took the subway home and blogged. Another day, another fight done. I can't believe that in two weeks I'll have this fucking ID. Now, I have to focus on my court case.

    I sit down on my super hard chair. My ass hurts.

    HobobobSource URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Prepare to be...Seduced By Shadows


    Interview by Kirsten Scott

    Hey Banditas and Bandita Buddies -- I am thrilled to welcome a fantastic debut author who is certain to be on the NY Times list before you can blink an eye. Her name is Jessa Slade, and she's a local chapter mate of mine from the Rose City Romance Writers! So...onto the interview!

    KIRSTEN: Hey Jessa, welcome to the terhand doel! I am thrilled to introduce you to all the BBs (Bandita Buddies) and my fellow Banditas -- and keep your eyes out for Sven the masseuse -- he can really ease that writer's cramp. Oh, and one of the cabana boys will be along shortly with your drink. What would you like?

    JESSA: I’m not ashamed to say I prefer girlie drinks: Sweet and frothy. (The secret of girlie drinks is, of course, most of them deliver a stiletto-heel kick that’ll leave your head buzzing, which is why men can’t drink them.) Since my story is set in the chill of Chicago in November, I’ll take a girlie coffee drink, a BFK. That’s Bailey’s, Frangelico and Kahlua. In a fine establishment like this (i.e. surrounded by romance writers and readers) I’m sure you don’t mind if I switch out the coffee for hot cocoa. And get a swirl of whipped cream on top. Plus a few chocolate sprinkles. Ah yes, now we can get started.

    KIRSTEN: Lovely! I’ll have one of those myself! Cabana boy – fetch us two BFKs! Now, tell us all about your fabulous debut, Seduced by Shadows.

    JESSA: SEDUCED BY SHADOWS is the first in a new urban fantasy romance series, The Marked Souls, from Signet Eclipse, out October 6 (finally!). Repentant demons, seeking to earn their redemption, possess vulnerable souls to wage an unending battle against the forces of evil in our world. These teshuva demons and their talyan men think they’ve seen everything in their immortal lives… until the first female warrior arrives.

    From the back cover:

    The war between good and evil has raged for millennia, but now evil is winning and the Marked Souls are caught in the middle.

    After an accident left her near death, Sera Littlejohn is struggling to piece together her life. But when a violet-eyed stranger reveals a supernatural battle veiled in the shadows, Sera is tempted to the edge of madness by a dangerous desire.

    Ferris Archer takes Sera under his wing now that she is talyan, possessed by a repentant demon with hellish powers. Archer and his league of warriors have long risked their demon-shattered souls to stop darker spirits from wreaking havoc, but they've never fought beside a female talya before -- and never in all his centuries has Archer found a woman who captivates him like Sera.

    With the balance shifting between good and evil, passion and possession, Sera and Archer must defy the darkness and dare to embrace a love that will mark them forever.



    KIRSTEN: Wow (hushed silence). That sounds intense.

    JESSA: The monsters are on the intense side, and the hero and heroine have a few shadows in their pasts, but who doesn’t have darkness, monsters, and shadows on their heels, right? And I’ve always loved that saying: Only when it’s dark do we finally see the on-rushing headlights of our doom. No, wait, that’s not the saying. The saying is: Only when it’s dark do we see the stars. We only learn our true character under pressure, which the dark side provides in spades.

    KIRSTEN: You've built an incredibly detailed world for your books. How do you go about the writing process? What comes first -- world-building, plot, or characters? Or a mix of all three? And where did you come up with all those cool words you've coined? Did you dream up a whole new language, like Tolkien?

    JESSA: Ooh, you referenced me and Tolkien in the same paragraph! Fangirl shriek moment! I can only dream of some day writing with Tolkien’s vibrant complexity (and scoring Peter Jackson as director for the movie!) and—since I’m dreaming—Frank Herbert’s vivid depth. I re-read THE HOBBIT and DUNE regularly, and every time, I’m blown away by the worlds they’ve created and the characters that move through their stories. (Although both stories need more heroines, agreed?)

    I, tragically, am a hack. I stole my words from mythologies and religions around the world. At least I’m an unbiased thief. The reason why I borrowed so widely is I’m fascinated with the way every culture attempts to explain good and evil. From the Brothers Grimm to Mao’s little book, from the earliest Babylonian creation tales to the latest Joss Whedon, we’re constantly parsing good from evil. From a scientific angle, you could say it must be hard-wired into our brain to seek to understand why bad things happen to good people and why good people do bad things. But from a more liberal arts perspective, you have to wonder WHY we need to understand. Could it be BECAUSE evil truly exists, and not in some metaphoric sense either, but in a very literal sense? But what if good and evil can’t be separated out so neatly? What if we’re all good AND evil?

    From that question—If we all have a bit of evil in us, does that make us evil?—was born the Marked Souls.

