Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Helen's Happy Hour

Welcome to happy hour. That's HHH to you!

That's me over there on the left, sipping-- okay, okay, gulping-- my martini and breathing a huge sigh of relief at having finally, finally, finished revisions on my second book. I normally never wear that bright of lipstick, but, hey, this is a blog. I can step out a bit, right?

Especially since these were hard revisions. After already
cutting over 100 pps from this single title manuscript, the Superromance line officially dropped another 10,000 words. I had to come up with another 35 pps I could live without. I've lost two entire subplots and hacked off a chunk of a third, but the main story-line survived. Yay!

As official bartender, I'm ready to celebrate, commiserate, discuss, ruminate, encourage, you name it. First one up to the comment bat, gets to pick the topic!

Oh, and I've been informed that as bartender I pick the martini of the day. You get to choose between the Johnny Drunken Appleseed (it's apple orchard season in Minnesota) or the Mr. Oddjobs Wedgie Orange martini.


Toni Lea Andrews said...

Well, before the discussion begins, as official bartender you should choose the martini of the day. And, participants, remember to pace yourselves. Never forget the truth about martinis:

Martinis, my dear, are deceptive.
Have one or two at the most.
Three and you're under the table.
Four and you're under the host.

(Sorry, don't know who wrote this.)

anne frasier said...


i'll have another, helen!

love the photo!

and thanks for reminding me to pack my russian red Mac lipstick. i'm heading off to bouchercon in the morning. apparently boucheron is the biggest mystery conference in the galaxy. not sure russian red lipstick will be appropriate unless i end up in some smoky, dark bar under a table. we can always hope!!

Helen Brenna said...

Nothing I like better than a challenge, Toni! Let me think on it a minute. I'll be back.

Helen Brenna said...

Generous bartender than I am, I've given everyone TWO martinis to choose from:
The Johnny Drunken Appleseed, or the Mr. Oddjobs Wedgie Orange martini. (Recipes on the posting board.)

Gotta love those names!

Anne, I would think red lipstick and mystery conference go hand in hand. Is Boucheron the name of the conference or the city? Where is it?

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hey Helen! Are you buying? :)
Lifting my glass to you. Congrats on finishing revision nightmares!!!

Way to go girl! This is something alot of writers need to hear--especially new ones. You're willing to do the job. It's major hard work cutting things you love. Murdering the proverbial 'darlings.' I admire you for treating it like a business. It's art, but it's commercial art.

My revisions usually consist of adding subplot. My roots are as a short story writer. So I tend to be too brief. :)

Authors who write really long books astonish me.

Good on ya girl!

Helen Brenna said...

Kat - Yay! Thanks for stopping by. Of course I'm buying. What're ya havin'?

Yes, I write long. I've been writing ST, but selling in Long contemp. And you're right, it's a business.

I have to say, though, one of the subplot cuts really bummed me out. He was my favorite villain that I talked about in a previous post. Have even started a book for the guy.

He'll be back!

Helen Brenna said...

Technical difficulties with the martini recipes. They messed up the blog on Explorer, so I'll figure out another way to get them up.


Betina Krahn said...

I want a Drunken Johnny Appleseed! I love apple anything! Hey, Toni-- great to see you! And Anne-- oooh, Bouchercon-- that should be a hoot!

Helen's celebrating finished revisions, Anne's about to take off. . . well, I'm celebrating baby girls and second careers and fresh starts! I just heard from my agent that she LOVED my new proposal and I'm so excited to be writing the right contemporary women's fiction story for me! This is such fun, it ought to be outlawed.

Like this martini! I'm not a big drinker, but I could do a few of these and never feel it!

;) Betina

Betina Krahn said...

And hey, Kathleen! Great to have you here! How cold is it in Minnesota now? Do I get to gloat about Florida warmth and sunshine yet?

;) Betina

Debra Dixon said...

I'll have one!

I need a drink dangling from my fingers to complete my party girl look even though I don't drink.

I have spiral curled hair. I'm don't normally have spiral curled hair.

My hairdresser decided that since she can't really "cut" my hair now that I'm growing it out for "Locks of Love" (they make wigs for cancer patients) that I'm growing it out, she does something to it each time I come. Sometimes I get fabulous french braids.

Today I have "model hair" made with some kind of curling iron device. I'm talking serious hair. Took her an hour to do and she only did it for fun. It would have taken several hours if she'd done the real version.

Apparently I'm the "test subject" for some wedding hair she has coming up.

So raise a glass to my hair!

