Thursday, July 26, 2007

What do you guys think?

For those of you who are unaware there has been this strange debate going on in the romance writing world about these two young female authors who dressed in costume for a conference. The costumes were akin to school girl outfits and were worn to promote their latest works. (anyone interested in the debate itself can check out Pub Rants [scroll down to the July 18th entry]- where you will get yet more links on the topic.)

This debate has sort of fizzled recently, I'm a bit behind on the times, but I was thinking a bit more about it and wondering why the authors got such ire directed towards them. A lot of arguments centred around a 'lack of professionalism', and then the debate turned towards the reputation that romance novelists have within the industry, of the general stereotype of what a romance novelist is.

But I couldn't help but wonder if some of the anger was sparked by the fact that the young women in question were both rather pretty and had no qualms using said prettiness to promote their works. I don't think that this anger I'm referring to was directed even at them, (some people commented that it was awful the publishers making them do this, which so was not what happened) but rather at the fact that it seems like nowadays, even in the writing world, looks matter.

I'm an actor. And so I know what it feels like to be constantly judged on your appearance. In fact one of the things that I thought was so cool about submitting to literary agents as opposed to acting agents was that I didn't need to send a picture. That my letter was in fact an audition, an example of the quality of my writing, as opposed to my headshot which basically just told a prospective agent what I kind of looked like but said nothing to my acting ability (yes you send a CV as well, which can give some impression as to what you can do, but you still haven't actually done it in front of them). It was so freeing. It didn't matter that I had brown hair. Or that I wasn't skinny enough. Or fat enough. All that mattered was how I wrote.

And that I am sure is the draw to many many authors.

But things are changing, not hugely, but with the internet, and youtube and the world becoming far more visually oriented, an author these days has to appeal to many different kinds of media. The whole concept of author promotion gets many authors upset. I can kind of understand this. There was a time an author could be a recluse, in fact often the reason a person became an author was because they were such a thing. But now more and more is being demanded of an author, the amount of self-promotion, the 'thinking outside the box". Now add onto to that the pressure to look good! We know that looking good is the most important thing for any individual in society, the highest level of achievement to strive towards. So why should authors be left out of the mix?

Now all this is just a commentary, not even an editorial really. I personally do not take any issue with what those romance author women did, I think they look cute! I also think that if you have something going for you, use it! The reason certain non-fiction authors (who are not celebrities) have great success a platform. Well fiction writers have to find something that will sell their works too you know! I also always strongly believe in promoting yourself, especially if you are comfortable in doing such a thing. And if anyone wants any suggestions in that area may I link you to the fab JA Konrath who just seems to know all the right things to do.

My point is simply, with regards to that romance debate, I just think that possibly the fuss was maybe about something bigger. To quote myself from the comments section over at that Pub Rants post: "[I wonder if] in the end many people in looking at [the authors] may be seeing something symptomatic of a general trend in society, and it gets people more riled up."

I dunno.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summerworks update

Just a quick update for those of you who may be interested in that sort of not so secret double life I lead.

Yes while attempting to complete book 2, I am also directing/producing/publicising my show A Weekend in the Country for the Summerworks theatre festival which starts, oh, you know, NEXT WEEK!!

Things are going rather well though I have to say. My actors, as I have already said are quite wonderful. And while rehearsing in my living room may not exactly be ideal, we manage admirably. Last weekend we took the rehearsal to one of the actor's houses for slightly more room and she has this adorable littler terrier named Ira, and Ira sat at my feet and watched rehearsal with me like a mini- stage manager. And in the scene when one of the characters gets a bit manhandled and then pushed off the couch and she starts to cry, Ira rushed over to make sure she was okay. Every single time we did that bit. It was very cute.


I also sent out press packs to . . . press. And have printed up posters and postcards. The front of the postcards look like this:

I am proud of our design (our tag line for those of you who can't read it is "Getting rid of the body is the easy part").

Props are slowly being accumulated, lines are being learned, and slowly but surely a show is coming together. Sunday hopefully we can do a stumble through of the whole play, to really get a sense of things. And Tuesday is our tech run. And then we open on next Thursday (August 2). Eek!!

I'm at the point now where I am really starting to get excited!

Anyway, since this is all kind of old hat for me, and I don't really know what specifically to write about, I was wondering if any of you had any questions about the rehearsal process or whathaveyou, anything you may have wondered about but never really asked. Here's your chance! Don't miss it! You'll totally regret it if you miss it! Yes, yes you will!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Party Madness!

