Monthly Archives: March 2008

I wanna be a Soap Star…

Barbara Vey -- March 31st, 2008


Sunday was a members only day here at Novelists, Inc. in New York.  Understandable since this is a business conference and the authors need a chance to talk their trade without worrying about what they say being taken out of context.  This turned out to be a boon for me.

Jill Hurst, writer/producer of CBS’s The Guiding Light, invited me to a private tour of her workplace.  I was honored to be allowed to see the behind the scenes workings of television.  Every producer’s office doubles as a set for the popular soap opera.  Jill’s office is a seedy motel room complete with a rollaway bed, dark panelling/brick, crooked, tacky pictures (that I was itching to straighten) and even a cracked, stained ceiling (I had a sense of deja vu…think I may have stayed here once).  My favorite was a nail salon with spa area for pedicures.  When the set is needed, the producer packs up and leaves for a while.

Everyone knows I’m not a shopper, but today is the last day of Macy’s flower show.  Yes, they have real flowers everywhere.  But since it’s not open yet, I decided to look for a Starbucks and read a book for an hour (I haven’t had much time for that lately).  I asked a young lady for directions and she was going there too.  That’s how I met Jessica Anderson.  

Jessica is from North Carolina but working in New York while figuring out what she’s meant to do in life.  We talked about being ready when that moment presents itself.  She’s looking for something in a nonprofit organization and possibly out of the country.  I told her I’d ask you all for advice, so post any ideas for Jessica.  After meeting her, I’m sure she’ll make a difference anywhere she ends up. 


Finally get into Macy’s only to find it so packed you can hardly move.  Everyone has cameras out and the flashes are exploding everywhere.  I look around to make sure I’m in a department store, but it truly is dazzling to see all the gorgeous flowers and plants.  Like being in the season of Spring.  After checking out all the floors, I head back to the hotel and am invited to lunch with author Dianne Drake, her husband Joel and author Lou Aronica who explained to me exactly how the bestseller lists are picked (a goofy system if I ever heard one) and how Book Scan works (I need to learn more about this).


Sasha White, Sylvia Day, Diana Peterfreund know how to pick their desserts.


I’m invited back into the conference just in time for the dessert break (they really know how to spread the love).

Meeting up with Holly Jacobs and Susan Gable, I let them twist my arm to try New York pizza and am not disappointed.


C.H. Admirand, Susan Gable, Lynn Miller (aka Meg Lacy), Holly Jacobs…conference organizers extraordinaire

The conference wraps up with a "come as you dress when you write" party which had a few in pajamas.  More food, games, fun, laughs and in the end, hugs, kisses and good byes.  I discovered many new authors and met some I’ve read in the past.  This is one conference I hope I’m invited back to.

Bottom Line:  I heart New York.

Soaps, Graphic Novels and Publicity

Barbara Vey -- March 30th, 2008
Jill Hurst and author Edie Claire

It’s Saturday already and the Novelists, Inc. Conference is in full swing.  This morning’s speaker was Jill Hurst, writer/producer of The Guilding Light on CBS.  Jill filled us in on her rise from part time receptionist to writer/producer and all the stops along the way.  She dished the dirt, but is such a sweet person, it was really clean dirt.  This soap has been on the radio and television for over 71 years.  They must be doing something right.  

Alisa Kwitney, GB Tran, Tricia Narwani

Next up was Graphic Novels.  This was a wonderful insight into the fascinating world of graphic novels, Manga, anime and comic books.  GB Tran is an artist who is developing his own graphic novel by writing the story and drawing the illustrations.  Alisa Kwitney is an author, Editor, DC comics and is writing a Young Adult story that will be illustrated.  Dallas Middaugh is an associate publisher with Del Rey Books/Random House and she picks what’s to be written.  She said Del Rey went from publishing 14 books a year to over 100 a year.  A fast growing trend that could mean a whole different market for authors.

Author Nicole Burnham and Nadia Cornier, agent for the Firebrand Literary Agency talked about the exploding YA (Young Adult) market.  They’re on bestseller lists and the popularity of the series is amazing.  Niki will be writing a book about an intern on a soap opera and has been invited to spend the day on the set of The Guiding Light.  She’ll keep us updated about her adventure.

