Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Peacock Blues

Well, the networks are really kinking up my game now. NBC seems loathe to relinquish Thursday nights to Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy and it's pissing me off. I could care less about the thetan-infested comedy Earl, but I really do love The Office, and, given my silly affection for a jackassy Baldwin and an appropriate girl-crush on Tina Fey, I really dig 30 Rock, too. But, like Dwight Schrute trying to match wits with Jim Halpert, NBC seems intent on failure again, so instead of opening up a whole new night, like Wednesday -- when there's nothing else on -- they're going to stick their best shows up against the water-cooler shows of the year.


I could see how they wouldn't want to put 30 Rock on Monday night, just before Studio 60, because it'd reinforce the meta nature of the shows to an off-putting degree. I mean, they basically have an entire network revolving around shows about Saturday Night Live, and even SNL just isn't good enough to really fan that interest. Also, it'd draw comparisons to the titles. The 60 minute show about SNL is called Studio 60, and the 30 minute show is called 30 Rock. Was that intentional or just really poor coincidence?

But still. Why doom themselves and let these perfectly good shows flail around with a smaller audience than the Green Grove Retirement Community's annual production of "A Christmas Carol." They're insisting on the formerly flagship Thursday night lineup? It's dead, NBC. It's more dead than Robert DeNiro's real emotions.

If Jordan McDeere really was running the network, I doubt she'd allow this to happen. Someone needs to remind them that Seinfeld wasn't always a hit. It was a little show with a little audience. And when NBC first shuffled it around, they plopped it up against the then hugely popular Tim Allen comedy Home Improvement. What happened? Seinfeld got slaughtered in the ratings. But it finally found a home on Thursday night and became, well...Seinfeld.

And speaking of Studio 60, I like the show. I really do. But I could like it a whole lot more. Sorkin's proven that he's the technical master of jazzy dialogue, and I mostly enjoy it and appreciate it. Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, and even Amanda Peet have risen to the challenge of being able to snap and pop with each other and give their exchanges crackle. But the heightened, rapid-fire pace sometimes bears a striking resemblance to John Coltrane's "Blue Train," for which one critic adroitly coined the term "sheets of sound." It's an amazing album, and really showcased Coltrane's genius. Technically, it's a masterpiece. And yet, artistically, it can be almost defeating for the listener. Once in a while, you just think, "Take a goddamn breath, dude!"

And that's what Studio 60 is lacking. There needs to be a pause once in a while. A moment to let things settle, or congeal. And that's what the romance between Matt and Harriett should be. They've got their clever banter, but once in a while they need to stop and like each other. Sorkin tries to position those moments in there, such as when they stand and listen to Sting perform "Fields of Gold" on his mandolin. But it's just not working for me.

I've been reluctant to give myself over to the reason why, because I really don't like to rampantly bash women. But Sarah Paulson? She's not up to the task. She's been grossly miscast in that role and it's never going to mesh. I was doubtfu of Amanda Peet in her role. Peet, some people don't like her, but I think she's a fine rom-com actress with a goofy appeal. And she didn't really work well in the first episode when she had to be the superwoman producer with the superhero ethics. But since then? Well. She's a bit of a drunk with a supposedly sordid sexual past who makes wisecracks that no one else gets. In other words, she's just aces.

But Paulson sucks like a virgin on prom night. First, she's supposed to be a brilliant comedienne, and yet she's just not fucking funny. Supposedly Matt fell in love with her because she's so charming and funny. But all I can see of her is a bitchy, uptight, hatchet-face who thinks she's really marvelous. And her lisp? Not sexy. It really screws up the delivery of Sorkin's snazzy lines.

I realize that the relationship is a construct. It's a microcosmic representation of our country's divided political beliefs, and it should be illustrating how we can find common ground and love for each other while letting them build plots around hot-button issues. I like the idea of that. But, unlike the Alan Shore/Denny Crane relationship on Boston Legal which has the same construct, the problem is that this relationship doesn't make the leap from intellectual construct to entertaining characters. It's forced, and Paulson is phony. Also? I already get my fill of a sunny, skinny, lispy blonde with a struggling workplace romance on Grey's Anatomy.