Okay does the internet really need another post about Harry Potter? Probably not, but I just had to share with you my amazing time I had with my friend Michael at the party in downtown Toronto. So if you don't want to read, please don't. If you are curious, be assured that there will be no spoilers here (you could probably get the impression from the post before this one that I'd say that), just a happy party story.

So Michael and I decided to go see the movie Hairspray (which was a lot of fun - and does teach us the very important lesson that you can't stop the beat. You really can't. It stays with you. All the time. Running through your head over and over and over again) in the same complex as the party was taking place. So we got our movie tickets at around 6:15pm and wandered into the bookstore to ask what was what. There were going to be two lines, one for the pre-ordered books (me) and one for the people purchasing it that night (Michael) but fortunately since we came so early Michael was given number 199.

My wristband was blue, his was green, and we were told that if they were ripped they wouldn't count (they were just made of paper), so we were very paranoid when, for example, washing our hands, and at first I couldn't put my sweater on because I was scared it would rip the band as I put my arm through the sleeve (we eventually figured out how to do it, it was like a beautiful dance . . .)

Then we went and saw the movie.

Then we came back to the bookstore and it was packed!

They had balloons in a net hanging over everything in preparation to be released at midnight. They had Hogwarts house banners and a DJ, who was saying stuff like, "Come on everyone let's dance! . . . . or . . . you could all just stare at me . . . " because of course the kids were just standing in front of him, mouths slightly agape, staring. Really cute! There was a green screen thing where a kid could be put onto a computer as if he was flying. All pretty neat.

So Michael and I walked through the store and decided to check out outside. They had closed off the street! It was like a fun fair, bouncy castles, sport competition things, street performers (eg: fire eaters and stilt walkers, and tons of magicians), bands played on a stage . . . it was so cool.

And because Michael and I are technically grownups we went to a bar that overlooked the whole thing and had a drink before going back into the store at 11pm to line up where we were separated because he had to buy his book and I didn't.

Midnight came with a New Year's Eve like countdown, and I was right under the balloons when they fell!

And then the lines started to move really quite quickly and then Michael and I both had our books and we ran home fast so no one could yell out the ending or anything (but not before getting our picture taken first)!

It was such a great night, such a positive happy place, and all these cute kids in costume (the really little ones were heartbreakingly adorable) and also adults dressed up (a truly freaky Voldemort). I didn't have time to make a costume but you will note I did wear what I consider my Gryffindor sweater. And I then read the book over the weekend (I was too scared to go on the internet until I finished) and I won't say anything at all about it, except that I highly enjoyed it (and am feeling rather empty and sad now that the whole thing is over).

And that is my story.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tonight . . .

So tonight at midnight (or rather technically tomorrow morning, but I just don't think like that) I will own a copy of the very last Harry Potter book. It makes me excited and sad, and all I have to say is thank goodness there are still 2 more movies to go otherwise I would be utterly inconsolable.

But ultimately this should be a happy day, and yet I am feeling frustrated.


I'm glad you asked!

What is really getting to me is all the spoilers and stuff that is out there on the net, even early reviews with spoilers in them published in major papers. I understand it is all very exciting and everything, but do we need this sort of instant gratification? Can't we just be patient? Wasn't it always, "the longer you wait the sweeter it will be" and isn't there something really special about sharing a particular experience with people all over the world at the same time?

It makes me sad that people have turned this event into a selfish race to the finish line.

Another thing that upsets me is that there is bound to be some jerk out there who will find it just oh so amusing to ruin the ending or something. I remember when I was in England when the sixth one came out and someone hung out over an overpass of the motorway a large poster that read (spoiler - highlight to read):

Dumbledore Dies

I never quite understand these people. Well I sort of do. They see a large mass of people going crazy over a kids' book, dressing up in costume and being, what they consider, stupid, and so they decide they are going to mess with them.

What they don't appreciate is that despite all the adults who love the book, it is still a series for CHILDREN. In ruining the ending or whathaveyou in your selfish attempt at a good time (for only them, but that's all that matters right?) they are ruining the moment for KIDS.

Why can't others can't let other people be? If a group of people are having a harmless good time, and you think it's stupid, what does it matter? They don't care what you think. Or is it that? Are you feeling left out, and therefore want to exert your personality by ruining the fun for everyone else?

So a plea, but honestly I just don't think it makes much sense as the people reading this blog aren't really the type of people to do this sort of thing, but nonetheless:

Please don't ruin it. If you don't like the Harry Potter craziness, stay home. If you are jealous of not being able to join in, don't take it out on those who can.

Or you know what? Maybe join in on the festivities! Who knows, instead of being a miserable sod, you might find a little participation could be enjoyable. Heck - dare I say it? - fun!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

8 More Things You Didn't Know About Me

I've been tagged again over at Karen L. Alaniz's blog !

