I totally made these for my book club.

And yes, they were amazing.

http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/car-bomb-cupcakes/

I can't say enough nice things about Smitten Kitchen.

Naturally, I made these the lazy way--I just popped a square of dark chocolate into the center of each before baking (which makes a nice molten chocolate center) and mixed a tiny bottle of Bailey's (actually a knock-off I'd never seen before--"Molly's"--because our hostess for the evening is named Molly) with store-brand frosting and drizzled it over the top.

Heat before serving to liquefy the chocolate.

Coming soon: GK's favorites

Hey GK,
Other than Wither or the Hunger Games series, could you recommend a half dozen or more YA novels I just HAVE to teach in my 8th grade classroom next year? I'd appreciate the input when you get a chance. Not sure when that'll be 'cuz I know you're swamped, but I'm willing to wait a lil' while.
Thanks,
D


Hey D.,
I'm in the process of putting together a "GK's favorites" or "GK recommends" list. Now, will I actually stick to books? Probably not.

I have this garlic press that is totally rocking my world, so that'll probably end up on the list somehow, too.

But thank you for asking!

GK

No More Gatsby House.

"Lands End, the Long Island mansion that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, met a wrecking ball this weekend. This architectural legend’s demise, while a curiosity for literary buffs, provides a few anthropological allegories about America."
http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/78483/the-gatsby-house-goes-down-and-three-allegories-rise/



I always pictured it rather differently. 
If you haven't read Wither, you need to get yourself a copy right now.

I know this, because I left my copy at a friend's house. She's super busy; I'll see her for book club, but that's on Thursday. I can't wait that long! I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

So I've considered the following:

  1. Overnighting myself another copy.
  2. Reading more in B&N until they throw me out. 
  3. Downloading the Kindle version--but the cover is so pretty! The book design is so pretty! No, no, can't do that.
  4. Trying to distract myself with other books, the way dieters seem to think that if they eat ten pounds of carrots they won't miss the two ounces of chocolate. Never works. Scratch that. 
One of the things I like best so far is that it's both dystopian and--somehow lovely. I, for one, was a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast (the Disney version, and all the other versions, too). There's something of the enchanted castle about the place--beautiful descriptions to contrast with the sheer horror of it all. I can totally picture the mansion, the food, the library, the almost-magical-sounding, effervescent bath products.

Oh! I must do something! 

Have you read it? Do you love it?

NO SPOILERS PLEASE.

GK, GK, Pants on Fire!

...Or not. In fact, even if they were (though I am not wearing pants today, but...well...yet another cardigan and skirt in very exciting grey), it's raining so hard that the flames would soon be put out.

(Plus, I seem to have more of a problem telling too much truth. TMI, GK! TMI.)

But, again, were I on fire today, I would probably arrive in the office looking only mildly scorched, the way Wile E. Coyote does after building a brand new explosive, setting it off, and then--with a mouth that looks rather like a straight, unimpressed line--picking up a piece of fur that'd fallen off his shoulder and straightening it.

Some aloe vera--mine's still alive!--bandages, hair product, and a Sephora perfume sample would totally fix this. Especially if I'd been sporting the New York uniform of black, black, and black. 

Now. What's the point of all of this?

Today GK's been featured on the Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire blog, discussing very important things like flying planes, hiding dishes, mechanical bulls, and spiral mac-n-cheese. All totally relevant to your career. Naturally.

There's also a contest involving an awesome prize.

So, go to! The interview can be found here.

Ask the (Internet Famous) Intern












A few notes: 
  1. I'm not this grumpy! :)
  2. Her hair really is blue/green. In places. In fact, there was a great morning when she came in, very serious, and said, "I...have a question. Can I still work here if I have blue hair? Can I still go to publishing parties?" My boss and I laughed. "Of course!" (Really, anything goes, so long as you wear a cardigan and/or glasses.)
Send her questions (via the comments of this post)! She'll choose her favorite and answer in a comic.

And....go!

Sometimes agents are perplexing. Even to other agents.

Yesterday, a writer sent me a series of snippets of conversation from another agency. "Do they mean that I should submit a revision now? Or that I have to write a new book to be in touch with them?" she asked (much more elegantly, of course).

I thought about it. I reviewed the correspondence. I asked my intern, in case I was missing something.

And I ended up writing back approximately five paragraphs of I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY MEANT.

There was so much encouragement, yet few actual invitations--so much in the way of "We like your writing" with so little in the way of directives.

Sometimes agents are perplexing.

Even to other agents.

Haunted hotels, speakeasies, crazy dudes, and great stories that happen to be pitches

There were gargoyles, chandeliers, gothic numerals, creepy framed pictures, and antique everything. The lights came on when I walked into the room, and the bathroom door closed me in darkness before I had a chance to find the light switch. My first thought? They totally put all of the agents in a haunted hotel. 

