Bring Back Reading with Ripa--Stalking Kelly Ripa

Okay, we're not really stalking her (please don't call the FBI), but this blog was born out of the frustration of trying to get our books NOTICED when there is a sea of books published every year. If you can't change it, at least you can laugh about it....

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Well, I’ve been writing to you for a while, and have had no response, but that’s okay. I know you’re probably busy, what with your acting career, your family, and of course, Regis. He seems like a high maintenance kinda person. I can understand that. My husband is pretty high maintenance himself. Oh, don’t worry. I know you aren’t MARRIED to Regis, but rather to Mark Consuelos, who is pretty hunky, being a former Chippendale dancer and all. Hmm. You know, now that I think about it, I’m wondering if being married to a former Chippendale dancer doesn’t have its OWN problems. Me, I’m married to a former Chip N’ Dale fan, which is slightly different.

Despite his love for cartoons, he’s not terribly simplistic. In fact, he’s downright troublesome. For example, this man who can rewire or fix just about anything with a screwdriver and a roll of duct tape has other difficulties reasoning.

For example, he cannot understand why dogsitting a 130-pound great dane might be slightly difficult, especially when I have a 20-pound shih tzu, a small house, and children he outweighs by, oh, forty or fifty pounds. (No offense to the great dane people. He’s a good dog, he’s just damn big dog, more like a horse, really.) The abovementioned children are out of school, of course, and so I hear a lot of “what should I dooooo?” “I’m booooorrreeedd.” All of my suggestions are the wrong answer, so I suppose I should just say, “Go and fight with your sister and scream names at each other,” because that’s the right answer, or at least the one that they do the most.

Of course, HM husband is at WORK during the day, so the whole logistical/pain-in-tush part of tending a great dane does not OCCUR to him. See, to Bosley, my dog Stormy looks like an hors d’oeuvre. And to Stormy, Bosley looks like another dog to play with. That means one must be inside while the other is outside. They sit at the side door and stare at each other, Bosley with a “how-much-is-that-doggie-in-the-window-and-does-it-come-with-sauce” look on his face, and Stormy with a “does it want to play?” look on his. It wants to play, all right.

In the mean time, I have revisions due. My editor called me with some suggestions for my next book, and my deadline is “take your time and hurry up.” Hard to do when you are playing referee to two fighting-out-of-school children, one of whom just HAPPENS to be premenstrual, God save us all, and the Samson and Goliath of the dog world. Since my office IS the dining room/living room area, as I gave up the downstairs room so PM daughter could have her privacy, well, things are chaotic. It’s hard to concentrate.

And PM daughter is down her room sobbing her eyes out about the injustices I have heaped upon her, one of which is apparently the fact that I thought I would have a royalty check by now (as you might guess, I was wrong) and I thought we might possibly be able to go school shopping. Wrong again. Can you believe how cruel I am?

I might have some money for school shopping, except the air-conditioning in my car went out, shortly after I got it back from its encounter with Angel-the-devil, and I had to pay to get that fixed. So I don’t have a lot of extra cash right now, because 100-degree weather and no air in a car make Natalie a cranky girl.

And now I can’t remember the point of this letter, which may explain why I have so many revisions to do on my manuscript because the chaos of my life does not allow me time to work and really think things through properly.

A nanny would help. Or a cruise. Either/or.



Sunday, July 24, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Do you remember the phrase "Rock on?" Is that phrase seriously dated? Probably. I heard my son's very hip girlfriend say "Peace out" recently, which I found intriguing but not relevant to my point. But "Rock on," that pretty much sums up my personal philosophy about a career in writing and publishing. It's a rough road, full of pot holes and sometimes we crash, but to be successful we must…

Rock on.