Which brings us back to where we started. NBC is piling it all onto Thursday in what seems like a frantic, desperate shot to reclaim the evening. I think the highly underrated Scrubs is set to join the lineup, too. But someone who is in charge at that network needs to stop thinking like a proud peacock, take a goddamn breath, look around, and come up with a different game plan.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Secret is Out

Ellen Meister just got a great review from Entertainment Weekly for the audiobook version of her novel, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, narrated by Lisa Kudrow.

The book is terrific, and Lisa Kudrow does a great job with it.

Justin Holt -- Orion

Happy belated birthday to Justin Holt! He's got a new story live at Oxyfication called "Orion." I really dug it. It's got some holiday flavor and soul.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Third time's the charm

I hope. I fear the the third consecutive post about myself is actually grotesque. But, you know. Someone has to do this shit.

I found this review from Kirkus Reviews for Best American Erotica 2007, edited by Susie Bright.

I was amped when I read it, because it mentioned my story, and I thought it looked good. But my reading comprehension skills are a bit lacking. (Irony, thy name is Wannabe-Writer.) Perhaps this isn't so much a compliment as a backhanded compliment? I can't decide. The relevant portion:

"Not all the stories possess the same level of skill, but most match Bright's exuberantly positive attitude toward sex. Among the best of those are Susan St. Aubi's "Taste," in which two late-night bakers treat each other to secret delicacies, and Susan DiPlacido's "Heads-Up Poker," featuring a strip-poker game where every player comes up a winner."

Um. So, that's saying that my story isn't very skillful, isn't it? Fuck. But, it kind of also says that it's hot, right? Fuck yeah!

BAE 2007 isn't available yet, but you know I'll let you know when it is. But if somehow all this blatant talking about myself has gotten you whipped into a frenzy, thinking, "Wow. This chick has her name in pink next to a tasteful picture of a woman's ass on one book, and her story garnered what she construes as praise in another one. I think I need to check this shit out!" then I have the solution for you. My story, 'Twas the Night After Christmas is currently the top rated erotica e-book on Fictionwise. Since it's only $2, you can pick that up, and, if you do, remember that if you drop me an e-mail (susandiplacido at telling me you bought it, I'll send you a free copy of my paperback book, Mutual Holdings.

Or, if you prefer to spend bigger, there are handy links right over there ---->
where you can easily Amazon order either of my other books.

Thank you, and I apologize. We will return to the regular blog proceedings here shortly, I believe. And I'll try to refrain from future hard-sells such as this for the duration of the holiday season. Though I don't promise to not slip something in here or there.

Mammoth Happiness

This weekend, I got my contributor copies of Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6, edited by Maxim Jakubowski in the mail. Whoo! I was really excited, because one of my favorite stories, "Neon Nights" is included in the anthology.

I'm not certain of when the exact release date will be, but I *think* I have the Amazon link for it already, even though the cover picture they show is different than the one Amazon has up there. Here's the link: Mammoth 6, but here's what the cover actually looks like: (beware, not work friendly!)

I've already read a couple of the other stories, including "Blindness" by Donna George Story and "Lucky Numbers and Marlboros" by Gwen Masters, and those knocked my socks off. Anyone who reads erotica knows Donna and Gwen, because they rock. So I was thrilled to be in a lineup with them. Even more of an ego boost (though still not quite enough to make me get that name-on-my-back tattoo) was when I flipped the book over and looked at the back cover. (again, not so work friendly)

Do you see it? Please look carefully, as I don't want to indulge in the assholery of pulling out my red pen and circling it. There are lines of acceptable self-pimpage, and I fear that'd be crossing it.

Rebel Press Pushcart Noms

Rebel Press announces its nominations for this year's Pushcart Prize.

