Friday, June 22, 2007

Another hiatus

I have been mulling over what to post about the last few days (I mean that last entry is so darn hard to top), but I have been just so staggeringly busy, I really haven't had much opportunity to think of something quality to write.

I am working like a crazy woman on the sequel of my book, as well as attempting to organize my play for SummerWorks (you will happy to learn that I have cast all 7 actors, and am having a read through and photo shoot for pictures for our press pack on Monday - still don't have a stage manager yet, sigh . . .). It is a bit daunting.

Adding to that I will be going to Newfoundland for a family wedding next week! I've never been to Newfoundland and am sooooo excited! Actually what's going to be really weird is that the wedding itself is on June 30th. I know, positively shocking! No, what makes it weird is that June 30th is my birthday (yes I know, it really ought to be a national holiday), my 27th (omg so close to 30, not going to think about it . . . ), so I'm just going to pretend that the lavish party I am attending that night is all for me! Who's the chick in the white dress?

Anyway as such I am going to take a break from blogging this week, and I'll tell you all about the wedding etc when I get back July 2 - ish.

I shall as ever miss you all considerably, but you are such wonderful, sexy and understanding readers, that I know you will be sympathetic to my situation. Big sloppy kisses to all of you! Until July!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Baby's First Blurb!

Hmm . . . Baby's First Blurb . . . sounds a bit like that sound an infant makes followed by that little bubble of spittle that sort of oozes out of the mouth following said sound.

But it isn't.

In this case it is referring to my first blurb for my book! Again, for people who don't know the cool terms that the publishing world uses (may I once more refer to me circa last year), a blurb is a little sentence, or paragraph, that someone else, usually a fellow author, writes about your book and then it is put onto the book cover itself. A bit like how on movie posters you have: "This is the best movie, like, ever!" - Movie Review Magazine

So anyway, I am proud to announce I have a blurb! Okay, not proud, that doesn't even come close to how excited I am about this. Because not only is the blurb itself just wonderfully written and just so darn nice, it's author is someone who is incredibly cool.

Ever heard of the book series, Artemis Fowl?

Yes ladies and gents, I am just totally over the moon to share with you that the author of said series, Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen as he explains over at his website), has been so totally gracious and lovely as to blurb my little book. To which I am so grateful, and would like to extend a big hug and hearty thank you in his direction.

So without further ado, here it is:

“I read Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and to be honest, it had me at the title—a clever one to live up to and the story did not disappoint. It’s quirky, hilarious and genuinely exhilarating. There is a nod to Lewis Carroll and a wink to Charles Dickens, but no more than that—Adrienne’s words are packed with originality. Alex is a wonderful hero who deserves to return for further adventures. Indeed I suspect there will be a riot if she does not. Great plot, larger than life characters. The future is bright.”—EOIN COLFER, author of the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl series

What I find most impressive is how he managed to discuss so many different elements of my book in such a short blurb. It's just really well written you know? In fact, I kind of feel like blurbing his blurb:

"Eoin Colfer has created a blurb with humor and a great attention to detail. In a few short lines he is able to sum up a 300 page novel, while getting across a great sense of tone. I think readers will be hard pressed to find a better blurb, or a more grateful recipient." - ADRIENNE KRESS, author of the novel blurbed by internationally bestselling author, EOIN COLFER

Anyway, all joking aside, I just wanted to say thank you one last time to Mr. Colfer for the lovely things he said about my book. It's really, I mean, just really cool of him.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And the winner is . . .

After careful deliberation (and seriously debating holding another contest where everyone chooses their favourite contest suggested so far), I have come up with two, count 'em, two winners.

I thought it would be nice to have one for the kids, and one for the grown ups. So, the winners of a brand spanking new ARC of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman are . . . .

Mary - for her dress up your favourite toy as a pirate (any toy, from doll to espresso machine) idea!
Because putting up these pictures would be friggin hilarious.


Talia Mana - for her create an Ironic Gentleman cocktail idea!
Because cocktails are yummy and an Ironic Gentleman cocktail, I would imagine, doubly so.

