Posts tagged ‘CPC’

Little Big City

I feel like I am in a Western showdown.  Where two men face each other across the dirt packed main street, the big town clock slowly ticking down the time in a most dramatic manner. Tick. Tick. Tick. “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us,” one man says, his dusty fingers itching towards the gun hanging at his side.

You know the image. It’s classic to every single Western ever made.  Only, I’m…

  1. Not a man
  2. Not a gunslinger
  3. In New York City

And yet I feel like I’m in a showdown where this city just ain’t big enough.

My life? I hope not!

Everyone talks about how big New York is, and I mean they do have a point. After all there are like what over 8 million people in this city? But it doesn’t matter.  It’s still a freakin small area of land. And whoever says it isn’t is a liar.  Either that or I am just destined to always run into people I know while out and about…

Let me tell you a story.  Two weeks ago I was down in the Lower West Side doing some shopping and eating with a friend, and we’re talking as I explain my theory that New York really isn’t that big. And BAM–we run into someone who lives down the hall from us–note we all live in the Upper West Side so it’s not like we were just in the area. Then not 5 minutes after we see our neighbor, I run into my  freshman year roommate.  So random.  We rarely ran into each other on a small campus with like 2,000 students, yet we managed to run into each other in freakin New York City.

But these are not singular circumstances. Oh no! My best Ria was living in this “city” two years ago for a summer internship, and there she was walking home after work one day and she literally bumps into three people from our college on the street. Drama was it was three people who she didn’t necessarily get along with.

The same? Maybe...

So yeah. Lesson learned from Ria? Make sure you check your book of potential nemeses before moving to New York because you just may see them walking down the street!


July 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm 2 comments

Urban Country

Two days ago the Editor-in-Chief of Country Living came to talk to us about…well…living country. And I have to say, I have a GIANT girl-crush on this woman now.  She is absolutely amazing. And Southern. Which means she is even more amazing and automatically cool. There’s a cool and amazing scale and being Southern automatically puts you over into the upper end of it.  Justin Timberlake? From Memphis, meaning instant cool.  Elvis? Yeah, from the South. James K. Polk? Now that was one fine example of Tennessean stud. Manifest Destiny bitches!

So my girl-crush, whose name is Sarah Gray Miller in case you were wondering, got up and gave this amazing presentation about her magazine, which I have to admit was not one that I’d ever really been interested in before.  I mean, come on, I’m a 20-something year-old just out of school living in NYC. I doubt I’m Country Living‘s target demographic. To be blunt, I expect her talk to be a little flat. And old-fashioned.

I was wrong.

Surprise of the day? Miller totally held her own against her co-presenter one of the head-honcho-editors at Rolling Stone. After she was done I looked at my new friend Courtney and was like, “I want to go read Country Living right now!” And then I did. And I loved it.

See, I went into this lecture thinking, “Well, shoot, obviously one of these people is going to be kick-ass…” and I was not thinking it would be the editor of a magazine called Country Living. Unfair, I know. I’ve learned my lesson about making hasty snap-judgements about magazines, but the magazine really did appeal to me!

Now I would not say that I am country, per say.  I mean yes, I am listening to Blake Shelton’s “Kiss My Country Ass” right now. And yeah, I do own cowboy boots. And maybe y’all does slip into a few of my conversations every now and then, but speaking Southern–which is a whole unique language by the way–doesn’t make me country. Seriously. I would say I am more … urban country, a brand new genre from me to you!

Cause while I do enjoy an urban setting where I can hop on a subway at anytime and grab pizza at 3:00 am, I would never call myself an urban girl.  No way.  I can’t jaywalk at all.  I really like grass. And I have no sense of City direction–so it’s good thing my phone has a map on it.  I think Urban Country is like Urban Fantasy.  It’s a blend of the best of the best.  You can have cowboy boots and subways, gingham and concrete, vampires and the mafia.  See where I’m going with this? If not maybe you should check out my latest review for RT BOOKREVIEWS, an Urban Fantasy about just that: vampires and the mafia!

See how everything comes around to romance novels?

July 15, 2011 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

Many Faces in Many Places

I’ve learned a valuable lesson here at the Columbia Publishing Course. Those covers you see at the grocery store, the windows at bookstores, the aisles at Walmart? Well, those books didn’t always look like that.  They didn’t always have that cover. During book workshop week, my group had to create book covers for all of our titles. Our poor art director, who I shall call C, went through cover after cover for these books before we finally came to a decision. Then that decision was questioned, dissected, talked about, and picked at until the very last evaluation of the week.