Shannon Aviles, Jamie Brickhouse

Will a Publicist help your career?  was the question asked but according to Shannon Aviles an independent publicist, there is no easy answer to this question, so you’ll need to individually figure out where you are in your career and what you would need help with.  Jamie Brickhouse, director, HarperCollins Speaker Bureau explained how you can make even more money by polishing up your speaking skills and his company’s approach to it. 

Members of Novelists, Inc. held a members only evening session where they could let their hair down, relax and talk without worrying about saying something that might be taken out of context and posted all over the internet.  Ah, to be a fly on the wall…  Just kidding, I wouldn’t put it out there if it wasn’t an approved comment, but as a reader, it would be so cool to be on the inside.

Bottom Line:  Maybe it’s time for me to write a book so I can join these organizations and be invited to the insider stuff.  How pathetic…I’m thinking of writing a book just because I’m nosy.

Almost an Extra on Law and Order: SVU

Barbara Vey -- March 29th, 2008

Breakfast Buds:  Barbara Meyers, Beth Ciotta, Lori Avacato, Mary Stella

Friday morning came early with a quick Continental breakfast and speaker David Wolf, Attorney for the Novelists, Inc. Legal Fund.  He answered questions about legal issues connected to a writing career.  I didn’t realize how much was involved until one writer was explaining about the legalities of action figures based on characters.  Really, how cool would it be to see your favorite characters as action figures?

Next up was keynote speaker Theresa Rebeck who’s first novel, Three Sisters and Their Brother will be out next week.  Theresa is also a playwright, prime-time tv writer, essayist and film writer.  Her new play, Mauritius opened in fall 2007 and she wrote for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, LA Law, Third Watch and NYPD Blue.  Theresa has also produced feature films.  She said  she decided to be a playwright when she realized that "These people don’t have any more talent than me, they have more courage than me."  

My favorite part was when she told us she had to leave the "sitcom psychotic environment."  I always thought writing sitcoms would be a lot of fun.  Apparently not.  After meeting Theresa, I can’t wait to read her book.

Jennifer Enderlin, Jennifer Crusie and Laura Resnick.
My lunch buddies.  Top:  Ann Roth, Barbara Meyers, Leigh Riker. Bottom:  Sylvie Kurtz, Joanna Novins, Susan Lyons

Jennifer Crusie and her editor Jennifer Enderlin discussed "Taking Chances in Publishing."  They’ve worked together for 12 years and it showed with their easy banter.  

I had to leave early to run over to the St. Regis Hotel for high tea where I met local authors Dee Davis and

Dee Davis and Kathleen O’Reilly

Kathleen O’Reilly.  This place was absolutely gorgeous with an extensive tea list (I had decaf coffee, pathetic, I know).  Then came the bite size sandwiches and decadent desserts.  What a delicious way to meet two new (to me) authors who had me laughing to the point of tears.  (I want you to know that I walked 24 blocks back to the hotel to work some of this off)

The cocktail party was a great time for everyone to kick back after a long day of seminars, and editor/agent meetings.  This group cleans up well.


Sarah Wendall, Mary Stella, Karen Auerbach (Director of Publicity, Kensington), Kate Duffy and Beth Ciotta.  Not pictured:  LaToya Smith, Editor, Grand Central Publishing who had to leave early.

Dinner was a romance lovefest at Grand Central Station.  Kate Duffy (Editorial Director at Kensington) brought together a mix of authors, editors, publicist and bloggers for an unforgettable evening of romance trivia, publishing history and famous people encounters (Kate’s dad’s college roommate was on PT 109 with JFK and Mary Stella ran into Jackie Kennedy…literally).  I got to meet Sarah Wendall (Smart Bitches/Trashy Books) who calls Kate "the Julia Childs of romance" and will have a book published next year with her fellow blogger, Candy, about a guide to romance.  Congrats Sarah and Candy!

Kate, being the super hostess she is, managed to have us at the  restuarant just as they were shooting an episode of Law and Order: SVUBeth Ciotta was having a squee moment and asked me to take a picture of actor Christopher Meloni.  Well, the assistant director starting yelling at me about no flashes and I thought security was going to come after me.  