I know every contest holder says the same thing, that it was a difficult choice, but you guys seriously did not make this easy. I tried to give myself the simplest of tasks by making it a contest for you guys to come up with a contest, but it totally backfired on me! All the ideas were brilliant, and really coming to any sort of decision was painful. I forgot how much I hate making decisions. Kind of silly of me to hold a contest really.

But there you have it!

Thank you all so much for participating, seriously. After all there would be no contest without people actually participating. If anyone is utterly desperate for an ARC (and if they are, dude, thanks, that's totally flattering), there is yet another copy of one on ebay. This time of the American version (they call it "Alex and the Iron Gentleman", I like it, has a nice ring to it . . .): ebay American ARC

As for the winners, could you guys please click on the little "Adrienne Kress's Email" link at the top of my blog and send me your mailing addresses with your full names please?

Congrats again to the winners! And boo-urns to the losers. I am very sorry that I couldn't send you each an ARC, that would have been very Oprah of me wouldn't it? "You get an ARC! And you get an ARC! . . . "

But alas, I am not Oprah. Nor Ellen. Not even Dr. Phil, though my bald head does confuse some people. All I can offer you is my love.

And of course two ARCs to the winners. Because, you know, they won.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Literary Weekend

So I don't know if you guys know this, but a week after BEA, we Canadians have our equivalent, called . . . wait for it . . . the BE . . . C.

And as such I thought I would tell you a bit about my weekend!


I get a call from the lovely Lesley, saying she had acquired two tickets to the Stephen King honouring him thingy and asked if I would like to join her. I of course said yes. You see Stephen King has never been to Canada before, and they were giving him an award because . . . well because he is awesome. Now of course I had already seen him once before, at that Harry, Carrie and Garp event at Radio City Music Hall, but in this case Lesley and I were sitting in the media seats. Which meant, centre row J. And I was wearing a bright orange top. So I am sure he saw me and was utterly mesmerised. Or slightly blinded. Or didn't see me at all and that is just my wishful thinking going again.

It was very fun. He was introduced by Margaret Atwood and Clive Barker, and interviewed by author and columnist Chuck Klosterman, and the whole thing was MC'd by the Canadian tv host who will always be famous for his last name, no matter what else he accomplishes, George Stroumboulopoulos. Everyone was rather funny, especially the King himself, and I always do think if people are funny, the evening has been wildly successful. I did actually go up to Klosterman afterwards to congratulate him on a job well done. I did it in a way that a 12 year old might. "Hi! I just wanted to say I thought you did a good job!" "Thank you, and what's your name?" "Adrienne." That is actually verbatim what happened. No mention that I too was an author. No witty retort. And hands slightly damp because I had just washed them in the washroom. Le sigh.

Then Lesley and I and our hosts for the evening, Mark and Bruce, went to the Penguin party, which was at an old legion hall and reminded me of the parties LAMDA used to have in London. And then we went home


At around 6pm there was a big party for the Children's book community to which my lovely editor, Diane Kerner, at Scholastic had invited me. I was quite nervous as the invitation specified that you weren't allowed to bring a guest with you, and so I didn't have the lovely Lesley to keep me, you know, sane.

The party was on the second floor of a restaurant, and packed right away. I thought my attempt at being fashionably late, ie a whole ten minutes after six, would still make me the first one there, yet when I showed up I had to queue up the stairs to get in.

Terrified, and feeling a bit like an idiot surrounded by all these people going up to say hi to each other, I did what any normal person does in this situation. Made for the bar.

With glass of wine firmly in hand, I stood looking a bit like a lost puppy. How adorable. The only face I recognised was Sean Cullen, who is a famous actor/comedian/and now children's book author here in Canada, and I thought that that might be silly to approach him. A bit like going up to Uma Thurman or someone and saying, "Hey can I hang out with you a bit since I recognise you?" Eventually I noticed a similarly lost soul standing next to me, and so I asked him if we could chat.