Roof Whirl Away, by Tom Saunders, Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction
Bloodlines, by Susan DiPlacido, Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction
On the Bridge, by T.J, Forrester, Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction
Everything is Something to Somebody, by Marcus Grimm, Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction
Quiet, by Katrina Denza, Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction
nineleven, by Donald Capone, Stories From Sunset Hill

Congrats to all the nominees!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Susie Bright on writing

Writers, both published and unpublished, should really read this: Susie Bright's A Devil's Argument. It's both depressing and empowering, because it's all so right on.

Susie says:
"The Market is not “your friend”; The Market does not have your self-interest at heart. It can be an intoxicating place — the money changing hands, the competitions, the auctions, the promotions and premiums — but it isn’t a place that puts art first, or people first. It puts money first, and that requires a measure of illusion and exploitation that must be endured in order to reach your desired audience."

But that's not the full gist of the article. I don't want to creflo the entire piece, so go visit Susie's blog to read the whole thing.

Tattoo You

What I'd like to share with you today is something that happened as a consequence of yesterday's blog post here. It's the one directly below, where I have the picture of Chris Daughtry and label it "asshole." Someone took such offense to that post that instead of flaming me here or sending me a scathing e-mail, they e-mailed one of my publishers. (!) Can you stand it? Oh yeah. This person sent an indignant e-mail to one of my publishers, complaining about my word choice and how it offended them and how they'd never buy a book from me or my publisher. (!!) AND, get this, they're going to post the link all over to Chris Daughtry fan sites in outrage. (!!!)

I ask you -- Can it get any better than that?


At first, I was shocked. Shocked primarily because this is the fellow this person is valiantly defending against being called an asshole:

Secondly, I was shocked and sad, because clearly this person never checked in and read any of my American Idol recaps while the season was rolling. I know this because there were a plethora of pictures and words tossed around during those couple months on this blog that I'm sure would've sent this person into overdrive with their uptight umbrage. I mean, I'd made it pretty clear what I thought of Daughtry over that time: How he's by very definition not a rawker. He's a fraud of a rawker. He's a perfect fit for the commercialized, watered-down, processed, shitty fraud-rock like Creed-Nickelback-Fuel that's marketed to the American public. Daughry is a frawker.

But I got over my sadness at being previously ignored and the joy just bubbled out of me. I mean, can you imagine how my head swelled? Someone had paid attention to me! Someone was so moved as to write to my publisher! Suddenly, I felt relevant! Oh, the fucking ego boost it was.

I was still a little surprised by it, of course. I mean, in the spring, when I heavily engaged in the Daughtry bashing, I got plenty of flame-mail sent my way from Daughtry fans. But that's the thing: Those fans were direct. Those fans were witty and engaging and passionate and the exchanges were, frankly, pretty fun. Certainly, some of the messages were concise, let's call them, and consisted of simply, "your a bitch." But most of them were much more erudite and flamboyant, and we had some great exchanges. But then a half a year later, out of nowhere, comes this lone fan who's an uptight, mirthless little narc. It wasn't the sort of behavior I'd expect from a Daughtry fan. It was the kind of behavior I'd expect from a Claymate.

Nevertheless, it tickled me. I was insufferable for about 23 minutes, becoming quite the self-important asshole. I mean, can you imagine? To work and toil and scribble and write and publish in obscure anonymity for years, and now, suddenly, I'd finally done it. I'd ignited someone. I'd inflamed someone. I'd made a statement bold enough to be controversial enough to get "superiors" involved. Controversy! Fuck, it was exciting. I'd arrived. Briefly, I considered getting a tattoo of my own name emblazoned across my own back!

But then, of course, reality hit as the giggles stopped. I remembered: Oh yeah. I'm not relevant. I'm nobody. I'm just a bitch with a blog. And someone just got miffed that I slammed their crush.

But I do still hold out hope that the whiny, narcy person will make good on her word and link my site all over the place. I really hope she remembers to post an indignant link at MJ's! Maybe it'll gain me a few readers come February when the new season starts, or at least remind people to check back in.

In the meantime, in case she's checking here today to see if I addressed her concerns, I have two very choice words for her. I know you didn't like my use of the word "asshole." (Frawk fans, such tender sensibilities and so easily offended!) So here are two extremely choice words you're probably going to like even less: Thank you. Seriously. It's over something extremely silly, and it was brief. But for that brief second -- okay, 23 minutes -- I really felt special.

