QUIBBLES & BITS
My son and his friend, a chef at the 5-star Broadmoor Hotel, wanted to open a restaurant. The woman who owned the building didn't want to lease to a kid with hair down to his butt (my son Jon). When the woman heard that I would co-sign the lease, she was ecstatic. She had read my first two books and figured I was . . . what's the expression? Oh, yeah, rolling in dough.
I was a lecturer for Weight Watchers when I had the idea for my first mystery novel, Throw Darts at a Cheesecake -- killing off dieters when they reached their goal weights (the original title was The Diet Club Murders). At which point, I quit my two "real jobs" (writing for a newspaper and playing an extra for Paramount) and started waiting tables so I'd have more time to write. This is just temporary, I thought. I'll sell my book to a major publisher (I liked kangaroos, so that meant Pocket) and soon I'll be rolling in dough. Seven years later, I sold Throw Darts at a Cheesecake on a two-book contract and wrote the second in the series, Beat Up a Cookie.
In the beginning of a waitress career that spanned 17 years [I kid you not], I looked for PR opportunities -- a way to slip my author's status into the conversation. But early on I figured what the...heck.
"How's your lasagna?" I'd ask. "And by the way, I'm a published author."
The B Daltons across the street carried my books. The manager, Richard, a smart Cookie, ordered 100 "Cheesecake" hardcovers from my publisher [Walker]. The first month he sold 98 and I made my first bestseller list. So now I could quit waiting tables, right?
Surely you jest.
My "guests" [the people I served] would almost always ask: "If you're a published author, why are you working as a waitress?"
I'd respond, "Shhhh, I'm undercover, planning to write the quintessential restaurant exposé."
The kids I worked with would say, "How is your book doing, Deni? Are you making lots of money?"
"Sure," I'd say. "I'm only waiting tables because it's cheaper than joining a gym and working out."
When I began writing EYE OF NEWT, I worked at a restaurant in Manitou Springs, Colorado, where you can find Covens in the phone directory. The regulars would oft ask what book I was working on. When I said a mystery starring a witch, they'd reach for their wallets and hand me a business card and say, "Call me if you need any help with the witchcraft."
Eye of Newt takes place in the fictitious town of Manitou Falls, nestled between Manitou Springs and Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. I can sell you a map, if you like. It'll supplement my writer's income.
And now, IDLE THOUGHTS re: American Idol:
If you've never seen American Idol, you may skip this part.
Here are some random thoughts on the Idol finale:
I think it was very nice of Bette Midler to get into the spirit of American Idol. She performed a terrific homage to all those bad auditions they love to televise.
It wasn't an homage? Oh.
Aw, Bette, I still love you, but while I realize you couldn't have pulled off Bugle Boy, why not The Rose? My voice isn't what it used to be and I can still sing it. You coulda had some backup for the harmony - Melinda. Or LaKisha. Or Sanjaya whispering.
Why do I age while Gladys Knight keeps getting younger? She looked no older than frickin 30! It isn't fair. And I would be first in line to buy a CD with Gladys, LaKisha and Melinda singing together.
I thought it amazing that I couldn't see the guy who was making Clive Davis' lips move -- best puppeteer ever! I was going to MUTE Clive, but it was like craning my neck to see a side-of-the-road car accident. "Blah, blah, blah...Daughtry rules...blah, blah, blah...Carrie...blah, blah blah...diss TaylorHicks and Katharine McPhee...blah, blah, blah..."
I had forgotten how good Rooooben (Ruben) sounds. It's been what? 15 years since I last saw him?
I think TaylorHicks (I can't seem to separate the two names) should take a laxative before he performs. And maybe a muscle relaxant.
How come the Idol producers didn't think to do a feed from Broadway and spotlight Fantasia singing something from The Color Purple? That would have been a show stopper.
Why have Jennifer Hudson in the audience and not invite her to sing something from Dreamgirls?
I hope they don't put Jordin Sparks on the Carrie Underweight diet.
Why was Kelly Clarkson so angry (at me)? I've never even met the girl.
Simon says (heh, I like that so I'll repeat it)... Simon says he doesn't like "old" or "old-fashioned" on American Idol. So why did the finale showcase:
And finally, I'm glad they found Randy some funkadelic braids he could shave off and sew on his jacket so he wouldn't lose them.
Over and Out,
Deni, who needs to get a life! Oh, wait! So You Think You can Dance has begun. [And Canadian Idol is about to start.]