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January 20, 2006

Our 200th Blog!

Getting To Know Us, Getting to Know All About Us

In celebration of our 200th blog—yes, can you even believe it?—we thought we’d put together a little Q&A so you could learn even more useless things about us than you already know.  So get your pencils sharpened and take notes.  And, no, absolutely none of the Tarts were drinking alcoholic beverages at the time they answered said questions.  Really.

**Outliner or non-outliner?

Harley:  Non-outliner.

Nancy:  Some tiny part of my life must be controlled, because the rest of it is, a friend says, "creative chaos."  For my current book, my usual detailed outline has expanded to a storyboard with color-coded push pins to organize all my Post-Its. As the book progresses, however, my careful planning is starting to look like that bulletin board at Wal-Mart where everybody sticks up notices to sell their old motorboats, sell pit bull puppies and advertise real estate located in a flood plain.

Sarah:  Outliner. How can you not be?

Susan:  I fly by the seat of my pants, baby!  I can’t imagine working any other way, though I do take notes as I go along so I have a fairly good idea of where I’m headed.

**Cats or dogs?

Harley:  Dogs.

Nancy:  Dogs. Big, affectionate and occasionally howling at the moon....like my husband.

Sarah:  Cags. Why haven't they invented this animal yet?

Susan:  Cats. I was raised with both, but it’s much easier to deal with cats when you travel a lot. Plus, I love that they’re independent and their personalities are so individual. (And we won’t talk about Max breaking a door off my TV armoire.)

**Sunrise or sunset?

Harley:  Sunset.

Nancy:  Maybe this is too much information? I mean, who really wants to know about my sex life? Except the Republican Party?

Sarah:  Sunrise, preferably over an ocean bay.

Susan:  Probably sunset, but I’m all for pink skies, any way you cut it.

**Dream vacation spot?

Harley:  Outer Space, or Paris.

Nancy:  Paris. Unfortunately, my husband prefers a beach with plenty of pina coladas.

Sarah:  George Clooney's Italian villa.

Susan:  Somewhere quiet, away from computers and phones. I’ve always wanted to go to Maine.

**Sun sign? And does it accurately describe you?

Harley: Aquarius, with Pisces Rising, and it absolutely describes me.

Nancy:  I am easily sunburned, so I use SPF 45 and wear a hat.

Sarah:  Uhm. I'm a Sagittarius, impulsive and thick thighed so yes.

Susan:  I’m a Libra. Yes, it describes me very accurately. I want the world to be fair, though it’s not. I weigh decisions carefully. I like pretty things.

**What you're reading right now.

Harley:  Still reading Sarah's SECRET LIVES OF FORTUNATE WIVES and also reading a book called NO OTHER OPTION by Marcus Wynne and rereading Kathering Neville's THE EIGHT . . . and then a bunch of graphic novels (i.e. expensive comic books) and THE ILIAD and a lot of poetry, for my own novel.

Nancy:  Downstairs: Ruth Reichel's GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES. Upstairs: NPR commentator Baxter Black's HEY COWBOY, WANNA GET LUCKY?

Sarah:  KEY OF LIGHT by Nora Roberts, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL by Richard Hawke, aka Tim Cockey, KRISTIN LAVANSDATTER by Sigrid Undset, and, Harley, throw SECRET LIVES away. There are much better books to read.

Susan:  I’ve got a couple books going: a nonfiction book, INTO THE WILD, by Jon Krakauer, and the fifth Cork O’Connor novel by my pal Kent Krueger, MERCY FALLS.

**What you just finished reading.

Harley:  Cornelia Read's A FIELD OF DARKNESS, due to be published this year --- and it's fabulous!

Nancy:  Joan Didion's THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING.

Sarah:  THE CINDERELLA PACT by me. In the bath. A red pencil in my mouth. At 2 a.m.

Susan:  THE SWEET HEREAFTER by Russell Banks.

**Three things you'd want with you on a deserted island.

Harley:  My computer, unlimited books, and chocolate.

Nancy:  A five star restaurant that specializes in molten chocolate cake, one of those beds from The Pennisula hotel and a masseur named Roderigo. Oh, wait, I thought you meant a "desserted" island!

Sarah:  My husband, Charlie, and our two kids. If people aren't "things;" then a cell phone with five bars and an unlimited battery, a laptop filled with iTunes and a bottomless pitcher of margaritas.

Susan:  A box of books, my Nano, and my dude (or at least a toothbrush).

**Five guests at your fantasy dinner party.

Harley:  Simone de Beauvoir, Bill Clinton, Jesus, my dead cousin Bobby, and Meryl Streep.