Oh. And also? This is the guy you got all worked up over:

Yep. Still an asshole.

And so am I.

But he's an asshole with a crappy, mass market CD. That's a lot more success than I'll ever know. But hey, life is fair. At least I'm an asshole without a tattoo of my own name scrawled across my back.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Idol releases and Idle Idols

Remember when I used to blog about American Idol? Yeah, that was fun. Well, I've kept up with some of the news, but didn't want to look like an obsessive freak so I don't post most of it here. But here are a few little snippets I felt worthy of passing along.

So. Chris Daughtry has released his CD. Here's all I have to say about that:

Also, Taylor Hicks has a really cool website, though you have to suffer through hearing that crappy song that was foisted upon him by 19E. But in cool news, his official blog is Gray Charles. A while back, Gray Charles was going to fold up shop, because he was a fan and the blog caught fire when Taylor got so popular, but it got overwhelming for the guy. But Taylor knew who was saucing his barbeque (that sounds dirty and I don't intend that), and now Gray Charles is in business. Good on Taylor.

And, of course, I have to comment on my cupcake, Elliott Yamin. He doesn't have a slick website or newly released CD. But he's got a Myspace page. (I fucking hate Myspace. Nevertheless, here's mine! Please be my friend, as I have none. Fucking Tom is my only friend. And yet here I sit ragging on Chris Daughtry even with quantifiable proof that I'm a loser.) Anyhow. Back to Elliott. He says he's hard at work on an album and that it'll be out soon. He says (through Myspace) that his first release will be a cover of Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Free Paperback with e book

I've mentioned this before, but I've got a newly released story available from Phaze called "'Twas the Night After Christmas". This is a holiday themed story, and it's plenty steamy, and it's available as an e book for just a couple bucks.

I'm running a special giveaway for this ebook. If you live in the continental U.S. and you purchase a copy of this story from either Phaze or Fictionwise, you can drop me an e-mail and I'll send you a free copy of my paperback, erotic romance Mutual Holdings.

I'll work on the honor system. You don't have to forward me a receipt or anything. Just drop me an e-mail at susandiplacido at or, if that one doesn't work, susan at (remove the spaces and replace at with @) Tell me that you bought a copy of "'Twas the Night after Christmas" and that you'd like a copy of Mutual Holdings, and give me the physical street address where you want the book sent to, and I'll get it popped in the mail to you.

This deal is good as long as supplies of Mutual Holdings lasts, but I have an awful large stock, so I expect it can last quite a while.

It's as simple as that. Though, do remember that with me, flattery gets you everywhere. So if you happen to mention that you enjoyed "'Twas the Night" and gave it a good rating, there may be a small little extra something sent along in the package with Mutual Holdings. I mean, 'tis the season and all.

So here's everything you need to know:

The Titles & Deal:
"'Twas the Night after Christmas" -- $2. Purchase this, and you get Mutual Holdings sent to you via mail. Mutual Holdings got four stars from Romantic Times, so this isn't a dog I'm pawning off on you here.

Review of "'Twas the Night After Christmas":
"Ms. DiPlacido is an excellent author with an obvious command of her
characters, capable of giving the reader just what we need to maintain
interest. I wholeheartedly recommend this book." ~ 4 Hearts from The Romance Studio

The place to buy:
$2 - 'Twas the Night after Christmas from Phaze

$1.45 - 'Twas the Night after Christmas from Fictionwise

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Ellen Meister!

Ellen Meister, author of the fabulously funny Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, celebrates her birthday today in style. She's got a new interview up at LitPark, and the interviewer does one heck of a great job!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dancing Queen and King

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke win Dancing with the Stars! As well they should. Mario, he was technically good, yeah. But in the finals, he really didn't dance so much as preen, and he's just not nearly as cool, classy, or funky as Emmitt on the dance floor. And, frankly, Mario was at a disadvantage because he didn't have Cheryl as his partner. Sure, Karina is HOT, and she's a hell of a dancer. But she can't put a routine together as well as Cheryl can, and she doesn't have the instincts on how to "show off" her partner's key assets in the dance. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a little photographic evidence of Emmitt's, uh, masculine prowess that set him apart, and it also illustrates how Cheryl knows how to spotlight the important stuff.

