Wednesday, September 27, 2006

That's Karin Gillespie, not Kayne Gillaspie

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
(Comment overheard under the hair dryer at the Dazzling Do’s in Karin Gillespie's new novel DOLLAR DAZE.)

Up this week on the GCC tour is our co-founder Karin Gillespie. (So I want to do a good job here, and I will try not to digress into writing about the multitude of shows I've watched over the past couple days. Her novel is DOLLAR DAZE, and it has a starred review in Booklist among many other wonderful write-ups.

Now, Karin Gillespie is not to be confused with Kayne Gillaspie, who was eliminated from PROJECT RUNWAY last week. (I just saw the new episode, by the way, and I know I shouldn't interject here, but this was the ONE WEEK I really LIKED Jeffrey Sebelia's dress -- and I don't like him, so it's hard for me to admit this -- but all the judges insulted it. Heidi even said it looked like a milkmaid's dress! And this is one of the few outfits on the show that I've actually thought I might want to wear, so what does that say about me? I mean, excuse me if I don't want to wear something with a huge slit down the front, like every single thing Laura Bennett designs and wears. Should she really be going to the finals? At least it will be entertaining to see her big and pregnant -- maybe she'll wear a belly shirt for us.

Michael Knight, okay, the judges have loved him along, and Uli Herzner pulled off a really cute dress this week, but why bend the rules and let all four go? Why not let Alison Kelly go too?)


Karin Gillespie has a funny explanation on her website on how to pronounce her name, cuz she's from the South. (And, by the way, I also saw the results show for DANCING WITH THE STARS and I was sorry to see Harry eliminated. It was definitely Jerry Springer's turn -- even he knew that -- and we all still want to see Harry loosen up some more. Poor Lisa Rinna is going to outdance him forever, or leave him for Louis Van Amstel, her partner from last time, who could be Harry's twin.)


Karin says her name is pronounced Car In as in "Is that your car in the street with the bumper hanging off?" And she says her Southern friends call her "Corn" as in "Children of the." And her last name is pronounced same as Gillespie like Dizzy, though no relation. And Kayne Gillespie isn't related either, because his last name is GILLASPIE.

ANYWAY. DOLLAR DAZE is about Mavis Loomis, Birdie Purdy, and Gracie Tobias, widows in their mid-sixties are certain their dating days are over until they observe their friend eighty-something Attalee Gaines in tempestuous relationship with Dooley Prichard, a trifocal-wearing charmer. If it’s not too late for Attalee, how can it be too late for them?

Karin's books have been selected as featured alternatives for Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs. And her novel BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR has been optioned for film by the actor James Woods! (Now he would be an interesting contestent on DANCING WITH THE STARS, wouldn't he?) Karin also has a story called TRASH TALK in THIS IS CHICKLIT (in which I also have a story...)

I have no doubt that Karin's book is funny and charming, just like she is. I asked her the usual questions:

Are you a TV watcher?

I mainly watch TV when I lift weights because it makes me forget I’m hefting fifty pounds over my head. My favorite channel is E! (especially when they are airing True Hollywood Stories.)

What's your favorite show ever?

SEX AND THE CITY. I’ve probably seen all the episodes at least four or five times. The writing is spectacularly clever. Plus it allows me to take a mini-holiday to New York every time it’s on. The city was as much of a character as the four women.

What TV character (past or present) do you identify with most?

Mary Ann, especially when she was trying to be Ginger. I’m a Mary Ann who has wanted to be a Ginger all my life. But now I’m edging into Mrs. Howell territory.

Does your main character watch any TV in the novel?

One of them watches reruns of MURDER SHE WROTE when she’s lonely. In my last novel DOLLAR SHORT I had a character who was completely addicted to LAW AND ORDER.

One other thing I wanted to mention, since we do have a southern theme here tonight. Sara Evans was so cute this week on DANCING WITH THE STARS, wasn't she? Every girl needs a good pair of cowgirl boots.

