Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting Excited About Upcoming Summer Movies

So May is just around the corner and the summer blockbuster movie schedule is about to descend. I love summer action/adventure/escapist movies! There's something about mindless action with awesome leading men that just screams summer fun to me. Hmmm. That last sentence should probably be re-written lest somebody misinterprets it.

Anyway … quiet and introspective just doesn't cut it for me during the summer. Fun, silliness and big blow ups all the way! With some nice slip-on sandals and a great pedicure thrown in there too.

Here are some of the movies you'll catch me in line ups for at the Cineplex.
X -Men: Origins
I've seen all the X-Men movies. Loved the first one! Was very disappointed by the last one. Have high hopes for this one. Hugh Jackman used to be my movie star crush but I'm kinda over him now. But he's still looking good and this movie promises some interesting character development for him as we trace Wolverine's past (okay, who'm I kidding? Hugh's in awesome shape and there will be more than one shirtless shot I'm sure). Not sure if there's a love interest in it or not. Hope so. That's always a nice bonus to break up the mayhem.

Star Trek
I've been a fan of Star Trek from the cheesiness of the original TV show (Trouble with Tribbles anyone?) and the movies. Not all the movies hit the mark but they did have some excellent story lines. Loved Ricardo Montalban in his Khan role. Fabulous. I wasn't as fanish over the recent TV series but only because I never had the time to really follow the new characters. So this movie is a return to the old characters but in a new way. Back to their beginnings. The trailer looks amazing. The two actors they've cast to play Kirk and Spock look fabulous. And J.J. Abrams is brilliant (I'm a huge Lost fan and even though he's not involved in a day to day way in the show as before he thought it up and the first season was all him. Like I said, brilliant man)

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
I am SO looking forward to this one. This will have more Snape (I ADORE Alan Rickman!) and will introduce the love story for Harry. Not everyone is excited about that. I've heard internet grumblings about test audiences being disappointed that there was too much love interest and not enough of the main plot in it. Don't know if they've redone anything since those grumblings but I really hope they don't screw up the Ginny/Harry pairing. Can't wait for July!

And even though this is already out I haven't seen it yet and really want to
17 Again
Zac Efron is so cute in the trailers and I love movies where you see the main character experience their life either as a child or adult. I loved Big with Tom Hanks when he was a 13 year old who woke up in his 30 year old self and 13 Going on 30 with Jennifer Garner in the same premise from a girl's point of view.

Actually, now that I think about it, I need to add some Romantic Comedies to this list. I'm all for action and mayhem but there's nothing like a chick flick a la Sleepless in Seattle or 27 Dresses. Mindless, fluffy and, most importantly, fun! Hope there's some coming down the Hollywood pipe.

See you all at the movies!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sometimes anticipating something isn't so great

This is not a post about anticipating anything in the writing arena. Most of that anticipation is good. No, what I'm talking about is something I have to deal with every few years that might or might not happen but that I dread as I dread nothing else in my life ... a kidney stone attack.

I woke up this morning feeling a little off. Then the familiar nagging discomfort in my side and back started. Enough to call in sick, put me back to bed and start to pray to whatever saint that watches over kidney stone sufferers that this would end up being just a bout of gastroenteritis or something. Started to feel a little better, discomfort still there but at a low level. Right now, the nagging pain is bearable but I'm on tenterhooks that it'll flare into agony at any moment.

Usually when a stone attack happens its like no other pain in the universe. I've had 3 kids and 3 stones in my life. I'd pick childbirth any day. So while 'something' is happening inside it maybe like an air raid warning - the actual bomb dropping is coming but I don't know when. The last one (in August 2004 - kidney stone sufferers usually remember the dates of their attacks. Traumas like that imprint indelibly into your psyche.) started with a few crummy feeling days then two weeks later I wake up on vacation in our cabin with my infrequent but always memorable visitor throwing me onto the floor with a swift kick in my side - and kept on pummeling. Luckily we were in a small town that had a hospital. I'm not a big fan of drugs but, I gotta say, whoever discovered morphine must have suffered from kidney stones. I remember that day in the hospital as the most memorable of the whole vacation. As soon as the drug hit, I fell into blissful, pain free sleep. With 3 kids, my sleep hasn't been deep for about 15 years so I REALLY appreciated it. When I woke up the pain was gone. And by the next day, so was the stone.

