Daily Dish

Musings, ramblings, and miscellaneous writer neuroses of RITA award-winning comedy and New York Times bestselling author Alesia Holliday.

Wednesday, June 29

THE BREAKUP ARTIST - Film rights news!!

Here's a sneak peek at my newest hot deal, THE BREAKUP ARTIST, to my darling editor Cindy Hwang at Berkley, as posted at Publishers Marketplace:

Author of Nice Girls Finish First Alesia Holliday's THE BREAKUP ARTIST -- About a young woman who bills herself as the Anti-Date Antidote and a reverse Cyrano de Bergerac --If you're dying to be dumped, call The Breakup Artist. Print with Cindy Hwang at Berkley; film rights are with Joel Gotler at IPG. joel@ipglm.com.

Oh, this one is SO MUCH FUN to write. :)

Here's a sneak peek:

Her business cards say simply: The Breakup Artist and give an e-mail address. SHANE MADISON hates confrontation. Ever since the first guy she broke up with -- way back in eleventh grade -- threw a baseball bat at her car, she's been a master at getting unwanted boyfriends to make the first move.

The first move to say goodbye, that is.

And she's good at it. Getting guys to break up with her. And getting guys to break up with her friends. Or friends of her friends. Or, in fact, any girl who wants to avoid confrontation by nudging him to break up with her. So it becomes a kind of high-level hobby for Shane.

Spring forward eight years, and Shane has moved from her tiny hometown in Florida to New York with her best friend, Annie. The job Shane has at Sensuality Boutique pays her share of the rent in their tiny closet of an apartment. But she has big dreams. She wants to open a boutique of her own. It's a dream that seems more like a stupid fantasy, when she has seven dollars in her savings account.

Until her boss, the seventy-year old whirlwind of human nature known as Mrs. Plumley, asks for Shane's help. Mrs. P's niece, Lizzie, claims she's having a terrible time getting out of a bad relationship, and Mrs. P knows all about Shane's sideline. Shane, who had recently been rethinking her manipulative hobby, hesitates until Mrs. P makes her an offer she doesn't want to refuse: money.

Real money.

But Mrs. P being the canny businesswoman that she is, makes it conditional: Shane has to get Lizzie's boyfriend, Ben, to dump her in thirty days or less, or Shane has to refund the money -- A kick-him-to-the-curb guarantee.

Suddenly The Breakup Artist is juggling desperate clients, desperate friends, and a desperately sinking love life - Shane never dreamed breaking up could be so hard to do!

Monday, June 27

I'm at Romancing the Blog today!

Go check out my post on respect and having fun and entertainment at www.romancingtheblog.com, if you get a chance!

Sunday, June 26

Since you asked . . . my own geeky guy! :)

Navy Guy Posted by Hello

Geeks are hot!!

For once, I was ahead of the trend. The news is full of the "shocker" that nerds make great husbands. Well, duh!! Having dated my share of egomaniacs, I have to admit that my very absolute favorite man is one who doesn't realize he's a hottie, because his mind is busy with the intricacies of taking his computer apart (or fixing mine; or teaching me how to program my VCR or Tivo or insert-electronic-gadget-here).

Navy Guy talked me out of my reluctance to get involved in the internet, back when we met. I was (and THIS is hard to believe, considering my 24/7 web/e-mail addiction now) concerned that we'd turn into a nation of drones with no human interaction, all glued to our computers full-time. Instead, I now have terrific friends all over the country and the world -- I met them all online! We meet up at writer's conferences and it feels like we're long-lost friends, even though they live in places like Germany, New York, Boston, California, and Rotterdam!

My own personal geek is even an electrical engineer - how nerdy is that? And we've been married for nine years, so here I am -ahead of a trend. Trust me, THAT doesn't happen very often! Although, I took my 5 year old shoe shopping yesterday and Jellies are back in . . .
Alesia, the trendsetter

Friday, June 24

Now touring Alison Kent!!

Alison Kent has an unusual story - she sold her first book to Harlequin on national television! The sale was a featured segment on the “Isn’t It Romantic” episode of CBS 48 Hours. Since then, she has sold eighteen series romances, eight novellas, one non-fiction pop culture essay, and four single title trade releases to four different publishers.

Her new book, LARGER THAN LIFE, is an action-packed story of suspense and romance. Read on for details and look for it in stores now!