First we do the whole bleeding on the page thing. Being writers that live in imaginary worlds, we don't usually use 'real' blood. Actors are the same, you don't use real blood either, right Kelly? So you probably get this. Here's an example of my writing day: Drag my growing backside out of bed at 5:45a.m. Hit the gym by 7ish on a good day. Back home and ready to write around 9a.m. Open the file of the book I'm working on and damn it, that difficult scene, the one that is NOT working, didn't fix itself over night. Stomp off (think metaphorically people) to check my email. Okay, pouting done, back to my scene. Between arguing with uncooperative characters, the compulsion to check my email every twenty minutes, coffee and diet coke refills, food, phone calls and the kids' sudden desire for chats, it's suddenly 3:00 PM. I have an hour left to write and wham—the scene starts working. I write ten or fifteen pages in two hours, spending the last hour snarling at anyone who is dumb enough to think I really stop at 4p.m. The next day—start over again.

Rock on.

Next come the critiques. I ask a couple people for a read through. Then I agonize for days, sometime weeks waiting for their comments. "Agonize" is an interesting word that stands for; knotted stomach, waking up at 2 am in a cold sweat, too much coffee, literally trying to hold back screams of "Have you read it yet?" or "You hate it, don't you?" when I see, talk to, or email these wonderful people helping me. "Agonize" sums up the days of my brain picking at the entire plot like a swollen scab. It's painful. Why would anyone put themselves through this?

Rock on.

The critiques come in from smart, talented authors who are generous enough to help me. They will make twenty nice comments and point out two problems. My eyes zero in on the problems and my brain flashes the FAILURE sign in big green neon letters until I have a headache. I walk away, determined not to let it get me. I stagger around muttering, "I can fix this. I can! I have to. My career is over." Then I down some Tylenol, make coffee and tackle the problems, once again snarling at anyone who interrupts. Strangely enough, by the time I'm finished, I am GRATEFUL to my critique-friends.

Rock on.

Time to send it to my editor and wait for the phone call. It's like waiting for a call from the gate keeper to heaven. My entire career is in that single person's hands (not true, but it feels like it). This period can take days, weeks or months. Coping strategies are essential. Frankly, the world would be a seriously ugly place without chocolate :-) Then the call comes. I have had all the variations—love it don't change a thing; love it, needs one or two fixes; umm you can fix this or you can start over (it was just a proposal but it still felt like a truck had hit me, then a bus, then a train…). On the last one, I tossed it and wrote a new story idea for my editor. She bought it.

Rock on.

Now I'm tackling a huge idea, trying to wrestle it into a proposal while writing the first of two contracted books, I'm doing this to grow my career, and because these two characters have come to life in my heart and soul. I'm worried I've taken on two much, worried I'll let down the people who believe in me, and just as important—worried I'll let down my readers, but you know my philosophy…

Rock on.

And this is what I tell the writers working so hard trying to cross over from unpublished to published. It's not an easy road, friends. Everyone pays the price in some manner. In may LOOK easy on the outside, but I promise you, every successful person has hit the rough patches. But what makes them successful?

They rock on.

So, Kelly, what's your personal philosophy?

Back to my son's girlfriend and her "Peace out" comment. From the context of our conversation, I took that to mean she's simply not going to deal with mean, nasty people. Are we raising a smarter generation of women or what?

Rock on,


Friday, July 22, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Do you happen to know the Pope? The other night I was in the gym working out (and I STILL don't have a cute and tiny figure like you!) and there was a segment on the news about the Pope. It seems that the Pope disapproves of the latest Harry Potter book. I know that because I saw it over and over for days after the Pope made his comments.

Frankly, I think someone might want to let the Pope know that he's going about this the wrong way since his comments actually promoted the book.

But it got me thinking, how can I get the Pope to take notice of my books? Why I'll ask Kelly! She can get the Pope to notice my books. So what about it, Kelly? Really my books are the type to annoy the Pope.

For instance, Samantha Shaw's grandfather is a magician; I'd say that's pretty close to a wizard, right? And Grandpa also does a little breaking and entering on the Internet, surely the Pope wouldn't approve of that? Grandpa would argue that he only does "research" to help solve murders, but I'm not so sure the law, or the Pope, would buy that excuse.