So, I sit here on watch. Hoping for the best. Expecting the worst. And not knowing when (or if) it will hit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Family Has Split Up

Relax. It's not as bad as the title sounds! The boys (hubby and son) are in Montreal. They went to cheer on the Canadians in the third game of the playoffs against the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, the Habs lost but it was close for a while. The boys, I'm sure had a good time. They'll be coming home tomorrow.

The girls and I stayed home. Unfortunately, between schoolwork and me filling out my author's questionnaire, we didn't have as much fun as the boys. We would have loved to have gone to see 17 Again with Zac Efron (yes, I admit it. He looks totally cute in this movie) but the combination of all the work we had to do - which is why I'm typing this blog post at 12:45 in the morning) and the suddenly crummy weather here (rainy, windy and COLD again! Is there no justice??) has kept us home bound.

Have to say, answering all those questions quite wiped me out. Maybe it was to prepare me for the revision letter. Which is still. to. come. GAh.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A couple of cool things...

For some reason I missed the announcement of Illegally Blonde when it appeared in Canada's national publishing magazine, Quill and Quire. I'm really happy with this one - especially since it is the 'home' announcement! Here it is

Great Plains Publications publisher Gregg Shilliday and YA editor Anita Daher have acquired Canadian rights to a teen novel by Nelsa Roberto. Illegally Blonde is the story of what a rebellious Toronto teen does when her family is threatened with deportation to their native Portugal. Great Plains plans to publish in spring 2010. The deal was arranged by Kris Rothstein, an associate agent with the Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency

I swear, I will never get tired of reading that. I'm a geek, I know.

Okay, the other cool thing was that I received my official author's questionnaire from the publisher. Holy cow, they ask a lot of questions. But even though I'm stressing to make sure I provide them with what they need and not have an author's bio that makes me sound like a total doofus it's still pretty cool that I'm even getting a chance to fill out an author's questionnaire! And that the publisher even cares what I think. Me. I'm stressed, and thrilled and feeling surreal, all at once.

Is this how I'm going to feel the rest of the year? I better start doing yoga...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring has sprung!

Well, after a spectacular start to April by being able to announce the sale of my YA book 'Illegally Blonde" to Great Plains Teen fiction and sharing my news with writer friends from the terrific Toronto Romance Writer's group (Maureen, thanks again for the shout out - you are amazing) and Verla Kay's Blueboarders (a friendlier group of children's and YA writers I don't think exists), the month continued to be fabulous with a family getaway to Montreal for the Easter weekend. Great weather, great city, great hotel, exploring the streets and shopping with your kids - what more could a girl want? It really has been a spectacular month so far. And even though all the excitement of the first couple of weeks kind of put a kibosh on much work being done on the WIP I did manage to eke out a few pages last week and I'm geared to work hard on it this coming week. I know that I'll have to because this is my month to accomplish a lot, according to my horoscope from Susan Miller. Check it out:

"A cornucopia of goodies will be coming your way in April, with upbeat developments in travel, career, money, romance, home and family. Your possibilities for progress will be impressive on all fronts in this highly productive, satisfying month. Wow! Do as much as you can this month, dear Capricorn, because from May 7-30 Mercury will be retrograde. Long story short: THIS will be your golden month, so be decisive and make your most important moves before you get to May.