    KIRSTEN: Jessa, I want to read this book more with every word you speak! Now, putting aside these questions of good and evil, let’s get down to details: I know a lot of our readers love a bad-boy. Can you tell us about your hero, Archer? He's enough to make a girl's spine tingle...

    JESSA: Oh, yes, spine. That’s what’s tingling ;) Ferris Archer is a bad boy by necessity, not by choice. He was raised a farmer’s son, and he had a simple plan laid out for him: Sunlight, growing things, a walk down the lane with some quiet girl. But life—and death, and good and evil, and fate, and love—targeted him for something more.

    Archer cultivates his bad boy qualities—the sharp edges in his personality and his blade, more than a touch of danger, not to mention the black trench coat—to hide his regret at forgetting something so dear to him as the scent of honeysuckle. Sera, the heroine, brings that back but also forces him to remember things he’d rather stayed forgotten, like, oh, his humanity. Oops.

    My favorite, decidedly non-PC parts of a bad boy work well in a Marked Soul. All that arrogance and violence are harnessed for the power of good. Well, and for the heroine, of course :) She better be ready for the responsibility of handling his, er, weapon.

    KIRSTEN: So now that we’re all panting to read this book can you tell about your path to publication? Was this the first story you’ve written?

    JESSA: Oh, thanks for making me choke on my BFK! Sold my first story. Snork. Almost a hundred rejections over more than ten years on nearly a million final draft words. The math isn’t exact (Damn it, Jim, I’m a writer, not a mathematician) but if you round to the nearest heartache, that’s how long it took me to get here. Never let it be said I took the easy way to anything. At least the slow and steady pace gave me an ulcer… I mean, gave me a chance not only to learn the craft of writing but to discover more about the business and the mindset of being an author. Still, I think I’d advocate the overnight success route if you have the opportunity.

    KIRSTEN: Any advice for your fellow writers, now that you've hit the big time?

    JESSA: Well, I’m still small-time, but I think I could give you the advice that the big boys and girls would: Keep writing. With every failure and every success, keep writing. You are a writer when you are writing. Let everything else fall by the wayside when you set that blinking cursor to blank page and write.

    Will it be easy? Never has been for me. But whatever. Keep writing. I consider writing a painful chore, slogging away at the keyboard, day after day. But in the striving, I do see something I guess I’d call sublime. There’s a sacred calling in the telling of story.

    KIRSTEN: What beautiful words – a real inspiration. Thanks so much for being here today.

    JESSA: Thank YOU for inviting me! I’ll be stopping back throughout the day, so if anybody has any questions or wants to debate fantasy casting for Bilbo Baggins in the remaking of The Hobbit, ask away!

    Please, feel free to pepper Jessa with questions, offer your suggestions for recasting The Hobbit, or even add your philosophical musings -- is there good and bad in everything? Is that why we love those bad boy heros so much -- because we can't help but want to redeem them?

    Jessa will be giving away a copy of her debut, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS to one lucky commentor, so get cracking!!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Gophers Badgers Tickets TCF Bank Stadium

    The highly-anticipated Gophers vs. Badgers game is right around the corner and is coming up quick! This Saturday, October 3rd, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will host the Wisconsin Badgers at the new TCF Bank Stadium for the second game of their 2009-2010 football season. Ticket King currently has Gopher tickets starting at just $155 for upper level tickets or $175 for lower levels. These are going pretty quickly since the ticket price has lowered since the start of the season. I would suggest getting your tickets today before the good ones are gone because this game is going to be HUGE! Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Okay, Pain in the Ass


    He's up again.

    Early like me. Today he rises around six O'clock. I've been up since Four. You know, working on this novel and stuff, and I'm coming up with good ideas. And then there is a fucking fight breaking out in the room next door. Or somebody is moving shit that too big for them to lift. There is a throbbing and a banging and a bumping against the wall, every time he gets up, the minute he gets up. I see him donning his pants or pajamas and falling against the walls of the room trying to put them on. He's annoying. Such a silly old man. The only reason why I like him so much is that he can get high as a kite on something. He'll walk down the hall and not even see you.

    One time we're in the elevator together and he looks up at me with NOTHING behind his eyes and says, "Alright, goodnight". Goodnight, dude I live right fucking next to you! Well he's up today moving shit, pounding away on the walls of his room. But that's alright, I've got the headsets to my MP3 Player to put in my computer and listen to music up close and personal, blocking out the fucking world.

    I'm happy to be cruising. Today I'm going to my High School to get that damned diploma. So I work on this Novel until a quarter to Twelve and get up for my shower (as the guys in the men's shelter would say, My Chower) and I decide to take with me a gift that Electra gave me. A loofah set. Much of it with wooden handles for those hard to reach places on your body, but each having a loofah sponge at the end of it.