I'm also thinking the Pope might frown on Sam's career—she owns a dating service. What is the Pope's position on dating services? Of course, I'm positive he'd never use a dating service himself!

Then there's murder. It happens in every book. I'm pretty sure the Pope frowns on murder.

Oh and the SEX. Sam has a very hot relationship with her boyfriend, Gabe. Lots of sexual tension, humor and did I mention SEX?

So Kelly, what do you think? Can you run this by the Pope and see if he'd like to publicly comment on my books? I can really use the publicity!

I sure hope I didn't hurt your feelings, Kelly. I am convinced that Reading with Ripa filled a void for women. Women buy the most books, and yet the New York Times reviews books directed at men (again, someone needs to tell the marketing department that little detail), and treat books that women love as inferior. But you treated us as valuable people who enjoy fun books! We miss that, Kelly! But until you bring Reading with Ripa back, we women will have to find other ways to discover terrific books.

So do you know the Pope?


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dear Kelly,

I already told this story to the two kind people who read my personal blog, you know, the one that is NOT devoted to you, but the other day, my daughter got one of those eternally-forwarded chain letters that plague cyberspace, and knowing what a skeptic I am, she asked me if it was for real. As usual, it was not, which NEVER seems to stop people from forwarding these things. And I don't get it. Why the hell would you forward ANY kind of death warning, promise of riches, or promises to curse your family, without first verifying whether or not it was true?But it doesn't matter. Everyone does it. For example, here is the Monkeyman letter.

This is something I received from the State Police Please read this "very
carefully"...then send it out to all the people online that you know. Something
like this is nothing to take casually; this is something you DO want to pay
attention to. Think of it as a bit of advice too.If a person with the
screen-name of Monkeyman935 contacts you, DO NOT REPLY!!!! DO NOT TALK TO THIS
person may be, he/she is a suspect for murder in the death of 56 women (so far)
contacted through the Internet. Please send this to all the women and children
on your buddy list and ask them to pass this on, as well. This screen-name was
seen on Yahoo, AOL, and Excite, so far. This is not a joke! Please send this to
men too...just in case! Send to every one you know! Ladies, this is serious. Cut
and paste this from its long forward list. Please check and make sure to forward
to anyone I have not included on this list.

Perhaps the key here is the THREAT. If you scare the shit out of people, they will listen and forward things. Either that, or promise riches, wish-fulfillment, or good luck. Sometimes the motive of these hoaxes is revenge, like with the Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe. People think they are getting one up on Neiman Marcus by telling everyone their cookie recipe, which does not exist. But the motivation is never really founded in fact or solid, emotionally-balanced thought. I guess that's why we sell so many lottery tickets in the United States. If you actually have something legitimate to offer, say, a good book, they will not forward your post on. Not that I've TRIED this, but it sure has crossed my mind. I get these stupid forwarded emails every week. And every time, I wonder how I could make it work for me. I can envision the email now.

This is something I received from the State Library Police. Please read this
"very carefully"...DO NOT IGNORE THIS EMAIL, or you will be sorry. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list.You must read the book WIVES AND SISTERS by
Natalie R. Collins. If you do not the State Library Police will come to your
home and "shush" you into submission. In addition, your toes will shrivel up and
become gangrenous and your children will immediately fall to the floor and
pledge lifetime allegiance to Hari Krishna. If you do not immediately go to the
bookstore and get a copy of this book, available for only $24.95 in hardback,
your name will be given to the LDS Church as an "extremely excited investigator"
and hordes of LDS Missionaries will storm your home, refusing to leave you alone
until you feel a burning in your bosom that is not directly related to the
shotgun blast you just fired at them. The Jehovah's Witnesses will also be
preaching the gospel of Jehovah, or whatever gospel it is they preach, and if
you get hurt from the shotgun, they will NOT, I repeat, NOT allow you to have a
blood transfusion to save your life. Purchasing this book will keep you safe
from: Mormons, Jay-Dubs, Snake-handlers, Amway Salesmen and door-to-door
salesmen/women who call you beautiful and offer to clean everything in your
house with one simple product that costs only $19.95. It will also afford you
protection from Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise's delusions of grandeur, and bad television movies starring Meredith Baxter-Birney. FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Everyone can use this kind of protection.
Think you can help me make this chain letter reality, Kelly? Come on, let's give it a shot.

