Thursday, May 25, 2006

Good news!

According to a new study, eating chocolate may boost your brain power. So, writers who love to snack while working can take solace that it's all for their art.

You can read the story here:

Now, if they could only find a chocolate that could help you lose weight...I'd be all over that.

Eric and I leave for our cruise tomorrow. We'll be flying all day to Seattle. Literally, all day. The airlines canceled the direct flight from LaGuardia to Seattle, so now we're going Baltimore to LaGuardia, LaGuardia to Denver, Denver to Seattle. It's gonna suck. Guess that's what you get for booking a cheap flight...oh well. At least we're going on a fun trip!

So I'll be incommunicado for over a week. I'll post pics when I get back!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 12:31 PM :: 10 comments

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Looking for a good book to read for the upcoming long weekend? Then look no further, and buy JUST ONE SPARK by Jenna Bayley-Burke (Mills & Boon Modern Extra).

I just finished reading this one yesterday and it was really good. This classic story of a misunderstanding and how one couple navigates their way out of it. Talk about a role-reversal: Mason's looking for a long-term commitment and Hannah just wants sex. Ms. Bayley-Burke's print debut is touching and emotional and you root for the couple the entire time.

A great read!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 9:21 AM :: 3 comments

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Monday, May 22, 2006

I got an appointment to pitch at RWA Nationals to Margaret Marbury of Red Dress Ink. Pretty psyched about that, particularly since I was thinking that NOTHING would be left by the time us mere mortal unwahsed masses (aka, not eligible for PRO) got around to registering. I definitely didn't think the executive editor of THE chick lit house would be available!

OK, done with happy news. Now on to sad news. I'm in freaking excruciating pain and just want to cry. Actually, I did cry almost all day yesterday. I seriously injured my knee somehow in dance class yesterday. I'm a dumbass. I really shouldn't have gone, considering as I was recovering from a minor knee injury and we're leaving for our cruise on Friday. I hate to say it, but I'm afraid that our plans for hiking glaciers may be kaput. :(

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:24 AM :: 6 comments

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Just finished reading an EXCELLENT book last night: Capturing Paris by Katharine Davis. It was so beautifully written and lyrical. I need to write the review for it later this afternoon. I will be giving it 5 kisses. (The review will be posted on Romance Divas.)

Today is going to be a big writing day for me. I need to get cracking on finishing LOOKING 4 LOVE. I retitled it with a fake name for the Romance Divas Best Query Contest and lots of people have told me how much they loved that name, so maybe L4L will be getting a new name.

I also need to get cracking on SHE'S GOT LEGS.

Signing off now to write...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 6:56 AM :: 3 comments

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Friday, May 19, 2006

It was the end of an era last night. I'm talking about That 70s Show and Will & Grace, two shows that began in 1998. Very different concepts: That 70s Show was about slacker teens doing nothing but getting high in The Circle, whereas W&G challenged cultural and comedic boundaries with a sitcom about a straight woman and her gay best friend.

Although I got truly bored of W&G towards the end, I think the fact that something that was so controversial when it began is now, well, so commonplace and mainstream (think about how many stories you've read lately with the heroine's gay best friend..shall I make a list? It would go on for hours...) is a wonderful testament to how societal attitudes are changing (well, with the exception of the states banning gay marriage).

I must admit that I was quite happy that the series finales weren't on at the same time. I was glad to be able to watch both.

That 70s Show went out exactly like it should have--with the gang engaging in quasi self-appraisal and deciding, nah. My husband asks why it ended. He thought it could have gone on longer. But I don't think it could have. For starters, the most popular characters (Eric & Kelso) had left. Not to mentioned that it was beginning to be silly to have late-twenty-somethings portraying 19-year-olds. I guess That 70s Show was taking a cue from 90210 on that front. They definitely engaged in 90210-style math: how many 1978s did we have?

As for Will & Grace, the last episode was cute, but very over the top and silly at times. But hey, that's how Will & Grace was (well, at least Karen and Jack). I definitely thought it was cute that (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!) Will and Grace's children meet and fall in love. But the constant jumping in time was often confusing. Cute, but confusing.

Goodbye That 70s Show and Will & Grace. May you have long and happy lives in syndication.

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 10:14 AM :: 4 comments

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Update on the Duke lacrosse situation...

As you probably already know, one of the two accused players, Reade Seligman, has a potentially very strong alibi. Apparently the dancers arrived at the off-campus house at 10 to midnight and began performing. According to the timeline, they got upset and left but were then coaxed back into the house. Allegedly, the rape occurred after they returned, which puts it approximately 12:15 or so. Seligman called for a cab at 12:05 (this is documented), was picked up by a cab driver (who independently corrobates this story) at 12:10, and was brought to a bank. The ATM surveillance video shows Seligman withdrawing money at 12:14. If the timeline is correct, then it is virtually impossible for Seligman to have been one of the men who allegedly attacked the dancer.

Now the Durham police appear to be engaging in witness intimidation. The cab driver came forward as a witness and then Thursday was picked up on a 2 1/2-year-old warrant. Apparently he picked up a woman and her daughter in his cab and brought them to a store, waited for them to shop, and then returned them. Well, the woman and her daughter weren't shopping--they were shoplifting. Obviously, we don't know all the facts here, but on its face, it appears that the cab driver wasn't knowingly involved in the commission of a crime. Regardless, there was a warrant issued for him. When the police checked out his story in the present case, they found the warrant and brought him in. While this may be standard operating procedure, it wouldn't seem to be standard procedure to then turn to him while he's in handcuffs in the squad car and say "Now, do you have anything else to tell us about the Duke situation?"