Bottom Line:  Mariska Hargitay was there too, but Beth didn’t want a picture of her.  Thank goodness, I probably would have been arrested.
                                                           

 

Let’s Get this Party Started

Barbara Vey -- March 28th, 2008

Heading to the airport at 5 a.m. isn’t pretty in anybody’s book, but I lucked out meeting up with author Lori Devoti and we were on the same plane to the Novelists, Inc. Conference in New York.  Since we managed to keep a lively conversation going, we were in Newark before we knew it.  Then we hopped on a train that took us right into Penn Station.  (side note:  I would never make it in The Amazing Race.  I had to stop and ask directions every 10 feet.)

Charles and Judy Baer good Samaritians

Here’s one of my (many) glitches.  After we get off the train, we have to climb up about 100 stairs.  No elevators or escalators in sight and I’m holding up the flow of traffic trying to lug my suitcase and computer case (which weighs a ton) up the stairs.  While attempting this feat, I asked a couple if I was going the right way (I’ve been known to get lost a time or two).  They answered yes and the man immediately grabbed my bag and carried it up for me.  I told him that I didn’t know New Yorkers were so nice and he said they were from New Jersey.  


Anne Gracie, Susan Gable, Ken Casper, Lori DeVoti, Linda Barrett, me and Garda Parker at an Irish Pub.

The hotel is right across the street from the train station, but they didn’t have my reservation (this happens to me all the time, but I had a copy of my confirmation,  woohoo!).  Holly Jacobs and Susan Gable of Novelists, Inc. came to my rescue and I plan on sticking close to them.  They know everything and I’ve heard that Holly is the Goddess of the Universe.  

Then off to lunch with super editor Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester Publishing.  I felt like I was eating the food from Top Chef.  Poached pear salad and strips of filet mignon all with a bunch of fancy stuff that I’d heard of, but never ate before.  Yummy!  I’m sure I used up all my Weight Watcher points just reading the menu.

Nap time (did I mention I got up at 4 a.m.?) was necessary then off to dinner (yes, I was hungry again) at an Irish Pub with 6 terrific authors I plan to get to know better.  I had corned beef and cabbage.  Excellent food and my room has a kitchenette so I could bring the leftovers back with me.

Charlotte Hubbard, Hope Tarr and Mary Jo Putney get the party started

Finished off the evening with a get-together and registration.   I could hear the party when I got off the elevator.  The small, overly warm room was packed with writers, balancing plates of food and drink while laughing, hugging and catching up.   The smell of chocolate permeated the air.  These are my kind of people.

Bottom Line:  “Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines." ~ David Letterman  
                               
                                                  

Excuse me…are you somebody?

Barbara Vey -- March 27th, 2008
No, I don’t think Jake Gyllenhaal will be at the conference.  Darn!!

By the time you read this, I’ll be on the plane to New York City.  Probably ho-hum to a lot of you, but for me, it’s pretty darn special.  I’ll be attending the Novelists, Inc. Conference.  Since I’ve never been, I’m happy to write about it and hopefully discover some new and maybe not so new authors.  I can’t tell you who will be there except for the speakers and some panels because I couldn’t get a list of the authors attending.  

This is only a problem because I like to read up on the people I’ve never heard of (there’s a few writers out there that I’m not familiar with…yet).  I don’t like to meet someone and not have a clue what they’ve written.  I’m sure the organization has their reasons for keeping it secret, but I can’t figure it out. (Most conferences have a booksigning, so the website ususally has a list of the authors.  Since this is a business conference, there won’t be a signing.)

So, my plan of action is to find someone who knows everyone and hang with them.  Of course, they may get suspicious when I keep saying, "Who’s that?"  (Because you know, some pictures that authors have on their books may have been air brushed just a little or maybe was taken 20 years ago and I sure don’t want to be the one who says, "OMG, you don’t look anything like your picture!"  But really, I only said that once.)

Since so many of you have attending a lot of conferences (or anything else that had people you’ve read, but never met in person), how did you handle not knowing who’s who?  Did you just walk up to them and ask who they were?  Were you ever disappointed?  Shocked into saying something you regretted?  How did you phrase it ("are you someone important?")?  Did anyone ever approach you?  What did they say?  How did you feel about it?

