Daily Dish

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

Tuesday, November 29


I'm procrastinating blogging, especially since I just blogged about procrastination over at the Literary Chicks. Stop by when you're ready for a little procrastination of your own . . .

Saturday, November 26

Holiday gift ideas!

Yes, I know, half of you have your shopping already done (you people are AMAZING. Nuts, but amazing.), but Ron Hogan at beatrice.com has holiday gift ideas from the Literary Chicks posted on his site. While you're there, check out his fab book about films, THE STEWARDESS IS FLYING THE PLANE, speaking of holiday gifts!

Wednesday, November 23

Happy Thanksgiving!!

May you have much turkey, more pie, and very few family crises. (One can always hope!)
Saw Pride and Prejudice today and loved it. Loved Darcy, adored Bingley. Laughed out loud several times. May even go see it again . . .
hugs and may you have much to be thankful for tomorrow and always,
ps. For a fun interview with me, go here.

Monday, November 21

Brining a turkey?

So I'm going to brine a turkey. Why? Why not? And, odd as it seems, my agent gave me the recipe. Now that's an all-purpose agent.
Alesia, off to make shopping lists

On "writing funny"

I'm today's blogger at Romancing the Blog and I'm talking about writing romantic comedy. Grab a cup of coffee and stop by!

Saturday, November 19

oh, and don't forget

to check out my post at Literary Chicks on Ex and the Married Girl. Also, our Literary Chicks site was named one of the best author blog sites around by one of the Internet Writing Journal! How cool is that?

Random thoughts

The new Harry Potter? Go see it. Don't take young kids. Seriously.

The movie about Johnny Cash? It's fabulous, even if you're not a country music fan.

The weirdest thing I've seen all week? Go here.

Back to work. SEVEN WAYS to work on, plus an essay for the Desperate Housewives collection from Ben Bella Books, and my new Suzi Stiletto story for BB&B2, which is a charitable book to raise money for breast cancer research.

And, as you can tell from the above, I've already avoided work for at least five hours and two medium popcorns this week . . .

Monday, November 14

Changing habits

I've decided to change habits. Well, more like exchange habits. Instead of eating junk food when I'm stressed (like the birthday cake, cookies, and chocolate -- groan), I'm going to have a stress-induced exercise habit. It will be healthier, right?

Also, the yelling habit. I've never, ever been a yeller. Or, as Princess put it in her journal, a "hollerer." As in: "Dear Journal, today my Mom hollerd and hollerd at me, and she hollerd my whole name which is why it was not a good day, journal, your lucky your not me, BEELEEVE IT."

(Hey, she's five. Nobody can spell "believe" or "hollered" at five.)

Of course, the reason for the "hollering"? The inch of water that somehow made it onto the floor during her bath. "By accident."

To hear them tell it, my two kids are the perfect children. But that third kid running around -- that "By accident" -- he causes a lot of trouble in our house, the little turd. "By Accident" once caused Princess to kick her brother.

In the chin. Which, you know, is not that easy to do when he's a foot taller than her. I'm just saying.

In spite of "by accident," I'm determined to exchange the "hollering" habit for singing. Or dancing. Or playing the flute. La la la, la la la. Just imagine me, here, mopping up water and singing.

Or maybe I'll go have a glass of wine. And if the glass gets filled way higher than I expected? Blame "by accident." That kid gets around.

Saturday, November 12

The danger of board games

We took the kids to see Zathura today and basically learned the danger of ever, EVER playing board games. I mean, first Jumanji and now this. Do these people NEVER learn???

As someone who was forced to play Candyland until her brain cells melted through two different toddlerhoods, I would have preferred meteor showers and raging, people-eating Zorgons.

I'm just saying.

Now it's back to work because the copyedits for BLONDES HAVE MORE FELONS came and I want to get them out of the way quickly so I can get back to work on SEVEN WAYS TO LOSE YOUR LOVER. Oh, and finish up my essay on Why we Love Lynette for the new BenBella anthology about Desperate Housewives.

Laundry? What laundry? Hopefully, the meteor showers take out my dirty laundry baskets first.