It turns out he produces music and songs for kids, and I thought that was really cool. We had a nice discussion about his process, and then the party was just so filling up and I really thought I should find Diane. So I excused myself and went over to the entrance, where I found a girl wearing a Scholastic sticker, Carrie I believe. And she kindly escorted me right back to where I had been standing. Because of course Diane had been in front of me the whole time.

The rest of the night I chatted with the Scholastic folks. I suck at names, so I can't remember them all, but let me tell you, they were just totally awesome. I had such a fun relaxed time, and we just talked about all sorts. I love my publishers.

And then eventually, I went home.


Weirdest day ever.

I went to the BEC and this time I was determined to actually collect some ARCs! And by golly I did! And they were very heavy. But fortunately the kind Scholastic folks let me keep my bag with them. Basically there isn't too much to tell about the BEC. Very similar to BEA, a little smaller, but in that way more manageable. I passed the hour long queue for Vincent Lam, and so did not get to say hi (though was awfully tempted to lean over a tell one of the people in the line, "You know he and I are being published by the same house in the states! And we met and everything!" But I thought that would be, you know, obnoxious.)

I did run into an old professor of mine who was signing books. Well actually he was having a heated discussion with two teachers about the Iraq war, and had run out of books, but I still had to introduce myself. His name is George Elliot Clarke, and he taught me Canadian Drama. While I was in his class, he won the Governor General's Award for poetry, and so we had a substitute while he went off to meet "the Queen of Canada" as he put it. He is so lovely, and so energetic, and it was so cool to see him again!

And then . . . then I left. And did a really weird thing. A photo shoot.

You see a few weeks back I got an email from a friend of a friend of a friend who was looking for models for a photo shoot to expand his own photography portfolio. And because the theme was a 1950's picnic, and 'cause I really haven't modeled much (not that that is something I've really wanted to pursue), I thought, eh why not? And so I did. There were three models and three photographers, and a makeup artist and this other girl who was helping organize the whole thing. And we went over to the island to take pictures.

I don't know if you know this, but Toronto is on Lake Ontario, and just a couple of miles out, so that you can easily see them from shore, are a few islands that are still part of the city. People live there, I mean you can't have a car, so it is very hippy like, and there is a small amusement park. It's really lovely, very naturey, and I must go out there more.

It was a fun day, and I really liked them all. Here is one of the pictures, which I just like 'cause it's from a cool point of view, even though you can't really see our faces. I'm in white, and the other model Elaine is the one in red.

Photo by Ryan Raz

And then I went to Lesley's to watch her boyfriend John's award show. That is hard to say. I'll try better. John works for the channel Space, which is a sci-fi station here in Canada. Every year they have an awards show, The Spaceys, for which he is one of three hosts. It isn't like the Oscars, that is done live, but rather filmed ahead of time and edited together and they go and give the awards to the people wherever they are. This year Kevin Spacey won for best villain (Lex Luther), and that was neat cause, well, you know . . . his last name is the name of the award and everything.

And then, as ever, I went home.

So yes, that was my weekend. I hope you enjoyed the tale! Possibly it will become a story to be passed down through the generations.

Possibly not.


The contest to win and ARC of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman is still going strong! Remember I am choosing the winner for Thursday, so I guess you still have till Wednesday night! Keep 'em coming people!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Win an ARC of "Alex and the Ironic Gentleman" (yes your very own Ted!)

Okay, ladies and gents, I have received a lovely box full of Teds and thought that I simply had to hold a little contest, the winner of which would receive an Advance Reading Copy of my lovely book (the American version).

Of course when I decided that this would be an excellent idea, I also could not for the life of me come up with an appropriate contest.

So. After careful deliberation, I have decided that my contest will be a contest for the best idea for a contest. Something piratey, or adventurey, or really anything you can think of that might either be appropriate in relation to either Alex or myself.

The winning contest suggestion may possibly be used later in future, but right now I just want a list of the craziest contests you guys can think up. So leave your ideas in the comments section, and let's see what we shall see! The winner will be announced this time next week, at the which point I will request that he/she/it email me their mailing address.

Good luck to you all! (I've never run a contest before, so I really hope that this works out!)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Guess who's back. . . back again?