But see the thing here is that our experiences with those various covers and designs were completely normal in publishing! Case point: that iconic, classic, everyone-knows-it image on the Twilight cover? Yeah, it went through so many stages.  And when the editor of that super successful book series, Megan Tingley came to the course during our first week, we saw all the different stages and variations of the Twilight cover. Some were good, some were bad, some were pretty but not appropriate for a vampire romance geared towards a teen audience. But the thing is: that cover that we all recognize now was not the first, second, third, or even fourth cover they went through.  Talk about behind the scenes.

Then all of those book covers you love so much? Well, when you sell the foreign rights to those books–covers change.  Twilight in America does not necessarily look like Twilight in Japan or France or even Sweden.  Here’s a little glimpse of some of the foreign covers for the first book in the series.  Which do you think is the most effective?



July 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

Cold Turkeys and Book Workshop Week

Pages upon pages upon pages...

I got a text message last week from my mother that said, “No words : ( No Tweets : ( No blog : ( No facebook : ( ?????” When I finally found time to call her back three days later she accused me of making her go cold turnkey. “You’ve abandoned me!” she said, “You’ve given up on your blog and I am going through withdrawals.”

Opps! Sorry Momma! But, no I have not fallen off the face of the earth into an alternative dimension. Nor have I completely forsaken this blog.  I’ve just been insanely busy.  And going slightly insane.  Where to begin…

Well, last week was book workshop week at Columbia and it was insane.  Intense.  Overwhelming.  I got a cold.  Basically, they split us up into small groups where we had to come up with our own fictional publishing imprint.  Then we had to come up with our Fall 2012 catalog.  Then we had to perform a specific job within our group all in a week.

I was in publicity which means in a week I did press releases, pitch letters, and press kits for six fake books–that could literally be real titles as we had to find real authors for these fake books and draw up fake contracts with these real authors’ real agents.  I also worked on the marketing and promotion plans, tip sheets, and random brainstorming.  Imagine–if you will–a giant role-playing game where the judges are professional editors, publicists, agents, and sales people and then add-on late nights, bad lighting, and the illusion that all of it is real.  All of our titles had to realistic book ideas and we could not “publish” anything fictional without a manuscript.

Golly gee, I am still having surreal moments when I forget that those titles are not actual books coming out in a year.

My group was a general trade group that “published” biographies, memoirs, sports books, cookbooks, fiction, and pretty much everything in between.  And well, you know me…when coming up with ideas for these crazy books I had to bring a little romance to the table.  Enter Lizzie’s contributions to Trade Group C.  One real life romance novel–which I tracked down a manuscript for using the wonderful invention of the World Wide Web–and a romance-y nonfiction book.  My group looked at me like I was mildly insane at first, but we got great feed back and by the end of the week, several people asked me for recommendations for my favorite romance novels. Pat on my back? Why thank you!

So that’s where I’ve been dear friends.  Role playing publicist in the hallowed halls at Columbia University.  Here’s something sweet and southern and romantic to make it up to you!

KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUT BREAD PUDDING from Linda Howard’s Drop Dead Gorgeous

Preheat oven to 350 F.

– 2 dozen Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts, torn into little chunks. (You can also use 2 dozen glazed crullers if you want a heavier texture.)
– 3 eggs, beaten.
– 1 can sweetened condensed milk.
– Vanilla flavoring to taste (I use 1 tsp).
– 1/2 stick melted butter.
– Cinnamon to taste. Takes more than you think. Just add until you think it tastes right.
– Can of fruit cocktail OR milk

Combine the eggs, condensed milk, vanilla, melted butter, and cinnamon (like I said, add until you like the taste).

Pour over doughnut chunks and stir (I use my Kitchen Aid. This can be hard on your arms and shoulders.)

At this point it’s going to look really dry so you can either add a can of fruit cocktail like I do (it really cuts the sweetness) or, if that freaks you out, add milk while stirring until you have a lumpy cake batter consistency.

You don’t need milk if you add the fruit cocktail–it’s the perfect amount of liquid.

Now you can add 1 cup of chopped pecans if you’d like. Or not. Depends on your preference. It’s great both ways. The pecans again cut down on the sweetness.

Now you can add 1 tsp of nutmeg if you want to. I’ve found I prefer it without.

Pour this into a 13 x 9 glass pan and cook for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick to see if it’s done. If not, give it a couple more minutes.