Natalie R. Collins

Friday, July 08, 2005

Susan McBride

Dear Kelly:

I have to confess that the reason I’m writing has less to do with books than with something a bit less literary. Namely, male strippers. Okay, the Chippendales in particular, and I figure you know a little about these guys, since your hubby used to be one. I thought of you last night, as I attended a Chippies performance with my sister and my friend Allison at Harrah’s in St. Louis. (It was for research for my fourth Debutante Dropout Mystery, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB. Really.)

As the lights dimmed and the spots swirled…and the guys strutted onto the stage (as cowboys and naval officers and in those little bowties, soon discarded for G-strings or nothing at all)…I wondered, “Hmm, how did Kelly feel, knowing that Mark once earned his paycheck, dollar by dollar, stuffed into his undies by groping, middle-aged women, drunk on rum and Cokes and bad cologne, drenched in sweat coming off the hard bodies of grinning hotties whose lap dances left nothing to the imagination?”

Yeah, Kelly, that’s precisely what I was thinking of for over an hour while the Chippendales flexed and thrust. I worried about you, wondered if Mark had kept any Polaroids from his dancing days, when all he had to do was look pretty and remember the choreography (which goes mostly like this: spin, drop to the ground, pretend to hump the floor, pop up, flex and rip your tear-able T-shirt straight down the middle, drop to the ground, pretend to hump the floor…you get the picture…oh, wait, maybe you have a picture).

I wonder, too, did Mark keep his bowtie and French cuffs for sentimental reasons? Does he ever put them on and say, “Watch me, Kelly, I can still do the old moves,” and then you humor him, thinking it was a good thing he got that gig with you at “All My Children” so he could (mostly) keep his pants on at the office.

All right, so what this is really all about is jealousy. A couple hundred women last night lusted after guys who spend their days in gyms so they don’t lose their jobs (though one dude seriously needed a tanning booth and a few hundred extra crunches). But, sweetie, you lived the dream. You hooked a Chippie and settled down. You get the six-pack abs at home every night. You don’t have to slide a buck in anyone’s pants to put your hands on a tight butt or see a whole lotta shakin’ going on.

I salute you, girlfriend. You make the rest of us proud; give us something to aspire to, beyond successful careers, nuclear disarmament and world peace. And you get to mouth off to Regis Philbin each morning besides. Sigh. You are a real-life example that fairy tales do come true. And I’m not just saying that because I want you to read my books. Really.

Yours truly,
Susan McBride

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Guest Stalker
Deborah LeBlanc

Dear Kelly,

I've been a fan of yours from day one and dang near lit a fireworks display in my front lawn when you began the Reading With Ripa segment on the show! When Reading With Ripa ended, however, I wanted to conduct a funeral because another literacy advocate had bit the dust.

Kelly, America NEEDS your voice, and just in case you're not aware of how badly we need you, let me share this little story....

Last year I went on my first book tour, putting feet to the street, my debut novel in hand. During that tour, I visited over 250 book stores throughout the United States and talked with hundreds of their customers. I discovered that most of the people I spoke with fell into one of three categories:

Category 1: 15 to 20 year olds -"I don't like to read. I'm just hanging out here with my friends 'cause it's cheaper than going to the show."

Category 2: 21-35 year olds- "I don't have time to read. I'm too busy raising my kids and trying to make ends meet, and I come here for the free internet access." (or to have coffee with friends.)

Category 3: Everyone 35 or older--moderate to avid readers. Unfortunately, they constituted only 25 percent of the total visitors in the store.