Bottom Line:  If you see me in New York, just assume I have no clue who you are and introduce yourself.  I love meeting people and then I can ask you who everyone else is.

Book Blurbs for the Week

Barbara Vey -- March 26th, 2008

   
Starting tomorrow I’ll be blogging from New York where I’ll be attending the Novelists, Inc. Conference.  You’ll be able to recognize me because I’ll be the one gawking at the tall buildings and looking for famous people.  My faithful camera will be traveling with me, so who knows what you’ll be seeing here the next few days (you know I never did find that naked, unconscious guy in New Orleans, but there’s a good possibility he might be in New York).

Now on to the WW ladies and friends blurbs for the week.
     
Hard to Handle
(SBC Fighters, Book 3) by Lori Foster

Read by Joyce   Harley Handleman’s one big dream is to win the championship belt in Mixed Marshal Arts, also Extreme Fighting.  Each of the three times he’s been up for the big bout, however, something has come up that has taken him out the match before he even gets there.  Determined to beat fate and win this time, he seeks the isolation of a mountain cabin for a winter month to devote to serious training.  He’s especially committed to having no distractions, like a relationship with a woman any deeper than a one night stand.   Though she’s only met him during a rental transaction, Anastasia Bradley admires Harley Handleman’s dedication and determination, and saves her second cabin each year for him and his training.  When suspicious occurrences put Anastasia in danger, they find themselves thrown together more closely than either likes, and the attraction is more than either wishes to admit.     This contemporary romance is Lori Foster’s third book about the SBC fighters circle of friends and their world of competition. While I don’t have an appreciation for the sport or its like, the age old "dreams of success" story still works for modern readers and Lori Foster tells it well.  


Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Read by Loretta 
   The author commands your attention from the Prologue to the last page of this frightening tale.  The setting is a college campus.  The heroine, Kristi, thinks it is strange that four girls who are missing, were enrolled in the course on "vampires."   Lisa Jackson is a master of intrigue and her graphic descriptions stop you cold -  how about:  "A wisping fog was rising from the damp ground" or "darkness caressed her windows."  Gave me goosebumps!   You will love the twists and turns in this frightening tale.  I did.


Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eisler
                         Read by Michael  

This is the sixth book in Barry Eisler’s action thriller series about a professional hit man.
      When introduced in the first book, John Rain appears to be a simple cold blooded killer – a specialist who does his job well.  But as the stories progress, we discover that he is a much more complicated person who has been out on his own for too long, and has lost his moral compass.  As he gradually learns to trust and love, he also has to deal with the fact that he isn’t young anymore – he needs help to get the job done.  In this latest book, his new partner is in jeopardy and John realizes he can’t do it all alone, that he is going to need some professional assistance from the same people who once tried to kill him.

 

It was a pleasure to read an action thriller in which the main characters are both intelligent and competent, and don’t seem to suffer the smug moral superiority often found in this genre.  I suggest starting at the beginning of the series and enjoying the journey.

                   

The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale

Read by Judy

The setting is Enlgland  in the 19th Century.   But this is anything but the usual Romance Story of that time.  Laura takes you on a journey to far away lands with  customs and beliefs that  are so different from the conservative London Society.

Two unlikely souls meet in the desert, each on a quest for something different from what they  have, yet neither realizes what they are looking for.  Lord Winter the family rebel, always seeking some new adventure in the far away lands. Sellim, or rather Zenia seeking to establish her true heritage and find her father.

Discovery how they each fight their demons both real  and  perceived, while running from that which they want most.

A truly captivating book.
                                  


No One Left to Tell by Jordan Dane

Read by Michelle
 
This was a gripping story of detective Raven, who finds herself in the mist of past lives that wont rest.  She meets Christian who is her biggest source of unease.  Watching the events of his life unfolding, she still wonders if he is to be trusted.  Makes you want to clean those skeletons out of the closet!  

What a gripping novel…it had me in just three pages.  I found my self reading it every spare moment. 
                 