    Well, there's one thing that I can say about a loofah. The motherfucker is hard as barbed wire and no amount of water is going to make it any softer. None. So I'm Chowering, getting into the tingling feeling of the sponge and when done, the nice tingling feeling turns into pain. DAMN, I say to myself. I damn near scrubbed the black off my ass! I get ready to go, with this painful tingly feeling and sit down at my computer to turn it off and one of my friends pops up on IM, it's BB and she tells me to wait. Okay, what now. I'm about ready to tell her that I have to go when she tells me that she read in my blog that I was going to go to my High School today. Well DON'T, because today was YOM KIPPUR. I sit back into my seat. Well, I'll be damned, she's right. I check online, and my high school web site is as helpful as...well you know it, my dick on LUVOX, but the city's web site is much more helpful, with a calendar stating the days that schools are closed in New York.

    Fuck me. I would have toted my ass all the way out there to come up staring at a closed building. Ha ha ha ha. I thank BB profusely for getting to me. She could have let me go to enjoy my madcap adventures, but she didn't. Thank you BB. So I prepare my hands for some work. Yep, I'm preparing for the Olympics. I'm going to work on that Novel like it was the last thing on Earth. Close my eyes and live somewhere else for a change. No longer in my body, no longer in my room, but now roaming the stars with the Carlyle brothers. Zooming through the galaxy to save it from those who would want to rule all of it.

    I work until two in the morning, getting to page 817. Damn! I got through to that number in less than two or three weeks, right? And the story is still going....

    There is a tap on my door. It didn't sound like it was mine at first until it turned into light knocking, and then hard, insistent knocking. I slip on my tee-shirt and wait, just in case these guys have some keys to my room, but I don't move to answer the door. Well, why not? Because I don't like un-invited guests. Guests who just drop in on you and derail your train of thought. But you have to wonder, what the fuck goes through someone's mind to knock on someone's door at 12:30 midnight unannounced? Just tell me. A list of names comes up in my head, then they are trimmed down to a list of possibilities, and then I come down to just one who it probably was. No Friend Igor. Igor, who for some reason or another thinks that I'm the most bestest friend in the world to have.

    Hey, Igor...I'M A SHUT IN! That means that I won't be knocking on your door to go to the movies. I won't hang around in your room watching TV, and you won't be in mine, listening to music and smoking dope. It's just not going to happen no matter how insistent you are to make it happen. It's just not. I'm not that much of a people person. I have a very short list of friends and I would like to keep it that way. I'm not too keen on people with a huge number of people following them around as if they were all on Twitter or something.

    My ass hole itches. I'm back to working on my novel and there is an itch up my asshole. So the next time I go to take a piss, I wipe it again, scratching it in fact. Working on my super ass hard chair all day long, my itch turns into pain. A lump is forming right on the crack of my ass. Awww Man! I need this shit now? I'm going to ignore it because, frankly, there is nothing that I can do about it. Nothing. I crawl into bed, ready for visions of sugar plums.

    I will wake up dreaming of bees. Go figure.

    HobobobSource URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Minnesota Twins Metrodome Tickets

    The Minnesota Twins will begin their last home series in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome this weekend. It will be the last series to EVER be played in the Metrodome by the Twinkies! On Friday, October 2nd, the Twins will host the Kansas City Royals for one of the last times at the dome. This game, along with Saturday's and Sunday's games, will definitely sell out completely! We're already running low on our remaining Twins tickets for this series- especially Friday's game. If you would like to see one of the last Twins games to ever be played at the Metrodome, get your tickets now before they're gone! And GO TWINS!!!!!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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Santorini hotel: Astra Apartments

    Dear readers, many of you commented yesterday that you'd love to go to Santorini (rightly so!), so I wanted to pass on a hotel recommendation.

    Santorini has quite a few villages, all with their own personalities. Oia is famously picturesque and touristy; Fira is packed with bars and clubs, and the quieter Imerovigli is perched on a cliff top between the two.

    We decided to stay in Imerovigli and were so glad we did. The sunsets were breathtaking, and the village was more peaceful and less chaotic that the others. At night, you can walk along a coastal footpath to the Imerovigli Taverna, sit outside overlooking the sea. (Confession: We went to that same taverna four nights in a row, which I know is against Vacation Rules, but we couldn't help it!)

    Our hotel was Astra Apartments (which we booked through the amazing site Mr. & Mrs. Smith; it's totally addictive). I would recommend it hands down, a thousand percent. The owners are warm and gracious, the rooms are romantic and modern (with a giant his-and-hers shower!), breakfast is served in your room, and you can sit at the pool with a glass of wine in hand and watch the sunset. Amazing.

    Anyway, just wanted to pass that along, in case any of you are planning trips! xoxo
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2009/09/
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