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, August 31, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Hurricane Katrina sure as hell puts my life in perspective. My heart goes out to each and every person on the Gulf Coast.

Because it's hard for me to take myself seriously in a week where a portion of our country is suffering extreme devastation, I'll just go for some silly stuff on stress. As you know, Kelly, daily stress can really kill our creative side.

My top five stress busters:

1) A good book. The best one I've read lately— AIN'T SHE SWEET by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The conflict is a little silly, but the book is amusing!
2) A good movie. Loved THE WEDDING CRASHERS
3) Chocolate. Last chocolate—M&M's. I actually sent my son to the store to buy a big bag of M&Ms for the family. Something I never do because I am big on Self Control. (Oh stop laughing, I have SOME self control).
4) Friends. From a quick e-mail, or a day of lunch and shopping, friends mean I never have to be lonely. I only have to reach out to touch happiness, joy, laughter and companionship.

My top five stress inducers:

1) Being on hold on the phone. Then making me listen to music while on hold.
2) Charging me $140.00 to deliver a $59.99 item. Oh and even better, refusing to tell me how much the delivery cost will be until AFTER I place the order. Then, when I call to cancel, actually having the gall to ask my why! Seriously, you're asking me? You can't look at the numbers and do the math? And for the love of Sanity, turn off the hellish hold music!
3) Rude people + Cell phones. There should be a law that forbids rude people from having cell phones. And why do they have to YELL into the cell phone?
4) The TV News where I learn about frivolous lawsuits. Makes me crazy. Five o'clock News = a glass of wine in my house. How else can I cope with rampant stupidity and greed?
5) Insurance. This week's four hour headache was courtesy of Dental Insurance who needed to know the name of my son's college. Since they didn't have the name, they denied coverage of his checkup. Period. Just denied it with a snarky paragraph in capital letters about not receiving required information on the patient. NOTE TO INSURANCE—if you want further information, you have to ASK ME. I am not a mind reader! I don't know by osmosis! Send a request through the US Postal Service just like you sent the dandy claim denials! Or hey, send an email, or call me! But nooooo….you put me through two phone calls (see #1 above) and at least twenty nine minutes of listening to my husband rant and rave to resolve it. Wait did I say resolve? What I meant to say is that they will REVIEW it and send me a notice whenever they damn well feel like it to let me know if they will actually pay the claim, or if I will need to spend countless hours going to through voice mail options and hold music to see if a real live person wants to actually do their freaking job!

Whew! I think I need to review my own stress-busters!

What about you Kelly? What drives your crazy? How do you de-stress?


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Well, things have been kind of hectic here, as the kids (and I) go back to school. Yep, you guessed it. I wish I had nothing but time to write, but so far, I’m not rich, and, and so during the school year I “moonlight” as a teacher. Luckily, I finished my revisions on my next manuscript just in the nick of time, so now I have nothing to do but teach middle school students and ….wait.

It seems that is what this business is all about. Hurry up and wait. Get these revisions done QUICK and then….wait.

Wait to hear if I correctly interpreted the changes my editor wanted me to make.

Wait to hear if I added enough to the suspense level.

Wait to hear if I made one of my main characters more real to the reader.

Wait to hear the scheduled date of release.

I’m always waiting to hear. I’m a wait-ress.

I’m the queen of waiting. I’m wait-experienced. Because I’m not Dan Brown, or some other much more important writer, I’m not the priority.

I’m losing my mind. The truth is, I can barely stand the wait. Whatever happened to instant gratification? There’s something to be said for that, you know.

Oh well. Here I am, and here I wait.

How are things in television land? Do you spend a lot of time waiting, too?


Natalie R. Collins

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Last week I went to a writer's conference with over 2100 other writers. I'm still recovering! I thought I'd share my random thoughts about the conference:

1) Wear comfortable shoes. Too bad I have to relearn this every single year!

2) Be nice to everyone! It turns out I was standing next to Linda Howard in the elevator. Somehow I managed to make small talk instead of blurting out; "You're Linda Howard, and I'm reading your book RIGHT NOW!" No matter how long I've been an Author, I'm still a Fan! And for the record, Linda was nice, funny, and down-to-earth charming.

3) If you win an award at the Big Awards Ceremony with 2100 women in the shimmering evening finery, say thank you and GET OFF THE STAGE! Most of the winners were gracious, amusing and reasonably brief. One was just strange. I have no idea what she was talking about. Or wearing—her dress made me think of Little Bo Peep. Then I was wishing for Little Bo Peep's staff (she did carry a staff, right?) to use to get that woman off the stage!

4) Next time, I might want to realize that if I final in a contest, I will be forced to walk up dangerous, rickety steps in barely-there high heels to get onstage, and then once I'm traumatized by scaling those steps (which were clearly designed by MEN), I will be asked if I would like to make any comments. Once I managed to get safely off stage, I was shuffled over to a professional photographer. I don't ever want to see that picture! P.S. Erica Spindler's book SEE JANE DIE won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in my category—Congratulations Erica!

5) My editor will recognize me and I have to stop making a fool of myself by saying, "Kate, I'm Jennifer Apodaca—" At which point my editor turns to my friends and says "I know who she is. I've met her before, talk to her regularly on the phone and edit her books. Does she think I don't know who I'm buying books from?" Okay she didn't actually say that, but it was darn close. And my friends? They are playing right along with my editor, agreeing that I am stupid. Sheesh. With friends like that, who needs reviewers?

6) If I try to sneak down at 7:00 am to get some coffee, I will be recognized. Yep, I only had about three fans out there amongst the thousands of women at that conference, but one of them found me when I was trying to be invisible. How does Linda Howard do it? Note to self—next time don’t be so cheap and buy a small coffeemaker if the hotel doesn't provide one!

7) Once I get home, my desk will be piled with contracts to read and signed (I am NOT complaining about that!), copy edits, blogs to write, contests to sort out and post on my newsletter group, and two works-in-progress that did not write themselves while I was gone. Then there's all the daily life stuff to catch up on!

8) And last—don't take ourselves too seriously. The only thing worth taking seriously in this business is writing the best damn book we can.

So, Kelly that was snippets of my conference week. I imagine it's much different for you when you go to big events. Everyone knows who you are!

Before I sign off, I must mention that I heard your name, Kelly Ripa, and the sorely missed Reading with Ripa segment of your show, talked about quite a bit. Everyone misses Reading with Ripa!