With her wildly popular SG-5 series, Alison Kent proved that taut suspense and hot, sensual romance make for an irresistible mix. Now, in LARGER THAN LIFE, Kent ups the ante again with a story of two people caught in a high-stakes game where their hearts and lives are on the line…

After being beaten and left for dead in the New Mexico desert, Smithson Group agent Mick Savin tries to piece together his last few days. He remembers bits and pieces: gathering crucial intel. An ambush by Spectra thugs. And then…nothing, except waking up in some medical center in rural West Texas. His mission was top secret. So how did he end up here?

The answer is Neva Case. If the former big-city attorney hadn’t been out in her pick-up, Mick wouldn’t be alive. Mick’s never met anyone quite like Neva. She’s smart, sexy, and passionate. She also has a secret. Neva runs the Big Brown Barn, an underground shelter for young girls forced into unwanted polygamist marriages. Neva would do anything for these girls—and that’s what worries Mick. Neva may be trusting, but Mick’s instincts tell him that something’s not quite right. He’s not about to let someone get to Neva and the girls on his watch. Especially when one of the girls brings trouble straight to the barn's front door . . .

Now, with the shelter in unimaginable danger and time running out, Mick is in for the fight of his life, one that could cost him the woman he’s come to love more than anything…

Check out these great reviews!!

"Hold on for a sizzling, heart-grabbing ride!"~ NYT bestselling author Nicole Jordan

"A larger-than-life hero and nonstop action keep the suspense high in Kent’s latest SG-5 adventure. A heart-wrenching secondary romance adds emotional intensity and depth to this compelling tale."~ RT Bookclub Magazine

"For me Alison Kent’s name on a book means that I am guaranteed to have a story that is realistic, entertaining, compelling and sexy as all get out. Larger Than Life is all this and more and Ms. Kent has added another winner to her memorable body of work."~ ARomanceReview.com

“Alison Kent proved that taut suspense and hot, sensual romance make for an irresistible mix with Larger Than Life the newest in her wildly popular SG-5 series.”~ NewandUsedBooks.com

Excerpts are available here and here.

Alison is a 2005 Quill Award nominee for her February 2005 release, THE BEACH ALIBI.Reviews of her SG-5 releases from Kensington Brava have compared the series to Mission: Impossible, James Bond, I Spy, Alias, and Die Hard. Visit Alison’s website for more information on her books and the writing life, and check out the companion site for her current release here! Alison lives in Texas with her husband, four vagabond kids, and a dog named Smith. And she actually manages to write in the midst of all that madness.

Wednesday, June 22

I smell like chlorine

which isn't really a good thing, but the kids are having a blast at the pool! Working hard on my first legal thriller, BLONDES HAVE MORE FELONS, just in time for Navy Guy to get called for jury duty! (See me at the Literary Chicks for my thoughts on THAT!)
Only THIRTEEN MORE DAYS till NICE GIRLS FINISH FIRST release date - but I hear it's shipping from the online stores already. Will have fun countdown stuff here soon!!

Saturday, June 18

Super new author!!!!

I'm so pleased to host a terrific friend of mine, the wonderful debut author Ed Gaffney. Ed is a lawyer, like me, but he's a criminal lawyer who specializes in court-appointed criminal appeals. That means he's represented some people who were accused and convicted of truly heinous crimes. Ed's first book, the fantastic legal thriller PREMEDITATED MURDER, is in stores now, and I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of it -- it rocks!!

I thought I'd ask Ed some questions about the book and writing life, and what it's like to be married to a NY Times bestselling author. Here's what he had to say:

Q: What made you decide to write a book?

Ed: I've always loved to write. When I was in high school and college, I used to write stories for my brothers and sisters (they were the main characters) as gifts for them. After Suz and I got married, I wrote screen plays and teleplays (some with her) as she was doing the same. Than, a few years ago, I got the idea for a book (which turned into PREMEDITATED MURDER), and I decided to give it a try. I thought it would be fun. I was right!

Q: For those who don't know, your wife is Suzanne Brockmann, award-winning author of wonderful romantic suspense books about Navy SEALs. Is it intimidating to write a book when you're married to a NY Times bestselling author?

Ed: Sometimes. After I learned that my book had been accepted by Bantam/Dell, I went to a bookstore to bask in the imagination of what it would be like to have my book on the shelves. Bad idea. I opened the door, and all basking was put on hold. The store was HUGE! There were tens of thousands of books everywhere! No one would ever be able to find the two or three copies of my tiny little insignificant book, way in the back, on the bottom shelf, behind the display featuring the many important books of the really good authors.

And then I realized that Suz had written books that were the 5th or 9th or 11th bestselling OF ALL OF THE BOOKS IN THE STORE!!!!! It was very, uh, instructive.

