Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Romantic Times 2005 Reviewers Choice Awards

I am so stoked about this: Trattoria has been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. (!!)

It's nominated for Best Small Press Romance. I am utterly shocked, and honored. Thanks so much to everyone at RT and especially the reviewers.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Congrats Collins!

One of the best (and most respected) lit magazines is Night Train. And I'm so pleased and proud to say that a writer that I know, Myfanwy Collins finaled in thier annual Richard Yates Short Story Award Competition with her story "Freak Magnet". An excellent story from a talented writer. Congrats, Myfanwy!


At the risk of outing myself as a fan of things throwback, I'll note that this Christmas marks ten years exactly we've been without Dean Martin.

Sure, sure. I'm a big Sinatra fan, and of The Rat Pack in general. But Dino? He's the quintessential crooner, and sometimes, he even does it in Italian. This season, I've been listening to plenty of Christmas with Dino and have been really digging it. A boxer and a card shark, how could he not hold a special place in my heart?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Holiday traditions

In an utterly un-shocking revelation about myself, I'll share this with you: I'm Italian, and as such was raised Roman Catholic. Therefore, my family celebrates Christmas. When I was very young, we'd go to an annual Christmas Eve party at my parents' friends house. They'd have Santa come and hand out presents and they put out a great spread. To this day, those annual shindigs are the parties that I measure all others against. And there has never been anything I've seen that topped it. Alas, 'twas the '70s, when people knew how to put on their finery and drink and eat with reckless abandon.

When I got a bit older, we started going to mass at midnight. I always loved midnight mass, even when I was a particularly rambunctious teenager. We'd have our Christmas Eve feast at home and then me and my best friend used to drive all over the city checking out the Christmas lights in the late evening and then we'd procure the booze from somewhere and end up stumbling into mass and having to stand in the back because it was so crowded. Didn't matter, and I'm sure some people aren't so moved by the fact we attended mass with a glow on. I won't get all religious on you, but suffice to say that the candles and incense and the hush of the place, even with the fully packed house, always really symbolized the beauty of Christmas to me. It was profoundly peaceful. It was kind and thoughtful, and it was special, even if we were repeating essentially the same thing we repeated every Sunday, just many people around the world had been repeating for nearly a couple thousand years. There's something nearly supernaturally comforting and reassuring about a tradition like that. My friend, she's since moved down south and just this year had her first baby. So as I was out finishing shopping one night last week, I went on a detour and drove around checking out the lights by myself. Unfortunately, she was always the one with a good sense of direction and memory, so I couldn't find some of the best displays. And it wasn't nearly as much fun without her. But it was nice to do anyhow. For mass at midnight on Christmas Eve this year, there will be a different priest, but other than that, it will be the same as all those years ago.

Anyhow, from childhood all the way to my teens, not much changed about Christmas Day. When Christmas morning rolled around, there was always panetonne and presents, and then we'd start cooking and eating for the rest of the day. On Christmas night, my aunts, uncles and cousins would come over for dinner of stuffed shells and cherry dessert and whatever else, meaning plenty of booze like pina coladas for Christmas. 'Twas a joy.

With the advent of videotapes and then later DVDs, we'd always have Christmas movies playing in the background throughout the day. Our idea of Christmas movies is probably a little different than most. My dad's favorite was always 1941, while I was much more fond of Die Hard, and my poor mom was too busy to even consider leaving the kitchen. So we'd watch parts of both. Then, of course, The Godfather (both parts 1 and 2) would get slapped in and that'd pretty much eat up the whole rest of the day/evening while we'd sit around while the family came over and we'd start eating phenomenal food and then listen to Lou Rawls or Tony Bennett's Christmas albums, cause they're the best.