But, most importantly, Karina and Mario were never really able to look like they were having any fucking fun.

Emmitt and Cheryl? They worked hard, but when they'd hit the floor, they just looked like they were having a blast. This is Cheryl's second consecutive win, and she sure does deserve it. Last year's winner, Drew Lachey, was able to dance his fanny off and he had the same infectious attitude on the floor that Emmitt brought this year, and I have to think at least part of that is due to Cheryl. When I got sucked into the cheezy show last year, I figured they'd never come up with another Drew. And they didn't, really. But they did just as well this year and got Emmitt.

Emmitt, he's the guy that women want to dance with, and that other guys wish they could dance like. And he deserves that glitter ball trophy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Having a firm grasp on the obvious

So. People Magazine has released its "Sexiest Man Alive" issue and they've chosen George Clooney. Women around the world say, "No shit." Obvious. Certainly. But do I have any objections or quarrel with the choice? Uh. No.

Cheers, Giorgio!

In other obvious news, crazier-than-a-shithouse-rat OJ Simpson manages to reap in some cash with his book deal and a two hour interview on FOX. The schtick? "If I did it, here's how I did it." Uh huh. No shit. The only thing I don't understand is why this motherfucker is so coy about admitting he did it. What? He could be slapped with a purjury charge or something? Anyhow. I suppose most people will be disgusted that he's profiting from this. I would be, but I hold some hope that the families of the victims will be able to collect on some of what he owes them from this little windfall.

But Judith and ReganBooks? Fuck off.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rebel Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen is a renaissance man when it comes to words. He's accomplished with short stories, book reviews, interviews (ahem), and he's also the editor of a very fine and unique lit magazine.

For a sampling of some of his fiction work, you can find him in some of the best 'zines on the web: Frigg, Paumanok Review, Danforth Review.

Sometimes quirky, his stories develop through the characters and often take unexpected, but wholly plausible turns where he often plumbs the depths of suburban hysteria, both comic and tragic.

Steve's story "Psychoanalysis" is featured in Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction, the 2006 USA Book Awards Finalist.

Also? Steve's a really cool guy.

Meet Steve.

1) Who are some of your favorite writers, and how do you think they've influenced you?

I owe a debt to Thomas Wolfe's great novel "Look Homeward, Angel" for getting me off of Fantasy series' reading and into some of the great lit of the 20th century. After LHA, I devoured all of Wolfe's other novels and then started in on many of the other so-called Lost Generation writers: Hemingway, Fitzgerald among others.

2) What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?

My greatest strength used to be not giving into apathy, but lately I've not been doing much writing, so...

3) Your story in Rebellion is called "Psychoanalysis." I think I recognize some of the characters in this story from other works of yours. Are you working on a collection of linked stories?

Yes. It's pretty much complete and I should be shopping it around to some publishers, but ... [see answer to Q2].

4) When did you first get the feeling not that you wanted to write, but that you could be so successful at it? What are you working on now?

I've had the feeling that I could be successful at writing here and there over the past 20 years, but nothing lasting. Sustaining your discipline throughout a lifetime gets harder as your responsibilities elsewhere increase. I'm not working on anything currently. Writing is not for sissies, and right now I am a sissy.

5) Your alterego, Theodore Q. Rorschalk, is the founder and editor of a cutting edge, interactive lit 'zine, TQR. What was your inspiration for creating the 'zine? Does reading/editing others' stories help with your own writing, or does it eat up all your time?

I started TQRstories cuz it seemed to me most of the e-zines out there had more or less print mentalities and were not using the immediacy and intimacy of the Web to their advantage. I thought, why does the editorial process still need to remain behind a veil? Wouldn't it be fun and instructive to expose it to the public? So, that's TQR.