Helen Brenna said...

Yay, Betina! So glad your agent LOVED your new contemp idea. Cheers to you!

Betina Krahn said...

Dang, wish we could post pictures here! I'd give a lot to see Deb's hair right now!

And has anybody got a hot topic to bring up? Any hot-button stuff or great juicy industry gossip to share?

Don't make me pull out my Happy hour game!


Helen Brenna said...

Deb, I know zactly what you're talking about. My daughter just bought one of those curling irons that does those really long, sausage type curls.

First straight hair is all the rage. Now, I guess it's curly hair.

Betina, you want a topic. Hmm ... okay, do you want to tell us even a little eensie teensy bit about your new book?

I just started a new one. A fictitious island. Sounds romantic, right?

Betina Krahn said...

I LOVE island books! What is it about the white sand-turquoise water-swaying palms thing that says romance and adventure with a big R&A? So are your people crashed or are they there voluntarily?

My book is more women's fiction. . . three women. . . sounds kinda boring. . . but, I'm not ready to give details, yet. I've got 20 pages done and I'm loving it.

True Desires taught me I could still write and love writing. So, I'm going wfor what feels good. And of course, for laughs. That's my mission in life. Love and laughter. In all of their quirky forms.

Now, about my Happy Hour game. . .

On another blog --which shall remain nameless-- they talked about who they would like to be sandwiched between in a "luv samwich". . . which two guys, actors, whatever. Whaddaya think? Too kinky for us?

;) Betina

Debra Dixon said...

Love the Luv Sandwich.

I'm voting for Dr. McDreamy and Luke from Gilmore girls.

Betina-- Congrats on loving the new book! That's so very excellent. But I must say that it is bad form to taunt the Minnie-sootans with Florida weather reports! Bad, Betina! Bad, Betina!

Betina Krahn said...

Smack me again, Deb! Wooo!

I guess I should ease up on the martinis.

For me. . . the luv sandwich. . . Hugh Jackman in his Wolverine leathers and Vince Vaughn in. . . whatever he wants!

Whew! It is getting warm in here?


anne frasier said...

I WANT A WEDGIE RIGHT NOW!!! *stomps foot*

that was a setup, right?

helen, bouchercon is in madison this year. i believe the conference was originally started by fans of anthony boucher. next year it's in alaska. doubt i'll make that one, but it would be nice!

thanks for the wedgie. ;)

Robin L said...

Hi everyone,

I kind of feel like I'm crashing a party, but I was invited, I swear! (Hi Betina!)

Do we have to have the signature drink, or can we bring our own? I'd really prefer a Lemon Drop Martini...

And congratulations, Betina, on falling in love with your current project!! AND getting your agent's full support!! Yippee!! I'll toast to that.

Sadly...I don't have any juicy industry gossip. Lately the majority of my writing time has been spent in kid's books, and the gossip there is pretty tame. Well, except for Banned Book Week. That always gets people fired up

I do have a couple of things to celebrate, however. My newest book just hit the shelves a couple of weeks ago (contemporary kids fantasy) AND my new publisher wants a sequel to another book that's coming out in May 07 (historical kid's fantasy) so my dance card is filling up, which is always good news in this industry!

Helen Brenna said...

Anne, a Wedgie it is :)))) How could I pass that one up?

Betina, my island is going to be on Lake Superior. Hah! No palm trees and warm sand for this couple. 3 women does not sound boring. At all. So many possibilities!

And it's quite pleasant in Minnesota, thank you very much!

As for my LUV sandwich, Gerard Butler (sorry, I love the guy) and Johnny Depp. Ooh. La. La.

Helen Brenna said...

Robin, you are definitely NOT crashing any party here. The more the merrier, and congrats on your great news! Full dance cards are good.

I almost posted a recipe for a Lemon Drop martini!

I've started several kids books and a young adult series. One of these days ...

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, and Robin BYOB is always an option. We're easy. Well, I'm easy, anyway!

Betina Krahn said...

Robin! Welcome! We got about sixteen conversations going here-- Deb Dixon, Helen Brenna, Anne Frazier, Kat Baldwin. . . and more, so join in.

And give us your idea of a great "luv samwich!"

Do we get seconds? Like maybe Russell Crowe and Eric Banna(if they didn't start fighting. Would thirds be too greedy? sigh.

Barkeep-- another Johnny Appleseed over here!

Helen Brenna said...

Anne, I just processed the rest of your comment (had a tough time getting past the wedgie part :))

Alaska for a writers conference? That's interesting. Juno or Anchorage?

