- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
Sorry this going up late everyone, but I’ve been at school—not my university, but my kids’ school. I’m the mother of a 6th grader and a 1st grader, and this is Parent-Teacher Conference Day. I’ve been a mother long enough that the phrase strikes dread into my heart.
When I was little, I suppose my mother trekked into class. I don’t remember hearing much about it. But now both parents are expected to come. So my husband and I both go to conferences. The problem is that we do not have the same attitude about bad news.
Let’s take an example from today. There we are, sitting in chairs designed for a 12 year old bottom, and looking at a flunked vocabulary test. I’m thinking of various sentences in my head ("How do you think we can facilitate learning?” no...sounds too stuffy. “How can we help with homework?"). Meanwhile, of course, a screaming voice inside is saying, “He FLUNKED vocabulary? I’m a literature professor! My husband is a literature professor! Where did we go wrong?”
But while I’m working out a complicated, sympathetic yet supportive response, my husband leaps into the gap. “Those are really hard words,” he says. “Indolence. Meticulously. Those are very hard vocabulary words!”
And then there we are, crammed into little first grade desks, and it becomes clear that our darling daughter has been Sent to the Principal’s OFFICE! I was never sent to the principal’s office, though I have clear visual memories of the kids who were. They were the bad boys: the ones who sat in the back and chewed gum and were viewed as “challenges” until somehow they graduated (or didn’t). The “where did we go wrong” track in my head is so loud that I don’t respond quickly enough and my husband leaps in with his explanation. I’ll spare you his thoughts on the subject.
You have to understand that I know my 1st grader is likely a challenge. Her work is all fine. But last week she came home, telling me that “I can’t help it if I"m the funniest person in the world.”
“What happened?” I say, dread stiffening my backbone.
What happened was the King Tut dance.
One part of me thinks: Amy Sedaris, move over! Or maybe I should say: Steve Martin, time to retire! But then I remember Thursday last week, when she tiptoed into my office after school and asked whether “anyone” had called me that day? “No...” I said. Her face lit up like a Roman rocket and she ran away before I could ask which of her teachers had threatened to call home.
So another part of me starts counting up how many teacher conferences there are to go before she leaves for college (if she makes it there). And will I be able to restrain myself from murdering my husband if we continue to attend in tandem?
Throw me a bone, here! Is anyone out there known in her family for giving her mother and father fits in school, but now a happy, healthy productive member of society? Are you a mom going through these trials-by-fire? Any tips?
Recently Lisa polled us all on what we’d like to see in an author publicity photo. Which got me to thinking about what I’d like to see in my own publicity photo. After much soul searching and philosophical musing, I decided that what I’d like to see in my own publicity photo is...SOMEBODY ELSE. That’s right. Instead of a ghostwriter to pen my books, I want a ghost model to pose for the back of my book covers.
And if Christina Dodd isn’t available to pose for your pic, what’s a girl to do? I decided to audition several potential Teresa Medeiros’s through the magic of Google Images.
Who better to express my sense of relentlessly perky blondness than Meg Ryan? Meg Ryan BEFORE the botox and the puffy, collagen-inflated lips. She of the baby-doll blue eyes, winsome smile and tumbled curls. (When she played Betsy on AS THE WORLD TURNS, I used to NOT comb my hair for days just so I could try to look like her.) And yes, for a brief and glorious interlude, she was Russell’s main squeeze, which gives her a certain literary cachet I can definitely appreciate.
But what if I decide I want to express my more glamourous side? That I want to be so beautiful that it hurts to look at me? That I want my dark eyes to smolder with an irresisitible combination of intelligence and sensuality? That I want to marry a man nearly twice my age with a whole lot of money? Well, that only leaves Catherine Zeta-Jones. But then who’s going to actually read the book when they can sit and stare at my picture for hours instead?
At the risk of sounding far less heterosexual than I am, I have to confess that I think Audrey Hepburn is one of the most exquisite creatures ever created by God and that if I could look like anyone throughout the history of the world, it would be her. And who better to represent me on my book jacket than the legendary Holly Golightly, who with her acerbic wit and wistful rendition of “Moon River” had all of New York worshipping at her feet?
And how about Sarah Michelle Gellar? She’s perky, blonde, and tough enough to slay any snarky literary critics with a valley girl bon mot and a stake to the heart.
Well, it’s time to make a final decision. Who would make the perfect Teresa Medeiros? If you were browsing through the book store, trying to decide which literary gem to pick among a thousand sparkling examples, which image do YOU want to see smiling up at you from the back of my book? What image would express my deep sensitivity, my zest for life, and make you more likely to plunk down your hard earned cash? After much thought, I’ve finally determined that THIS image would sell more books than any other…
(*Any resemblance to Hugh Jackman is purely coincidental.)
So how about you? If you could pick any actress or celebrity to portray you on the back of a book cover, who would it be? (And the first one to say Paris Hilton is permanently banished to Running with Quills.)
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I am so sorry I didn’t go back and take a photo of this—in Houston, about eight years ago, a cut-rate movie theater was showing films in two different theaters so the sign read:
And the best newspaper story I ever saw was when I lived in Boise ID and the college hired a new coach, who said, “I’m thrilled, because a good head job is hard to find.”
Ain’t that the truth.
I’m sure you all remember my local TV story last year when everyone in the studio started screaming “Nipple! NIPPLE!!!” because my hero had boldly exposed his nipple in the stepback art of AFTER MIDNIGHT. (This was shortly after the whole FCC/Janet Jackson debacle.) So I just wanted you to know that everything went smoothly this year during my appearance at our local station to promote THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME.
Well...almost everything. Except for the part where I slid into the car to go to the TV station and realized I was too fat to sit down in my suit. You know how your skirt gets just a teensy bit snug around the hips and you notice the buttons down the front of your jacket are gaping open a meager 1/2 an inch so you try to squinch down your shoulders only to realize you’re developing a startling resemblance to the Hunchback of Notre Dame? That’s when I began to suspect that I’d developed the most dreaded of all female complaints—back fat. I knew that someday I’d have to pay for all of those torrid midnight flings with dozens of hot, anonymous Krispy Kremes, but why today of all days? I expected them to go directly to my thighs, not wiggle their way up my spine!
I drive to the station, hunched over so that I can barely see over the steering wheel, but with all my buttons intact. Before going in, I glance into the rearview mirror to freshen my lipstick. I blink in horror. What fresh hell is this? How could I have sprouted a full-fledged handlebar mustache in the time it took to get from home to the TV station? So there I sit in the parking lot, New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros, trying to trim her heretofore invisible mustache with a pair of nail clippers. I could only pray that perhaps I would accidentally clip an artery and put myself out of my misery!
Being an optimist, I assume that things can only get better. Until I walk into the station to find every man in the place leering at me. Turns out the host has been reading my love scene aloud to the entire camera crew. ("As she took him deeper than he ever thought possible, he arched off the bed with a guttural groan,” he recites with all of the gravity and glee of Olivier doing Richard III.) Since said host just happens to be a friend of mine, I gently try to explain that the love scene is the culmination of over 200 pages of courtship, tenderness and emotion and that reading it out of context is a Bad Thing. He leers more deeply and all but twirls his own mustache as he explains, “But I’m a man. We like things out of context!” (Hey, you can’t fault him for being honest!)
I’m happy to report that the interview went well. The host was charming and debonair and didn’t read (or act out) a single one of my love scenes on-camera. My TOP TEN REASONS FOR LOVING A VAMPIRE a la Letterman was a big hit. Now if I could just get rid of this back fat!
So if YOU knew you were going to be on TV in an hour, what’s the one thing about yourself that you would change???
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