It was a B&B, actually, of the sort where check-in is picking up your key from an envelope and checking out is dropping it in a box. It looked  like a 100-year-old townhouse (we've since learned it was much older) and that its neighborhood, though it looked scary, was actually quite safe (if you didn't cross a street two blocks away). We found square pizza, live jazz, amazing fries, a fancy bar that was once a speakeasy (the eyes of a prominent decoration would blink when the police arrived) and a famous (after appearing in Esquire) beer bar in an old mansion.

But before all that, we spent the day taking pitches.

I've come to the conclusion that people who live south of the Mason-Dixon are just better at telling stories. Maybe it's that they feel freer to take up more than thirty seconds, and therefore add illuminating details. Maybe the slower speech rhythm allows for each word to take on more meaning, to convey more of what the teller sees when picturing it. Whatever the case, I loved it. I sat with my chin on my folded hands and listened and pictured and asked questions, as if I wasn't hearing about queries and manuscripts, but hearing stories from intriguing people at a party in a historic setting. (I am a huge fan of old buildings. It seems such a shame that most buildings now are built for speed alone.)

I was so pleased with one of the writers who came to speak with me--I felt as though we had so much to talk about, and loved the idea so much that I blurted, "I sure hope your writing is extraordinary, because I love this concept"--that I very nearly texted my boss to say, "I think I found a new [one of our favorite clients]!" I didn't--I've since learned that such behavior is unlucky (yes, yes, there is a great deal of room for superstition in subjective businesses)--but I thought about it. And now that I'm home--"Party train!" the agents called it, upon finding we were all on the same one--I'm seriously considering emailing the writer first.

Yeah. If there were such a thing as The Rules for nice young agents, I'd be totally breaking them.

What, Rules? I have a perfectly good excuse. She may not remember the title of a book I mentioned, and she'd love it. Deprive a reader of a book she'd love? I think not!

Speaking of young, as I've probably mentioned, it seems I can't go anywhere with other young agents without us getting, at the very least, "Damn kids!" glares. (Sometimes from the very people about to pitch to us--it's fun to watch their expressions go from "WHY are they so rowdy? This is a conference, not a frat house!"* to "Oh...maybe they'll like my book.") Another agent traveled down with me on the train, and we were told, in no uncertain terms, to shush. Talking  about books too loudly, it would seem. Sorry, Amtrak!

Oh. And then there was the guy we had to have removed from the conference.

Creepy Dude, as we were calling him, happened to come in right before the free cocktail hour. Imagine that.

He didn't take off his sunglasses. He just kept asking questions, saying things like, "Say I have this friend. With all these degrees. Say this friend has a book. I'm just here to represent...that book. Yeah, I represent it. Say! Where are you from? What company? What's an agent? Do you do work for charity? I'd need you to do this for free. What's the book about? It's...hard to describe. It's fiction and nonfiction."

One of the conference organizers was sitting with us, growing less and less impressed. Did the man register? "Yeah, yeah, sure." Did he pay? "What are you trying to say?" the guy said, mock-offended.

"Uh...we have to be...upstairs," one of the agents said, and we left.

Then we called the conference member's cell phone, which was emailed to us. "Hi!" I said. "We're calling to free you from the crazy man."

"Uh...thank you! Thank you," he said. We all laughed.

At the ending ceremonies--with amazing food, I might add, including giant spheres of goat cheese!--the conference guy told us about a home-brew beer bar in a mansion with (yes, more) chandeliers, mirrors, moldings, and a simply incredible ceiling medallion. (I am especially fond of ceiling medallions.)

We had two hours until our train, so we all headed down.

And one of the taps was...a pitchfork. "I don't care what that is, I'm having that," I said. Or thought. Probably thought. In case it was gross. It wasn't. It was light, hoppy, and--as one of the other agents would say--bananas. (But not banana-flavored. Just...ridiculous in a good way.) And it was $3.25. $3.25! In a place that looks like this!



 "Where ARE we?" I said to another agent. "We're certainly not in New York anymore!"

So, yes. We had a blast. The attendees were very polite and pleasant. They were all well-prepared, and I saw some seriously excellent query letters. (Apparently they workshop them--which is a very good idea.) I'm hoping, hoping, hoping I receive that one manuscript soon, and that I love it. And that the others are as good at writing as they are at telling stories.

Hope you're well and that spring has arrived. There were apple blossoms out this weekend--but there are still only leaf buds in New York. Sigh.

___________________________________
* I have never been to a frat house. True fact. But I've heard they're rowdy.

So. Freaking. Cute.


See Tuxedo Peeps recipe here: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2011/03/28/tuxedo-peeps/