I've actually been to AK 3 times, and if anyone has an opportunity to go, GO!!

Helen Brenna said...

Okay, Betina. Can you hear the ice shaking?

Betina Krahn said...

Robin-- what's the name of your book? I want to look for it! And wow, it sounds like you're going to be busy. Busy is good!

Historical kids fantasy, eh? That wouldn't be set in a medieval time, would it? (wink, wink)

;) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

Seconds on the luv sandwich, please!

Singers!! Eddie Vedder and James Blunt.

Helen Brenna said...

We need a chat room!

Helen Brenna said...

Viggo Mortensen and John Cusack.

I'm getting very greedy.

Robin L said...

Betina--the name of the book is Werewolf Rising and its about a 12 yo boy who thinks he's beginning to experience the beginnings of puberty--he's getting a little stronger, a little faster, a little more aggressive, but it turns out he's getting ready to make his first "shifting" into his wolf shape. He learns he belongs to an ancient secret society of lycanthians, and that it's time to come home to his pack.

And actually, the historical fantasy ISN'T medieval! It's called Theodosia Throckmorton and the Serpents of Chaos and takes place in Edwardian London and is about a girl whose father runs a museum and whose mother is the archaelogist who brings back all the finds. Problem is, Theodosia is the only one who can see the black magic and curses still clinging to the artifacts, so she has to work to neutralize them and save all of Britain.

But I AM still working on the medieval... in my spare time. (Ha!)

And I'm going to shut up now because I'm beginning to feel like one of those obnoxious drunks who gets you cornered at a party and won't. shut. up.

Oh, Luv sandwich. Gosh, are kid's writers allowed to even think such thoughts?? Hm. Prolly Russell Crow and Gerard Butler. In fact, they're both on my collage board for the medieval fantasy....(Obviously it's intended for an adult audience!)

Betina Krahn said...

Okay, down and dirty. . .
Vin Diesel and Allan Rickman. The brawn and the brains. Allan would be critiquing Vin and I'd be laughing my butt off!

:> Betina

Helen Brenna said...

Writing fantasy has to be the coolest and hardest, I think. I'll have to give my son your titles, Robin (another Gerard fan and here I thought I was the only one who knew about him!!)

Betina Krahn said...

Robin-- I'm writing them down and will look for both! I've gots kids in the family. . .

:) Betina, who in spite of three virtual martinis can still type!

Helen Brenna said...

That's a good one, Betina, only it should be Alan Rickman and The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. And I'll fight you over it.

anne frasier said...

robin, that sounds VERY cool!!!!

helen, i'm pretty sure it's in anchorage.

and thanks for the sweet comment you left over at my blog!!

Helen Brenna said...

You're welcome, Anne. And I mean it! It's not the martinis talking. Heck, I can't even drink martinis!!

Robin L said...

I have to give in to a Deb Dixon squee moment here. Deb, I've taken your GMC class three times now and each time I get so much out of it! Whenever I get stuck I go back to your GMC combined with the Hero's Journey and I get immediately unstuck. Pure Gold. Cannot ever thank you enough.

Oh, and I introduced the whole concept to a group of children's writers a while back when I was giving a workshop on plotting, They were all over it and I directed them toward your book.

Betina--"Allan would be critiquing Vin" OMG!! That was SO funny, I was laughing MY butt off!

Betina Krahn said...

So, where's the rest of the crew tonight? I know Michele would have some great suggestions for a "luv sandwich." Ooooh, and if Holly LaMon (Emma Holly) came, we'd be smokin' hot!

Cheryl-- did you find us?


Helen Brenna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Helen Brenna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Betina Krahn said...

Aghhhhh! I'm not sure I'm quite that squiffed yet. . . I'm still thinking Ken Wantabe (Last Samurai)and and Jason Statham! Ken would be all Zen and Jason would be in the driver's seat and I would be "transported!"

Top that one!


Helen Brenna said...

I was trying to think of Ken's name!! You got me on that one.

I'm thinking, thinking ...

Betina Krahn said...

So, here's another question: who's the greatest romantic screen hero these days? Who is the most romantic leading man in Hollywood? Whose name just says "sexy romantic guy?"


Helen Brenna said...

Sean William Scott and ... anyone. It wouldn't matter. He's the whole enchilada!

Helen Brenna said...

Johnny Depp

anne frasier said...

helen!! i see a couple of comments are gone. and i was working on that question! :D

Helen Brenna said...