Friday, November 11

Life lessons and cake

I'm at the Literary Chicks today - so please pop over and say hi! Also, take a moment to thank a veteran or current military member and his or her family. They dedicate their lives so we can enjoy freedom in ours.

Thursday, November 10

Another year older . . .

Not so much with the wiser, sadly, since I'm sitting here stuffed with birthday cake and birthday chocolate from darling husband and birthday cookies from the hilarious cookies-shaped-like cosmo glasses bouquet my friend Beverly sent me. I'd be stressed out about all this sugar, except the wonderful stress-relief gifts my friend Barb sent are putting me into a blissed-out coma.

Deadline? What deadline?

The problem with birthdays when you have a five year old daughter is that she can't quite wrap her little diva mind around the concept that: 1. there are presents, but 2. they are not for her. It was a little touch and go yesterday, on the actual birthday. Luckily, chocolate cake is a great distraction.

This evening, they're both excited beyond all possible imagining, since they get to stay up till midnight to pick Daddy up from the airport. (Well, I have to drive.) I'm trying to stay caffeinated enough to last that long and also get some work done on SEVEN WAYS TO LOSE YOUR LOVER, which is due the end of this month. It's a fun book to write, though - any book that stars 64 cases of purple passionfruit body oil can't be bad.

Tuesday, November 8

A FAB new review for THE NAKED TRUTH!!

I always try to avoid reading reviews, in case the reviewer doesn't like me and it sends me into a downward spiral of depression, which forces me to eat POUNDS of leftover Halloween candy and watch TALK SHOWS on TV, but luckily that doesn't happen too often! Here's a terrific one for my novella in the new anthology, THE NAKED TRUTH. You can see the full text of the review here!

THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT GUYS by Alesia Holliday has columnist C.J. Murphy undergoing a makeover to become something more than just "one of the guys". She's totally attracted to a fellow worker, but she's gained the attention of a sports star as well. Can she manage to find the real C. J. before she loses the one guy who really cares about her?

I really got into this story. Ms. Holliday's style of writing is so fun and vibrant, the characters seem to be people you would know or work with yourself. I loved watching C.J. try to juggle her feelings between two men and not knowing which way to act. Hugh is great as the co-worker, although Aaron is a little over the top as the sports star, but equally good is the interactions between the three.

-- Roundtable Reviews

Monday, November 7

I will not be defeated!!!

So I took Princess to the doctor this morning, which involves finding a place to stash Science Boy, since we're only supposed to take one child to the clinic at a time (if there's anything Navy hospitals love, it's bureaucracy and rules, rules, rules). This was our second trip, because on our first trip, last week, I arranged to pick her up early from school, drive all the way out there, just to learn that the doctor was inexplicably "out." The doctor who was "in" was unable to help us.

So we made another appointment.

This time, we drove all the way out there to find out that:
(1) the doctor was inexplicably "out" again
(2) they had another doctor, but didn't have the supplies they needed to help Princess, even if the substitute doctor had been able to do it
(3) the computers were down, so we couldn't even reschedule.

I'm starting to feel a little cursed. Before you say, "oh, that's nothing," let me tell you about my month. The lovely car I bought more than a month ago still sits in my garage, because the buyer is in Fort Lauderdale, which just got hit with the strongest hurricane it has seen in a jillion years. So (and realizing that this is minor in the scheme of people with no power and hurricane damage, but still, it's on the list) I still don't have the paperwork to get it licensed.

So it sits.

The karate lessons I signed the kids up for started yesterday. Except when we showed up at the YMCA, the instructors looked at us blankly. "No, this is the last session of October's class."

"Um, November 6th here?"

"We got behind."

So we swam for an hour instead. It's sort of the little irritations that start to make you grit your teeth and say things like "No, I'm FINE. REALLY." when anybody asks why you have your fingers clenched into your palms so hard your knuckles are white.

Did I mention Navy Guy is gone all month? And my birthday is Wednesday and I'll be all alone, working?

Okay, back to my regularly-scheduled optimism. It's a beautiful sunny day and my editor and agent both loved BLONDES HAVE MORE FELONS. Plus, I have a job where I don't have to wear pantyhose. Minor annoyances are so totally nothing.

Friday, November 4

The Jetsons and other historical trivia

So I may have mentioned my birthday coming up, which tends to make me feel OLD. But it's not like I need a birthday for that - I have two children. My son snagged a DVD of the first season of The Jetsons at the library today and asked me if we could check it out. Except, HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS.

If you are recoiling in horror, even as the opening strains of the music, complete with "Meet George Jetson . . . Jane, his wife" are running through your brain, you understand my reaction.

The conversation went like this:

Connor: What is the Jetsons?
Me: How could you have missed out on the Jetsons?? Daddy and I are neglecting your cultural education.
Connor: What is it?
Me: It's a great cartoon Daddy and I watched when we were little kids.
Lauren: They had TV then??
Me: [Snake-eyed glare] Yes, they had TV then. But it wasn't much good, since electricity hadn't been invented yet.
Connor: Did you ever meet Benjamin Franklin?
Me: You want to live to be 9?
Connor: Just give me the basic concept of the Jetsons, Mom.
[Yes, sadly, this is the way the kid talks. I don't know where we went wrong.]
Me: The basic concept?? I don't know. It's a funny show about a family in the future. The housekeeper was a robot. The best part was the machine that gave Jane a new outfit every time she rolled through it . . .

I'm an ancient artifact. Worse, my vast horde of cultural trivia is not being passed down to my children. My goal for the weekend is to teach them the theme songs to The Addams Family and Gilligan's Island.

Alesia, off to buy some Geritol
ps and don't forget to GET NAKED!!!

Wednesday, November 2

Guest author Gayle Brandeis!!

I'm pleased to announce special guest GCC author Gayle Brandeis and her book:

The Book of Dead Birds

Ava Sing Lo has been accidentally killing her mother's birds since she was a little girl. Now in her twenties, Ava leaves her native San Diego for the Salton Sea, where she volunteers to help environmental activists save thousands of birds poisoned by agricultural runoff.

Helen, her mother, has been haunted by her past for decades. As a young girl in Korea, Helen was drawn into prostitution on a segregated American army base. Several brutal years passed before a young white American soldier married her and brought her to California. When she gave birth to a black baby, her new husband quickly abandoned her, and she was left to fend for herself and her daughter in a foreign country.

With great beauty and lyricism, The Book of Dead Birds captures a young woman's struggle to come to terms with her mother's terrible past while she searches for her own place in the world.
The Book of Dead Birds won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction. Barbara Kingsolver created the award to advocate serious literary fiction that addresses issues of social justice, and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships. Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston were the judges who, in addition to Barbara Kingsolver, selected The Book of Dead Birds.

Praise for The Book of Dead Birds

Lyrical, imaginative, beautifully crafted, and deeply intelligent. Before anything else, its characters take you by the heart.
--Barbara Kingsolver

The Book of Dead Birds has an edgy beauty that enhances perfectly the seriousness of its contents.
--Toni Morrison

A moving and perceptive first novel.
--O Magazine

Intricate and elegant…[Brandeis] mines universal human experiences, not the least of which is the need to get beyond the heartbreak of the past to create a livable future.

--Denver Post


In addition to The Book of Dead Birds, Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperSanFrancisco) and Dictionary Poems (Pudding House Publications). Both Fruitflesh and The Book of Dead Birds were chosen as selections for the BookSense list, compiled by the American Booksellers Association. Her second novel, Self Storage, will be published by Ballantine in 2007.

Gayle's poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies (such as Salon.com, Nerve.com, The Mississippi Review, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency) and have received several awards, including the QPB/Story Magazine Short Story Award, a Barbara Mandigo Kelley Peace Poetry Award, and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Her essay on the meaning of liberty was one of three included in the Statue of Liberty's Centennial time capsule in 1986. The Writer Magazine honored Gayle with a 2004 Writer Who Makes a Difference Award for her work in the community as well as her commitment to craft.

Gayle holds a BA in "Poetry and Movement: Arts of Expression, Meditation and Healing" from the University of Redlands, and an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from Antioch University. She is on the faculty of the UCLA Writers Program, and is writer in residence for the Mission Inn Foundation's Family Voices Project. She lives in Riverside, CA with her husband and two children.

When is it too much of a good thing?

I am fairly prolific, and I've already been worrying about what the saturation point is for having too many books released in a year. The new thought seems to be the more the merrier, but is that really true? Will readers get tired of seeing you all the time? One of my favorite authors just sent out her newsletter, and she has releases coming up in 10 of the next 12 months (including one or two paperback releases of hardcovers).

This leads me to a couple of questions: First, is she superwoman? I am in awe of this kind of writing speed (plus, it makes me want to take a nap, which says a lot about me). Second, will readers get saturated? Or when you love an author enough, do you want to see more and more? Hmmm. What do you think? Email me if you want to chime in, at alesia@alesiaholliday.com. And don't forget to say BOOK RELEASE DAY in your subject line, to be put in for the random drawing.

Alesia, off to work

Tuesday, November 1



From Alesia, celebrating Release Day!

The Naked Truth, What do "being Pygmalioned" and evil fortune cookies of death have in common?

Today is that happiest of writer days, Book Release Day. This is the day that you get to relax, stop working, and drag your protesting children to the bookstore to Oooh and Ahhh over your newest release on the shelves.

With your name on it.

Naturally, having carried your little darlings for TEN MONTHS in your womb, they will be properly appreciative:


Me: It’s Release Day.
Them: Not again! Didn’t we just do this?
Me: That was in July. Don’t you want to see Mommy’s book?
Them: Emily’s Mom bakes cookies. Why don’t you bake cookies?
Me: I’ll BUY you a cookie at the bookstore.

Them: Okay, we saw it. Can we go to the kids’ section now?
Me: You didn’t say Ooooh and Ahhhh.
Them: Oooh, Ahh. Can we go to the kids’ section now?

With adulation like this, is it any wonder writers are neurotic?

So, to celebrate the release of my fun chick lit anthology, THE NAKED TRUTH, with my story, THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT GUYS, here is one of protagonist C.J. Murphy’s columns:

The Naked Truth About Guys, by columnist C.J. Murphy

Sports as Religion

A Guy may not be able to remember your birthday or your mother’s name, even after you’ve been dating for six or seven years* [*see: Guys as Commitmentphobes], but he remembers every stat of every player currently active in the NFL, NBA, and the European soccer league.

Plus all the stats for players who retired twenty years ago, and even those for players who are, in fact, dead.

This is nothing personal, it’s just how the Guy brain works. In every official medical pie chart of Guy Brains, as designed by actual brain doctors, you will see a breakdown like this:

25% Completely useless trivia, like the fact that Popeye said “Open, Sez Me” instead of “Open Sesame” in a cartoon he once watched twenty years ago;

18% Job-related stuff, like which VP at his office has the best handicap and should be schmoozed up before the annual company golf scramble.

53% Arcane sports stats, like how many times his favorite pitcher scratches his crotch before throwing a curve ball; and, finally:

4% Relationship issues. But, before you get excited, this includes every relationship he’s ever had, including the biggies, like with his dog Sparky back in sixth grade. Therefore, the actual percentage of a Guy brain that is focused on you and your relationship at any given time is approximately .0001.

Until next time, remember: Guys! At least they’re good for the sports questions in Trivial Pursuit.


And also remember, it's Book Release Day!! So, you know, please buy the book! Ooohing and aaahhhing challenged nature aside, I still have to feed the little darlings . . .

Plus, it's a 4 for 1!! With exciting stories by Donna Kauffman, Beverly Brandt, and Erin McCarthy! So have fun and get naked!

In honor of Book Release Day, this week I'll be giving away 5 copies of my holiday anthology, SHOP 'TIL YULE DROP, to five randomly-chosen people who e-mail me at alesia@alesiaholliday.com with BOOK RELEASE DAY in the subject line.

Good luck!!


Alesia, who still oohs and ahhhs, even on her 9th (counting collections) book. I LOVE this job!!!