Then, once the 26th rolled around, we'd had our party where everyone had visited and eaten, and the rest of the week was utterly consumed with visiting everyone else's place and making sure we: 1) saw their tree, 2) ate their food, and 3) drank their booze. It was like this round-robin game of house-hopping every night. Even though we all saw each other at our house on the 25th, EVERYONE had to get to EVERYONE else's house at some point. But there were no other scheduled parties, so it was a week of slightly controlled chaos with calling and "dropping in" and whoosing around, eating Chex mix while pulling boots off and being banished to the basement with other kids and a cookie tray at some houses (which was good) as opposed to having to sit in the living room and listening to the adults talk over a cheese plate (which was very very bad and boring) and ooohing and aahing over the trees and checking out everyone's toys and avoiding my one aunt's diet cookies before pulling the boots back on and whooshing back out into the blowing snow to get to someone else's house where there'd be homemade wine and meatballs while people counted down, three, two, one -- corks popped at midnight and a whole new year had started and by then everyone's circadian rhythms were screwed from staying up so late and running around and eating so much and just when most people take a breath and rest for us it would all culminate on New Year's Night when there was the second "official" party of the season at my uncle's house where everyone gathered at the same time once more to have whiskey sours and ham and alfredo and all the cousins would be finished with their presents but when we'd finally careen home on the icy roads with less oscillating lights illuminating the streets as people turned off their decorations and then we'd go to sleep and wake up the next day and it would all be back to normal. No more rushing and no more visiting and no more fancy meals and no more cousins and no more trees. Back to routine. And that's fine, cause we all had jobs and lives and you can't really live in that sort of circus for longer than a week unless you're a rock star.

Anyhow. That was Christmastime for us. Nothing earthshattering, I know. But I enjoyed it. It was all so very merry.

I hope your last week of the year is filled with whatever makes you happy, be it food and family or drinks and decorations or watching The Godfather on DVD.

Monday, December 19, 2005

86 Rules

'Tis the season when many people will be celebrating with a bit more booze than they're accustomed to. This list doesn't cover the intricacies of the office party make-out rules and such, and it's a bit male-oriented, but it's a great starting point for novices. Special thanks to Pat R. (good pal and drinking buddy supreme) for passing this along to me.

The 86 Rules of Boozing

Friday, December 16, 2005

Randal. What an asshole.

I thought I'd heard about the most selfish behavior to come out of reality/game show TV land yet when I hear about the bitch on Survivor who wouldn't give up her car so four others could have one. And yet, at least there's something to her selfishness. She got a CAR. It's not easy to give up a big hunk o' American metal.

But last night? Randal? What a fucking asshole. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm talking about last night's finale to The Apprenctice, where Trump hand plucked one final person to come work for him. They'd been hinting all season that the finale could be different. There were multiple firings this season, and they'd never really portrayed both final candidates in such a good light. I don't know if it was editing, or if both final candidates were as competent and decent as they were shown to be, but it was different alright. But, of course, Trump has to pick just one. So he does. He picks smarty-pants Randal. That's all good. But then -- WAIT! Don't celebrate with abandon yet, Randal. Sit back down and answer one question. So Donald asks him, "Should I also hire Rebecca?" (that's the other finalist.) So what's Randal say?

Emphatically: NO!! Because he wants to be the SOLE, LONE apprentice.

What a fucking jackass!

At least the car bitch would've had to sacrifice something in her case. What would Randal have sacrificed to also let this other person have a high-paying job with Trump -- NOTHING. NOTHING.

A selfish decision based solely on ego.

I repeat, what a fucking jackass.

Of course, The Donald must love it, cause it stirs up talk for his show, like I just did. But it still makes him a jackass by association. And yet, I watched, because what the fuck else was there?

I can't wait for HBO to start up a new season of something. March will bring The Sopranos. But we've just wrapped up Larry David's latest season, and it looks to be a long, cold winter without much good entertainment on the tube.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Well, apparently things are heating up at the new 'zine TQR. This place is different, that's for sure. They accept longer stories, which I'm all in favor of. But they also have a fairly open and public screening process. Which means that once your story passed the first round of editors, the second round reads it and then comments on it on their message boards, called the "Free Market" section of the site. Right now, most second-round stories are being discussed in The Terminal.