Seeing the great work done by others is actually very inspiring and would (and has been in the past) a great motivator for my own work. The e-zine doesn't eat up too much time, really. I'm thankful for it.

6) Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?

Hmmmm. I guess it would be my grandfather (who the short story cycle is centered around). I'd like to go to Louie's on the tip of San Francisco with him again and order a big fat tuna sandwich and look out over the ocean and dream.

7) One CD, one book, one DVD and a desert island. What book, CD, and DVD do you take?

Well, how about Abbey Road for music, The Bible for reading, with apocrypha attached, but minus Revelations (too frightening and obscure), and for the DVD ... how about Sexy Beast cuz that dude in it who won the oscar for playing Ghandi (can't remember his name now, Ben Kingsley?) plays an unforgettable gangster.

8) Other than fiction writing, what's the biggest lie you ever told?

There have been so many ... I can't really pin one down.

9) Suppose you can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers and critical acclaim (but not making cash from writing), or would you rather be a bestselling author with the fat coin?

Well, since I have a minuscule bit of the first and found it lacking, next time around I'd opt for selection number 2.

Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction now available from Rebel Press, or Amazon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Early Holiday Cheer -- and smut

Look, I apologize in advance. I wish I was Alec Baldwin and that I could slyly drum up interest in my projects by simply going on TV shows and being charming, but I can't. Can't be charming, that is. So when I've got something new cooking, I gotta pimp it some. So here goes:

I've got a newly released story available from Phaze. It's a holiday themed story, and it's plenty smutty, and it's available as an e book for just a couple bucks. The 411:

The Title:
"'Twas the Night after Christmas"

The Blurb:
When Joe meets sexy Marie, he bets his pal that he can score with the
feisty redhead before Christmas. But will that wager cost him the best
present of his life?

The Review:
"Ms. DiPlacido is an excellent author with an obvious command of her
characters, capable of giving the reader just what we need to maintain
interest. I wholeheartedly recommend this book." ~ 4 Hearts from The
Romance Studio

The place to buy:
$2 - 'Twas the Night after Christmas

Tony & Tony

As an Italian girl, there are very few things I find more attractive than a good Italian boy. But one of those things is, of course, a bad Irish boy. I've already blathered about my love for Mickey Rourke on various occasions, but there's one fellow who's always managed to pwn even Mickey when it comes to my affections. And that guy is Alec Baldwin.

He's had just enough bad press over the years to tweak my interest without ever disgusting me. And he's coupled that with some outrageously good work on film. I love that he steps back and takes supporting roles instead of leads and often manages to steal all the thunder. Not to mention that he's been in what's possibly the best Vegas movie ever made: The Cooler. (Well, the best Vegas movie aside from the delightfully awful Showgirls)

Alec's been in good form lately, with a great little turn in Scorsese's The Departed, and a recent appearance on Bill Maher where he held down the liberal fort but did so with aggression and mouthy retorts. Alec, he's probably too much of a hothead to ever run for office, but some of the Democratic leaders could take a lesson from his never-back-down, no bullshit attitude.

But what I love most about Alec is that he's a really good sport, and he's completely comfortable playing an asshole or the fool. And he's damn good at it. Which is probably why he's one of only two people who have a standing invitation to appear once a season on SNL. (Christopher Walken is the other one.) And, sure, SNL is struggling -- to say the least -- this year with Tina Fey gone. Tina, of course, has teamed up Alec on the show "30 Rock." And so Alec hosted SNL this past weekend to promote "30 Rock," which meant that SNL was pretty much one long commericial for "30 Rock," but I didn't really mind, because I'm loving the show and I hope it gets some viewers and succeeds. It's classic, foolish Alec, and Tina is even sillier than I thought she could be.

