QUIBBLES & BITS

Deni Dietz

Beatrice is busy writing what she calls "chick-lit erotica," so she begged me to tell you that the link she gave you last week for her book JAMES DEAN AND THE MOONLIGHT MADNESS SALE is wrong, wrong, wrong! (Actually, she said "wrong" 6 times!) Bea says the best way to find James Dean is to visit Deni’s website and hit the link for Beatrice Brooks.

I [Deni] was planning to blog about gender preferences–do readers prefer books written by men or women, or does it matter?–but Jeff Cohen did a much better [and much funnier] job with that subject. All I’ll add is that, at one point in my career, I wrote horror stories under the pseudonym "King Stephens." Those stories are Out Of Print [also known as OOP, an acronym I love], but maybe some day I’ll resurrect them.

And so my subject this week will be. . .

[MORE] MISSED-CONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE PUB BIZ

1) My son and his partner, a chef at the 5-star Broadmoor Hotel, wanted to open a restaurant. The woman who owned the building didn’t want to lease to a kid with hair down to his butt [my son]. But when she heard that I would co-sign the lease, she was ecstatic. She had read my first two published mysteries and figured I was . . . what’s the expression? Oh yeah, rolling in dough. Hahhahahahaha.

2) I was a lecturer for Weight Watchers when I had the idea for THROW DARTS AT A CHEESECAKE—killing off dieters when they reached their goal weights. At which point, I quit my "real job" and started waiting tables so I’d have more time to write. This is just temporary, I thought. I’ll sell my book to a major publisher (I liked kangaroos, so that meant Pocket) and soon I’ll be rolling in dough. Seven years later, I sold "Cheesecake" on a two-book contract and wrote BEAT UP A COOKIE.

3) In the beginning of a waitress career that spanned 17 years [I kid you not], I looked for PR opportunities–a way to slip my author’s status into the conversation. But early on I figured what the…heck.

"How’s your lasagna?" I’d ask. "And by the way, I’m a published author."

Across the street from The Olive Garden—the restaurant where I worked when my first book came out—a B Daltons carried Throw Darts at a Cheesecake. The manager, Richard, ordered 100 hardcovers from my publisher, Walker. The first month he sold 98 and I made my first bestseller list. So now I could quit waiting tables, right? Surely you jest!

My "guests" [the people I served] would almost always say, "If you’re a published author, why are you working as a waitress?" I’d respond, "Shhhh, I’m undercover, planning to write the quintessential restaurant exposé."

When I began writing EYE OF NEWT, I worked at a restaurant in Manitou Springs, Colorado, where you can find Covens in the phone directory under ‘C’. People would oft ask what book I was working on. When I said a mystery starring a witch, they’d reach for their wallets and hand me a business card. "Call me if you need any advice," they’d say. Eye of Newt takes place in the fictitious town of Manitou Falls, Colorado, nestled between Manitou Springs and Green Mountain Falls.

I can sell you a map, if you like. It’ll supplement my writer’s income.

Since I run an editing service – Stray Cat Productions – next week I’ll tell you some funny editing stories.

Or would you rather hear funny waitress stories?

Over and Out,
Deni

PS- Here are my answers to some of the blogtag questions Pari asked last
week:

4 Movies You Would Watch Over and Over:

Diggstown
The Lion King / Beauty and the Beast [tie]
The Shawshank Redemption
Johnny Depp [in anything]

4 Places You Have Lived:

Colorado
Wisconsin
New York City
Houston

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch:

House
Medium
Cold Case
NFL Football (Go Broncos!)

4 Places You Have Been on Vacation:

Australia
L.A.
Indiana
Florida

4 Of Your Favorite Foods:

Cheesecake
Custard-filled doughnuts
Shrimp with lobster sauce
Pizza

[And I’ll add] 4 Authors Who Made Me Want To Become a Writer:

  • William Goldman
  • Anya Seton
  • Susan Isaacs
  • John Steinbeck

10 thoughts on “QUIBBLES & BITS

  1. Tenbrooks

    Anya Seton! “Katherine”, “Dragonwyck”—I found them in the library when I first started adult novels and read them over and over. Big fat luscious stories—two of my all-time favorites. I don’t think I’ve read an historical novel since that I enjoyed as much as “Katherine”. Dragonwyck crosses every genre except sf—Cinderella romance, murder mystery, ghost, and horror story with some nice gothic touches (locked tower etc.)

    Thanks for reminding me. I think I’ll read them again.

    Reply
  2. JT Ellison

    Yay for the Broncos! I hope you enjoy Jay Cutler, I was more than a little miffed when the Titans took Vince Young instead. But Cutler will be a franchise QB for you — he reminds me so much of Elway.Your stories are wonderful.

    Reply
  3. Beatrice Brooks

    I had forgotten about Dragonwyck [I loved the movie with Vincent Price and Gene Tierney], but I’ve read Katherine (and Devil Water and The Winthrop Woman) over and over. Funny thing about Katherine. Anya Seton idealizes John of Gaunt. I used him as a character in THE LANDLORD’S BLACK-EYED DAUGHTER, a “paranormal history-mystery-romance” due out next year, and my research…well, let’s just say that John was old, grizzled and cranky. I also used Katherine…Hugs,Deni

    Reply
  4. Pari

    I remember sitting in the bar in Pasadena at a Left Coast Crime and being stunned by the horrid realities of the finances of writing for most of us. I couldn’t even talk about it with my husband upon my return.

    I keep praying that I’ll be one of the people who’ll actually make a living at this. Otherwise, someday, I’ll just have to relegate it to a hobby that I adore and get a job to pay the bill . . .

    eeee gahd.

    Reply
  5. Lorraine T.

    Just noticed you changed the photo from Bea to you with an intelligent looking dog. Is that Hitchcock from the Beaumont books?

    Reply
  6. Beatrice Brooks

    Hi Lorraine. The inteligent-looking mutt in the new picture is my “mostly Norwegian Elkhound” Pandora Dietz, Dog, who could never help me sleuth because she’s a kind of a wuss–afraid of thunder, distant fireworks, tennis balls [“Fetch, Pandora!” “Surely you jest, Deni!”)and the dark (she needs a night light).

    Ingrid Beaumont’s dog Hitchcock was inspired by my beloved Cherokee, a Great Dane-Setter-Lab, who one day said to me (yes, my dogs talk, don’t yours?), “You have a cat, Jackie Robinson, in your diet club mysteries, Deni. What am I, chopped liver?” So I wrote Footprints in the Butter – an Ingrid Beaumont Mystery co-starring Hitchcock the Dog – and I donate a portion of my profits to Canine Companions, an organization that trains dogs to help the handicapped. btw, Footprints recently went large-print (yay).

    Reply
  7. Lorraine T.

    Well, that explains the intelligent look.Anyone with any smarts at all knows thunder and loud noises could be dangerous, bad things do sometimes happen in the dark – nightlights are good, and what would she do with a tennis ball if she bothered to go get it? Now, maybe if it was a Milkbone biscuit, she’d decide to make an effort.She’s my kind of dog, smart and independent.L.P.S. My dog is muttering about the sandals on my feet — “put on the Reeboks and let’s walk.”

    Reply
  8. Beatrice Brooks

    But Jeff, then we wouldn’t have met Jeffronica. Anyway, great minds and all that.

    But just in case, my topic next week is “Funny Waitress Stories.” If your Sunday blog is funny waitress stories…Hugs,Deni

    Reply

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