No, I don't have a story that's being discussed up there, so I'm not pimping myself here. In Yoda speak: Intrepid, you must be if you wish to submit. I just don't have the will to have one of my stories be discussed publicly like that. Yet. We'll see how it goes though. If no one's really insulting, maybe I'll give it a shot during another submission round, cause I've got plenty of long pieces, and most 'zines have a 5-6k word count limit. In the meantime, it's been entertaining to watch this transparency in progress.

As a bit of irony, as I gleaned from the messageboards and from their blog, they had a little internal combustion go down. And, you know, internal strife always makes for great outsider reading!

Anyhow. It'll be interesting to see what sort of stories they lean toward after this first quarter is published complete with the fiction.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chairman of the Board

December is a good month for famous musical birthdays, including some of my personal faves, such as Jim, and Keith, and, my all-time favorite:

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

The kids these days, I tell you. I have eclectic tastes in music, so I like most stuff. But during this holiday season, I've been inundated with everyone around me blasting the fucking Trans-Siberian Orchestra at every opportunity. It's like they've found some hidden, classic artistic gem that's just too cool to not play at top volume everywhere. I was patient for a week, then I started to complain, and today, with it being old blue eyes' birthday and all, I had to freak out a little bit and insist that we groove some Frank for a while lest I go into a psychotic rage.

Everyone has their idols. And The Voice alone is enough to make me swoon. But how could I not love a guy as articulate as this? Some of his better quotes:

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

"You only live once, and the way I live, once is enough."

"Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels."

Here's one for all the writers out there (sort of):
"Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent."

Here's one for the smart bitches out there:
"I like intelligent women. When you go out, it shouldn't be a staring contest."

And, here's one for everyone:
"You gotta love livin', baby, 'cause dyin' is a pain in the ass."

There's plenty more pithy quotes of his, you can find a bunch of them here.

And, of course, there's the famous quote from Kurt Vonnegut that I've always found enlightening:
"To do is to be." -- Socrates
"To be is to do." -- Sartre
"Do be do be do." -- Sinatra

But it's not just what he said, or how he swaggered, or how he sang. It was everything. Frank was one cool cat. Frank was the cool cat.

He was a lover and a fighter, a philanthropist and a thug. And he was always genuine.

He also once said, "May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine." Personally, I can't think of a better thing to wish for.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Sinatra.

Books for Gifts

Ok. Look. I know the commercialism of Christmas really can get sickening, and I've been making myself a little ill with coming on here and pushing my latest book lately. (And yet I just did it again!) But the fact is, most people are gonna buy a gift or two (or eighty). So why not something to read? In case you're considering it, here are a few literary suggestions where you get double bang for your buck: You get to give someone something they'll enjoy, and you get to help out writers trying to make a living. There's something for everyone in this list, ranging from satire to horror to literary, and even one bona fide Christmas story.

The following are coffee mugs with flash stories printed on them. All of them may be ordered from Flashfiction.net, and you can read the individual stories at the links below:

Don Capone -- Astronaut
Beverly A. Jackson -- Penumbra
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz -- She Follows

And these are all full-length novels or short story collections:

Biff Mitchell
The War Bug

In just a few hours, Abner Hayes' wife and daughter are going to die, and the only way he can save their lives is to team up with a deadly computer virus and travel through time and space in a virtual universe that itself has only hours to live. Through suicidal game worlds, virtual landscapes that threaten to devour the unwary, and a series of insidious cyber traps, Abner and the virus must stay one step ahead of sinister forces that will stop at nothing to destroy his family in order to steal their incredible secret. Spliced with dark humor and intricate characters, The War Bug is a non-stop roller coaster thriller into a terrifying future.


Leslie Van Newkirk
Crush dot com

When Brooke Hill, an employee for The Stitch, is unexpectedly dumped by her boyfriend, she turns to her dating savvy co-workers for solace. Their advice? Become a member of Crush.com, the city’s most popular online personals site. What follows is Brooke’s journey into the new and daunting world of Internet matchmaking, an exploration of how friendships change with job titles, an expose of the “cat-eat-cat” fashionista milieu, and of course, the quintessential love story.