Kelly, I can't tell you how disheartened I was by the end of the tour. If such a wide age range of people (15-35 year olds) are no longer reading, the chances of their children and their children's children reading would be slim to none. In essence, it's as though we're establishing a foundation of mental impoverishment for future generations. I couldn't bear the thought, nor could I sit back and do nothing about it. So I started a literacy challenge, one that offers those willing to read just two books and answer a few questions the chance to win $5000, plus an extra $1000 that will go to the public school of their choice. I have and continue to spend my own hard-earned dollars touring the nation, motivating kids in high school, parents in libraries, and basically anyone who'll listen, to read.

The challenge has made a small dent in our non-reading society, but we desperately need your help. Without wonderful people like you who have a strong voice and powerful influence, encouraging Americans to read, our future generations are in for some very hard times. Challenges already await them, Kelly. Mental impoverishment shouldn't be one of them. Please bring back Reading With Ripa. We need you.

All the best,
Deborah LeBlanc

Monday, July 04, 2005

Dear Kelly,

You know something about this, Kelly, so I thought I'd ask your advice. Remember when you first hired on at REGIS AND KELLY and everyone compared you to Kathy Lee Gifford? How did you handle that and do such a fabulous job of establishing your own identity without taking anything away from your predecessor?

I have this little problem. I write humorous, sexy mystery/romances.

So does Janet Evanovich. You may have heard of her—she's a regular on the New York Times Bestseller List with her hilarious Stephanie Plum Series.

Now I've never met Janet (I have met Jackie Collins, Dean Koontz and a host of other truly lovely authors but that's another blog). I have only admiration for her books and her business skills. There's no beef between us.

But some of her fans, okay, ONE of her fans has taken it upon herself to write me emails. She tells me she MIGHT have liked my books if she hadn't read Janet Evanovich, but since she has, she has spotted many glaring similarities. She ended the first email with something like she "supposed the imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Which is a snarky way of suggesting that I am stealing from Janet. To back up her brilliant deductions, here is some of her evidence:

Samantha Shaw (the heroine in my series) has frizzy hair as does Stephanie Plus (Evanovich's heroine).

Stephanie Plum has a grandmother, and Samantha Shaw has a grandfather in the series.

They both have big dogs.

They both have love triangles.

I can't remember the rest, but they were all equally silly. Now Kelly, I can answer these. For instance I have frizzy hair, and frankly, I've gotten some big laughs. Once we went to Palm Springs (California) for brunch with the corporate bigwigs from my husband's work. The entertainment? Watching my carefully groomed hair frizz beneath the misters used to keep guests cool.

Hello! I spent twenty minutes taming my hair into submission and this restaurant puts misters above the guests? Don't think the wait staff wasn't coming by every two minutes and laughing behind their serving trays. What's a girl to do? I, of course, cracked jokes. Sure, my husband's colleagues MIGHT actually have been laughing at my frizzy hair, but I prefer to think it was my wit.

And yep, my character Sam has a grandpa. Umm, most everyone I know has a grandparent or two, or four, or even six hanging around the family tree. How does she think I stole that? Stephanie's grandma goes to funeral viewings and shoots the Sunday chicken. Samantha's grandfather is a retired magician who is helping Sam raise her sons. What's the big rip off there?

The dog? Excuse me, I had the dog first! She came in chapter two of my first book. A really cool German shepherd booted from the police dog program for stealing beer. Janet Evanovich's dog came later in her series after I'd written one or two of mine (and no, I don't think Janet ripped me off either!). Frankly, I know lots of people with dogs! Lots of books with dogs! Please.

And lastly, the love triangle. Oh for Cupid's sake, lady, get a clue. That's been around for CENTURIES. Janet E, though very talented, did not invent that one! And pay attention, I don’t exactly have a love triangle. My character is committed to one man. What I have is a little sexual tension going on between Sam and a police detective but nothing ever comes of it. It's called FLIRTING. Go look it up in a dictionary.