                                                             
                                
 

Succubus on Top  by Richelle Mead              
Read by Joyce   Other than the fact that Georgina Kincaid is an immortal succubus, she’s lives a relatively normal life as an assistant manager of a book store in Seattle with her cat in an average apartment building, and loves to go dancing.  She hangs around with her friends, both human (oblivious) and supernatural, and does her demonic thing only when she must to survive.  She’s concerned when her friend and co-worker Doug starts displaying extreme and erratic behavior, and Georgina determines she must interfere with the distribution of a substance that is more than diabolical.   I had a good time reading about Georgina and her friends in the first book, Succubus Blues, and it was a pleasure to see what’s happening to them in this new story. There are a couple characters that strike me as sexy and attractive, and I’m not certain that’s even supposed to be part of their nature.  Maybe they’re enticing because they’re so mysterious and powerful.  I think Succubus on Top could be read independently because Richelle Mead was able to incorporate a summary of the first book into it so well, but you probably wouldn’t want to miss the first one anyway.
Bottom Line:  "Practically everyone in New York has a half a mind to write a book…and does." ~ Groucho Marx

Author…Promote Thyself

Barbara Vey -- March 25th, 2008


Recently, I was talking to several authors who have books coming out this year.  The main topic was how to promote their books.  Speaking as a reader, I say, "What’s to do?  Don’t the publishers advertise, market the book, set up signings and get you on Oprah?"  

They all look at me like I just crawled out from under a rock.  After listening to the authors, it appears to be more like, "Every writer for themself."  I’m assured that the "big name" authors are promoted by the publishers, but regular, everyday writers are left to their own devices. 

So, what’s the most effective method to promote a new book?  The talk shifts to conferences and what to bring.  Bookmarks are the favorite, along with magnets, pens, button pins, candy and calendars.  Then setting up your own book signings.   Calling bookstores to see if they’ll allow you to set up shop. 

Keeping your website updated is key.  You want to have your new book front and center, with a clickable button that allows prospective readers to "Buy the Book."  Then you need a MySpace page so you can send out bulletins and personal blogs from there.  And since you’re on MySpace, you might as well get on Facebook.  
                                                                          

Click Here to Buy the Book

Wait, you blog on MySpace, well, you’d better blog on your website and what about your author group website?  Now the latest is a Blog Tour.  I’ve received several requests asking if authors can guest blog on Beyond Her Book (sorry, not at this time).  But you can still Tour on other author sites, reader sites, reviewer sites, publisher sites and bookseller sites.  That’s a lot of blogging.  Do you recycle the same blog to save some time or do you do a special blog for each site, gearing it to that audience?  And what about getting people to review your book?


So now you tell me…how do you promote your books?  What works and what doesn’t?  Should it all be up to the author?  How much more should a publisher do (or not do)?  How much time/money/energy should be spent on it?  And readers, do you notice these extra efforts?  Which promotions make you sit up and take notice?

Bottom Line:  Ah, while you’re busy doing all this promoting…when do you have time to write that next book?
                                                                                                                                           

 

This, that and the other thing Monday

Barbara Vey -- March 24th, 2008

Well, are you all coming down from your sugar highs?  I know I am.  It’s those darn Peeps that do me in.  You know, the little, yellow marshmallow chicks.  Of course, I like them after they’ve been sitting out a week or so, then they’re nice and hard.  Unfortunately, my sister only had fresh ones and when I saw my brother scarfing them all down I had to make a quick grab for one or have to wait another year.  Alas, 1 led to 2 and then I knew I was out of control when I was trying to talk my 2 year old nephew into trading his Peep to me for 3 chocolate eggs and 2 malted milk eggs while my lips and fingers were still sticky with sugar from my last Peep.  I know…pathetic.

Now on to Monday’s This, that and the other thing, with news, notes, kudos and other things of interest sent to me by you.  If you have anything you’d like noted in the blog, please email me with your stuff by clicking here.


First off, my news of the week.  I’ll be heading to New York on Thursday to attend the Novelists Inc. Conference.  I’ll be blogging through Sunday about the conference, so check in every day.  By the way, I’m still looking for anyone with connections to Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert since they are on my must see list of attractions in New York.

