New York Times  Bestselling Author

Where to Begin! (and a Brownie Recipe)

I have so many tasks on my plate now that I’ve turned in my book that I barely know where to start. First, I would truly like to muck out my office. What a mess. I’m sure I have bills and other important papers under the piles that litter every surface. This really must be done, but it’s the least appealing I’ve all the things I have to do.
Second, I need to create the storyline for the sequel to BEFORE THE STORM. My editor jokingly suggested the title AFTER THE STORM, but as I thought about it, I realized it makes sense. I know that one of you dear readers suggested that title back when I was asking for help, and that gave me the idea of BEFORE THE STORM for the current novel. I’ll have to dig back through the old posts to see which of you suggested it because I think I promised you a prize! I’m most grateful.
I realized as I was thinking about the sequel that I will not be able to share much about the story on the blog, as I did with BEFORE THE STORM, because it will give too much away about B the S. So I’ll have to write about it carefully here. I know the themes I plan to deal with and of course I know the main players and the setting, but I don’t yet know the action. John gave me a wonderful suggestion that I’m toying with in my mind–it’s such a joy to live with another creative person!
Third, I need to update my website. The homepage is quite out of date! I spend so much time on my blog now that I’ve neglected my website. I love the blog, though, because I can add to it myself as opposed to going through my webmaster, and it’s so immediate. Plus it’s fun to hear from readers and get that back-and-forth exchange going.
Fourth, I need to plan some promotion for the release of the trade edition of THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES in late December. I’ll be doing mainly an Internet promotion, but it requires a lot of time  to pull materials together. Did you realize that authors are often expected to do (and pay for) the bulk of their promotion these days? It’s something none of us signed on for, but a necessary part of the business end of the job. Writers generally tend to be quiet, introspective sorts, so promotion doesn’t come easily to most of us. We also dislike taking time away from writing to manage the commercial aspects of our work, but if we don’t, then we lose sales, which results in no new contracts, and round and round it goes.
Fifth, speaking of promotion, I’m interested in getting a MySpace site as many writers have done. However, I feel like a visitor to another planet when I venture over to MySpace.com. Therefore, I hope to hire someone young from my neighborhood to tutor me. I’ll let you know if I ever get it up and running!
Sixth, and still speaking of promotion, I’m planning a two or three week tour of the southeast for next June, when BEFORE THE STORM comes out. I’m excited about that! If only the timing didn’t coincide with when John will be in France teaching a photography workshop.
Finally, I need to get my house ready for my neighborhood book club, which I’m hosting tonight. As I’ve mentioned before, we read Anne Lamott’s TRAVELING MERCIES. We try to serve food mentioned in the book under discussion, so I told them I’d be serving “drugs, alcohol and laxatives.” However, I think it best if I actually put together something a little less toxic, so I’m off to bake some of my favorite simple, simple brownies. Here’s the recipe:
Decadent and Easy Brownies
2 boxes Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix and 3 big Hershey’s Symphony Bars. Mix the brownie mix according to package directions. Spread half the batter in a 9×11 inch pan. Lay the symphony bars on the batter. Spread the other half of the batter on top. Bake according to package directions. Accept compliments! 
 

18 Comments

  1. Margo on July 12, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    What a list!…it wore me out to read it (lol)! Definitely I would make the brownies 1st and worry about the rest later…

  2. Julie on July 12, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Hehe! I laughed out loud about the hypothetical menu for the book club. (Or wait, is that hypodermic?) I’d say the brownies are an acceptable alternative. I’m drooling here. Never would have thought of doing them that way. ‘Scuse me, I’m going to the store now. 😉

  3. Brenda on July 13, 2007 at 12:27 am

    One of my students made a My Space for ME…they can do that. Do you realize that anyone can make a MY SPACE for another person? DO you realize that once you MAKE YOUR OWN MY SPACE-they can put anything they want???
    I have contacted a Federal Employee (and local authorities) to try to get some updated regulations about this website.
    This student put my age (he was wrong by 5 years=made me younger)-that :Christian, straight, married, nice “figure” but little extra…(I am size …and this is the one that got me: looking for relationships…
    I received so much email about this from men wanting to hook up with me…also if anyone goes to MY SPACE, they will think that I was looking for relationships-and with the students and adults who answered. He found a picture of me and some of my students from another school and PUT IT ON THERE TOO. You can’t imagine how this disrupted my life…You can’t imagine what it was like to know that anyone wanting to know about me could go to MY SPACE and pull that up. THere is no legal recourse except a civil suit when someone does this…I did not pursue that although many teachers across this country are doing so. Punishment for students-don’t even ask…it is something trivial…
    Sorry about that–but this has been one of the most upsetting things for me for the past year, and if I have time, I am going to try to get something done about it. Others agree with me. Senators are supposedly working on it (and their staff)…at least they agree that MY SPACE is not something that we can dismiss.
    Now-after reading this long BLOG–you might not want to post it, Diane, but whatever you do-please be careful…

  4. Ann on July 13, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Diane, those brownies sound wonderful – must try them. I loved that
    Anne Lamott book.
    Brenda, this information about My Space if frightening. I will certainly share it with my grandchildren. They may already be aware but it doesn’t hurt to mention it. Thank you.

  5. pattie on July 13, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Brenda, OMG. How awful for you. Wouldn’t MySpace take the site down? I hope it was [or gets] resolved so you don’t have to deal with any more invasions of your privacy.
    My kids (27 and 29) have MySpace pages, my oldest son is in a band and that’s part of how they reach people. Dianne, I know TONS of authors who have MySpace pages, especially YA authors who want to reach a young audience. But lots of others too.
    pattie

  6. Diane Chamberlain on July 13, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Wow, Brenda, that is sobering! I’ll definitely do some checking into this before launching a MySpace page. According to fellow authors, it’s not just for kids anymore.
    My brownies turned out a little weird last night. It’s my ancient oven. “Uneven” is the kindest word I can use to describe the way it cooks. Anyway, the outer brownies were done on time, and I cut them out and put the rest back for AN HOUR! They were delicious anyway and I have tons left over in the freezer.

  7. Brenda on July 13, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    D.
    Thanks for doing the BLOG-and editing it for me. I was so upset. It is impossible for anyone to take the MYSPACE off except the person who puts it on. It is one thing for adults-another for children…
    We had the funeral today for my brother-in-law-he has lived his whole life here and everyone knows him…
    I am off on travels soon for the rest of the summer-off and on-and trying to get my new certification with my state (Master’s Plus)-not an easy task…
    Thanks for your concerns-esp. Margo and D.

  8. Brenda on July 13, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    P.S. Diane’s personal BLOG is the best way to go. She can edit (and delete) anything she does not want on here…you cannot do that on MYSPACE>

  9. Brenda on July 14, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    D.
    Introduced a new reader to your books today (at the library). If they don’t have all of your books, they can get them. They had BAY in stock and some older ones…The lady took two.
    I am starting my travel tomorrow-Ohio-then Lake Placid, NY, then home, then Indiana, then Florida…lots of driving…reading…working on lesson plans as I travel.
    I will be in and out of Internet-depending on where I get wireless…
    We-again-had a good discussion of your books-at the library-with the weekend staff and some patrons…They were in a discussion of another author (one Margo and I have discussed) that we all have loved for years but whose books are just not the same. I also. Rec. Barbara Delinsky who is a favorite of mine and does well.

  10. Brenda on July 14, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Plan B…Thoughts on Faith-Anne Lamont-was a great book. Diane, how did your book club like the one you guys read???
    She does not worry about what others think…she is true to what she believes…I like that.

  11. Diane Chamberlain on July 14, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Brenda, thanks for promoting me at your library! And good luck on your travels. I hope your son does well on the Ironman.
    My bookclub had mixed feelings about TRAVELING MERCIES, so I guess I am wrong that it would appeal to just about everyone. Most enjoyed it, but some felt they couldn’t relate to her at all because of her lifestyle, former durg and alcohol use, and the way she handled her son. (Others related to her very well with regard to motherhood, though!) For some, the book felt disjointed and the deeper spiritual messages didn’t come through. For others, the messages were strong and clear. Sooooo . . . Different strokes for different folks, eh?

  12. Krysia on July 15, 2007 at 10:17 am

    I have a myspace page. It’s rather easy to do yourself. I have myself set to private so only my friends can see my page and I know everyone on there, minus the bands I like. If you can do this blog you can do a myspace pretty easily and you can control what’s on there.

  13. Diane Chamberlain on July 15, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Krysia. (I remember seeing your cute pup on your MySpace page!) I think it would defeat the purpose, though, to have it private, wouldn’t it, since the whole point would be to encourage new readers to discover my books?

  14. Brenda on July 17, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    My MYSPACE was also put on privately-that did not matter because teenagers can find out anything.

  15. Brenda on July 17, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Have any of you read Coben? Some of the summer reading in another state-those students are reading his book. I have read a few…mysteries.
    I am out of state right now…Ohio, Pa, NY, then home and to Indy…then home and to Florida-lots of driving…
    What about Anne Lamont? Just finished another one by her, and I really liked it…
    So many books-so little time.

  16. Diane Chamberlain on July 17, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    thanks for popping in to the blog while you’re on the road. Hope the trip is going well. I’m just wrapping up GRACE, EVENTUALLY, which I liked as much as TRAVELING MERCIES. I was especially touched by Lamott’s efforts to rid herself of hatred, setting Bush as her “high watermark.” LOL.

  17. Brenda on July 20, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I wish more would read her books-esp. politically…might help the world…

  18. Brenda on July 20, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    P.S> Let’s hope that Lamott will be happy next year-we all will be-with a change.

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