Kelly you were brilliant when you had Kathy Lee Gifford guest star on your sit com, HOPE AND FAITH. It showed everyone what a wonderful sense of humor both of you talented ladies have. But I don't have a sitcom. Do you have any other suggestions to get this gal to back off and take up another hobby besides dogging me?


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Dear Kelly,

You don't mind if I call you Kelly, do you? Since I've been writing to you so often, I feel like I know you. Which is probably why I am spilling my guts to you. Things aren't really great right now.

Boy, you know, this writing business is hard. I think most people don't realize that. I'm waiting for my royalty check from St. Martin's and meanwhile, things just keep going wrong. Expensive, "boy do I need money" type things. Despite the impression most people have about writers, most advance checks are not six figures. More like four. Low four. Can you be low four? My low four is long gone, as is my first royalty check, which wasn't really big because they kept a lot of it as a deposit (or something like that) in case people returned my book in hoards. So much for my dreams of the New York Times Bestseller list. Okay, okay, I knew that wasn't gonna happen when I heard the print run, but a girl can dream.

Anyway, since my publisher pays every six months, it's been a while since I've seen any money from WIVES AND SISTERS. I'm kinda broke. Like my kitchen sink. Every time you turn it on or off the spigot thingie comes off and the water runs until you get a wrench and shut it off. Good thing the drought is over here in Utah, or the water police would be tracking me down.

I need a whole new sink, really, because it keeps plugging up, and makes this glug, glug, glug sound every time you drain water. Only the "glugging" lasts about 20 minutes AFTER you drain it. My daughter thinks it's a sink monster and is using it as an excuse NOT to do dishes. The dishwasher broke long ago, so we do dishes by hand, which my daughters both swear is just like the "olden times." Somebody call a plumber. Of course, that'll have to wait.

It ain't been a great week. The sink ain't the only thing leaking.

See, my car is doing it, too. On Monday, a man--boy, really, just barely sixteen, according to his license, although he looked about 25--turned left at the same time I was going through a busy intersection, and broadsided me. I was on Riverdale Road in Ogden, which is like driving through the pathway of the Imperial Starship during a clash with the rebels. You're always thankful to get out alive--or at least not maimed. Monday, I didn't get out.

The kid who hit me did not "habla Ingles." At least not much. The police managed to communicate, via loud shouts and hand signals, that they needed to know what had happened. The kid--whom we shall call Angel because that is his name--told them he was turning left on a yellow light when I entered the intersection at a "high rate of speed" (that's from the police report, and I'm assuming they put those words in his mouth, and his actual words were probably something like "muy fasto" because he didn't "habla Ingles." Yes, I am aware I don't habla Espanol very well) and so he hit me.

Hmm. Odd. The light was a lovely shade of green when I entered.

Luckily, there was a witness who backed me up, and Angel was cited. He actually received two citations, unfortunately. The reason I say unfortunately, is because the second citation was for lack of proof of insurance. Nothing like the words "no insurance" to really get your heart a pounding, especially as you are sitting in the ruins of your Plymouth Breeze, which ain't a great car, but it does run, and has power windows and locks and is almost paid off and has an air conditioner that works every other day at least, usually on the cooler days when it isn't needed as bad, but IT IS ALMOST PAID OFF.

That's where the leaking came in. After the fire department arrived they ran around my car dumping something that looked suspiciously like cat litter. Fluids leaking from your car like urine from an incontinent cat are a not a good sign. I suppose they are better than fluids leaking from, say, your head, but it still isn't a great feeling.

"The important thing is no one was hurt," is the common saying you hear after an accident. I think I've used it myself. I don't believe it anymore. I have no car, the kid appears to have no insurance, and my car is leaking green shit all over Riverdale Road. Not only that, but I'm not entirely "not hurt." I have a bruise from the seatbelt, sore shoulders and neck, and a crescent moon shaped visual disturbance in my lower left eye that will probably not go away. But I'm not hospital bound.