Yes ladies and gents I am back from my whirlwind weekend that was BEA (Book Expo of America) in New York City, and I am pooped! Can I just say, dude. Like seriously. Dude.

This is my life?

Evidently . . .

Anyway, forgive the Adrienne as she is typing with 3 hours of sleep, but she just had to tell you guys how awesome the whole BEA thing was, and also, actually, primarily to make you all wildly jealous. And she will now stop talking in the third person.

Okay this is going to be long, so either grab yourself a cup of tea and curl up on the couch with your laptop, or bookmark this page for later. You've been warned.

Thursday May 31st

The lovely Lesley and I, after being delayed an hour due to weather, finally land in the glorious New York. Or rather Newark. After a fab bus ride through rush hour traffic we make it to the Backspace banquet an hour late. Backspace is an online writing forum that we are members of and they were having their conference at the same time as BEA, so of course we just had to go and schmooze! It was so great to meet so many people, and put faces with the names (Jackie, Jenny, Jessica [yay weirdest cab ride ever!], Heather, EJ, Mark, Carolyn, Kim, Karen, "Comma Boy" [whose comic my readers know I adore] . . . oh man so many others, and I met them all in just a few hours so please forgive me if I haven't mentioned you by name, believe me I remember you all very vividly - can we say cast of characters?!).

Anyway the food was amazing - ooh cute story:

Lesley and I arrived late so we were ordering our food course by course instead of all at once like everyone else had done. And when the desserts were being served I went over to counter where the wait staff were dishing out the options and I kept asking, "What's that? Okay, and what's that? And that?" And the guy asked, "Well what are you looking for?" And I said cheesecake of course, but that I knew they didn't have it. So he said, "No problem." And he totally got me a slice of cheesecake even though it wasn't one of the options!! So cool!

Then a bunch of us went to the illustrious Algonquin Hotel, noted for being a hangout for authors over the years as well as the location of the Backspace conference, and then I shared a cab ride into Brooklyn with Jessica Keener, and got settled in at my good friend Jenny's place.

Friday June 1

Lesley and I meet up at the Parker Meridian to meet with her agent Jessica (different Jessica) for lunch at Norma's. Norma's is AWESOME! All breakfast food, but really, you know, good breakfast food. They served us a shot of tropical frozen smoothie, and the best tasting orange juice ever. I had eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, mmmm tasty. And we chatted about writing and publishing and Jessica talked about how much she adored Lesley (and really what's not to adore) and it was just delightful.

(Me, Lesley, Jessica)

Then we parted ways and Lesley and I met up with her hosts for the weekend, Mark and Danielle, and we had a lovely long hot walk through Central Park (after I bought 4 pashmina scarves for 20$ off the street, Lesley bought 2, but one of mine was for my mommy, so I don't feel bad that I bought more. Because I am generous, and therefore a wonderful person.)

And then we went back to our respective places and got gorgeous for supper with the Weinstein Books folks: my editor, Rob Weisbach, Katie Finch and Judy Hottensen. It was so lovely and relaxed, and they always have such nice things to say about my book so really how painful could it have been AND I ate soft shelled crabs for the first time and they were magnificent. Truly.

Then they all had to head over to The Maritime Hotel, North Cabana (which is this awesome bar in this hotel that is pretending to be a cruise ship, so that there are all these lanterns hanging everywhere and this sort of tropical feel to it), to prepare for their party we were attending later, and Lesley and I hung out for a while, sitting on the steps of these lovely brown stone homes watching people walk their dogs, and sometimes petting said dogs.

(mood picture of me on said steps)

When we went to join the party, okay, I'll admit it, I was just a little bit nervous (Lesley stop snickering!). Okay fine, maybe a bit more than that. But it was really cool, and Rob and Katie just sort of took me around and introduced me to people, who were in turn equally cool, and pictures were taken. I got to meet and talk to Chris Elliot (There's Something About Mary, Cabin Boy) who is also being published by them (a parody about climbing Mount Everest called Into Hot Air) and he was so cool, he brought his whole family with him to the party!