And since I am oh so fascinating I thought I might as well share yet 8 more interesting things you may or may not have known about me.

1. I wear odd coloured socks. I have since I was ten. My mom would buy me socks with the same pattern but different colours so I could mix and match. Then I just got lazy and would wear any sock with any other sock. If I wear matching socks now, it feels wrong.

2. I want to be in a Peter Jackson movie sooooooooooooooo much! (Dawn might already know that one)

3. For some reason I always felt a close connection with Jim Henson, like he was an uncle or something. When he died (I was 9), my friends cut out news clippings and gave them to me because they knew how sad I was.

4. On that note, Kermit is my ideal man (that and Hugh Jackman). Sensitive, but still a leader. Also very smart and creative. And a fabulous dancer. Actually I guess the same could be said of Hugh Jackman. OMG, Hugh Jackman is the human non-puppet Kermit!!

5. On that note note: When I was little I thought Loretta Swift (Hot Lips from MASH) and Miss Piggy were the same person.

6. I have just finished watching season 2 of Battlestar Gallactica and am suffering withdrawal symptoms now . . . must . . . see . . . season . . . three . . .

7. I'm pretty good with Photoshop.

8. If a big spider or something makes a home for itself right outside my door or window or something so that I can't really kill it because technically it's in nature and it would be wrong, I give it a name to pretend it is a pet, say hi to it when I pass it, and any fear of it I may have had goes away. Try it, it works!

Monday, July 16, 2007

When it rains it pours. . .

So I get an email from my editor informing me that Alex got a starred review in this week's Publishers Weekly (!!!) . . .

Can we just say, over the friggin moon!!

Here it is (warning minor spoilers):

Alex and the Ironic Gentleman
Adrienne Kress. Weinstein Books, $16.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60286-005-6

Kress’s debut is a wonderful blend of whimsy and moral, with winks at the reader on every page. Alex, who lives with her uncle in the flat above their doorknob shop, is dreading the sixth grade and the stern teacher who comes with it, but on the first day she learns that a new teacher has been installed—the young Mr. Underwood (“a marvelous teacher despite being ever so distinctly odd”). He turns out to be a descendant of a famous pirate, and soon three vicious men turn up in town, looking for a map to a fabled family treasure. The map is somewhere in a stately manor house, run by the vicious old ladies of the Daughters of the Founding Fathers’ Preservation Society; Alex finds the map and escapes, but returns home to find that her uncle has been killed and Mr. Underwood has been kidnapped by the pirates of the ship Ironic Gentleman. She sets off to find him and has some odd encounters along the way (at one point, she meets an enormous octopus, distraught over how computer animation has wrecked his movie career). Eventually, Alex ends up on the Ironic Gentleman, face to face with the dreaded Captain Steele the Inevitable, whose identity comes as a big surprise. Kress has a delightfully simple, observational prose style that recalls A.A. Milne, right down to the frequent capitalization of Good Things and Very Interesting Things and so on. This inspired book should hold up to many re-readings. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Just a little note inspired by thenovicewriter . . .

Hey all!


Some of you may have read in the comments section that thenovicewriter (who I just this second noticed, as I was preparing the link to her blog, has so sweetly mentioned my blog over there on hers - that was a weird and a lovely discovery, talk about kismet - thank you Novice so much!) mentioned attempting to read the first two pages of my book off of the picture I took, actually in fact she succeeded, and then expressed sadness at not being able to turn the page.

Well being the helpful Temp, Actress and Writer that I am, as well as being a notorious show off, I thought I would oblige by posting a link to Scholastic Canada's site where they have put my book as one of their "Sneak a Peek" authors. I should really have mentioned this earlier, as it is quite an honour to me for them to have done this for my book. It's really quite cool.

Anyway, if you are curious in reading the prologue and first chapter of Alex, do check it out here: Sneak a Peek

Thursday, July 12, 2007

BABY'S FIRST . . . BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! (UK style)


Yes I am pleased/thrilled/agog to say that the other day I was sent the actual, as in actual, as in actual, version of Alex and the Wigpowder Treasure and it's friggin' glorious! And shiny!!

It's this nice little (as in height wise) chunky book, with little sketches at the start of each chapter of the characters within. It is so well put together, so thought out, it's obvious the people who were working on it love my story as much as I do. Thank you Scholastic UK so very much!

I can't tell you how exciting this is. I mean, I guess you can imagine, but it's seriously overwhelming to the point where all I can really do is stare at it in wonder. I think about all the people who put effort into putting my story into print and it just . . . it's just unbelievable to me. I am a published author. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought such a thing possible. I, Adrienne Kress, have a book. How did this happen? And why have I been so lucky? Well I won't question it, but embrace it (literally, having a hard time physically putting the book down), and show it off to anyone who asks, and really anyone who doesn't!