So, yeah, sometimes it's intimidating. But I tend to focus on the other side of the coin, which is a really awesome side. How many first time authors have a NYTimes bestselling author looking over their shoulder, offering help whenever asked?

Q: As you know, I'm a (recovering) civil trial lawyer. In my field, there are moments of excitement surrounded by months of paperwork and motion practice. Is being a criminal trial lawyer really as exciting and action-packed as it sounds in PREMEDITATED MURDER?

Ed: Not really -- but that's why writing books is so cool! I try to leave out all the dull stuff -- or at least try to make it funny!

Q: Did you ever have any cases like the one in your book? Do you still practice law?

Ed: I am not taking any new cases, but I still have a few to finish. My primary area of law was court-appointed criminal appeals, and so I've represented people accused and convicted of some terrible things. Nothing as terrible as what the defendant was charged with in PREMEDITATED MURDER, though. In my real-world practice, having a client charged with one murder at a time was plenty.

Q: What can we expect next from Zack and Terry?

Ed: Zack and Terry will be featured in my next book, SUFFERING FOOLS, where they meet a new kind of challenge -- a client who seems committed to making it hard for them to effectively defend him. I'm in the final stages of revision with that manuscript, and I hope it will be available sometime next year!

Friday, June 17

Happy Weekend!

I'm at Literary Chicks today!
Alesia, off to the pool

Thursday, June 16

Yesterday was one of those perfect days . . .

Except for, you know, the part where my fridge had evidently died sometime Tuesday while we were gone so I spent a couple of hours cleaning it out and throwing everything away. But - talk about LITTLE DETAILS!!!

First, I opened my e-mail and received a review for NICE GIRLS FINISH FIRST that made me a little teary. You know, from a reviewer who TOTALLY GOT what I was going for in the book? She said (and sorry to post so much of it, but come on!!):

NICE GIRLS FINISH FIRST is a hoot! This book is funny, entertaining, and heartwarming -- a well-written, fast-paced story all wrapped inside one little bookcover. The alternating first person points of view between these two contrasting protagonists make an exciting and wonderful tale that we all can identify with. Kirby's take-charge attitude has helped her escape her childhood. Although she really is a nice person at heart, she has taken the path so many of us take on the way up the corporate ladder: wrapping ourselves inside a metal casing, lest we break something in the process of learning to stand up to people. Brianna is Kirby's opposite. She's learned to be the nice girl: always smile, and never, ever, be disagreeable, even if it means her own feelings get trampled in the process.

A plethora of secondary characters are also special, but it's when Brianna and Kirby decide to work together and help each other that the book becomes magic. While each of them wishes to be in the other's shoes, they find out that sometimes the grass is not greener on the other side, but that they can cultivate their own worlds for happiness. Kirby learns some valuable lessons in people management that no one but a small child can teach; and Brianna finds that her dream of singing opera is more within her reach than ever before, if only one person will believe in her. NICE GIRLS FINISH FIRST is a top-notch story for a summer beach read, and one not to be missed.
- Diana Risso, Romance Reviews Today

THEN, as if the day needed to get better, I found out that my first novel, AMERICAN IDLE, won the Beacon contest!! First place in the chick lit category! Huge congrats to my fellow finalists, Lynda Sandoval and Lori Avocato, too!

Finally, I talked to my darling editor and she said she loved my novella for my November anthology, THE NAKED TRUTH! The evil fortune cookies cracked her up!

Really, compared to all of that, what's a couple hundred dollars' worth of spoiled food???

Tuesday, June 14

Now touring Mindy Friddle!

I'm pleased to tour Mindy Friddle as part of the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit! Her new book, THE GARDEN ANGEL, is definitely one to watch!


Just out in paperback from Picador (Trade Paperback; ISBN: 0-312-42496-5 June 1, 2005)-- A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, Fall 2004--A Southeastern Bookseller's Associations (SEBA) Bestseller--A Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection

In Sans Souci, South Carolina, talk is cheap, real estate even more so. No one knows this better than Cutter Johanson, a gruff tomboy who waits tables, writes obits, and makes every effort, however comical and in the face of her mercenary relatives, to avert the sale of the dilapidated ancestral home. And despite her plucky resolve, all appears to be lost---until she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth, a shy and fragile academic who puts both their fates on the mend.