ANYWAY. For more on Karin visit her website!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Channel Flipping Out

How is a person supposed to watch the results show for Dancing With the Stars, the two hour premiere of America's Next Top Model AND The Biggest Loser all at once? Actually, I think there is something cosmic about going back and forth between the anorexic models and the chubbies trying to lose weight. Maybe they should do a show called The Biggest Gainers -- skinny people trying to put on a few pounds? Maybe not.

Anyway, at least we got rid of one blonde on Dancing With the Stars. That was just too confusing, and perhaps that's why Wila Ford and Shanna Moakler ended up the bottom two. I guess Shanna will have to figure out some other way to get over her divorce from Travis Barker. Another Playboy centerfold? Hmmm, I seem to be in a very catty mood these days.

I was totally looking forward to Project Runway, but then it turned out to be a rerun from last week. An anticlimactic end to an evening of way too much channel flipping. Time to go to bed.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Spare me the "in jokes"

I saw STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (is that bulky title or what?) last night and it put me in a cranky mood. I like Amanda Peet, but was she high or something? That show made me cranky. It was just so... so... so... WHAT? Umm.... arrogant! There were too many successful people being successful. (I'm not sure if I'm talking about the creators or the actors or the characters, but whatever.) And it was just so... cool. And very annoying how NBC put down people who watch THE APPRENTICE and FEAR FACTOR (I happen to like watching blondes with implants eating bugs) especially considering those are their own shows. (Don't you hate in jokes?) I think the ultimate goal of that show is to make the viewer feel like a TV watching idiot.

It certainly didn't compare with the REAL TV moments you got on THE AMAZING RACE Sunday night. I haven't watched that show for a couple cycles -- the one with the families had so much sniping, I couldn't take it. But I used to like it, and what else is there to do on Sunday night? Especially since I don't like DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Anyway, it was truly amazing to watch the woman with one leg run up the stairs of the Great Wall of China with her boyfriend telling her how wonderful she was, only to find out they'd gone the wrong way. Then she had to scale the wall with that one leg -- wow. I could make a comment about how it was the last "leg" of the race but that would be in bad taste. The "two beards" were destined not to make it --they took too much time praying, and god knows they never would've made it up the Great Wall anyway... But I was just not emotionally prepared for TWO eliminations. And I was sorry to see the Indian couple go. They seemed sweet. If only I got along so well with my husband.

STUDIO 60 most certainly did not make me all warm and fuzzy like DANCING WITH THE STARS did tonight. Can I please see a rerun of Emmet's dance? So cute. I don't want to vote anyone off -- they are all trying so hard.

Hey -- Henry Gibson from Laugh-In is a judge on BOSTON LEGAL right now! Remember when he used to hold a flower and recite a poem? No, of course not, you're too young. Anyway...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Project Runway -- One Day You're In

The next day you’re out.

And the next day you’re in again.

I missed writing about the last two shows, but in a way it doesn’t matter, because Vincent Libretti and Angela Keslar were brought back.

I was not too thrilled to see them. Neither were the remaining designers, of course. Heidi Klum said something like, “they wanted to make sure the right people won.” We all know Angela and Vincent are not the best designers – so were the producers just trying to bring out more tension among the remaining people? Did they just want to give us a chance to hear Jeffrey Sebelia tells us again and again how much he hates Angela? Great. Thanks.

Laura told Angela that she didn’t deserve to come back because she was just the team leader when she won. Um, is that not incredibly obnoxious? And why was Laura drinking champagne? She’s pregnant! She actually began to almost cry (could be hormonal), and I figured she was a goner because they interviewed her so much, but guess what, she won. Admittedly, her dress was pretty cute.

Kayne Gillaspie and Jeffrey Sebelia were the final two. Jeffrey is so unpleasant and hostile I just knew they wouldn’t get rid of him. So it was good-bye to Kayne.

They did a poll of which past designer should’ve been brought back. Alison Kelly won – 82% wanted her back. So lots of people feel the way I do. They should’ve brought her and Malan Breton back, too. Remember him? He left way too early.

