Monday, January 31, 2011

Foodstuff and Stuff (but not H.R. Puffenstuff)

So The Chef and I went to NYC this weekend under the auspices of me going to the SCBWI (make it up or look it up) conference. He frolicked about whilst I...did not. Although I did play nicely with my friends.  More about the conference another day. Maybe I'll even tell you about hanging out with R.L. Stine (yes, he of Goosebumps fame).

But! We frolicked together in the night! And on Friday, we went to one of our all-time favorite places, Eataly.  There, amongst the amazing foodstuffs, we had meals made of the very foodstuffs we'd been mingling amongst. (Please tell me you caught the gist of that sentence.)

Imagine this as a whole pizza, with buffalo mozz and high-end olive oil, and basil of course. We also talked the folks sitting next to us to get one of their very own. We are very good suggestive sellers. That was not meant to sound dirty, and does.

This is fritto misto. Or it was...before we ATE it. I had the calimari and a piece of skate. The Chef ate everything I didn't, because he will eat anything (almost). And he WILL try everything. I try to try everything, but sometimes I have to squash that idea.

This is me squashing the try everything idea. It is a SEA URCHIN and it was still MOVING (which was both gross and cool). It also made quite a nice hat. I think The Chef is tired of me openly mocking this foodstuff. But...but...I just can't help it. As my BFF pointed out, a few years ago I wouldn't even eat garlic in my mashed potatoes. So

More NYC reports coming up, but not now, as I am very tired from the jaunt that shall bring you more blog posts--another time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From Publisher's Marketplace!!! Yay Jack!!!

THE BIG POLICEMAN* author J. North Conway's BAG OF BONES, the tale of the mystery surrounding the theft, ransom and return of Alexander Turney Stewart's remains and one of the most renowned and bungled police investigations in New York City's history, to Keith Wallman at Lyons Press, for publication in Spring 2012, by Tris Coburn at Tristram C. Coburn Literary Management (World).

(I'm doing this from my iPad, so I have limited maneuverability here. Later I will add links and pics. but I wanted to share the news because I am EXCITED for my friend! Yay!)

*Buy THIS book and you may (okay you will--if you look) find a certain someone's name on the acknowledgements** page

**This is such a hard word to type. Try it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some Easy Reading* for You (while I go grade essays)

Easy reading is damn hard writing.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ain't that the truth. And trying to keep the pesky author out of it! Ay carumba!

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.  ~Burton Rascoe
Dear Chef--See! I AM writing when I look like a zombie in training. (I say "in training" rather than plain-old zombie because my hair looks FANTASTIC; zombies always need a visit from the stylist. By the way, thanks for the visit from the stylist this weekend! I'm digressing again, aren't I?) My point was/is I am writing when I am staring off into space!

Loafing is the most productive part of a writer's life.  ~James Norman Hall
See: staring out the window (above)

There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.  ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith
That's exactly what I'll be doing later, because I didn't get much of anything done this weekend writerly-wise. I suspect it'll look like Dexter has been here.  But! I did get a cute haircut. And we went here for dinner and it was GREAT! And then we went to Smoke, where the folks greet us with firm handshakes (The Chef) and kisses (me).

This is the fried calamari in garlic sauce I'm now madly in love with.

And then you know what happened, right?

Look, I am crying because we're going to the SuperBowl AND I get a MASSIVE bonus. Plus The Chef is exuberantly happy. That's why I do this, man! 
Love, Ben R.
 You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.  ~Ray Bradbury
Or stay drunk...just saying...I think I forgot to add "Drink more" to my New Year's resolutions. Consider it added now.

*This post took me all day to write. Of course, I had to leave the house and teach midway through...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Look, Kids, I may be from New England but...

I loves me some Steelers.* So sue me.

And I may have spent a major international holiday in Steelers Country. (If you're guessing my birthday, then you're guessing right!)

The Chef: Let's go to the overlook.
Me: Can we not?
The Chef: Is it because you're afraid of heights?
Me: Yes.
The Chef (taking my hand): Then we're definitely going.
Sister of The Chef: You should have said you were cold. Then you wouldn't have to do it.
Me: So noted.
By the way, I am not screaming. It was effing cold and wind-chilly. Actually, maybe I am screaming.

*I mean, it's not like I've ever said I wanted to see Tom Brady's Patriots head roll down the field while still in his helmet.**

** What? Oh. Well, I may have said it, but only, like, once.***

***Fine. Once times a million.

Scribbling and snacking my way to NYC

"Don't get it right, just get it written”
          --James Thurber
Me: scribblescribblescribblescribble DONE!

“Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.”
          --Olin Miller
Me: scribble Look! Something shiny! scribble scribble This stinks! scribble ::years pass:: (imagine a calendar with the pages flying off, a la Hollywood) scribble?

“Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.”
Me: scribble snack scribble ::sees end of the story, a mere weekend away:: scribble snack scribble snack scribble

I said I would get this thing (known by friends and family merely as "Hazel") done by the end of the month. Actually, I said I would get this YA novel done by the end of last November, during NaNoWriMo, but there was that whole extended hospital stay (kidney infection, pneumonia, and gall bladder) and pain-medication-fueled recovery, during which time my brain resembled a tumbleweed.

Of course, anyone who knows me also knows
  1. I will do anything for attention
  2. I will do, no, would have done anything to avoid finishing this thing--but not anymore. Now I want to be done. Done-er than done.
  3. I rarely feel badly about not achieving a self-imposed goal. I just wave to it as it passes by. No sense beating myself up; I was probably distracted by shiny things, and who can feel badly about THAT?
Psst. The Chef doesn't know this but he's going to help me this weekend with some of the foodstuff descriptions included within Hazel. The book, not the person. Not that she's a real person. You know what I mean. But I digress (again). My degree has made writing about the sweet stuff easy. The savory? Not so much, especially considering if left to my own devices, I'd eat Campbell's tomato soup for every meal. Except breakfast, at which time I would have French toast.

Don't worry! He shall be rewarded--with a trip to New York for the SCBWI conference next week. Well, it's kind of a reward. It's reward-ish.

When Jame asked if he'd be attending sessions, I said (via the facebook), "He will run amok in the city whilst we suffer for our craft. Or sneak off and drink. Whatever." 

Then she pointed out, "Watch he'll get a book deal while he's out: Drinking in the Underbelly or some such." Knowing The Chef as I do, I TOTALLY see that happening.Stay tuned to see who he signs with. :)

We'll be staying here. Well, kind of here. Dare I say, here-ish?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Words to live by.

Again from One Twenty Five


"Don’t ever think you’re nothing because somewhere along the line, there’s going to be someone who thinks you’re everything."
--stolen unabashedly from One Twenty Five, my new favoritest blog, which I found via my other new favoritest blog, Do Life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There's no business... when snow's here (hopefully)

The Chef is at work (ha ha ha) in that pesky limbo of "Do I prep the food for a meeting tomorrow or not, since the office will probably be closed, but then again it might not be." (He is big and important, as are his meetings because they DECIDE things while tasting food. Unlike my meetings where we just eat food and then run out of time. The only thing we decide is to have more meetings.  And, by the way, he has a much better command of the English language than that previous pretend quotation--invented by me--implies.)

I responded to his conundrum, because I am not at work, and have plenty of time to tarry:

I just checked out The Weather Channel and it looks like for reals a snowstorm is coming. But I still don’t believe it. I won’t believe it until I am smothered in snow, wishing I had worn warmer socks. I won’t believe it until a series of snow angels created by woodland creatures have appeared on the front lawn. I won’t believe it until the university has cancelled classes.

But just in case, I bought extra Diet Coke.

This could all be a ruse, created by the Bread and Milk Associations of America.

Oh, you want us to think that's snow, but it could just be powdered sugar from a misplaced doughnut.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Newbery (and other awards) Day!

Also, can you find me in these pictures???: Lisa Yee's blog

In case you didn't know, the Newbery Award is the Oscars of children's writing. You can see a list of many winners here. But! Also! If you go here you can find more info about the other awards!

But let's get back to the me part of the show.

So Lisa Yee, who we LOVE, said on facebook to "like" her up-to-the-minute tweets about the award winners and we could win free books. So I did. All of them, one right after the other. Because I like books, especially free ones. And, apparently, that's the very moment she took screen shots. (There are more, but I'm sparing you the level of Book Need* from which I suffer.)

*I would appreciate any and all donations to help me deal with this terrible afflication. Just sayin'.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sean!!!

Look over there! It's Big Bird!

No, I am not eating your cake. I'm helping you cut it, for you are my tiny baby boy.
Who cares that you happen to be 6"3" and 23 years old? Okay, maybe I was just having a TINY bite.
Holy smokes. 23??? Where DID the time go?  Wait a minute. That means I'm...
(Please send cake.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I just had an epiphany...

It's Holly's birthday!!!

Happy birthday to my favorite future daughter-in-law!
(This public declaration may or may not be your present.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Great Author Interview Series: Gayle Trent

I met Gayle Trent through The Mighty Internets. I don’t remember the specifics, but I do know Diet Coke was involved. I like to think of her as my Diet Coke Partner in Crime, since she writes cozy mysteries and I…read them. (I write other stuff.) And! And! And! One of her mystery series (That doesn’t sound right. Serieses? Nope, not that.) is about cake decorator Daphne Martin. Mmm…cake…

She also has a second series, under the nom de plume* Amanda Lee, in which Marcy Singer opens an embroidery specialty shop and murder ensues. Fun!

Did I mention Gayle's really kind? True story. So kind, in fact, that she has agreed to go first in The Great Author Interview Series. (Read that in a booming voice, please. Maybe with a little echoing…)

What is your favorite part of writing?
The actual fleshing out of the book. I love it when I'm actually discovering the story and where it's going.

What inspired you to write your first book?

This is going to sound really bad, but I read a book that wasn't particularly good (can't remember the title now) and thought, "I could do better than that!" :)

What book are you reading now?
The James Prescription
by Chuck Thompson. On deck, The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on a stand-alone I got the idea for when we were vacationing in Savannah. It's about a woman who discovers her great-grandmother was a serial killer. Talk about skeletons in your closet! And, I'm getting ready to work on Book IV in the embroidery series. :)

What was the last nice thing you did for yourself?
I got an accupressure massage at a kiosk in the mall.**

What’s for supper?
Shepherd's pie, corn, and fresh, hot bread.

P.S. Love your Fenway pics!*** My guys are die-hard Red Sox fans. :)  Thanks for including me in your new blog! 

Thank you, Gayle! (Say "Thank you," Everyone!) The next Diet Coke's on me!

*Yes, I DID have to get all fancy and use the French term. Because I am classy like that.
**That sounds amazing right now. It will probably sound amazing every time I read it, in fact.
***They're on my facebook page. You can be my fb friend if you like. Ask for Penny Piva.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I already regret telling you this

April 10, 2011.
Run MS: 5K Rhode Race

To quote Mr Burns...


But, thanks to my bestie Jame Richards (Go read her book. I'll wait.), 2011 will now be referred to as a most exce11ent year. Take a few minutes to muster up some exce11ent for you or your own bestie. Or both!!!
Your mission is to make exce11ent happen. Or, to quote Captain Picard...
"Make it so..."*

*I couldn't choose between this quotation and "Engage," so take your pick.**
**It's Choose Your Own Punchline time!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Yes, even I have been thinking about them. So sue me.

Here's what I have come up with:

  • Use as many exclamation marks as possible!!! (!!)

  • Tell people I love that I love them--perhaps even so often that they get annoyed!

  • Put more words on paper, perhaps even every day! (But there's no way I'm doing it at 5:15 a.m. That's just crazy talk!)

  • Finish that gol-durned project.

  • Have fun every day.

  • Buy more things for other people. (This resolution brought to you by special request. ::waves to The Chef sitting over there::)

  • Read!

  • Run a 5K by the end of the year. (Blah blah blah "challenge yourself" blah blah blah)

  • Keep drinking Diet Coke.

I think that's it. Anything you think I should add?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I've missed you. I've missed blogging. But I felt like A Diet Coke-Fueled Life* had run its course, so I abandoned ship, much to the chagrin of my mom, who couldn't keep track of me nearly as easily without daily updates via The Mighty Internets.

Yes, I am still doing a kabillion things all at once, but I no longer feel frantic. Or at least I still have a kabillion things on my mind. Something like that. Things. Lots of 'em, like writing, friends, family, adventures with The Chef, and other things Diet Coke allows me to do, despite my love of sleeping.

My goal here is to focus on the positive and to remind us that we need to be kind to ourselves, two ideas that have shaped my life and made it so much better over the past year.

Okay, I've used all of today's allotted brain cells, the number diminished due to last night's New Year's Eve celebration at Smoke Lounge in Providence, RI, one of my new favorite places. I'll share a pic and highlights when I get to a real computer; the iPad won't let me finagle photos (but I still love it so very very much).


*It has gone into hiding, so don't bother looking for it. It has requested we respect its privacy.