But even though SNL is flailing, Alec did manage to pull off a couple of hilarious moments (with a little help from his friends.) "I was in Schwetty Balls!" was pretty damn funny. But the best came compliments of another good sport. If you're not familiar with the skit, Alec does a great, just really really great impression of Tony Bennett hosting his talk show. So the bad Irish boy plays the good Italian guy, and his guest this week just made it perfect.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Great Teacher Gift from Ellen Meister

Ellen Meister, author of the hilarious and touching Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA is offering free signed bookplates for teachers. Read all about the offer right here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Katrina Denza -- Pushcart Prize Nominee

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Katrina Denza. Already a well established short story and flash fiction writer, Kat has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her story "Quiet" which appears in Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.

Congrats Kat!

Beautiful, generous, and with a truly kind soul, I'd admire Kat even if her wrting wasn't so spectacular. She writes with a fluid grace; the language and metaphors she uses subtly but undeniably enriching the stories. Often she tackles serious subjects, but personalizes them through the characters, who are always people, not constructs. Widely published, you can find Kat in the best lit zines on the web. A sampling:
Smokelong Quarterly
Word Riot

Meet Kat:

1) Who are some of your favorite writers, and how do you think they've influenced you?

First, thanks so much for doing this interview, Susan. It’s such a joy to be a part of this book. As far as favorite writers, I have so many. How could I possibly make a list that wouldn’t take up at least ten pages? And my list is always evolving. That said, every writer I admire influences me in some way. It’s a natural part of the apprenticeship.

2) What do you think is your greatest strength or asset in your writing? Your biggest weakness or flaw?

It’s difficult for me to get a sense of my strengths as a writer—I’m far better at identifying my weaknesses: impatience being at the top of the heap. In fact, impatience is probably behind every other weakness found in my writing.

3) When did you first get the feeling not that you wanted to write, but that you could be so successful at it? What are you working on now?

The first time was winning an award for a story I wrote in grade school which didn’t confirm anything in real time, but rather, in hindsight. I didn’t write again until 1999 when I wrote a really dreadful short story (with a couple of good elements) that placed in a local contest. That single event was, for me, a sign that the universe would support the insane and impractical notion that I could write and someone might want to read it.

4) I know you've written short stories and flash. Do you ever dabble in poetry? How about novel length?

I’ve written only one (too sentimental) poem and I’m just now learning the daunting process of writing a novel.

5) Stock question: Dinner with anyone, dead or alive. Who is it?

Virginia Woolf. I read her biography years ago and I have many questions I’d love to ask her. In fact, I wouldn’t let her leave until she answered every last one of them.

6) Other than fiction writing, what's the biggest lie you ever told?

I don’t tell lies.

7)Suppose you can't have both: Would you rather have respect from your peers and critical acclaim (but not making cash from writing), or would you rather be a bestselling author with the fat coin?

I’m stubborn enough, determined enough, to try to have both, however respect and critical acclaim precede the other on my dream list.

8) You've been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for your story "Quiet" in Rebellion. Do you plan to send that information along to every publisher who's ever rejected a story of yours?

Ha! Except they wouldn’t know who the hell I was. I’d be better off sending them an old dirty sock.

9) You tackle some rather serious subjects in your fiction, and yet, there's often a wry wit and humor that pops up unexpectedly. In another interview you've done, you said this: " Today, people are so distracted by the material world, by the ego's cravings, that it's more difficult, but not impossible, to achieve what is necessary for redemption: the marriage of an individual's light and dark sides with absolute acceptance and forgiveness." That's an extremely potent and graceful observation, and it seems like this sort of view threads its way into a lot of your work. Is that something you strive for, or does it just... happen?

I like to think I can see the hilarious and ridiculous and gut-grabbing funny in the worst of situations—it keeps me from taking myself and my neuroses too seriously, and even though I don’t intentionally write “funny,” I’m grateful you noticed the humor. Each time I sit down to write a story, I strive for coherent sentences and to connect with another heart, another soul.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Vote tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

57 channels (And Nothin' On)

With baseball behind me until spring, I've been catching up on some other TV.

So we all know Emmitt Smith is gonna win Dancing with the Stars, right? Mario's better technically, but he's so freaking skeevy. And Joey wants it the most, and it's pretty cute how tightly wrapped that dude is. And he's probably technically better than Emmitt. But Emmitt just has IT. He oozes class and fun and funk. And Cheryl's the best choreographer, she knows how to showcase her dancer's strengths and make the routines entertaining.