Um, can you say witness intimidation? Come on. Say it with me, folks.

Even if that wasn't what was intended, the defense will most surely use this as a very clear opening to create reasonable doubt.

And if there's anything this case is, it's LADEN with reasonable doubt.

Re: the DNA found under the press-on fingernails of the dancer--it seems that we'll end up with a battle of the experts, with the prosecution saying it could only have gotten there if she was fending off an attack and the defense experts saying it could have gotten there when she was giving a lap dance. Given that it did not result in a conclusive match to either of the two currently indicted players, or to any of the remaining players, I wouldn't be surprised if the DNA ends up either being a total wash or even perhaps being more favorable to the defense.

We shall see...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 8:34 AM :: 5 comments

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Yikes! Has it really been 10 days since I've last been here? Man, I've been busy and distracted...

I've gotten to 65,000 words in my novel and I'm thrilled! I had wanted to be further along but honestly, I'm surprised I'm even this far. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's exciting. :) I WILL FINISH! I WILL TYPE THE END!

I'm getting excited for my trip to Alaska. My hubby and I are leaving 2 weeks from today to fly to Seattle for a cruise. The cruise leaves on Saturday, May 27 and we cruise through the Inside Passage on Sunday. Then on Monday we stop at Ketchikan, AK where Eric and I plan to go to Totem Bight State Historical Park, the Deer Mountain Hatchery and Eagle Center, and possibly the Totem Heritage Center, in addition to just walking around town. The next day we stop at Juneau, where we're going to hike up Mt. Roberts and see the incredible view from the top, as well as the exhibits up there, then take the Mt. Roberts Tramway down. Afterwards, we're taking a bus tour of Juneau, including a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. That afternoon, after we board the ship again, we cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord to see the wildlife and magnificent scenery, including North Sawyer Glacier and South Sawyer Glacier.

On Wednesday we'll stop at Skagway, AK. Eric and I will take the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway through a scenic stretch of forest and mountains to the Denver Trailhead, where we'll hike through the forest to a boulder field. We're not going to try to make it all the way to the Denver glacier, but I understand we can see the glaicer from the start of the boulder field. Then we'll take the train back to town and spend the rest of the afternoon looking around Klondike Gold Rush National Park and maybe go to the Days of '98 musical revue. Finally, on Thursday we stop at Prince Rupert, British Columbia where we'll be doing a bike tour of the city and surrounding area, and then we plan to go to the Museum of Northern British Columbia.

Our ship gets back to Seattle on Saturday, June 3, but we're staying in Seattle for a couple of days to sightsee. I hear it's a great city! Anyway, I'm totally psyched about this trip. I just hope my knee isn't still acting up. :(

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 7:22 AM :: 5 comments

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Just 2 1/2 more days until I turn 29 and start the countdown of the end of my 20s.

You know what? To me, it's no big deal. Sure, I'd love to be print published by the time I'm 30, but that just ain't gonna happen. I'll be e-pubbed by then and maybe, just maybe, I'll have sold my novel.

But I'm not as traumatized by this milestone as people seem to usually be. Maybe it's because I'm married, whereas most of my friends who've turned 30 or 29 and who were freaked out about it are not (or weren't as of the time). I know that turning 30 next year will only increase the outside pressure from certain aprties who seem to think they have a say in my reproductive schedule, but that's fine. I know I won't be hearing that from my mom, at least. She had me (her first child) when she was 34, and that was in 1977, when it wasn't so common, so I figure I have at least until then before she gets to say anything.

Anyway, I do wish I could sell a novel by 30. Or maybe I should go back in time to when I was 17, because it seems if you're an attractive teenager Random House is willing to shell out half a million, regardless of whether you actually wrote the book yourself or whether you might have plagiarized.

This whole Viswanathan case really pisses me off. Writers can slave away for years trying to write something, producing their best work, and never get discovered while others can simply crib passages from best-sellers and pass it off as their own.

OK, OK, I know. We don't know the full story. Viswanathan has admitted having read McCarthy's novel and being a "big fan." Lots of apologists have come out and said that it was probably unintentional.

Unintentional, my ass.

Even if it was (which is really difficult to believe, given the extent and length of the passages and how closely they track, and now the recent developments suggesting that she may have ripped off Sophie Kinsella and Salman Rushdie--although I think the Rushdie-like passages were more of an obvious homage than plagiarism) it's still inexcusable.

It just seems to be part of a larger culture of dishonesty and unethical behavior plaguing society today, particularly kids in her generation. (Wow, do I sound like an old fogie, or what?) It's a generation that thinks that it's OK to download copyrighted music for free because it's on the Internet and it's not hurting anyone. It's a generation that thinks it's OK to cheat on a test if it helps them get into Harvard, or Yale, or Duke. A generation that thinks that anything on the Ineternet is public domain. A generation that thinks that changing a few words here or there constitutes "research."

I'll be going to a reception later tonight for my former boss' office manager. It's her retirement party. It's being thrown by a bunch of entertainment industry lobbyists. It ought to be interesting to hear their take on this matter...

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 2:37 PM :: 5 comments

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