A note about the commercials. I’m really tired of the identity theft ad with the black guy talking like a valley girl, aren’t you? Seen it, seen it, seen it. Susan Sarandon in the Macy’s ad – did she have some work done? She did not look real. And why did Daniel Vosovik get a Saturn? He didn’t win.

Everyone was sorry to see Kayne Gillespie go. He seemed like a truly nice guy. As Vincent said, the deeper they get into the show, “the more you see the true nature of people.” The amazing thing about Vincent is that no matter how many times the judges insult his work, he still believes he’s really talented. “I do it so damn well,” he said. “It’s a gift.” With that kind of delusional self-aggrandizement, I’m surprised he isn’t more successful.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dancing With the Stars -- the guilty pleasure continues

It’s time again for Dancing With the Stars, and once again I found I had to overcome a huge amount of shame and embarrassment at the idea of watching this show. Whenever a family member passed through the room I'd pretent to flip some channels just to throw them off my scene.

Last week, when I saw the line up of sub-lebrities, I thought that this time around would be blah and the show would lose its appeal.

And then…

Tucker Carlson took the floor, and I was seduced all over again. Okay, kidding. Tucker made Master P seem like Fred Astaire and should be gotten rid of immediately. But there were some pleasant surprises.

Mario Lopez was adorable, had extreme hip action, and was already proclaimed to be the one to beat. He and his dancing partner Karina Smirnoff looked like a real couple. Emmitt Smith seemed like he would be a big, clumsy piece of furniture and ended up charming everyone with his dancing and his personality.

Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna’s husband, is there to learn to “loosen up.” It was sweet to see that Lisa Rinna, who was a pretty good contender last season despite the distraction of her lips (can she please just make some sort of public statement about the situation with those lips?) has to be content with a husband who can’t dance. (I bet lots of women are identifying here…) It doesn’t really look like the show will solve that problem – seems like it’s one of those things you either have or you don’t. I’m curious to see how long he’ll last.

Joey Lawrence, who used to be on one of my favorite old shows Blossom, was good -- but the throbbing vein on his forehead was reminding me a little too much of Stacy Kiebler from last season. (Evidently she’s left the wonderful world of wrestling and has signed some sort of deal with Disney. From the WWE to Mickey Mouse…)

There were two blondes. One I’d never heard of. Willa Ford? Pop singer? Huh? Am I so out of it? Anyway, she seems like a much better partner for misogynist Max Chmerkovskiy, who gave Tia Carrere such a hard time last cycle. Willa looks like she can take his crap and she wasn’t a bad dancer. The other one is a Shanna Moakler, who is going through a divorce from Travis Barker – they did the reality show Meet the Barkers. Shanna was a Playboy centerfold in 1991, and Miss Teen USA in 1992 (I thought that sort of thing used to disqualify one from those pageants. I guess times have changed…) She has 3 children, by the way, two with Barker and one with Oscar de la Hoya!

Sara Evans, a country singer, didn’t wow the judges and did seem kind of stiff. But it was too bad because she looked like she’d been having fun with the whole process until she got dumped on by all the judges. She looks like she might be the first to go – it’s easy for voters to rationalize that she’s too busy anyway, what with being on the road with her singing plus having two little kids running around -- but I hope she gets another chance.

The youngest “star” Monique Coleman, who was in High School Musical, was pretty good, but looked a little too emotionally vulnerable for the process, and was already almost in tears when she was being critiqued. Vivica Fox, on the other hand, the only woman over 40 we’re told, looks tough and looks like she’ll be around awhile.

Who else? Ah yes. Jerry Springer. I just wanted to tell him to get his dirty hands off his dance instructor’s tushie. She had the cutest Australian accent, though.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Melanie Lynne Hauser... Super Writer!

Confessions of a Super Mom by Melanie Lynn Hauser is up this week on the GCC, and it sounds like a fun read.