Nancy:  I love party planning! Because the guest list dictates the conversation, off the top of my head: I'd order food from Le Bernardin, buy a keg of beer and invite Will Shakespeare along with Dorothy Parker, Truman Capote, Joe Namath and Denis Leary. With OJ Simpson for dessert. Jon Stewart will serve the meal. Hillary Clinton to provide the welcome speech. Eric Clapton plays for the dancing afterwards. Since you need a fine looking man and some comic relief to show up late, Will Smith and at least one Kennedy crash the party at midnight dragging the duct-taped body of An Unnamed Senior White House Official. Neighbors call the police at 4 a.m. Condoleezza Rice shows up at daybreak to clean up the mess. She brings beignets and espresso.

Sarah:  Charlie, John Lennon (sans Yoko), Mick Jagger, Owen Wilson and Colin Firth. That makes me the only girl! (Good idea, Harley, with the Jesus thing, what with turning water into wine. But Bill Clinton would be playing footsie with you all night.)

Susan:  Claude Monet, Albert Einstein, Clark Gable, my grandfather Joe Meisel, and Joe Elliott. (So everybody’s dead but Joe and me…hmmm.)

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Oh, Harley, thank you!

Just got in from the hospital and checked the blog, lo and behold, I found interesting (as usual) funny ( which I needed) perceptive (cause a couple of you have been reading my mind) informative ( one of you is my sun sign Aquarius!)and shocking ( cause there are one or two on the dinner list that I wouldn't want around!)But most of all many smiles while reading it. As they say, Thanks I needed that, SusanCo

I am trying to avoid working, so naturally, I thought of you, ladies, and visited The Lipstick Chronicles. My random reactions: I, too, am a Sagittarious, Sarah. Harley, WHY BILL CLINTON? What do you want to talk to him about? Nancy, I'm with you on the dream vacation, but I want my masseur to be named Maximilion. Susan, you better email me pronto about your dude, or you will be struck off the My Best Friends list.

And I'll leave you all with a question: Why is it almost funny when someone shoots himself in the toe? People who do this get NO sympathy.

Charlaine Harris

Charlaine, I considered adding Bill Clinton to my list, too, because I hear he's a wonderful raconteur. (But I went with a different mix in hopes of a conversation less political and more amusing. I mean, really, Joe Namath & Truman Capote at the same table??)

Have you shot yourself in the toe, Miss Charlaine? We'll give you as much sympathy as you need.

Charlaine, I just emailed you about the dude so you won't zap me off your list! Gulp. I hate when that happens. And, you know, being shot in the foot is just so, well, cliche. Maybe that's why no toe-shooters get sympathy.

Charlaine, even Bill Clinton's most vociferous enemies admit the guy is brainy. And a talker. A brainy talker, who loves food, and is guaranteed to flirt with all the women (well, me and Simone de Beauvoir)and will play the sax after dinner -- I dunno, that's a pretty damn good party guest, regardless of your politics.

What, nobody wants GWB at dinner? :)

I have a story about friends of the family having lunch at Kennebunkport with Mom and Dad. Very funny.

200 blogs -- awesome! Congratulations one and all. Query, though -- why is Harley the only one who would invite another woman to her party?

Rob: Unnamed Senior White House Official.

Kerry: YOu must have skimmed mine. Dorothy Parker!!! Who could be better?

I'd like to know who our regulars would invite. Assuming the Book Tarts were unfortunately detained by the demands of their own entertaining, of course.

Kerry- "why is Harley the only one who would invite another woman to her party?"

Why would I want the competition from another woman? But on 2nd thought, if it's all men and me, they'll talk about huntin, or fishin, or killin some other animal. Or maybe sports. There wouldn't be one decent discussion on Brad and Angeline Jolee and poor Jennifer. Never mind...answered my own question.

Look, if I'm the only woman and I'm serving oysters on the half shell I want men, men, men and nooo competition. Dorothy Parker, with all due respect Nancy, would overshadow me with her whore-to-culture puns as would Truman Capote with his gory details about various murders. All I care about is cheesecake. Superficial, true. But if I get to have one fantasy dinner party I really want it to be a fantasy!

What Sarah said!

Not that anybody asked, but here's my ideal dinner party:

Me.
A five-pound box of Swiss chocolates (no lemon cremes or walnuts).

I don't share well.

How could I have missed Dorothy Parker? My most abject apologies!

My lists would all be predicated on the idea that I would not find myself completely star-struck and tongue-tied in the company :)

One list would include the Tarts, Laurie R. King, and Laura Lippman. Another would include Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, Claudia Black, Mary McDonnell, and Mira Furlan. I'd love to have Michelle Yeoh join that bunch. Another would include Marie Curie, Lynn Margulis, the late Barbara McClintock, and the late Rachel Carson. I'm kind of into themes :)

If I were leavening with persons of the heterogametic persuasion, I'd add Edward Olmos, Martin Sheen, James Marsters, Francis Crick, and Guy Gavriel Kay. Not necessarily in that order.

I know I'm missing some . . .

Secret Admirer’s Lipstick Diva Dinner Bash

After much debate with my compatriots, we of the Red Meat Eating-Republican-War Fighter-Author-Sensitive New Age Guys of the 21st Century Lipstick Diva Fan Club offer up the following itinerary for the Lipstick Goddesses…

WARNING: The following itinerary involves kidnapping, illegal activity, unabashed heterosexual male admiration, and poetry. You’ve been warned….

Phase 1: ACQUISITION AND EXFILTRATION

In Phase 1, we’d kidnap you. We know that all four of you are faithful women involved in monogamous relationships, but sorry, no significant others allowed. We want you all to ourselves. So we’d roll up on you in the obligatory vanilla white Ford Econoline, spring out, and hand you up into the van in old school gentleman style. Once in the van, we’d ply you with Dom Perignon (or the apertif of your desire) and delightful little canapés while enroute to the airport.

Ideally, we’d have a contract Gulfstream, but if that didn’t happen, we’d settle for a C-141 Starlifter fitted for troop transport. When all of the Divas were acquired and assembled, then we’d exfiltrate via air enroute for Paris, France. Not Paris, Texas, mind you (Sorry, Ms. McBride). The one in France.

While enroute, we’d entertain you with tasty treats and a poetry recitation contest. A quick poll of the lads shows the usual memorized canon of Kipling and Service, but we also have e.e. cummings, Shakespeare (mostly the sonnets, and occasional stirring battle scenes), Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Jack Gilbert, Dylan Thomas, and Charles Bukowski on tap as well.

In addition to poetry recitation, war stories and general unabashed total male adoration directed at your fine persons, we’d let you fly the plane for awhile, and, if you were nice, shoot off the anti-missile defense flares at night over the water, which looks really cool.

Phase 2: INFILTRATION AND FORWARD STAGING

After landing in Paris, we’d have our usual complement of armored Suburbans in basic black (not quite Armani black, but it’ll do) waiting to sweep you all off to your suite at the Ritz, where we get the embassy rate. Since you are all of course involved women, we would exchange chaste Gallic cheek busses at the door to your palatial suite with connecting bedrooms so you can all freshen up.

After you’d worked out on room service, and the service at the Ritz is quite immaculate, we’d bring in our local expert to prepare you for the next stage of the operation. My friend Monique has an interesting history as a cabaret dancer, choreagrapher, extremely expensive courtesan and madam, and owner of several exclusive clothing boutiques. Her assignment would be take the four of you around to her selection of the best and most exclusive clothing and shoe stores (and Monique knows how to work a good deal and find bargains – it’s a French thing…). Of course, you wouldn’t have to spend a cent of your money, since we’d pay for it out of our diverted black operations funds courtesy of Big Don R. Operational necessity, as we say in our world.

This would also include an obligatory stop at a parfumier where the master maker would create a scent just for each one of you ladies….

Phase 3: PRELIMINARY RECONNAISSANCCE

Suitably dolled up in the latest and greatest that French haute coutre can provide, we’d take you gals on the guided tour of Paris. After that, the obligatory dinner party would be a little different…my favorite hotel in Paris is the Hotel Parc de Monceau, a small family run place, said family being old friends of mine. What’s interesting about the area around the Parc de Monceau is the number of very small restaurants, generally run by recent graduates of the Cordon Bleu and other fine culinary institutes. Parisians in the know gravitate there to taste some fabulous meals for a fraction of what you pay at the main-line name restaurants. Not that money is an object in this particular operation, but I prefer the unusual and off the beaten path to the tried and true every time. So I’d consult with my friends and find out who the best chef is, and we’d go to the restaurant and I’d tell him – Make us whatever you think will make us happy. (And yes, we’d accommodate the vegetarians in the crowd, since you are all lovely. Our default response to vegetarians is get the hell out and graze on the lawn, but we make an exception in your cases). And cut him loose.

So…an intimate dinner party with fabulous food and good wine (for those who drink), the Lipstick Divas and an equal number of admiring men with eclectic backgrounds…

That accounts for several hours or so.

Then we’d take off with my friend Ferdinand, who while being an absolutely deadly commando in the French Foreign Legion is also a serious jazz and blues buff. Ferdinand would take us to the smokiest, wildest, diviest dives in Paris – with the very best music. There you gals could bask safely in an environment of total male admiration, both Gallic and American, while enjoying great music and the opportunity to shake your fine asses if you were so moved.

Then back to the Ritz, for the obligatory exchange of chaste Gallic cheek busses, because you have an early wake up call….

Phase 4: AIRBORNE INSERTION

So about, oh, 3 or 4 in the morning, right about the time you went to sleep, you’d be woken by loud pounding on your doors. You’d be handed a OD green aviator’s jumpsuit (quite fetching on you women, by the way) and after putting it on, rushed down to the street and into another van.
We’d race to the airport, in the dark, and then we’d load up in whatever military aircraft Ferdinand arranged for us to borrow from La Legion Etrangere, and take off and go into a circle around 4000 feet above Paris. In the aircraft, you lovely ladies would be strapped, your back to our front, to a free fall qualified jumpmaster with the appropriate parachute in place. For a tandem free fall parachute jump over Paris.

Now, there was some heated discussion about who gets to jump who, I must tell you. Me being the Team Leader and the President of the Harley Jane Kozak Fan Club, Baghdad Chapter, I lay claim to Ms. Kozak. I want her strapped to my front for the big jump. My team mate Gus, a tall lanky ex-rodeo rider from Texas, has threatened violence to anyone who tries to get between him and Ms. McBride. I think the two of them may have a shoe thing in common, as Gus owns not one, but ten pairs of custom made cowboy boots. Must be a Texas thing.

But not to worry, Nancy and Sarah – several of the men are even now engaged in a debate over who gets to jump you! Said debate is quite heated, and may degenerate to blows, so I may have to make a command decision as to assignments here. I hope your husbands don’t mind alpha males fighting over you!

Once those assignments are finalized, we’d drop the back ramp of the aircraft and have the driver turn so that the rear of the aircraft, where we’re standing, faces the rising sun. And just as it breaks over the horizon, well, hell – we’re going to jump out of the perfectly good airplane with the Lipstick Divas!

It’s just a little free fall, but we promise you won’t forget it. Nothing like falling at 180 miles an hour over The City of Light while the sun rises over Paris. We might even recite poetry on the way down. We’ll pop our chutes, and you’ll get to enjoy the easy cruise and turn as we steer down to the greenway around the Parc de Monceau, where my friends await us with fresh brewed espresso, croissants and beigenets.

A leisurely breakfast, then whisked back to the Ritz for clean up, pack up, and back to the airport, where we’ve booked you first class seats (all together, of course) for your trip back to the World.

Us, we got to head East again, tired, poorer, but happier…for we have enjoyed the Lipstick Divas.

How’s that for a dinner date, ladies?

Secret Admirer and The Boys


Susan... Do treat yourself and take a visit to Maine sometime.. it is absolutely beautiful.. there are some great B&B's all up and down the rocky coast.. my favorite place is a spot called Pemaquid Point, near Damariscotta.. you can walk down onto the rocks and sit for hours.. In fact. as a young adult I wrote a LOT of bad poetry on those rocks.. You can watch the Lobster boats haul in their traps and see the tour boats purr by every so often.. but mostly it's just you and the sound of crashing waves and seagulls. (I've got a few pictures of it linked from my blog to my flickr page if you would like to check it out.. they are on page 5)
Go..!! run don't walk! (ok fly!) but it is really a wonderful place to relax and maybe even meet those deadlines early!

peace,
biscuit

Nobody asked me, but I'm still trying to avoid working.(Can you tell the book isn't going well?) I'd have you Chroniclers to Number One dinner party, because i like all of you and you're smart and funny. At my Number Two Dinner Party, if I wanted to laugh till I was sick, I would have Dana Cameron, Toni Kelner, and Denise Swanson. At my Attractive & Intelligent Dinner Party, I'd have . . . ooooh . . . Edward James Olmos, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, and Colin Firth. At my Hunk-O-Rama party, where no one has to actually speak, I'd have Keanu Reeves, Vin Diesel, and Scott Speedman. Okay, I'm going to stare at a blank screen again.

Charlaine

I am speechless with regard to Secret Admirer's plans for a Lipstick Diva Dinner Party. Truly.

Elizabeth, ooooh, that sounds fabulous! Will definitely have to put Maine on my schedule for real one of these days. Wonder if my publicist can set up some book signings there and write it off as a business trip? Hmmm.

Charlaine, I think you need a margarita before you sit down to your computer. Can I mix you up a pitcher and FedEx to Magnolia?

Charlaine:

A hunk-o-mania dinner party where no one has to speak. I like it, I like it.

Kerry,

I recognized Mira Furlan from your list and was wondering why. (I have a theory, but I'd like to see if I'm right.)

As for my list, I wouldn't mind having dinner with George W. And J. Michael Strazynski and Jennifer Garner. Probably not at the same time (although GWB is a huge fan of Babylon 5.)

Mark

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