Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pimping for Trish

Over at Writers at Play blog, Wild Rose Press (WRP) editor Trish Owens is discussing the music we listen to as we write AND inviting people to ask questions about writing for WRP. Trish edits for WRP's "Scarlet" erotica line.

Trish is a also a friend of mine from this group of romance writers on AOL who have been chatting via message board and listserv since the beginning of time. (OK, since the beginning of many of our careers, which haven't been THAT long.) So I can say with some authority that she won't bite. At least not in that setting.

Here's something interesting about Wild Rose Press: In the latest issue of the Romance Writers Report (the monthly magazine for members of the Romance Writers of America), WRP editor-in-chief Rhonda Penders said, and I quote, "No writer will ever receive a form rejection letter from us. Each and every submission gets a personalized letter, and if it is a rejection, the writer gets some solid tips and constructive criticism to help her improve her writing."

I have no idea how they are going to accomplish this as WRP continues to grow--I'm a nonprofit magazine editor in my other life, and even though our circulation is only about 100,000 (i.e. smaller than, say, Martha Stewart Living) the thought of sending personalized critiques to every single submission we get makes me want to lie down in a dark room with a cold cloth over my head. Unless, of course, said personalized rejection could read something like:

Dear Josephine Schmo,

Don't suck.


Annie Editor

But I'm guessing that's not the case here, since Penders also noted in the article that many writers thank them for their rejections! So, hat's off to Wild Rose Press for taking on what has to be a considerable chunk of extra work to help "grow writers."

Curious about that policy and other aspects of writing for Wild Rose Press? Ask Trish about it today!

Monday, January 07, 2008


Intrigue author Dana Marton--whose work I am absolutely over the moon about--recently posted a fun interview with me on her MySpace page: She came up with some really interesting questions, so feel free to pop on over, as I'm too swamped/lazy to blog for more than a few minutes today. And be sure to check out her January Intrigue, Sheik Seduction, which sounds AMAZING, as all her books are.

Coming later this week, I'll reveal the five biggest fashion blunders still hanging in my closet, as an apology to Mary (who is lovely) for making fun of her holiday sweaters....

Thursday, January 03, 2008

25 Things to Never Wear Again (Allegedly)

I'm not a maniacal Oprah fan--you know, those women who run around in circles flailing their arms and crying when they FINALLY see her live and in person for the first time. However, I enjoy her shows, love many of her meatier topics, and think she uses her considerable influence in a very positive way (though the word "kingmaker" comes to mind when I think about her endorsement of Barack Obama--even though I'm totally down with the idea of his being our next President. But I digress.).

I don't subscribe to O magazine or read it all that regularly, but I like it enough to occasionally pick up a copy when something on the cover sounds interesting. So I picked up this month's issue, sucked in by the "How Not to Look Old: 25 Things Never to Wear" feature. As someone who lives in faded jeans and my beloved Janis Joplin concert T-shirt (Lucky Jeans replica, not vintage), I could probably use a few pointers as I navigate my sartorial way through my (gulp) late 30s.

First thing I turned to when I opened the magazine was the HNTLO feature. I quickly found the "25 Things" list, buried in the corner of a not-so-exciting "what to wear" feature article emphasizing the wonders of dark denim jeans and a black and white cashmere cardigan. (Como se dice BORING? I'm not one to argue over the formidable perks of a great pair of jeans, but paired with a black-and-white cardigan with gold buttons? Really? If I wanted to look like my second-grade teacher, I would shop the Iowa garage sale circuit, thanks.)

A list like this--short, sweet, and to the controversial point--is made for blogging about, so here, without further ado, are O magazine's "25 Items That Just Gotta Go" from your closet this year ... with commentary:

1) Holiday sweaters with bells and appliques (i.e. reindeer, teddy bears, bumblebees, pumpkins). WORD. No item of clothing makes me want to don a sandwich board and take to the streets in protest as much as a holiday sweater. And I'm sorry--the older I get, the more friends I have who adore their holiday sweaters and would just as soon lop off their own heads as not parade around in them every year come December, so I know I'm offending some holiday sweater aficionados. But IMHO, unless you're an elementary school teacher (kids like sparkly), are playing Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones' Diary, or are being ironic, you should stay far far away from what basically amounts to a bad traffic accident interpreted through yarn and sequins.

2) Granny necklaces that tell how many grandchildren you have. I have no problem with these. Oprah hates grandchildren.

3) Souvenir T-shirts. This had BETTER not include my near-sacred faux vintage Janis Joplin shirt. But OK, I'm guilty on multiple counts here.... I have couple from Honduras; one from the FBI Academy at Quantico, courtesy of my SIL; one from a dive shop in the Caymans; a New Zealand All-Blacks jersey from Wellington; and one from the Police reunion tour this past summer. (And, Oprah, you'll get THAT one when you pry it from my cold, air-drumming fingers.)

4) T-shirts with meant-to-be-funny sayings. Yeah, Oprah, YOU tell my husband he can't wear his "Sofa King" T-shirt anymore.