Jim Ruland
Big Lonesome

Wildly imaginative tales of America’s past and present. Understanding that history is nothing but a fable purged of grit and grime, Ruland transforms historical fiction into something slick, brutal and weird. Whether he’s spinning a lurid yarn about the previous adventures of Popeye, imagining Dick Tracy as a San Fernando Valley police detective, or retelling the story of Little Red Riding Hood in Nazi Germany, Ruland’s tales are full of crime and punishment. He isn’t afraid to set a teenage mob story in St. Petersburg, Florida, or tell the story of an unlucky pair of pants in the style of a catechism--and every line resonates with the truth of lessons learned the hard way.


Justin Holt

You, are a twenty-something with a college degree, the debt that goes with it, and a countertop full of rejection letters telling you that your first novel is a failure. The love of your life has left you, and the only job you can find is one pushing carts for the largest retail giant where nobody knows your name, and nobody cares. Lost in your sorrow and your cupboard full of nothing but instant noodles you try to make the best of a bad situation, but the situation keeps getting the best of you. That is until one day, when doing something so innocent as tying your shoe you see something that will set your whole life into a tailspin of lies, larceny, and lavishness that by the time you come down, you will have everything that you could ever dream of, and more.

Except her.

And you will do anything it takes to win her back.


Tom Saunders
Brother, What Strange Place Is This?

"From the pagan brutalities of a Welsh island at the time of the Armada in The Seal Man to the quest for redemption of an English jazz pianist in modern day Cuba in The Calle de Obra Pia, the stories explore the complexities of history and art and the twists and turns of the human journey. Beautifully, often lyrically written, these stories reveal a keen and playful intelligence at work and all are executed with humour and compassion. The characters are, by turn, quirky, difficult, off beat and yet each is sympathetically rendered. The title story Brother, What Strange Place Is This? examines the relationship between two brothers, one excited by the possibilities of the 20th century, the other, a classical composer, mad with remorse over the instincts he is unable to discipline or understand. This is a truly remarkable debut, both original and imaginative. Not just a book for lovers of finely crafted short stories, but for everyone interested in the art of writing and in literature itself." - GATOR SPRINGS GAZETTE, a literary journal of the fictional persuasion.


Robin Slick
Three Days in New York City

What happens when a frustrated American artist-turned-soccer-mom and her overconfident and charming British cyber-lover plan a three-day tryst of erotic depravity at a hotel in New York City? Elizabeth and Richard are about to find out. Elizabeth is about to turn forty years old, facing empty nest syndrome, and wistful about roads not taken. Unhappy in both her marriage and her career, she mourns abandoning her dream of being an artist. She feels like an outsider in her sports-obsessed family and a misfit at work in the corporate world. She's hoping Richard, a refined, British upper class gentleman with unusual sexual preferences, will be her Knight-in-Shining-Armor and rescue her from her unfulfilling life. What ensues is a hilariously poignant sexual romp through the Big Apple. This book is the first of two stories about Elizabeth and her quest for a knight in shining armor.


Matt St. Amand

Now, after 34 years, here is the book the Vatican banned in 88 countries, the FBI tried to suppress, and every major media outlet in the English speaking world told you did not exist. Available in this limited, unauthorized edition are the stories of Homunculus. These are the ravings of a desert-maddened wanderer grown lunatic on locusts and honey, crazed by these voices that refused to be silenced. Written in the margins of international telephone directories, take-out menus, matchbooks and business cards, Homunculus has been meticulously reconstructed, its hidden codes broken and laid bare. Shield the elderly and the infirm, protect the innocent and nubile.