"Mindy Friddle has a great comic touch, and her novel is a touching, heartfelt debut."-Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls"Friddle has a way with the comic yet apt image...funny, down-to-earth and steeped in a sense of place."-The Washington Post

"The glory of a past that may never be reclaimed is the theme of this unique and satisfying novel ...At times wonderfully comic and sad enough to provoke tears, The Garden Angel is an addictive read, and an enthralling story filled with both loss and hope." --- The Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers

"The southern novel is still alive and kicking, thank heavens, and Friddle gives the genre its due...with comic grace. In the tradition of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Friddle's novel celebrates the power of women's friendship. The story is soulful and satisfying, as southern as a slice of watermelon on a hot summer's day."-The Charlotte Observer

"A comic delight....Winning characters and piquant wit, with an underpinning of graciousness: a standout."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This debut novel is atmospheric in the way of Southern fiction, but it's also brand new. With casual skill, Friddle makes the case that who we like in life may be as critical as who we love."-Publishers Weekly

Mindy Friddle is a former newspaper reporter. She received the 2003 South Carolina Fiction Prize and a Fellowship in Fiction from the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Visit her Web site at www.mindyfriddle.com

From a car chick

Okay, I admit it. I'm a car chick. I adore sports cars that drive with a stick shift and I despise practical cars. Currently, I'm driving one of the ugliest cars in the history of the world, because a fool in an SUV totaled my car about a year ago, and this was the "so I want to be a writer instead of practicing law" compromise car.
Did I mention that I DESPISE it?
So here's the car that I want - it's gorgeous. It's sleek and has a hard body and clean, sexy lines (sounds like I'm describing the perfect guy, right?). It's name even sounds like mine - Alesia and Elise. A match made in car chick heaven.

Friday, June 10

Insomnia, anyone?

Catch my blog on insomnia at www.literarychicks.com today and happy weekend!  I'm heading out to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith tomorrow and will dish all when I get back!

Thursday, June 9

And so it continues . . .

From USA Today:

And then there's Ana Marie Cox. She brought the Washingtonienne diary to a huge cyber-audience by linking it a year ago on her own gossipy Web log, Wonkette.com. Cox described Cutler as "a Hill-based Belle du Jour" under the headline, "She's so getting a book deal out of this."
Soon, Cox had her own contract — for Dog Days, a political satire set in D.C.'s August doldrums, due in October.

"It does have two women as the central characters," says Cox. "And they drink and talk about clothes and men. There is sex."

But, bristling slightly, she says it's not chick lit, and she hopes it will be read by men as well as women.

Oh. Right. Does the word WHATEVER come to mind for anybody else??

Alesia, rolling her eyes

Wednesday, June 8


At first I thought, Well, this is a blog called Daily Dish. So I should keep it light and fluffy and stay away from controversy. But, then I said to myself, Do you KNOW me?? I've been a rabble rouser since I was two and learned to talk.

The latest storm of controversy in the writing world concerns that not-so-very-lovely phenomenon of the self-proclaimed literary writer hurling derogatory insults at those of us who write what the publishers like to call "chick lit." It's rude, it's offensive, and just last year I wrote a long letter to UTNE READER, blasting an article that reiterated the same, tired arguments that we poor girls have brains that are too soaked in cosmos to know our own minds. We need to be protected from such silly, entertaining books, don't you know? They're the downfall of post-modern feminism. To my utter shock (and UTNE's credit), they even published an abbreviated version my letter. (The full blasted both the literary credentials AND the blatant sexism of the article's author.)

Over at the new blog,
The Lipstick Chronicles, written by four terrifically talented authors in the mystery field, Susan McBride, Sarah Strohmeyer, Harley Jane Kozak, and Nancy Martin, (all of whom have been tagged with the term "mystery chick" at some point), Nancy wrote a very down-to-earth post about Curtis Sittenfeld's obnoxious review in the NY Times of THE WONDER SPOT by Melissa Bank.

What Sittenfeld said: Referring to a book as chick lit is "not unlike calling another woman a slut."

Now, let's consider this. Ms. Sittenfeld's book, as you will recall, uses a come-hither pink and green cover to entice readers to pick up a book about a prep school girl giving blow jobs.

Certainly there is more to the book. However -- having just been, in effect, called a slut myself by implication -- I am in no mood to be charitable. Jennifer Weiner wrote a scathing commentary on Ms. Sittenfeld's review, complete with her "translations"
here. (Did I mention I adore Jennifer Weiner?)

This all reminds me in a hideously unpleasant way of the "working Mom v. stay-at-home Mom" controversy. Women squared off against each other, while men laughed from the sidelines at the lack of cohesion or mutual support between members of the "weaker sex." And, hey, in the literary sense, HERE WE FREAKING GO AGAIN. Yahoo for the male novelists whose work is being reviewed in far greater numbers than our own -- they, as well as all of the vast numbers of unpublished writers who would kill to be among our ranks, can watch while we attack each other and pick the bones clean.