Your career will be first to draw your attention. Watch what occurs on or in the four days surrounding the full moon April 9. A professional development should prove to be very heartening and possibly quite profitable, too. News should be just what you want to hear - your status in the company or in the industry could be on the rise. You may get a promotion or new position, and if so, more power and responsibility will be yours, too. If you are self-employed, you have an excellent opportunity to find new clients, and you may even have newsworthy achievements to report, triggering thrilling attention from the media.

This full moon of April 9 will receive friendly, golden beams from planet of luck, Jupiter... This full moon will also signal Neptune, allowing you to show off your creative talents as well. This seems like an ideal moment to move ahead rapidly in your career. Think of this full moon as reward for months, and possibly even years, of hard work

Okay, I know horoscopes are not a science but Susan Miller has been freakishly dead on with many predictions in the past. February, the month I got the news I sold, she also predicted good news for those Capricorns who worked in the publishing industry. I don't know, I'm thinking she must have some insider knowledge or something. In any case, I'm pretty sure May will be a grind - doing some revisions to Illegally Blonde I expect as well as day job related things. So, I'll have to enjoy April as much as I can, work on the WIP and get as much done as I can, get busy with much needed home repairs etc. Good thing the good weather has returned. Something about emerging from the Canadian winter hibernation makes us Canucks feel very rejuvenated!

So far, April has rocked! Bring on the sunshine!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Post Where I Actually Write the Words ...I Sold the Book!

This is something I've waited a long time to write and sometimes never thought I would write. So let me linger here for a moment in anticipation ... there. Long enough. Way, way long enough. Here's the announcment as it appeared in Publisher's Marketplace:

Canada Children's
Nelsa Roberto's ILLEGALLY BLONDE, when a woman comes home with newly bleached blonde hair she expects a major lecture from her strict Portuguese parents but instead she is shocked by the revelation that her family are illegal aliens who are being deported from Toronto in less than a week, to Anita Daher and Gregg Shilliday at Great Plains, for publication in Spring 2010, by Kris Rothstein at Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency.kris@swayzeagency.com

Now, despite the mistake (the announcement should have said young woman - it's a YA) I'm still thrilled to see this announcement, still thrilled that this book (having come soooo close to publication a couple of times) will now be published. My editor (eep. another first to write!) loved the book and is very excited to be working with me on it. Great Plains Teen Fiction is a small Canadian publisher who started off primarily publishing regional non-fiction but are excited about expanding into the YA fiction line nationally (they've also launched a new literary imprint as well). I feel very supported by their plans for the book and know their enthusiasm will translate into a wonderful experience for me and the book that is so very close to my heart.

So how did it all go down? I won't go into the long process of getting my agent with the query letter for Illegally Blonde (deserving of its own post one day) and all of the ups and downs of submission and my own self-doubts about whether I'd ever make it as a writer. I'll fast forward to almost two years to the day when I'd signed with the Swayze agency and agent Kris leaving me a message on the phone in late February saying she'd try to to get hold of me the next day but that she'd sent me an email. I knew something was up. Agents NEVER call you unless it's important news - usually, you hope, good. So when I read her email and the words that Great Plains loved the book and wanted to publish it in Spring 2010 I almost fell off the chair. The next few weeks of negotiations and contracts signing seemed to crawl by and my first talk with Anita remains a bit of a blur in my memory. Although I did manage to grasp the words -"a wonderful coming of age story. You made me fall in love with romance again" - as well as her abiding enthusiasm for this book of my heart as well and her assurance that the revision letter would not be as horrible as I feared made my normally high anxiety levels calm considerably. So while all this was happening, and until the announcement was public I could say nothing. So very, very hard.

But it's all out there now. So's my name and picture on the agency website. Another weird experience for me. I hope everything goes well. I hope that dipping my foot into the big pond of publishing leaves me wanting more and not wanting to pull back because it's too cold. But what I hope, most of all, is that my book resonates with some readers. That it finds a home and tells the story I wanted told.

So, there it is. My book sold.

Can you believe it???