Laila Lalami
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

From Publishers Weekly
The four main characters of this linked series of fictional profiles are connected by a single goal: the desire to emigrate from Morocco to Spain, where there are jobs. Lalami, author of the literary blog moorishgirl.com, opens her book with the four (along with several others) illegally crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in a tiny inflatable raft; when it capsizes near shore, it is everyone for themselves. The next four chapters flash back to their varying lives in Morocco: Faten, a lower-class, college-aged woman appears only through the eyes of middle-class friend Noura's parents, who are horror-stricken as Noura falls under Faten's influence and begins wearing the hijab; Halima, a financially struggling mother who, with her children, is escaping an abusive marriage; Aziz Ammor, who hopes to support his wife by finding work in Spain; and Murad, a college graduate who makes pocket money by taking Paul Bowles fans on informal tours. The four following chapters detail, with sensitivity and journalistic clarity, their lives after the trip across the Strait. Less a novel than a set of finely detailed portraits, this book gives outsiders a glimpse of some of Moroccan society's strata and the desperation that underlies many ordinary lives.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Richard Lewis
The Flame Tree

From Publishers Weekly
The graphic depiction of terrorist acts (such as beheadings) may be too intense for some readers, but Lewis poses some provocative questions about faith and fervor in this gritty first novel set in Indonesia around the time of September 11. The author explores the issues, at least initially, through the friendship of main character Isaac, who is living with his missionary physician parents, and his Muslim friend Ismail. Despite the friends' obvious biblical names, the way they relate to each other unfolds subtly and authentically. But as anti-American (and anti-infidel) sentiments rise in the days leading up to the bombing of the World Trade Center, Ismail turns against Isaac. At first, the author depicts the growing tension between them realistically, and readers can almost feel Isaac's pain and confusion at his friend's cold shoulder. But soon the narrative paints the issues in broad strokes and the characters' relationship gets lost in the larger themes. When Isaac's parents decide their son should leave Indonesia for the U.S., he is kidnapped by Islamic fanatics bent on converting him into a Muslim (occasioning graphic details of his forced circumcision). The author (himself the son of missionaries) reveals links between two seemingly opposed religions and explores reasons that many Islamic people resent Americans. Showing how religious ideas and ideals can breed atrocities against humanity, he creates a riveting read. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Justine Musk

In downtown Manhattan, a rising young painter is haunted by disturbing dreams...In small-town Minnesota, a teenage orphan struggles with a knowledge beyond his years-and a destiny he wants no part of...In California, young and old, hipsters and hippies, fall under the spell of a wildly charismatic singer whose voice breaks down all barriers-including the ones between heaven and hell.

The fans of Asha are finding one other-and the world is running out of time.


Maryanne Stahl
The Opposite Shore

Out for a sail aboard the family boat, the Ariel, on Memorial Day, one family's life is about to take a disastrous turn.

Rose, an aspiring painter, and William are the proud and happy parents of sixteen year old Miranda. Anna is Rose's sister and best friend, a pal to Miranda, an avid sailor herself, and close to William. They seem content.

However, when Rose goes home early, leaving William and Anna to close up the boat for the evening, she gets life-altering news. A painting of hers has been accepted in an upcoming gallery showing - her first big break. Flushed with excitement, she races back to the boat to share her exciting news. There, she finds her husband and her sister kissing. Immediately, everyone's world explodes. Betrayed and angry, Rose throws William out, cuts Anna from her life, and moves with her daughter for the rest of the summer to Shelter Island.


Christopher Moore
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0

'Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through the tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into the holiday spirit.

But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he's not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn't run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.
But hold on! There's an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It's none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say "Kris Kringle," he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.

Move over, Charles Dickens -- it's Christopher Moore time.

Note! Moore had released this book last year, but this version 2.0 has 30 extra pages. So if you didn't get a chance to check it out last year, pick up the new version, enjoy it, and then let some poor bastard who bought the shorter version check it out!

And one last one, this book isn't yet released, but why not shop early for someone's birthday?