A slut? Not so much. I'm sticking with Jen Weiner. I'm getting a t-shirt made that says

Alesia, controversial and proud of it

Tuesday, June 7

on swimming lessons . . .

and crash landing airplanes and chlorine . . . I'm at www.literarychicks.com today!  check me out at www.literarychicks.com.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 6

It's DONE, baby!!!

Yes, like an idiot, I had to go on retreat and decide to entirely rewrite the ending of THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT GUYS.  But, trust me, it's way better now!!  And that's always the goal in writing a book, right???
So now I'm free to finish my Top Secret new proposal, that I've promised to my darling agent by Monday the 13th.  So it's back to my favorite thing in the world -- plotting a new book.
In other news, it's at least 95 degrees here and I need to sign the kidlets up for swimming lessons.  I never learned until I was 23 years old, which is NOT a good thing . . .

Friday, June 3

Touring Shanna Swendson and ENCHANTED INC.!

I'm so pleased to tour my friend Shanna Swendson and her delightful mainstream debut, ENCHANTED, INC. I was lucky enough to read a pre-release copy and had so much fun that I can't wait for the future installments of Katie, Owen, and the gang. Happy weekend, everyone! Hugs, Alesia

Praise for Shanna Swendson and ENCHANTED, INC:

"A totally captivating, hilarious and clever look on the magical kingdom of Manhattan, where kissing frogs has never been this fun."

"With its clever premise and utterly engaging heroine, Shanna Swendson has penned a real treat! Enchanted, Inc. is loads of fun!"

"I am giddy! I found an enchanting (pardon the reference) book and therefore, have a new author to read. Bridget Jones, move over. Shanna Swendson is offering up fantasy for the Buffy, Sabrina and Bewitched crowd.This is a delightful romp through the world of magic with a dash of romancethrown in for good measure. There are characters you'll love and remember. If you want to escape the stress and busyness of life, join Katie for an enjoyable frolic into the world of make believe."

Shanna Swendson's debut mainstream novel, ENCHANTED, INC (Ballantine Trade Paperback Original, $12.95, May 31, 2005) is a magical story featuring Katie Chandler, a 20 something, small-town Texas girl, who finds that being average in New York City is anything but. Katie loves the energy of Manhattan, and if she finds some of the people odd, well, that's New York, right? Where else would you see a person on the subway wearing fairy wings? In fact, if Katie wasn't completely sure those wings must be a costume, she'd think they were real, the way they flutter in the breeze. Certainly the gargoyle that perches above the door of the church she passes on the way to and from work isn't real. Its eyes seem to follow her, and she could have sworn it winked at her once, but now that she thinks about it, it was really hot that day, and she hadn't eaten lunch....Katie is still adjusting to life in the big city while working a for a nightmare boss, when she gets a fantastic offer to work for a mysterious company, MSI, Inc. Through her new job and the magical folk she meets, Katie comes to find out she isn't quite as average as she thought; and the fairy tale life she has longed for begins to come true in surprising ways. What Katie doesn't realize is how rare and important being ordinary can be.In fact, it is her ordinary characteristics that make her the perfect secret weapon for MSI, Inc. Suddenly the very qualities she thought made her average are what make her special! Now she has magicians and fairies meddling in her attempted romances, a secret life she needs to keep hidden from her non-magical friends, not to mention that dangerous pull she feels for Owen, an attractive but shy wizard who might be the most powerful magic man since Merlin. ENCHANTED, INC is a magical delight that will be a fun summer read for anyone who's wished upon a star or hoped for a sprinkle of fairy dust.

About the Author - With ENCHANTED, INC. Shanna Swendson offers a new twist on chick lit for the-now- grown-up fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In addition to writing fiction, Shanna is a freelance marketing consultant and writer specializing in technology and telecommunications. Sheis single and lives in Irving, Texas, with her many pet plants, including a vicious attack bougainvillea and a Christmas cactus that has outlasted three homes, three jobs and three boyfriends, yet still faithfully blooms every Christmas and Easter. She's looking for a man that reliable.

Thursday, June 2

Day 2 of Boy Scout Camp yesterday . . .

and of course Day 2 of a call from the Red Cross tent. Guess whose Darling Son is staying home today? Two days of summer vacation down, only THREE ENTIRE MONTHS to go. AAARGGGHHHH!!

See here for a way cool pair of shoes I need after seeing Madagascar this weekend.

Still on deadline but promise fabulous chat later this week . . .