I also got to hang out with my friend Jon Weinberg, with whom I had attended drama school in England (like my friend Jenny, the one I was staying with in Brooklyn). He had won the gold award for his poetry book, A Calm Position, at the Independent Publishers Book Awards, and happened to be in town. It was so awesome to see him again!

(Lesley, Jon, Me)

And then after a lovely long evening, we all went to our respective abodes (well actually Jon had to go catch a plane [!!]).

Saturday June 2

Brunch with Jenny, then off to the BEA (wearing my cute skull and cross bones shirt, and snazzy red belt)!



The BEA?

It's like totally huge. It's like a city. In fact some of the stalls are made to look like little buildings. And each different booth had its own special carpeting. It's no longer about judging a book by it's cover people, but by the quality of the floor covering, I'm telling you.

I arrived with Lesley half an hour before I was due to sign ARCs, so we wandered around feeling overwhelmed and collecting basically no ARCs ourselves. Which is sort of the main point, you know, free books. I think we were just a bit too overcome to actually grab anything. Though we each did manage to collect a whoopee cushion and a Tony Bennett CD.

I returned to the Weinstein Books booth for 3pm and Katie was busy putting out my ARCs (oh so many Teds!). The booth was very cool, and hanging on the back wall were three illuminated posters of book covers, and yes, Alex most definitely was one of them. I sat down at the table to try and prepare myself, but waiting happily was Carolyn, a Backspacer I had met at the conference, and she was so sweet and wanted to take pictures of me and stuff, and so then I had Lesley do the same with my camera and because there was all this picture taking people started to come over and suddenly I was signing ARCs like a crazy lady. I mean I had no time to even come up with a good catch phrase, so I chose "Happy Reading" of all things! Sigh. Then Lesley had to go and I sat, for two and a half hours, signing away.

(Me with the ARCs feeling slightly overwhlemed)

(Me signing ARCs with people actually lining up and everything!)

(Lesley and Me. And the big glowing poster of Alex in the background!)

It was really fun.

I mean no one actually knew I was the author, so when they came over to pick up the book I had to say, "And I can sign it for you if you'd like!" And they'd be all, "Oh are you the author?!" And I would be all, "Yes!" And then they would come over and we'd all be excited about each other. Sometimes someone would walk by and just glance over at the booth, and I would totally pounce, "Come on, you know you want to take a look . . . " No one escaped my clutches. And then . . . the ARCs were gone!

As I sat there exhausted, a fellow Weinstein author, Vincent Lam came by. This was really cool for me because he's something of a Canadian celebrity. He won the Giller Prize here in Canada for his book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, which is the top literary prize in this country. And he was a first time author, having originally been in the medical field. Anyway, he's quite well known. Weinstein Books are now publishing him in America. So, I mean, yay Canadians! And he lives in Toronto, and went to U of T, so we actually had a fair bit to chat about. Oh and he gave me a few of the ARCs he had collected from wandering around the expo, as I had, you know, none. Good people is what he is.

Then it was over, and we all walked out together, and I went back to Jenny's where I got ready to go out and celebrate her housemate's 25th birthday. It was a great party, and there were so many people there from LAMDA (that same drama school I mentioned earlier) that I hadn't seen in forever, and I just love them all so much and it was a really special night.

(Jenny, Me, Jenny's housemate Daria, two ex-LAMDA gents: Brian and Mark)

Sunday June 3

Returned home from party and packed. Tried to sleep. Three hours later got up and went to meet Lesley at the bus for the Newark airport. She too was on no sleep. Then we got on the plane. Then we flew to Toronto and my mom and dad picked us up. Then we dropped off Lesley and my parents and I went to see a robotic chair that collapses into many pieces and puts itself back together again. A very smart chair. Then I went to my apartment. Then I checked my email. Then I wrote this blog.

So that is the tale of the journey to New York and the epic adventure that was the BEA. I hope you enjoyed it! If I met any of you with the signing of the ARCs and such, thank you so much again for coming by! It was so cool to meet all of you!

And now I must go lie down or something. Adrienne is tired. And back to writing in the third person. And that definitely is not a good sign.