And now - pictures!!:

(from the front - note the shiny!)

(from the back - still note the shiny!)

To put things in perspective - and the only way I would ever presume to compare myself to Harry Potter:


(well I mean physically, the actual content is so deep it's practically unfathomable)

And here is the inside of chapter one - note the great little character sketches at the top, and the little sort of dotted map lines that cross over both pages (and how the page numbers are framed by portholes)?
- so cool!!


I'm really happy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vacation Slides

So as most of you know I was in Newfoundland for a family wedding two weeks ago, but I haven't been able to post pics yet (camera issues). Anyway, now I can! Yay! We went sight seeing, saw puffins, icebergs and whales. I went to George Street St John's on Canada day and it was crazy! And of course the wedding was beautiful. All in all, a lovely time.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with writing or acting at all, but I like the pictures so I wanted to share.

Without further ado:

A room with a view (harbour of St John's).

Iceberg, dead ahead!

Me very cold on the sight seeing boat thingy.

My dad very cold on the sight seeing boat thingy.

Me and my mom (I may look a bit odd in this one, but she looks good!)

Artsy pictures:

Black and white photo inside The Rooms (a museum in St John's).

Ice berg photo pretending to be Group of Seven painting.

Small coastal town.

And there you go! Not too overwhelming I think, not too many pictures to sit through, simply a taste to whet your appetite. Isn't it beautiful there? You simply all must go, there is nothing more to it. Get thee to Newfoundland! To Newfoundland, go!

Monday, July 09, 2007

What's up with the posting every day?

Don't ask me. But suddenly I find myself having much I want to show and tell with you all.

Yesterday it was a tell, today a show.

I have been reviewed! It's very cool, very odd, and very flattering. So check it out here at SmartGirl!

I am also up on the Scholastic UK site as "Coming in August" which is also very cool!

And now to write a sequel!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Here's kind of a weird thing.

When I turn on the hot water in my kitchen it runs cold until I go into the washroom and turn on the hot water of my bathtub. Once that has run warm I turn it off and the water in the kitchen runs hot. I thought at first maybe it was just by the time I got back to the kitchen the water had heated up. So I played with the timing.

Nope. It's all about the bathtub.

It's kinda a weird thing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My glamorous cast!

As many of you know, not only am I an author extraordinaire, I am also an actress/director of fabulous wonderfulness. If you don't know this, I suggest you re-read the name of my blog.

As you also may know from previous posts, I am directing a play I wrote a few years back for a theatre festival here in Toronto. The play is called A Weekend in the Country. The festival, SummerWorks (sounds very film noir those last two phrases).

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in a wee little update as to the goings on in that area of my life. And if you aren't, well, tough.

First of all I am happy to announce that I have a cast! This is very exciting because without a cast there would be no play. It is important to have actors when doing a play. Write that down for future reference.

My cast is awesome! We started rehearsals last week and they really are rather good. Intuitive and fun, and very hard working.

The day before I left for Newfoundland we did a photoshoot (as I may have mentioned briefly, can't remember) for photos for the press pack. A press pack is something you send out to reviewers and stuff in the hopes of enticing them to come to the show and spread the good word. I wanted all 7 of my actors in the shot, as it is very much an ensemble piece (unfortunately one of my actors was on the west coast, so I had to sit in for her - we have the same colouring and stuff, still it was too bad she couldn't be in the picture, though of course we will take others over the course of rehearsals). And I thought the best way to do it, since we didn't have any posh living room or anything, was to be very Vanity Fair about the whole thing and make it look like an obvious studio shot. I had a nice chat with the photographer about my vision (the brother of one of my actors, Ezra Teitel), and had a nice back and forth, and he totally came through for us.

So here is my very sexy, fabulous cast in what I call their post-hunt-in-the-English-countryside attire (and while she is not in the picture, I can assure you the missing actress, Lisa Warner, is incredibly sexy as well):

(left to right: Michael Leventis as the POET, Hannah Cheesman as the ACTRESS, Julian DeZotti as the BUSINESSMAN, Tim Chisholm as RICHARD, Darrah Teitel as the DIRECTOR, Philip Borg as the PROFESSOR, and me, though technically, Lisa Warner as the HOUSE WIFE)

It took a good 4 hours to get ready and take the photos, and I would like to point out that not only are the carpets from my living room, but many of the cast members are wearing my clothes (including Tim who is wearing my sweater and thankfully you can't tell how tight it is on him) - my apartment is still a bit of a disaster area, I haven't put everything away yet - I am lazy as we all know.