From author  Edie RamerKarin Tabke, Tawny Weber, and I started a Yahoo group called Writers Promo Tips, a place where writers can share promotion tips.  We set it up eight days ago, and already have more than 160 members and a ton of great information.  (Edie, with such a fast growth, it’s obvious that your site was much needed and will be very successful)


From author Jeri Smith-Ready:  The urban fantasy group I belong to, Fangs Fur & Fey, will be hosting a mini-con (or a ’con within a con’, if you will) at Conestoga, so I’ll get to meet a lot of cool people I’ve had the privilege to interact with over the last several months.  (Those cons are so much fun.  Hmmm…maybe next year.)

From author Jennifer Leeland:   Born to author Dayna Hart on Easter Sunday….Baby Boy 9 lbs, 5 oz at 5:47 this morning!!  (Congrats to Dayna, hubby and baby!!)

Last week I wrote about author Beth Watson auditioning for Johnny Depp’s new movie, Public Enemies and her on location adventure.  Beth posted on the blog later in the week, so in case you missed it, here’s the update:

Hi All!  Well, back home to reality after 3 days of watching the filming of Public Enemies in Columbus WI.  Best mini vacation I’ve had in a long time. (Although this was partially work related of course.) 


Being a huge movie buff, a fan of the 1930s, and JD (that’s what his assistant calls him) I found the whole experience simply incredible! Besides feeding my muse, getting it psyched up to start the rewrites on my puppeteer book, I was inspired with a plot for another book. Yay! I took some great pics I plan to plaster on my desk to help my hero get into character. That’s one of the things I admire about JD is his ability to play an eclectic array of characters. He’s extremely diverse, which is one reason he has such a large fan base. Was thinking I should pick up a "how to" book for actors, on how to get into character. Would probably be quite insightful. My "research" ended last night at 8:30pm with JD walking by us fans, giving us a photo op (unfortunately it was dark out but I got an okay shot with him literally 5 feet away!) and doing his signature bow, thanking us for being a great crowd. He really seems to be a humble and gracious person. 

They actually removed all the real snow and blew Hollywood snow right before each shoot. Now if they’d waited until today they’d have had 15 inches of the stuff.  I hope one day a Hollywood producer catches wind of my then published book and thinks, "Hey what a great role for Johnny." :-) Then of course they’ll hire me to help adapt the book to a screenplay.  

I am still holding out hope for an extra’s part. I was told people will be called over the duration of the filming which is set to take place for a few months yet. I haven’t given up hope. Thanks so much Barbara for inviting me to blog about my experience! This has been a great time! Hopefully I’ll be blogging about my extras role in the near future!  (Beth, we’re all pulling for you to get a part so we can live vicariously through you)

Finally,  the winners of the 100 books giveaway were announced here and I’m still waiting to hear from some of you with your addresses.  Last chance to check the list and email me with your snail mail address.  Wednesday I’ll start picking new names.

Bottom Line:   I just found out they have a Peeps Fan Club. Yikes!!  I wonder if there is a "Peeps Anonymous" group I can join.
           

I’m Off To Whoville

Barbara Vey -- March 21st, 2008


Well, I’m off to visit Whoville today.  My grandkids are coming to town (first visit to my house in 2 years).  They live out of state, so it’s always been easier for me to go there.  But they will be spending the night and this is one excited Nana.  

But, back to Whoville.  Horton Hears a Who! is the must see movie of spring break.  With Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Carol Burnett lending their voices, I’m expecting great things.  Throw in buttered popcorn, soda, Twizzlers and Milk Duds, it becomes an event of major proportions.  Of course, I could sit between Alex 7, and Lydia, 5 and have the worst movie ever made playing and still enjoy my time with them.  

I’ve always been a huge Dr. Seuss fan.  My kids had all the books and they loved when I read them fast (which wasn’t always easy with those crazy made up words).  But wasn’t that the fun of it?  Made up words that defied definition.  Crazy situations and crazy characters.  Imagination run amuck.  And how many of us can immediately fall into the, "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…" recital?


Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book?  Are there certain sayings you just can’t get out of your head?  Did your kids make you read them over and over again?  What’s their staying power?  Have you seen Horton (don’t tell me the ending)?

Bottom Line:  Yesterday was the first day of spring, so of course, we have a snowstorm going on here in Wisconsin and expecting 12-15 inches of snow!  That’s it…I’m moving to Whoville.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!