Later that day, I got the LAST good news I would get for more than a week. Angel does have insurance. Woo hoo! But not so fast. I was assigned a claims adjustor who has been working for an insurance company for probably about three hours. This is a disadvantage when you are hit by a person who has a tendency to LIE and are working with an adjustor who is really worried about doing the job exactly right.

The first thing I told her was I needed a rental car. Not so fast. After she took my statement, etc., our conversation went something like this.

Agent: Well, I have to see the police report first.

Me: Well, my agent has the police report, and it clearly states I am not at fault.

Agent: Well, I have to wait to get it. I can't just take your word for it. Now, my client says that you ran a red light, after a black truck stopped in front of you. You swerved around it, so he couldn't see you. At least I think that's what he said. It was a little hard to understand him because we had to have an interpreter.

Me: Black truck?

Agent: You didn't see a black truck?

Me: There was no black truck!

Agent: Okay, and you didn't run a red light?

Me: The light was green. The witness backs this up. It's on the police report. There was no black truck. Your client never mentioned a black truck in the police report. Why don't you have the police report? My agent has the police report. If you had the report, you would see Angel is lying. You would see he said the light was yellow when he turned.

Agent: We have a service who picks them up, so I don't have it yet. I have to investigate this thoroughly. After I get the police report, I'll call you.

I hung up from this phone call, fuming about the Angel-the-liar and called my agent. She faxed a copy of the report to the other agent.

Next phone call went like this.

Agent: Well, it looks like it's 80-20 at this point. I can't authorize a rental car until I determine how much fault we have. I have to investigate this thoroughly.

Me: How could it possibly be 80-20. Now you have the report, not only do you know he is lying, but you also know that the light was NOT red. He was cited. I am not at fault. I NEED A CAR.

Agent: Well, there's a witness here, and I need to talk to him before I can make a decision. You can go out and get a rental car and then we will reimburse you.

Me: Hell no. HE HIT ME. HE IS AT FAULT. I need a car.

Agent: I cannot authorize that until I determine fault.

Me: It's in the police report!

Agent: I need to talk to the witness.

Me: What the witness said is in the police report. He said the light was green.

Agent: Well that isn't his sworn statement. So I need to talk to him.

Me: (Bashing head against wall.)

I'll sum up the rest for you. A day and a half passes, and finally, in a phone call, she tells me that she can't reach him, so she is ready to just authorize the car, when lo and behold, he calls her, but she misses the call. SO she decides she must talk to him, even though one hour before she told me she was ready to authorize the car. By the end of the afternoon I am not happy with her, with her company (hint: Think the "good hands" company), and life in general. I blow up when she tells me she hasn't reached him. We go over the same old points. Things like: 1. I have a witness that backs me up in a police report, even though she has no "sworn" statement. 2: Her client got two citations. 2: Her client has lied, either to her, or the police, take your pick. 4: Even if I did go into the intersection on a yellow, I still had right of way, and thus am not responsible.

I could come up with more. I called my agent. She sensed my desperation. She made some calls.

By Friday morning (the accident occurred MONDAY!!) the Good Hands people finally admitted Angel was at fault, and arranged for a rental car. At that point, I had a new, very nice, VERY PROMPT adjustor. He likes writers. He really likes my friend Evan Hunter/Ed McBain, although he's never heard of me. Nevertheless, he still only approved a rental car that is what they call intermediate. I suspect, after getting said car, that small is a skateboard.

But it runs, it doesn't leak, and it has air conditioning that works all the time.

While I'm glad the drama portion is mostly over, right now, however, I am just wishing I was on a cruise ship, headed to place tropical, with warm breezes blowing, drinks with umbrellas, and.....

Phew, this has gotten long. I'm not on a cruise ship. I'm writing to you, to beg you to start up your Reading with Ripa book club again. After all, I need a new sink, a new car, and more than a few other things.

Waiting to hear from you,