Should I post them again?

I started thinking it was too over the top.

Betina Krahn said...

Yes-- Sean William Scott-- and the Rock. . . as in "The Rundown!" They were great together.


Helen Brenna said...

Okay, what the hell!

Betina, time to get kinkiererer!

Luv sandwich with ... who are the sexiest women actresses?

Helen Brenna said...

Yes, The Rundown! Sean William Scott has some very funny stuff out there!

As for women ... Scarlett Johanssen and Jennifer Garner.

anne frasier said...

hehe! i don't know. i was trying to think of old movie stars. like grace kelly and audrey hepburn. i don't find the new stars appealing -- men or women. i don't know why. so i'll shut up!!!! :D

anne frasier said...

women -- ah, yes. scarlett johanssen has some of that old quality.

Helen Brenna said...


And now, I'm cutting myself off. I have to drive home, afterall!

anne frasier said...

yep, i'm going to play a game of pool, then finish packing.

anne frasier said...

thanks for the drinks and great company!!

Betina Krahn said...

Goldie Hawn and Dianne Keaton. Hands down.
Gotta be able to laugh!

And as for great leading men. . . hmmmm. . . maybe Kevin Costner in his better moments. Especially when he's in a western. He still has it, even if he's forgotten where he put it!

And John Cusak. . . even if I have to arm-wrestle Helen for him. He was a dorable in "Must Love Dogs!"

Helen Brenna said...

Anne, you play pool! I have to challenge you to a game. Next PAN meeting at my house. You and me. kay?

Betina Krahn said...

So-- it's last call. The bar's closing for the night-- Happy Hour's over?

Thanks Helen and Anne and Deb and Robin and Toni and Kat and everybody who dropped by but didn't post!

Great fun! Let's do it again!

:) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

You'll definitely have to armwrestly me for John Cusack. His dialogue was the best thing in Must Love Dogs.

The best western Kevin Costner's ever been in is Silverado, hands down. God, he was cute in that movie.

Good female picks too!

Helen Brenna said...

Last call, from the bartender!

Helen Brenna said...

'Night everyone!

I needed this!

One of these days, we'll have to be at a conference together. Live!

What a concept.

anne frasier said...

helen -- i used to be captain of my bar's pool team! hehe. yes to a game of pool. although i haven't played in years and can no longer do bank shots. grrr.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hey, girlfriends! Dragging in from teaching my Loft class followed by a stop at Rainbow and feeding the birds in the nest. (Will they never learn to fly???)

Speaking of weather, I white-knuckled it through a downpour on the way to my class. It rolled in suddenly and dumped sheets across the windshield. Those little whappers had no chance--could hardly see the road!

If the bar's still open I'll have one o' them apple wedges.

Good work on the pare-down, Helen. I had to take a major element out of a historical once (HH). Turned it into two totally sepatate books. Waste not, want not.

Betina, you were born to write contemporary women's fiction. I just read Barbara Samuel's RITA winner--Lady Luck's Map To Vegas--good stuff! It's heavy, but interesting characters. First person present tense, which I don't often go for, but it was definitely the way to go with this one.

Who's watching "Project Runway" tonight? Any bets?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Did anyone read yesterday's blog on "Romancing the Blog" about writers blogging? Something like "Is Anyone Reading My Blog"? Check it out, guys.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh. Luv sandwich. I'll take Clive Owen and Denzel Washington.

Marlon Brando and Paul Newman circa, what, 1960?

Debra Dixon said...

Robin-- I love the title "Werewolf Rising." That's absolutely fabulous! Sounds great too. I'm so glad that there is so much good fantasy and SF and paranormal out there these days. I've been a big fan and reader for many moons. (see, that was a pun on your book, get it? Get it???)

Hey! ::DD yells at the bartender:: Why are you taking my drink?

Debra Dixon said...


I really like you. Especially the whole "turning children's and ya writers" onto GMC. bless you! :)

Thanks for the kind words. I do think the two concepts work really well for so many kinds of writers. But I'm slightly prejudice. !

Debra Dixon said...


I saw that blog topic about the worth of blogging in "Romancing the Blog." Some very interesting points.

What I took away from the comments is that I really do have permission to talk about so much more than my books, BelleBooks, writing, etc. And a good blog day doesn't have to be an essay. Short can be good too.

Really kind of freeing. :)

Mistress Regina said...

I imagine that your patrons tend to linger at the bar. Would I be correct? This would be a delicious point of view for a story, I think. Something that may need exploration.