Barbara Vey -- March 20th, 2008

Andrew and Jean, aspiring extras

The headline in the Milwaukee Journal read, "Great Faces Sought for Depp Film."  What’s this?  The Johnny Depp?  Yes, you heard it right.  Johnny Depp will be in Wisconsin filming "Public Enemies," a film set in the 1930′s with Johnny as John Dillinger and they were casting for extras.  I thought about it for about 30 seconds before I realized I would have to stand outside in 20 degree weather for hours in period clothing.

Well, my darling son, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Jean, braved the cold.   According to Andrew, the line moved slow,  went down three blocks and then around the corner.  They couldn’t see where it ended and were fine until the sun went down.  Then it was unbearably cold.  Everyone in line seemed really nice and the people around them were talking as if they have been extras in other movies before.  It was so cold that when they got to the FRONT of the line where they handed out the applications, their hands couldn’t even hold the pen to fill it out.  Unfortunately, they weren’t picked.  (Which I don’t understand at all because they look adorable)

Then I met author Beth Watson at the WisRWA meeting and she was talking about her experience "auditioning"  for the movie.   In her words:

Rather than anxiously awaiting “the call” from an editor or agent, I am hoping to receive one shortly informing me that I will be starring with Johnny Depp in the upcoming movie "Public Enemies," which begins production here in Wisconsin this next week.  Okay, it really wouldn’t be a “starring” role, more of a “non-speaking-blend-into-the-background extras role.”  The perfect role for me since should I come within a half mile of Johnny, I would be incapable of uttering one single coherent word. 

Let me assure you—as I have my dear hubby—my purpose here is one of research necessity, NOT to stalk Johnny Depp.  He was the muse for the hero in my latest novel—a Bohemian puppeteer living in Paris.  As any writer knows, thorough research and feeding one’s muse are critical to ensure a well-written book. 

Two weeks ago, I was stuck in Utah on business when I learned the casting call for movie extras was being held in Oshkosh on Saturday.  Already Thursday, I spent every free moment I had frantically scouring the web for 1930s period attire, only to find items three sizes to big, unavailable, or perfect but at a vintage shop located in New Zealand or the U.K.!  I flew home Friday night a bit disheartened, but not defeated.   

Saturday morning, I zipped threw the doors of Target at 8a.m. and purchased a set of hair curlers so I could attempt the “combed out curled hairstyle” requested by the casting director.  After a quick lesson in the art of setting curlers, and improvising with a dark plum overcoat and retro fake fur scarf I luckily had on hand, my husband whisked me off to Traeger Middle School in Oshkosh—an hour and a half north of Milwaukee. 

Upon arrival, I refused to be intimidated by the number of aspiring models and actresses presenting professionally airbrushed photos, or the masses of people dressed in period attire, for I quickly noticed I possessed something many of them didn’t.  I’d recently turned forty!  A fact I hadn’t celebrated until that very moment.  As I gazed gleefully around at my competition, I estimated that seventy percent were in their early thirties or younger, and twenty percent were over fifty.  My age group was far from well represented.  Finally, a point in my favor.  

Two hours later, I was herded into a room with about a hundred and fifty other hopefuls, and the casting director informed us that they were looking for women who were a size twelve or smaller (check), under 5’8” (check—I’m 5’3”) and pale skinned (check—haven’t tanned since 1994).  After holding up a sheet of paper that read “number 2000+” for my “one” mug shot, I left with my fingers crossed and the hope that I would be receiving a call in the near future. 

Johnny Depp (in white scarf) on location in WI

I’m still waiting on the call, but like any resourceful writer, I have Plan B in the works.  I am off to Columbus, WI where filming begins March 17th, armed with binoculars, a step stool (remember I’m only 5’3”) and an 8 x 10 glossy of Johnny Depp.  Oh, and of course, my writing journal for jotting down research notes.  After all, that’s the main purpose of my trip. 

Wish me luck!

Well, even though Beth wasn’t picked either, she is in Columbus and has let me know that got within 20 feet of JD.  She mingled with the production crew and they let her hold the Action! clapboard.   And what would you do to be in a Johnny Depp movie? 

Bottom Line:  Johnny, if you’re reading this, next time film during warmer weather and I’m so there.