Ellen Meister
Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA is a novel about three women who come together when Hollywood announces plans to shoot a movie in their children's schoolyard. Maddie Schein is an emotionally-needy ex-lawyer whose marriage is on the rocks. Brash Ruth Moss has it all except for one thing: her husband was left brain-damaged and sexually uninhibited from a stroke. Timid Lisa Slotnick wants nothing more than to fade into the scenery, but is thrust before the spotlight by her alcoholic mother, a singer whose career has failed.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A poem for the holidays

Well. We're nearing the end of the year and I have to say I'm not too upset with how mine worked out in the writing arena. For all the good luck I've had, I also owe some thanks to people. For me, a kind word of encouragement or a blurb to help get the word out about my books or a read of some of my stuff means an awful lot to me. It helps more than you can imagine, and I was lucky this year to have so many gracious and generous and kind people helping me out. I wish I was a wealthy woman so I could buy iPods or something else commercial to thank everyone online who's been so good to me. But I can't. So instead, I hope my pals will settle for this. (And, if you're not name-checked in here, please forgive me, but perhaps your name is "Hofferbransime" and I couldn't rhyme it. But I still dig you!)

The Holiday Cyberpoem from Susan

'Twas the night before Christmas and my new release,
Aunt Nance rang me up, sending greetings to her niece.
When I hug up with her, I looked out the window,
And was saddened to see the hard blowing snow.
So I picked up a shovel and headed outside,
My back was quite sore and I just could have cried.
Inside was ready with a tree that was trimmed,
Cookies were baked and the lights were all dimmed.
But friends would be coming and they needed a path,
So I figured I'd shovel and then we'd have drinks and a laugh.

I put on my scarf, was quite warmly bundled,
And off to the curb I reluctantly trundled.
Then from a short distance I heard a loud crash,
I thought my new neighbors were having a bash.
But their place was all quiet, it was really quite dark,
And then from above, I saw a great spark.
Up near my chimney a blur of red filled the sky
I squinted and huffed, couldn't believe my own eye.
Up on my roof there was a guy and his laugh filled the air,
Confused and disturbed, I shouted, "The hell you doing up there?"

I know you may not believe when I say what came next,
but trust me and listen, and don't be impatient or vexed.
With a swirl of the wind he came down and landed by me,
and he glanced in my window and said, "What a lovely tree."
"Thanks so much," I told him and gave him a smile,
This dude had a sleigh, I approved of his style.
With the sleigh was a reindeer, looking cuddly and furry.
But he clomped with one hoof, as he was in a hurry.
"Listen to me," Santa, he said it quite loudly,
"You've had a nice year." And at that, I beamed proudly.
He was right, it was true, three books I'd had pubbed,
And one award I had won, nothing had flubbed.

Marina, Lucy and Lisa, their stories I'd told.
One more about Eva, I hope to get sold.
Fate had been kind, I'd really been lucky,
With that sort of year, who cares if the weather was sucky?
Then Santa surprised me, as he stated his case,
It felt like a great big merry slap in the face.
"You're naughty," he said, "and that's not all, there's much more,
"You're a gambler, a drinker, and a bit of a whore.
"But I've come anyhow, because you're really quite brash,
"To take down your wishes, which I'll grant in a flash."

It's been a good year, oh yes, that's quite true,
But as much as to luck, I owe it to you.
I did lots of writing, this I know well,
But without helpful readers, it wouldn't be swell.
The wind got quite cold as the moon hung down low,
Santa was waiting, and he said, "Come on now. Ho Ho."
Family and friends, those I'll take care of in person,
But those far away, I had to thank before the storm worsened.
So to Santa I said, "A kind word or a read, those things I hold dear,
So I want to send out some greetings to those who helped me this year."

The reindeer it snorted and the fat man nodded okay,
And then they listened intently as I started to say:
Ms. Barris is a sweetie, a lovely, whipsmart young dear,
I got turned on to her prose just this past year.
To keep me on course, she sent me a book from across the pond
She's so talented that I dig her, even though she's a blonde.
What a guy, what a pal, what a reader, what a friend,
To Capone, sincerest thanks are the best I can send.
What can I say, Don reads all my stuff, even the porn
Here's to an agent for his novel, Like I'd Never Been Born.