5) Overalls. Gone. (So comfy. So riddled with handy pockets in all sizes....) It was a hard parting, but I finally got rid of them a couple of years ago because, yes, I did look like Farmer Brown.

6) Acid-washed jeans. I don't think I ever got on board with the whole acid-washed denim thing (Eeeuw.), but if I did, I purged them from my closet in the late 80s. Like everyone else should have, unless said jeans were at any point the only thing standing between you and a cold, horrible death from hypothermia.

7) Ripped jeans. Right. Can't say the same about those. My favorite Lucky Jeans--a faded pair with flowers embroidered along the back waistband--split a knee last winter. They are so cozy and fit so well, I wasn't about to make one little knee-hole be the end of our otherwise beautiful relationship. Take that, O magazine! I will not conform to your petty little, advertiser-pandering fashion standards! I will not cavalierly toss an article of clothing that has otherwise been so good to me (and to my Latina booty, in particular). I will not go gently into that carefully pressed, dark-denimed night!

8) Shoulder pads. ARGH! Gone! Gone a long time ago! Death to shoulder pads! Does someone out there doubt the utter sensibility of this? What insane Asian-sweatshop manager is still putting these into shirts and jackets?

9) Flannel shirts. Another hard parting, but I did get rid of mine after we left Seattle in the late 90s, once I got over my multi-year mourning period for Kurt Cobain. ("I'm so happy. 'Cause today I found my friends. They're in my head. I'm so ugly [in my flannel]. That's OK, 'cause so are you.")

10) Muumuus. And I need Oprah to tell me this, why?

11) Photo handbags. Never had one. I'm not a big purse person, but when I do buy one, it's usually an attempt at looking presentable and not like someone's grandma. But this kind of strikes me as similiar to the grandma necklace--what's the harm in bragging-through-pictures about your kids/grandkids?

12) Flesh-colored hose. What kind of "flesh" are we talking about? "Flesh" as in the "flesh"-toned crayon in the Crayola box, which has historically been the freshly-scrubbed faint peach color of a white person from Scandinavia? Or do we mean "flesh" as in the same color as your personal skin tone, whether you're black, brown, tan, faint peach, olive, or purple with green spots?

I have no clue, but later on in the article, the author recommends instead wearing opaque tights (Classy!), fishnets (Classier! Just ask Britney!), or something disturbingly called "leg spray" (No comment.). I am beginning to take her recommendations with a very large grain of salt.

13) Penny loafers. Never liked these. With my wide feet, they made me look like I was wearing giant man-shoes. No sacrifice here.

14) Oversize blazers. But who doesn't want to look like a Century 21 realtor?

15) Mommy robes. But I LIKE my pink, fuzzy, Hey-I'm-A-Tribble! bathrobe. It's sooooo cozy. Isn't that the point of a robe--to wear at home when you're feeling extra cold or a little sick and need some comfort? It's not like I'm giving dinner parties in the thing.

16) Thin gold chain necklaces. I don't like necklaces in general--they make me feel like I'm being strangled. But women who wear them aren't exactly screaming Fashion Don't! at me when they walk around with an innocuous bit of gold around their necks. I don't get this one.

17) Elastic-waist pants. :::eye roll::: THANKS, O. You've saved me from a closet full of elasticized, no-iron polyester gabardine. And here I thought I looked so groovy.

18) Granny undies. But they're so handy! It's underwear, AND a bra!

19) Baggy sweats. OK, I have seen people out in public in some really gross, baggy, stain-covered sweats, and there really should be a law. But when you're feeling cold or sickly, nothing beats giant, cuddly (clean!) sweats and a pink fuzzy, Hey-I'm-a-Tribble! bathrobe.

20) Bearlike, full-length fur coats. Is there actually a place to wear one of these where you wouldn't look utterly obnoxious? Plus, I don't think you'd last long before being assaulted with a can of paint. This is, after all, the Age of PETA.

21) Short shorts. Yeah, because I WANT everyone to see my cellulite. Thanks again, Captain Obvious.

22) Cargo pants. OK, now that's just unfair.... First the overalls, and now you want to take my cargo pants? Recommending instead "trousers in black, white, and cream." Yeah, I'll let you know how those cream trousers do next time one of my daughters has a birthday party and I'm serving party food to little clingy munchkins with pizza-and-ice-cream-covered hands.

23) Stockings with reinforced toes. This is later clarified to be an offense only when worn with open-toe shoes. Which only makes sense....

24) Three-piece suits with vests. I telecommute, so there isn't much danger of my breaking out the three-piece suit anytime soon....

25) Backpacks. Right. Backpacks. No, I never go out with a backpack instead of a purse, especially with two preschoolers who need juice, extra clothes and entertainment carted around with them wherever they go. Oh, no, of course not. No backpacks here....

Any fashion don'ts you're stubbornly clinging to? Any fashion dos you're loving right now?

About Me

My photo
Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter