Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sticking My Neck Out Again

Hey all!

I'm feeling much braver these days, so today I queried a production company, and pitched my original TV one-hour pilot, Home of the Braves. They were asking for comedies, and since mine is a "dramedy"--like Gilmore Girls--I took a chance and submitted a logline, synopsis and a small resume. This pilot placed in the top 75 in a very prestigious screenwriting contest last summer, and I was also able to tell them that an animated movie that I wrote won Best Children's Movie in a film festival back in 2005. So maybe that big "L" emblazoned on my forehead isn't as deep as I was thinking...

I've been promising you something, so I'm properly posting this pilot for all of you. Earlier, I had put a link to it, but I think it was having issues, so I cut, pasted and did my best to format it so it looks halfway decent here--the only thing I couldn't do was to center the dialog.

It's a really sweet, funny and moving story. I hope that you like it as much as I do. And thank you once again for all your encouragement and support. My husband is also very thankful for you! (Yah, I finally told him...)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Julie, Julia, Amy and Jane

The last four days I have watched about ten movies. I sort of lost count, and I even stopped watching two other ones after ten or so minutes, and there was one that I wish I had turned off after ten minutes. My husband is away for two weeks, so I thought I would watch all the chick flicks, dramas and anything in between that he wouldn't be interested in while he was gone. His favorite movies are Tombstone and Sparticus. Cowboys and gladiators--I guess you can say they technically are period dramas, but not my kind, although Val Kilmer was fabulous as Doc Holiday. :0)

So in the line up tonight was Julie and Julia. I had a friend from work tell me that I really needed to see it, so I did. And I felt a little exposed. Both Julie and Julia were at pivotal life stages and each feeling a little useless and lost. They threw themselves into something they had a passion for and after a lot of struggle and pain, their dreams were realized.

It was a sweet movie, but it left me with an ache in my stomach and also left me feeling a little guilty, so I'm letting you all in on a secret. I've told no one. Until now.

I heard back from a publisher a couple of weeks ago--maybe even three weeks now. The publishers who do Pride and Prejudice fanfic. The one I was grooming my book for. I was so excited to hear back from them that I read the email first thing when I got to work. NOT a good idea.

The editor told me that my writing was "weak" along with a few other things--she absolutely hated the title. I actually felt sick to my stomach and did my best not to cry for five whole hours while at work. I somehow got through my day. I was so embarrassed and devastated that I didn't even want to tell my husband. Isn't that pitiful? He immediately knew that something was wrong. I did my best to act like everything was normal, but that darn man knows me so well. I couldn't get the words out without crying and I felt like there was a massive "L" burned into my forehead (Loser). I couldn't get the words out. After he made sure that it wasn't life threatening and that it wasn't something he had done, he told me that he would wait until I was ready to tell him.

How many movies or novels for that matter deal with this exact issue--someone in authority or with expertise squashing someone's dreams? I should have a thick skin and I should keep plugging away until someone believes in me. Or I should go back and look at what I have written and figure out how to make it better. That would be what a true heroine would do. But I'm a sensitive writer with paper thin skin, who was so pumped up and admittedly high by the literally hundreds and hundreds of reviews from everyday people who said they loved my book and wanted to read it over and over again. I just wasn't prepared for anything else. The disillusioned heroine stumbles.

I haven't looked at my book or written a word on my new one since. My real life plot is so frustratingly predictable--our heroine licks her wounds and needs to somehow believe in herself again. I'm actually embarrassed to admit that one little email did that to me. So completely infantile. Meanwhile, I keep getting reviews from complete strangers telling me that this was the best P&P fanfic they have ever read, and I don't know what to do with the information. Part of me wants to forward each and every one of them to the publisher and the other half of me wants to yell at them to stop sending me raving reviews because it just doesn't matter.

So tonight Julie and Julia each kicked my butt a little. Julia Child worked years and years on her cookbook before she found someone willing to publish it. And she kept cooking the whole time. And little Julie cooked her little heart out every night after work while blogging about it for an entire year, encountering great disappointment, kitchen disasters and even marital troubles. I've only been at this for a few months. My kitchen and marriage is still intact. I have nothing to complain about.

I thought about the one thing that got people's dander up with my book--the fact that I let Elizabeth question herself and lose some confidence after she got kicked out of Kent. I had a few people really let me know how out of character that was for our dear Lizzy. But I heartily disagreed and now I think that I will cut myself the same slack and have the same patience with myself. I just needed a little time.

All this to say, I promise to get back to my newest book this week. I will tell my husband what happened when he calls tomorrow night, and I will not yell at the reviews as they still trickle in, but I will also try to figure out just what was weak about my work. I will also email the agent that I had contact with (who was going to poke around and see if she could find anyone interested) and see if she is still interested.

Thank you Julie and Julia for plugging away, for doing what you love with all your heart and for my little butt kicking. And thank you Jane for not giving up on getting your work published two-hundred years ago when it literally was a man's world. I'm in awe of you, your wit and your elegant way of making us fall in love with your characters over and over again. I hope you all will forgive me for stumbling.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Little Giggle

Hey all. I was gone on vacation last week with no internet. Sort of nice, but I twitched a little now and again. I have nothing new to report, but I do have a link to The Bronte sisters action figures commercial. It's absolutely hilarious! I hope you enjoy. Pudding not included...

Bronte Sisters Action Figures

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's a small world after all...

So I've been at my new job for a little over three weeks. Last Friday, I had a woman from our editing department come up to me very excited. She asked me if I had written a JAFF book called Speak Not Against the Sun. I lifted my eyebrow and said that I had. She broke into a huge grin as she told me that she read my story on one of the fan sites before she ever knew me. I couldn't believe it!

It was such a rush, and a coincidence. My follow up book, Forgive Me, Jane, actually is about a woman who writes a JAFF book and gets to know her fans at a Jane Austen convention. I felt like I was living it.

You all need to cross your fingers for me since my story is in the reading queue at one publishers, and I'm emailing an agent back and forth. She read my first three chapters of both my books and without saying that she would represent me, she told me she would poke around this week and see if she could find anyone that was interested in a "Sweet Romance." She said that romances without sex are harder to sell. We will see...

So things are well enough in my little small world, at least lots is happening. And now I have that song stuck in my head, but in a good way.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Something beefy for you to read

You all are wonderful!! I thought for sure that this place would be chirping crickets and not more after I posted my last chapters. I'm very touched and humbled, so, to reward you (I hope) for still visiting my blog and commenting, I'm going to post some of my scripts for you to read. I have three romantic comedies and my original one-hour TV "dramedy", which did really well in a script writing competition last year.

Scripts read very differently from novels, but I'm sure you'll catch on. I'm gonna unleash my TV pilot on you first, Home of the Braves. It's done in the same vein as "Gilmore Girls" and "Ed" with lots of wit, humor, eccentric characters, and it takes place in a small town. It's been buried for a while and deserves a little sunlight. It holds a very special place in my heart.

I'll provide the link here, (pasting and formatting it onto my pages would take at least an hour and a half), and will also post the link on my pages as well, for when this post gets buried. I hope that you enjoy. (They will ask you to sign in, just to give me a count of how many visitors I get. You can make up any name you want--your privacy is protected either way. :0)

Home of the Braves

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm naked and standing in front of a crowd...

I sent my finished manuscript to a publisher late last night via email, and sent off a query to another one today. (Yes, I finally reached my 90,000 word goal and did a little dance to mark the occasion.) I am gearing up and eating some protein, so I'll have enough stamina to send it off to a third. My tummy is woozy and I'm emotionally drained. Each publisher required different things, and I spent a good part of two days obsessing about every little detail. Is the query too long? One publisher wanted me to write at least two paragraphs describing my book, but did not set a limit. What if I'm describing two books and I write ten paragraphs? They didn't specifically ask for a logline and synopsis, but they didn't say not to include them either--what should I do? I had to write a career arc and make a list comparable/competitive books for another publisher. I was suppose to give sales records if I had them. I had nothing like that, but I had you!

So, I turned them over to you by giving them this blog link as well as a link to, which keeps the best stats of all of the JAFF sites. They can read my reviews there if they would like. And if they come here, "HOWDY! PICK ME!" or better yet, "FIGHT OVER ME!" :0)

I am actually pitching two books, the second one, which I am currently writing, is very closely tied to Speak Not Against the Sun--though I haven't told any of you why. Yet. Until now. Right now. Next paragraph. Read it.

My new book, Forgive Me, Jane, is based oh-so-very loosely on my experience writing Speak Not... And I say loosely, because it's a modern romance and the heroine is young, single, and of course impossibly beautiful. She's also brilliant and an overnight Internet sensation--pure fiction.

So, I'll give you my logline and my synopsis, since they're out running buck naked in the publishing world now anyway--shameless hussies!


Reluctantly using the Jane Austen fan fiction genre to break into a more intellectual writing career, Internet sensation “4giveMeJane,” A.K.A., Amanda Jorgenson, unveils her new book at the very quirky traveling “Always Austen Convention,” unaware that her own pride and many prejudices will come into play, as an unexpected love story waits for her there.


Amanda Jorgenson, a frustrated USC English Lit post grad, cannot get any publishing company to look at her overly erudite work, Transport to Nowhere. And until she gets her big break, Amanda works as a dental hygienist with her best friend and JAFF nut, Jessie, whom she berates for “slapping dearest Miss Austen in the face” with the literary aberrations she constantly reads.

Getting desperate, Amanda secretly researches the lucrative world of JAFF, and without Jessie’s knowledge starts writing her own JAFF book, Speak Not Against the Sun. (Yay!) Under the instruction of her geeky, viral marketing guru brother, she also starts a blog, “Forgive Me, Jane,” chronicling her journey, and starts to post her finished chapters on her blog and various fan fiction sites under the screen name “4giveMeJane.”

Almost overnight, Amanda, becomes an Internet sensation. Thousands upon thousands of fans all over the world can’t get enough of her writing, and soon she is contacted by a publishing company and gets a three-book deal. Amanda’s first book is due to be debuted at a traveling Jane Austen Convention. After coming clean with Jessie, she gets Jessie to join her on the book tour, acting as her personal assistant, while trying to rein her in, since Jessie is after all, visiting her personal Mecca.

Once at the convention, which is overrun with pudgy middle-age women running around in Regency costumes, and dealing with the surprising politics of other JAFF authors, Amanda starts to regret her decision to write the book. She is even more depressed to meet her fans, wondering in her head how they were able to tear themselves away from their thirty cats and stacks of newspapers piled to the ceiling to come to the conference. (Pure fiction, I hope, since I've never met any of you in person...)

After an exhausting evening of book signing and fake smiling for pictures, Amanda steals away to a neighboring hotel bar, where she has one drink too many—literally. She only has one drink, but she is the ultimate lightweight when it comes to alcohol. She meets a terribly handsome Brit named Rhys, whom she flirts with and inadvertently throws herself at, kissing him, without him returning the gesture. Jessie tracks her inebriated friend down; literally pulls Amanda off of the poor man and drags her away, apologizing to a stunned, but strangely charmed Rhys.

The next day, Amanda discovers the mysterious Brit she kissed is the actor who played creepy, oily and overweight, “Mr. Collins,” in the 2006 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. He is there along with other lesser actors who have been in Jane Austen films, to sign autographs, take pictures with fans, and sit on a panel for Q&As.

Although Rhys is completely fit and gorgeous now, Amanda, who is very conservative—never even having slept with a man—is absolutely horrified by her drunken kiss, and even more by the object of the kiss. She has always been repulsed by this particular Mr. Collins and cannot un-connect the actor from the character he played. She does everything she can to avoid Rhys the rest of the three city convention, to no avail.

She eventually finds out that Rhys turned down the coveted role of handsome, but rakish “Wickham” in order to stretch himself to play the repulsive Collins—which he purposely gained weight for. And he pulled off the part brilliantly. For no producer, director or woman for that matter, would think twice about him for a sexy lead after his very believable performance as Collins. And as cruel fate would have it, the actor who did play Wickham was catapulted to stardom after the movie, and Rhys has to live with his decision. At least he did it honestly, and was acclaimed for the role, though it came to nothing but offers for other overweight and less than glamorous bit roles. Played against Amanda’s decision to purposely lower her standards to gain success, there is an interesting dynamic and conflict between the two.

Subplots include a sweet love story between Jessie and Kevin, Amanda’s geeky but cute older brother, and an unlikely friendship between Amanda and the seemingly icy “Queen of Regency Romps” author, Lizzy Manchester.

Gradually, but hilariously, snobby Amanda gets over her prejudice against her bizarre but adoring fans. And although she fights hard against her attraction to Rhys, she comes to truly love the down-on-his-luck, but oh-so-hunky and talented actor.

So, does it make you want to read my book? Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is Edward Cullen a modern Mr. Darcy?

Do I dare compare Pride and Prejudice with the Twilight sagas?  A most beloved classic and a pop culture phenomenon?  I can almost hear the intake of breath from Austen devotees.  :)  I know they are two very different things, but how different are they really?  I don't mean to get any feathers ruffled, but the more I dive into Darcy's character, the more parallels I see to a new literary heartthrob (not the actor heart throb), Edward Cullen.  If we can separate Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen from the literary Mr. Darcy, then we can pull Robert Pattinson, "purdy" as he may be, away from Edward Cullen and examine the men from the books.

Let's really look at the two and try to get past the whole fantasy vampire genre.  Darcy and Edward are both good decent men (slash vampire.)  They are both very reluctantly drawn to a strong young woman that they meet by chance with lots of other people around.  Each are surprised by their unexplained attraction and initially treat the objects of their desire quite horribly, in hopes that Lizzy and Bella will stay away from them.  Darcy and Edward are uber-rich, brooding, intelligent, and have lost their parents.  They both dress impeccably and are from completely different worlds than the ones Lizzy and Bella come from.

Even though both books are about our heroines, their love interests interest us all for the same reason.  We just love tortured men!  If there was a contest, Edward would win hands down for most tortured with the whole "I'm a vampire and had no choice in becoming one", and spends his waking hours (which are all of them) quelling an unrelenting thirst for human blood.  He knows that he should stay miles and miles away from Bella because he's afraid that his darker instincts might overpower him if he gets too close to her.  But Darcy in his own tortured way was all alone in the world and doesn't know how badly he needs Elizabeth until she flatly rejects him in Hunsford.  We don't get to see him beyond when he and Elizabeth are in the same room, but we get the idea that he spends the majority of his time trying not to think about her, yet inventing ways in his mind to be near her.  And there is nothing sexier than a man torn to bits over a woman he can't or shouldn't have.

When Darcy first met Elizabeth, he flatly refused to dance with her and called her "tolerable, yet not handsome enough to temp him" within her earshot.  Ouch!  But we all know that it was only a knee-jerk reaction to his instant attraction to her.  Edward saw Bella from across the cafeteria and couldn't read her thoughts.  That was intriguing, but when he got a whiff of her in Biology class, he literally had to lean away and not take a breath for fifty minutes.  Poor Bella even sniffs her own hair to make sure she isn't the one offending.  Like Lizzy, Bella was absolutely mystified why and how he could be so suddenly repulsed by her.  Each lady was left with bitter memories and did not look kindly on the man who acted repulsed.

Interestingly enough, while fighting his attraction, Darcy still asked Lizzy to dance at the Lucas gathering and again while Lizzy was staying at Netherfield.  Which shows us that there was a real war going on in his head.  He then decided that he would not speak to her if he could help it, after he realized where his heart was heading.  Austen writes a scene where the two are in the same room alone for quite some time without saying a word to each other, but we all know that their thoughts were full of each other.

Struggling with his attraction, Edward couldn't help but save Bella when he saw a car skidding straight for her.  But after the hospital, when he fully realized what danger they all were in from his attraction, he did not say a word to her for six weeks, though they sat next to each other in Biology class each day.  Bella narrates the book, and every once in a while she thinks she sees Edward's head slightly incline her way when she is talking to someone else, but she can't be sure.  Well played, Stephenie Meyer.  I was on edge for those six weeks!

There is just something about being in on how tortured each man is--longing for and wanting the girl, but holding back.  And that is one thing that I tried to do in my book--let everyone in on Darcy's struggle.  I longed to know what he was thinking in P&P, and this was my interpretation--he could not get her out of his head.  I even touch on Colonel Fitzwilliam's struggle.  He gives up Lizzy because he knew in the end, it was for the best.

And there is most likely a longing in all of us to be the object of such love.  Maybe the extra handsome produce manager looks forward to your weekly shopping trips, and switches his hours with someone knowing that you come at 5:30 every Wednesday evening.  Maybe he thinks you are too good for him with your Jimmy Choo shoes and your Lexus parked outside, so he barely says anything to you, but he thinks about you all the time while he works his way through graduate school.  And even though you are attracted to him, you think he is a huge snob because he smiles and heartily greets everyone but you.  Heavy sigh. 

It's highly intoxicating, and that is why there have been two centuries of women in love with Mr. Darcy, and now droves of youngsters and cougars alike who can't get enough of Edward Cullen.   It's a delicious formula that works and has held up for over two hundred years.

I did it.  I just compared Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy to a sparkling vampire.  If Jane will forgive me for writing a fanfic with her dearest characters, then maybe, just maybe she can forgive me for this...