Saturday, March 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, theoretically speaking

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I'm celebrating a birthday soon--although of course when you get to my age you don't actually celebrate them. You dread them, you try to dodge them, you sigh with that same it-can't-be-here-again-already expression you get when the dentist informs you it's time for another check up. (Ditto for the OB.)

I wouldn't mind birthdays so much if they didn't involve so much reflecting--not reflecting about life. That part is okay. That part is really great, actually. It's all that reflecting in the mirror.

Where did those wrinkles come from? And is it just my imagination or are my eyebrows migrating down my face? We will not even discuss other areas of my body as this blog is read by teens and I wouldn't want to frighten them about what life has in store.

But take my advice. Wear sunscreen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Janette gets lost

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Some of us weren’t blessed with a sense of direction. The fairy responsible for bestowing that gift on me at birth—in Sleeping Beauty like fashion—obviously got lost somewhere and never made it to my cradle.

I take heart that I’m not alone in this affliction. One of my icons, comedy writer Patrick McManus, used to write essays about his experiences getting lost camping. (Hey look! The sun is setting in the south!)

Last week when I was vacationing at Rocky Point, Mexico with my family, I left our building and walked across the sprawling pool area to talk to the concierge in the lobby. I wanted to know where I could rent ATVs for my son and husband. It turned out I couldn’t do that at my hotel, Las Palmas, but the concierge told me in broken English how I could get to one a few miles away that had them.

Well, I knew that was a doomed venture from the start, so I got a map for the concierge and he highlighted the way there. Problem solved. (As long as my husband drove and not me. The map-reading fairy similarly did not show up to bestow a gift on me as a child.)

I walked back across the pool area to my building. I took the elevator to the 7th floor and went to my room—701.

The key wouldn’t turn in the lock.

We’d had a little trouble with the dead bolt earlier, so I kept trying, but had no luck. I wondered with frustration why my children, who were all parked in the living room watching DVDs didn’t just come and open the door for me. Finally I pounded on the door.


The little ingrates. I pounded again, and then when that didn’t produce results I stood on my tiptoes to peer through the pane of glass over the door.

Not only were my children not in the room, but the room was completely different than the one I’d left.

I looked at the door. Yes, it was 701, which is what my key read.

This was one of those moments when I almost expected a black and white visage of Rod Serling to appear around the corner and with his trademark smirk say, “For your consideration—Janette thought she’d taken a get away to Mexico but now finds herself vacationing in The Twilight Zone!”

Then I noticed the key said 701 G.

As it turns out there was more than one building at Las Palmas. In fact, my husband pointed out that there were four identical buildings. He informed me of this with a sort of how-could-you-not-notice-four-identical-buildings expression on his face.

To say I’m unobservant isn’t quite accurate. I was observing the buildings. I was observing how the sunlight hit them and trying to find the right descriptive word in case I ever used this place in a novel. There are so many stretching buildings; bright, crisp, and vibrant against the sunshine. But that doesn’t really describe it. I never could find the right word.

Description, like direction, isn’t my strong point.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Edit Your Novel Month

I heard on the radio that March is the official edit-your-novel-month. Which of course begs the question: Are other authors only editing their novels one month out of the year? How do I get that gig? I'm editing all of the time. Well, when I'm actually writing and not doing all of that promotion my editors have instructed me to do.

Side note: the bow-tied one called two days ago and asked how the latest novel was coming along.

"I haven't written anything in weeks," I told him. "I've been working on all that promotion stuff you wanted me to do."

"Stop promoting and get back to writing," he told me.

The man just refuses to be happy.

Anyway, so March is edit your novel month. The radio people also listed some other things March is, including caffeine awareness month, frozen foods month, and national peanut butter month.

Coincidence? I think not. What do you think authors are eating while they're editing their novels?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Am I Smarter than a Fifth Grader . . .

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I have fifth grade twins so I'm doubly qualified to answer this question.

I was trying to help my daughter with her math the other night. It was something about probability. Like, if you have a coin and you flip it three times, what are the chances of it landing heads, tails, heads.

My first response, of course, was wondering why the teacher needed to know this information. Is there a job out there somewhere that requires people to flip coins in a certain order?

I told her that you have a fifty-fifty chance each time you flip a coin of getting it to be what you want it to be, unless you happen to have telekinetic powers. I'm still working on that skill, by the way. Sometimes I stare at the clutter in my house and chant, "Be gone!"

Apparently that was the wrong answer so I have to report that no, I'm not smarter than a fifth grader.

But in my defense I have never needed to know anything about the probability of coin tosses so I'm still okay.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Vote on your favorite cover.

For those of you who don't stop by my website because I never have new content on it--guess what? I put on new content! (Okay, I didn't; I paid someone else to do it for me, but still, it's there.)
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I have a new link to the photo shoot I did for the cover of How To Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend. Really, I want your opinion. Do you like the covers I did or the one Putnam did best? Even if you don't care anything about covers, you should still check out the pictures because they involve attractive people. Plus, I want everyone to see the picture of what I think Jessie should look like as opposed to what Putnam slapped on my book. Tell me, who makes a better hot cowboy?
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If you don't have my website on your list of programmed favorites (and why don't you?) the address is: