I received the first hardcover copies of my book this week - very exciting to say the least. Press is starting to trickle in. I received two publishing industry reviews which weren't too good (screw 'em), but Child Magazine (I LOVE that publication - always have, always will) called the book "hilarious." The book was also covered in an entertaining article in the London Times last Sunday. To pull the readers' eyes to the piece, it was accompanied by a gorgeous picture of Catherine Zeta-Jones who will play Ivy in the movie. It goes without saying that my picture would not have been as effective. Hey, yours wouldn't been have either.
Anyhow, we're busy getting ready for Christmas in the Quinn household. Even though I'm Jewish, we put up a tree. Mark is Christian and the kids are half and half, so our compromise is to celebrate everything. I wrote my annual Holiday letter, but Mark is threatening to rewrite it. He thinks it falls flat. I'd like to get it out before Christmas, but that remains to be seen.
Here's my annual letter, the one that falls flat. I thought I'd post it in case it never gets mailed. I've been writing these since Schuyler was born thirteen years ago. I know they can be cheesy, but our friends seem to enjoy them. Some even claim to look forward to the letter (that would be our friends who have no lives). Actually, it was BECAUSE I'd written amusing holiday letters that I had the confidence to try to write a novel. So if YOU have experience writing annual holiday letters, you too could write a novel. Anyway, here goes:
Dear Friends and Family,
Is it my imagination or did the holidays start a month early this year? I swear, yesterday it was summer and today I can't get Clay Aiken's rendition of O Holy Night out of my head.
Oy vey, what a year it has been! Schuyler, my precious baby (okay, she's 13), now takes the subway, hangs out with boys, shops for sport, and dresses like an MTV star (don't get me started on the media). I'm not sure which of the above developments distresses me more. On her 13th birthday, she woke up a teenager in every sense of the word. Happily, she has taken up ballet, jazz and hip-hop dancing, all of which she loves and does well. Last summer, she was back at French Woods, a performing arts camp in the Catskills - heaven on earth as far as Schuyler is concerned. I call the place Hickey Woods. Can you guess why? Hint: it's coed. I'm thinking that this is some kind of Karmic retribution for all the tsuris ("troubles" in Yiddish) I caused my mother when I was a teenager.
Schuyler changed schools this year, moving to Winston Prep, a wonderful place for kids with learning disabilities. Sam, who is 12, hasn't gone over to the dark side yet. He loves sports - watching them, playing them, fantasizing about turning pro. This year, his Little League Team won the championship in a nail-biting clincher that went down to the final at-bat. Sam made a dramatic play (the ball hit him in the chest but he threw the batter out), winning the game for his team - one of the highlights of his life. He has also taken up tennis and is quite good at it. Next season, he is going out for basketball and he tried out for the part of Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, his middle-school play. The highlight of his "ME" box (a cardboard manifestation of the inner and outer Sam) was a picture of his favorite cartoon dad because, as he put it, "I have such admiration and respect for the work of Homer Simpson." Ooookay.
As usual, Mark attended all the major track and field championship that took place last year except for one - the Olympics. I take full responsibility for that. After spending our last vacation at the World Track and Field Championship (I'm not complaining - it was in Paris), I thought a different sort of trip was in order. So we took a fascinating but freezing cruise around Ireland and Scotland. Luckily, the Olympics were broadcast live on TV every night, so it was the best of both worlds. On the ship, he earned the nickname, "karaoke king," with his jazzy interpretation of Mack the Knife. I thought I could impress my fellow passengers with the funky sound of "We are Family." Au contraire, my friends. Don't you hate it when people are embarrassed for you? I know I do.
On the book news front, The Ivy Chronicles is coming out on January 31 (gulp!!!). I hope you will all run out and buy it that very day, or better yet, pre-order it on-line TODAY. In fact, put this letter down RIGHT NOW and go do that, we'll wait for you. You're back? That was quick. For those of you in NYC, I'm doing book readings at The Corner Bookstore (1313 Madison Avenue) on January 31 at 6 p.m. and at Barnes and Noble (Broadway and 82nd ) on Feb. 8 at 7:30. If you're in Denver, I'll be at the Cherry Creek Tattered Cover Feb. 24 at 7:30. Please write these dates on your calendar, as it would be so reassuring to see your smiling faces in the audience when I make my authorial debut. I dieted all year to get ready for my close-up and (irony of irony) I'm fatter than ever.
In other exciting news, the movie rights were sold to Warner Bros. Catherine Zeta-Jones read the book, loved it and decided to team up with her Ocean's 12 producer, Jerry Weintraub, to co-produce and star. If you would have told me two years ago that my name would ever appear in the Hollywood Reporter, I would have said you were nuts. It just goes to show you...I'm not sure what. Not to sound like a show off, but if you google "Catherine Zeta-Jones" and "The Ivy Chronicles," you'll get 15,600 hits (in every language). I think we can all agree that it was Catherine's lucky day when she hitched herself to my star. In case you're wondering what it's like to be an almost-famous writer, let me assure you that nothing has changed. I'm getting no additional respect from Mark and the kids. Although Smokey, our cat, quivers in my presence (this started after I sold the movie rights - you be the judge). But enough about me, let's talk about me. Have you seen my website? www.karenquinn.net. Take a look. Okay, just slap me.
From our family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season, and a happy, healthy and safe 2005.
P.S. Mark read this letter and found it uninspired, suggesting that my characterizations of the kids were shallow and two-dimensional, and the humor was amateurish. And Sam's review of my chicken nuggets last night - I just want to crawl under the covers and hide!
Saturday, December 18, 2004