Birdie Lee is an average hard-working single mother of two teenagers, PTA lackey, and mild-mannered grocery clerk at the local Marvel Fine Foods and Beverages. One morning, while getting ready for work, Birdie is sidetracked by a stubborn Stain of Unusual Origin on her bathroom floor. Unable to let the stain get the best of her, she tries to annihilate it with every household product she can find –to no avail. Angry, hot, light-headed (and forgetting to turn on the exhaust fan), she makes one final desperate attempt to eradicate this vile, dastardly stain: she loads her Swiffer Wet Jet with every household cleanser she owns, aims, and fires….

And passes out, overcome by the fumes. After regaining consciousness, Birdie realizes something’s wrong. She now possesses extraordinary powers — superpowers, to be exact.

I think Super Mom should DEFINITELY be on the next season of WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO? I only caught a couple episodes of it, but I thought it was really good. Stan Lee was behind it, and he picked the winners, and he's the man who knows all about what it means to be a hero. We like heros. Moms, too.

Former member of the PTA, Melanie Lynne Hauser is a prototypical Super Mom. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two teenage sons. I asked her the usual questions.

Are you a TV watcher?


What's your favorite show ever?

The Dick Van Dyke Show

What TV character (past or present) do you identify with most?

Well, I WANT to identify with Laura Petrie - she was so cute & glamorous, both. But I think I actually identify most with Monica on Friends - not physically, but in our shared control-freak tendencies. And also - clean-freak tendencies!

Does your main character watch any TV in the novel?

Actually, no - it never really comes up. That's odd!

Indeed -- not even a soap opera? (Get it? Soap? Okay, not so funny.) For more info on Melanie visit her website and blog.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Interview on POPGURLS.COM

There's a 20 questions Q & A with me on Popgurls, a fabulous pop culture-crazed website. They asked me some scary questions, like Do you avoid writing sex scenes because your kids might think you're writing about their dad?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dancing With the Stars less than dazzling line-up

The less than illustrious stars who will be dancing on the guilty pleasure reality show DANCING WITH THE STARS will be Mario Lopez, Emmitt Smith, Harry Hamlin, Shanna Moakler, Joey Lawrence, Willa Ford, Jerry Springer, Vivica A. Fox, Sara Evans, Tucker Carlson, and Monique Coleman. I find the women to be particularly unexciting. The only one I've heard of is Viveca Fox, and I don't see that there are any intriguing underdogs like Tatum O'Neal this time around.

Nice to see some of the same dancers back again, though. It's getting to be that the dancing partners are more famous and interesting than the stars they're paired with.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Anne Frasier has her own video

Up this week on the GCC Tour is Anne Frasier, who likes to make your skin crawl. Her new novel is PALE IMMORTAL.

Welcome to Tuonela, a sleepy Wisconsin town haunted by events of 100
years ago, when a man who may have been a vampire slaughtered the
town's citizens and drank their blood. Now, another murderer is killing
the most vulnerable...and draining their bodies of blood.Watch the music video, listen to the soundtrack and mp3s, read the first two chapters, and learn more here!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

THIS IS CHICK-LIT in stores now!

I am proud to say that I'm in a collection of stories that's just been published called THIS IS CHICK-LIT.

The other authors are Jennifer Coburn, Harley Jane Kozak, Ariella Papa, Cara Lockwood, Kayla Perrin, Karen Siplin, Deanna Carlyle, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Heather Swain, Caren Lissner, Julie Kenner, Karin Gillespie, Andrea Schicke Hirsch, Gena Showalter, Raelynn Hillhouse, Johanna Edwards, and Rachel Pine. It's a diverse group of authors and, if I may say so myself, a really good read.

The publisher is BenBella Books, and there's a site with discussion forums and a whole page devoted to all the breaking news on this (because, maybe you don't know, there's another anthology out called THIS IS NOT CHICK-LIT) including all the online coverage the book has received on Salon, Bust, HuffPo, BookDwarf...

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