William Reese Hamilton is a fine, classy dear fellow,
His writing is electric, but his demeanor is mellow.
He's helped me put out lots of bad literary fires,
Let's hope next year sees print for The Oldfield Wires.
Beverly Jackson is lovely I'll tell you right now,
This year saw Ink Pot take its final bow.
There's a dame on the rise, her name is Gwendolyn Mintz,
Her prose is fantastic and won't make you wince.
Myfanwy is remarkable, really quite grand,
Hansen started a new 'zine, let's strike up the band!

For Ellen Meister, lovely lady, I wish for you the same as I wish for myself:
A visit from George, the ex-Batman, he'd make one sexy-bitch of an elf.
Ah but I hope you excuse my pervy, self-serving digressions
Truly, next year will bring a smash success for your Secret Confessions.
Biff Mitchell's a wild one, a crazy guy, and he's no lazy slug
In 2005 he survived a triathalon and published The War Bug.
Edward Moore landed pubs in anthologies and even some 'zines,
and he's offered me help by various means.
Renee Nicholson creates prose with some bite,
and now she's teaching the students all how to write!

Tripp's had some success that deserves some salutin',
his prose is so classy, but never high-falutin'.
So read some Tripp Reade, as he's read stuff for me,
and wish him good luck obtaining his Master's degree.
Fred Schoeneman's a pal, though sometimes I wonder if he's been smoking crack,
he's a veteran, a reader, and writer, and he's all in support of the war in Iraq.
He oughta have a high-paying gig and it's something I'd mourn
if in 2006 we didn't see shelf-time for his incredible novel called Army Porn.
Justin Holt, I'm so glad I met him, that's my good luck,
And special thanks for kind words to the grand one called Chuck.

GC Smith is a jolly, good ole southern boy,
he deserves hearty praise and a year full of joy.
His poems can be a happy addiction,
Just our good luck we find him weekly in Quiction.
A poet, novelist, screenwriter, and plenty more,
Matt St. Amand is certainly never a bore.
This year he released his collection of satire, Homunculus,
that he's not wealthy from writing is truly ridiculous!
Lisa Renee Jones and Randy Kirkpatrick were my emissaries of PR,
and what lovely, classy, hardworking people, the both of them are.

My books were handled by Magic Carpet, Mundania, and Zumaya,
I'm so proud of each company, they're superb, and that's not a lie-a.
'Zines like Ruthie's and Clean Sheets pub prose with some spice
and this year to me they have been exceptionally nice.
And now to the folks who give us scribes quite a kick,
Let's hear it for reviewers, they're all very slick.
Whether we find them online or in a print mag,
they give us great blurbs and reasons to brag.
Here's one I know, let's call him Mick,
But take care of them all, won't you St. Nick?
Last but not least, to all the readers, my sincere thanks galore.
My only wish is that next year, I can gain a few more.
So readers and reviewers, let's give them a snap,
and if that's not your style, you're welcome to clap.

Santa stopped me right there as he held up a hand,
Said, "Your thanks will be heard across cyberland."
That thought made me happy, it did make me tingle,
and then the reindeer snorted, his harness did jingle.
Santa declared, and he said it with might,
"Thanks are fine, but I came to grant wishes tonight.
"So say what you want, and say it quite loud,
"And then I'll do what I can for this literary crowd."
So I sucked in a breath and chose to go quick,
Because these iambic couplets were making me sick.

For all the fellows, my wish is nice but shallow, every last bit,
I wish you more GQ spreads that show off Jen Aniston's left tit.
For all the ladies, well, much as we'd like it, we can't all have Vince Vaughn.
But I hope you've got a great man, and that he's got a nice schlong.

I thought those were nice but also quite lame.
I had to think bigger, think bolder, think fortune and fame.
It took me a moment, but then it was perfectly clear,
I knew the perfect wish for all the writers here.
When I had it mind, I shouted and let out a squeal,
"The same thing for everyone -- a six figure book deal!"

