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....

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,



  • At 9:40 AM, Blogger NjDebDeb said…

    Yikes Natalie i thought things like this only happened to people like me and Dej lol
    have to say I love your blog - to the point I now need to go get your book- yes as in purchase - yours will not be a * oh I really need to read this let's ask the library* I want a copy to have and to hold :-)
    I recently had an accident myself so I KNOW the frustration you are/were feeling!!

  • At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Cele said…

    Natalie, Natalie, Natalie...I originally wrote you a long witty, you've got to get away from it all, post....then your blog ATE IT!

    In a nut shell I said (I would love to rewrite it, but witty only comes my way once a day) get away, you need a vacation some place kewl and outside of Utah. Come visit Oregon, take in Vegas, go camping in Wyoming just get out of town and relax.

    Oh, I also said something about getting your numbers checked and finding out if it is a nine month... if so, don't drive, wait until July...oh this is July. now girl friend get away, run, run, run.

  • At 1:11 PM, Blogger Kathleen said…


    I think you need to retitle your blog, to "BEING KELLY RIPA" and then you can pretend to be Kelly Ripa and do your own book picks. You can put up her picture, even pictures of her kids, and put in some person stuff about how the TV show if keeping you "really busy", but you just love to read those trashy novels TOO MUCH to quit.

    I don't think anyone will know. I certainly won't tell.

  • At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Lynn Daniels said…

    After reading this letter, I can only say that I'm very happy that I at least contributed a little toward your royalties by buying Wives and Sisters when it was first released.

    That said, I'm never letting my daughter read this letter. She might get ideas about the dishes thing.


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