Now I must dash and finish writing the press release as well as schedule next week's rehearsals (can't do Wednesday night, Harry Potter tickets already purchased)!

Just thought y'all might find this kind of interesting!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Check out Ted's new Jacket!

At least his "made in the USA" jacket!

Just a quick post to show and tell really! You've already seen the UK jacket, it's only right . . . [ooh at this moment I should probably share with you that I've received the official UK jacket in the mail and it's totally shiny, kind of like aluminum - aluminium for our UK readers! So friggin cool!]

So the full thing:

And the thing in bits:
(synopsis - front flap)

(cover and spine)

(back cover with blurb [by Mr. Eoin Colfer - ehem])

(author bio and picture - back flap)

Isn't it just like so totally awesome!! The worn leather look! The octopus tentacles reaching round! The bar code! Yes a bar code!

Revel in the bar code my readers, revel in the bar code!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

And sometimes I'm just a darn flaky artiste!

Hello all! I'm back from the furthest east you can go in North America (well I think there is actually still a jury out on that one, but I'm still saying it so there)!

It was a lovely trip and I shall regale you with details anon, but I can't hook up my camera to my computer yet, and the story requires pictures so you'll all just have to be patient. Thank you all so much for your well wishes on my birthday! It was a lovely day, and the wedding was so nice, but again . . . pictures.

Anyway, as such I thought I would go back to that blog entry I did ages ago where I asked for suggestions on what to write about here at The Temp, The Actress and The Writer and talk about one of those topics today. And I thought I would address something that has come up a few times in the comments section, and just really in life in general.

And that is: "What the heck are you up to now anyway, writing wise?"

The short answer is I am writing the sequel to Alex. In fact that tends to be the only answer as I haven't really answered the question in any great detail. The reason for that is that sometimes I'm just a darn flaky artiste.

Now what do I mean by that kind of insulting phrase? I mean that for the first time, I think really ever, I am surprisingly protective of my writing. You may have already got the sense from this blog that I'm pretty open about stuff, and have no issues showing off really cool stuff to do with me. Whenever I have written anything in the past I have been very happy to let anyone, heck everyone, read over my glorious prose. Even if I know it isn't quite right yet, it has never really been an issue for me as I've always assumed I'd be able to fix it up.

But this time. This time. I dunno. I feel . . . nervous. Now this isn't to say I don't like what I'm writing. I must confess there are several moments in this new book that amuse me highly. And heck I read the odd section to my parents over the phone, but no one has seen the lion's share of it. It's not finished true. But it's getting pretty close, and I still haven't shared it with anyone. Not even you, my sexy readers.

Why is this, is then the logical next question I must ask myself. Fear, I suppose. I mean I've never written to a deadline before. Expectations, no doubt. Lots of people seem to be enjoying Alex, will this one live up to it? Tradition. My agent says that the second book does tend to be the hardest. But I also think there is something truly artist diva about me right now, a part of me that wants to keep the story to myself, a part of me that likes the intimate relationship I am having with the characters, and doesn't want to share it just yet. And that totally freaks me out, because I have always tried to disassociate myself from such 'artiste' sounding things, to be, as a matter of fact, the anti-artiste.

So I am fighting not only a strange battle with actually sharing the work with someone, but an internal struggle too that is dealing with the pragmatic versus the creative.

It's all rather interesting.

Anyway . . . .

All that said, I am going to just brave it (I did say back at New Year's it was the year of being brave) and tell you a little bit about the sequel itself.

First of all it isn't really what you are going to expect as it doesn't start off with Alex at all. Instead we are introduced to Timothy Freshwater, a boy often told he is too smart for his own good. What happens is we follow his adventure until two thirds of the way into the book, where he meets up with Alex. So in a way it is a bit like both their adventures are running parallel to each other and then continue on together for the last third of Timothy's story. And I so can't tell you much more on that tract because then I'd be giving away the end of Alex's adventure.

. . . in fact . . .

. . . I don't want to give away too much about Timothy's adventure either. I do want to say it involves a dragon, but maybe I shouldn't as it isn't the kind of dragon one usually expects. Well maybe I won't mention it then. Just to be safe.

So there you go. A little inside scoop. A tiny taster in one of those ridiculously small pink plastic spoons from Ye Old Ice Cream Shoppe (interestingly did you know that back in the day "Ye" was not pronounced how we pronounce it, but rather the "Y" represented a "Th" sound so actually back in the day they just said the word as we do?) I hope you found it flavourful.

And I totally promise pictures next time!

It's good to be back.