So then Santa declared, "Susan, you're such a fool!"
I'd heard it before, but from him it seemed sort of cruel.
Silly wishes I made and for that I tried to repent.
But the jolly one sighed heavy as his patience was spent.
Then his cheer faded off, it drained rather quickly,
I got sort of scared and swallowed quite thickly.
I could tell that his patience was starting to fray,
I was ready to give in, let him have things his way.
And then, it was so rude, a reindeer poked me with his antler,
Santa said, "Bad wishes are one thing. But your holiday rhyming sucks. You're no Adam Sandler."

The reindeer nudged me again and I was afraid I would fall,
so I knew it was time to wrap this up once and for all.
So these are my final wishes: To everyone, be of good cheer,
To the writers I wish you prime pubs all through next year!
To reviewers and readers, I bless you some more,
Happy Holidays forever to you and to yours.
I hope you have a have a great time with those you love bestly,
And that your holiday is even gayer than Carson Kressley.
May your days be cheerful and burdens be light,
Thanks for reading my books, and this lame poem tonight.
It took patience and timing and caused me some stress,
But the result leaves me pleased, but also perplexed.
Blame it on cheer, or call it good luck,
I made through this whole story without saying "fuck"!

Santa eyed me again and I could sense his disdain,
then the reindeer snorted and nudged, but he didn't complain.
Santa said, "I'll give you one for yourself before I head on my way,"
And then he winked at me once and hopped on his sleigh.
The thought made me heady and caused me to smile,
I didn't bother to lie or cover with guile.
I wished big and wished bright, with all of my nerve,
and then I shouted it loudly with plenty of verve.
"I'd work hard on a screenplay and never be lazy,
if you'd get me a film option from Martin Scorsese!"

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reviews for Mutual Holdings

I've gotten back the first couple reviews for my newest book, Mutual Holdings. So far they're very positive and encouraging, and I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to the reviewers for taking the time to read this and then write up the reviews.

As I've said (probably ad nauseum), the book is available in paperback only, and you can pre-order it now through Barnes & Noble, and it should be on bookstore shelves by mid-December.

Here's a snippet from the first review. This one is from Sin St.Luke at JERR. It will eventually be live on their website, but for now you can find it (along with a previous, excellent review for my novel 24/7) in their newsgroup archives. They review a large number of erotic romances every month and have plenty of feature articles, too. To subscribe to the JERR newsgroup, go here: JERR newsletter. Here's what they had to say about Mutual Holdings:

"DiPlacido grabs you with her descriptive voice in the candid dialogue between the characters, and humorous thought processes. The conversations are realistic and never come across as forced or clich├ęd. I was aroused throughout the story. The sex in Mutual Holding is damn near orgasmic." -- Sin St.Luke for JERR

So, thanks!

And, here's another snippet. You can already find this one online at Road to Romance, and it was written by Janalee Ruschhaupt.

"Ms. DiPlacido is a thoroughly seasoned author, and it shines through, with this outstandingly written book. Ms. DiPlacido lets Lisa do the talking, and what a talker Lisa is. She relates her tale of confused and frustrated love, leaving the readers in stitches. Lisa's dry humor is biting at times. You will come away from this story feeling like a friendship has developed. The closeness only a good writer can achieve and deliver to its fullest degree. The only thing you might not like about this book is your inability to put it down."

So, thanks to Janalee and Road to Romance!

As my pal Fred Schoenman says, Get Some!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Edward Moore in Alien Skin Magazine

Edward Moore has been on a roll this year! And his streak continues. Check out his terrific flash, Immortality in the new issue of AlienSkin Magazine.

Moondance 2006

One of the things that pleases me most in my writing career is having one of my stories recognized at the 2005 Moondance Film Festival. This is a world-class film festival that offers a plethora of opportunity to writers and filmmakers. They also offer more than presitge and recognition with their Columbine Film Production Fund. They offer entry categories for films, screenplays, and short stories, among others. So if you're an up and coming artist who's looking to meet and connect and get your name out there, Moondance is a terrific venue. Plus, it's an extremely classy and well run organization. Here's the link for the 2006 Moondance Film Festival, including information and entry info.

This week's Quiction...

is live. Right here.