Take it out and let it cool. You can eat it this way or you can add a glaze.

SIMPLE SUGAR GLAZE – this is the glaze I use

– 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
– 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or water

Mix together and beat until it becomes smooth and pourable. Pour over bread pudding. You can make more if you need to.


– 1/4 cup buttermilk
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/4 tsp soda
– 1 1/2 tsps cornstarch
– 1/4 cup margarine
– 1 1/2 tsps vanilla

Combine first five ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add the vanilla. Pour over pudding.

July 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm 1 comment

PenguinUSA: The Future of Publishing!

Just a really great video I saw this past week about the future of publishing.  Is everything as grim as it seems?

June 28, 2011 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

On The First Week at Columbia…

In order to fully sum up my first week at the Columbia Publishing Course, I’ve created this lovely song…Please read in an off-key voice to the tune of the classic “12 Days of Christmas.”  Ready? Let’s get to it…

On the first week of CPC, Lindy gave to me….

Seven free books,

Six frozen toes,


Four publisher crushes,

Three Penguin people,

Two textbook,


A CEO in a Hachette tree!

My Solar Queen Elizabeth waving from my window!

You can applaud now.  But yeah, this week has been crazy.  I’ve been called “brave” and “bold” and been told that people “respect” me several times now because of my romance obsession, which is like, hold up! Go back? Say what?  I am brave? You respect me for reading romances? Why can you not be snobby like everyone else, you super nice CPC kids? Aggravation.  Now, I am forced to like them. Such a bummer (which is sarcasm by the way…)

We’ve had lit agents, marketing people, Madeline McIntosh (President of Sales, Operations & Digital at Random House), and editors all come and tell us about their fields.  I’ve kinda learned how to calculate a P &L (meaning money), and I every day I have literally frozen in a refrigerated room.  Middle of summer? That is a lie! I’m living in freaking Antarctica up here.

But there is one thing that has been pretty consistently running through every talk: the Future of books.  It’s been a tug-of-war of opinions and feelings on ebooks and Amazon’s impending imprints. If you haven’t heard the news, here’s a brief and shallow summary: Amazon has created it’s own publishing house which has traditional publishers FREAKED OUT! If it works they will be able to sell and create books… more on that here!  So sometimes Amazon is evil.  Sometimes it’s our best friend.  Back and forth, back and forth.  I feel like I should throw my Kindle out the window and kiss it at the same time! Is Amazon the Goliath to my little David? Or are they the Goliath to my Philistine army?

No one really knows! But it kinda makes a difference on whether I should go find my slingshot or just sit back and not…

Non-Romantic Question: What do you think about self-publishing and Amazon’s entrance into the actual publishing of books? Better yet, did you like my song?

June 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

Like A Movie…Only Smaller!

I am obsessed with trailers.  Completely obsessed.  They are like mini-movies for a quick fix of worthwhile YouTube.  Perfect for those times when you only have a few minutes to spare but want guaranteed quality.  More than that, they are informative! It’s a win-win. And who doesn’t love a win-win? Only losers-losers.

But I love more than just movie and TV trailers (yes there are trailers for new pilots).  No, dearest friends, my favorite form of trailer is the book trailer! In our digital age, the book trailer allows me to get a feel for the book without having to read the summary on Amazon or B& More than that, it allows super visual people like myself–who do judge books my their colors and appearances–a chance to really see what the book is about when they can’t pick it up physically.  In a word, book trailers are genius.

Therefore, when David Young (Chairman and CEO of Hachette Book Group) came to the CPC and showed us the YouTube book trailer of Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which I’ve mentioned in a past post as I love Lincoln and Vampires) during his speech, I was like, “YES! Mini-movie time!”  However, I was also a little shocked…

Now, I know you all are going, “Ummm, Lizzie, so what?!? We’ve seen that epic trailer where our beloved 16th president wields an axe like a bearded Buffy.”  See, the surprise my friends was not that he showed the video.  After all, it is a great trailer.  No, the surprise came from my peers’ reactions to this vid.  They were shocked that books had trailers.

I know.  They were shocked that there are book trailers. And this makes me sad.  I love book trailers.  They are wonderful.  Sometimes I just go online and watch random ones for the fun of it.

So this post is dedicated to you, dearest friends who live under rocks and have somehow missed the whole-wide-world of book trailers.  I give to you a few…quite a few…of my favorite videos.  Enjoy! I certainly did!

June 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm 5 comments

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