But what I love most about the show is still Bruno Tonioli. Oh, how my days would brighten if I could have a pocket-Bruno, perched at the corner of my desk, cheering me on with his effusive Italian elan. "Weeeell, Soozan. The way you add those numbers is simply magical. I'm filled with amore for your amortization schedules!" And then he'd raise his left arm, pump his fist, and give me a celebratory ten. Who wouldn't want to work like that?

You know who could use some Bruno encouragement these days? The writing staff on Boston Legal. Now, don't get me wrong, I love that show. And it's had some cute touches lately. I love how Alan Shore took on Scientology a few weeks ago, and I love that Alan Shore of course has an immediate dust-up with Jeffrey Coho -- a perfect reaction considering they're the same person. But overall, it's felt a little flat and slightly off-kilter so far this season, much like how Alan is feeling restless and not quite in his groove. But of course they've decided to take the over-the-top affection for Denny Crane and parlay that into giving William Shatner his own game show. Hey, if Regis can be so overexposed, so can Captain Kirk.

Speaking of exposed, Salma Hayak made an appearance on her hit show Ugly Betty last night, baring her bra for all of us. I'm sure this was planned out way before the show turned out to be such a big success. It was a bit of insurance to get viewers to tune in. I didn't mind it, because as much as I'd love to hate Salma, I just don't. I mean, on paper, I should hate her. She's beautiful, she's sexy, she's successful. And then she really makes matters worse by being smart and savvy in her business dealings. And then she completely demoralizes me by showing she also has a soul in regards to the projects she chooses to produce. Like I don't feel inadequate enough without HER walking around. But, you know. Fuck it. I'm perfectly comfortable with loathing someone while still giving them grudging respect. But I've never been able to work up any abject dislike for Salma. Not even when she got to fulfill Quentin's foot fetish in "From Dusk Till Dawn." Good for her and rip-roaring success at being such a great person.

And she was just fine on Ugly Betty. But even more notable is that the show didn't really need her appearance, either. America is holding down the fort just fine. Already this show has taken over our office chatter while Grey's Anatomy has struggled this season. We got it, Izzy was in mourning about Denny. But that's the danger of those "realistic and heartfelt" dramatic moments on TV. Everyone loved Denny. It's very sad that he died. But, you know, we have actual lives if we want to cope with terribly distressing and depressing shit. TV is escape, and "Grey's" didn't offer solace or relief -- or laughs -- for several weeks there. The writers are noodling around, trying to keep up some level of Unresolved Sexual Tension between Meredith and what's-his-name. You know, Patrick Dempsey. (I refuse to call him by The Nickname.) But Ellen Pompeo has become painfully skinny and it's getting difficult to watch her emaciate on a weekly basis. How can she be expected to prop up a whole show when she can barely prop up the weight of her own head?

Speaking of skinny broads who are painful to watch -- Terri Hatcher has also pretty much destroyed her looks with her over-zealous refusal to eat. And her show, Desperate Housewives is a show that I want to love on paper. Female leads? Great! Half of them over 35? Fantastic! Outlandish plots and silly shenanigans? Excellent! So why is it just so fucking annoying, this show? It's annoying because Susan is anorexic, Gabby is now blonde, Delfino sits in bed with an idiot look on his face, and that redhead pestering Tom and Lynette can't act. Bree and Orson are still kind of fun. But the rest of the show's plots limp along, more regurgitated than Hatcher's dinners.

That's something I'd like to hear Bruno comment on. "Oh Terri! You are the vixen of vomit tonight! The food was delicious, but it is nothing compared to the charm you showed as you spewed it back out, all over Nicolette's shoes! Nothing desperate about that, my dear, it was pure American glamour!"

And yet, I watch the show. Why? Because fucking HBO has lost their shit and doesn't have anything on right now other than Bill Maher on Friday nights. Where is the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm?

So. What are you watching these days? Anything I should tune in to?