Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday Musings

I took the weekend off to be mostly away from the computer since I know I'll be spending a lot of time at the computer in the next few weeks. Saturday I went to a "tiaras and boas" tea that was a blast. I love tea, and I've always wanted to go to real high tea. I got to let my inner diva come out to play, and it helped that the tea captain really got into the game with his own crown and by calling us all "my lady."

I did, however, learn that drinking something like five cups of tea in the late afternoon might not be such a good idea for the future (it was like a tea version of a wine dinner, with a different tea to go with every course). It made sleep a bit difficult, and when I did sleep, I had really bizarre, vivid dreams. One of those dreams really was a dream in every sense of the word. I was at a writing conference and instead of the usual feeding frenzy for the free giveaway books, they had boxes and boxes of books they needed to give away, and I got to sort through them and take all the books I wanted. Some that I recall getting were real books that exist in the real world. Others may exist someday but certainly aren't available now (I recall doing a happy dance in the dream to get my hands on an advance copy of the next non-Shopaholic Sophie Kinsella book). And some were books I apparently made up. In the dream, I kept picking up books with the kind of story lines that make you think, "Why didn't I think of that first?" The only thing that mitigated the disappointment of waking up and realizing I don't have that box of books was the realization that I actually did think of all those fabulous story ideas. Unfortunately, I can't remember any of them. Considering it was a dream, they were probably the sort of thing that sounds great in a dream but that makes absolutely no sense in the real world.

Speaking of books, I've come to the conclusion that yellow is the new pink. One of the sneering chick lit descriptions is "those books with pink covers" (never mind that my bookshelf actually looks more blue and aqua), but almost every book I checked out of the library on my last binge has a yellow cover -- and those were books I put on hold online, so it wasn't as though my eyes were just gravitating to the color yellow on the shelves. There were two books from the same publisher in the same month that had almost exactly the same shade of yellow on the cover. I feel like I'm bucking all trends with my white covers. Not that I have much say in the matter, but when we were first discussing cover concepts, I did bring up the idea of a white cover with color illustration.

I forgot one point I wanted to make in my big soapbox rant on Friday (the one about how somehow it's looked on negatively for women to either definitively not want marriage/kids or to definitively say they do want them). I'm wondering if that's a big part of the anger against chick lit. The lit snobs may sneer at or make fun of romance, but they don't seem to be that angry about it, and they certainly aren't publishing anti-romance anthologies. A romance heroine usually doesn't outright want romance or a man. Often, that's the last thing she wants, and it's infuriating that this really hot guy just has to show up at the worst possible time (don't you hate it when that happens?). But chick lit is often about the search for love, and the heroine may outright declare that she wants a boyfriend or to get married, and then she might actually do something proactive about it instead of wallowing in her ambivalence and waiting for something to happen, and apparently, that's a bad thing (never mind that at the same time, she's also usually looking for the perfect job -- that part is often forgotten by the critics). Come to think of it, the book I read recently by the author who called chick lit authors "sluts" was essentially about a woman wallowing in her ambivalence, drifting in and out of relationships that passed her way without actually pursuing anything -- and then when she did decide to go after a particular guy, she was "punished" for it, and then she learned the lesson that it's better to just drift along and wait for the right thing to happen, if it happens.

Is it just me, or is that a kind of frightening world view that flies in the face of what feminism is supposed to be about? Aren't we as women supposed to be making our own choices, setting goals and going after what we want, whether it's career or love life?

Today I'll start work on my editor's suggested revisions for book 3. I feel less guilty about how long it's taken me to get started on these because I discovered over the weekend that I haven't had them as long as I thought I had. She was going to send them to arrive when I got back from the RWA conference. The day after I got home, I did get a manuscript-sized package -- but from a different publisher. It was mailed by the publisher where my editor now works. I figured she just mailed it from her new job. Then later I heard from my new editor, who said she'd be sending me the manuscript. I figured the old editor hadn't told them she went ahead and sent a copy from her new job. The second package arrived about a week after I got the first one. So I finally decide to get to work over the weekend, open the first package -- and it's not my book at all. It was someone else's manuscript, with a request for me to read it for a cover blurb. I knew it would be coming, but I was expecting them to e-mail it to me, and I didn't know what the publisher was. It was just a bizarre coincidence that it was from the same publishing company that my former editor was going to. That'll teach me to not open packages because I assume I know what's in them. On the up side, I can cut a week off my procrastination guilt.

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