Monday, November 29, 2010


We're hexed! There can be no other explanation.  Have you been to our gorgeous website,  www.booksbnimble.com? If so, we cordially HOPE you found it gorgeous, and weren't one of the three in ten who see it with no middle column. This is not a browser problem--sometimes it works in all three of the most popular browsers (i.e. Firefox, Safari and Explorer). Nor is it a size problem. It seems to work great on everybody's itsy-bitsy iPhone,  and it works great on the huge screen at the host's offices, but in Safari on my laptop screen, it's just not there. Yet on e's it's perfect. And for all intents and pruposes, we have exactly the same screen. The thing is, it's completely random. As if we're hexed.

YouTube, someone said darkly, is what's doing this to you--there can be no question. And yet our host, ever eager to be let off the hook, has never even suggested such a thing. It can't be that. There's a dark wizard at work here, possibly Lord Voldemort himself.

Okay, here's a hint--if you're one of the three in ten, and absolutely can't find the middle column, scroll way, way down past the rest of the website and there it'll be. This is  actually worth doing, by the way.  Because we have a great new video on there--a trailer for our winsome and delightful Christmas offering, Anneke Campbell's O LITTLE TOWN OF BELLINGHAM, about a pregnant virgin who turns up in Indiana  right about...now. Yes! A pregnant virgin in 2010--and her name's Mary. This is the crowd-pleasing Christmas book you really need to stuff in someone's stocking this year--a someone who's getting an e-reader for Christmas, of course.  (By the way, we also have a Chanukah book--maybe not as cheerful a read, but just as absorbing.--Patty Friedmann's TOO JEWISH.)

But how, you may ask, can you stuff an ebook in a Christmas stocking?  We've invented a way!  Not only that, it can be signed by the author. But I'm not saying how.  To find out, you actually have to defy Lord Voldemort and go to the site. (Once again, that's  www.booksBnimble.com  )

And while you're there, could you possibly slip the resident gremlin the old Avada Kedrava?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Where we left off yesterday: Our star had just quit, and e. was speaking from her local: "Here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna get this chick I just met on a barstool.  She's done performance art. If you take my meaning."

Now e. is not the sort of person who does verbal air quotes, so what was up with that? "She has a very authoritative air," she continued.  Oh.

 "You mean she speaks Phone Kitten?"

"More like Hellcat."

"Hire her."

"I already did."

Problem solved.

In the morning, e. would still have to make a Wal-Mart run for new granny pants before she picked up the Hellcat, but no big deal. That would give L. time to fire up the lights.

Eight-thirty came and went, with no B. and no L. Finally, at  ten after nine, L. arrived with nine thousand pounds of heavy equipment, half of which he proceeded to lug up the stairs. By Floor Three he didn't look right. Kind of celadon. Something, he explained, about a dubious soft-shell crab.

"You just sit down on that and rest," I pointed to one of his mammoth footlockers.

"Uh, maybe 911 instead?"

He was sort of kidding and sort of not, but the bottom line was this: No workee today.

Not to be callous, but I had a video to make. "Okay, okay," he managed to croak. "I'll see what I can do." Sliding pitifully off the trunk and onto the floor, he managed to dig his phone out of his pocket. I left him dialing in a crumpled heap while I went to let B. in and administer morphine when she heard the news. (Kidding, of course--it was actually high-octane coffee.)

And from his bed of pain, L. performed magic. By the time e. arrived with the granny pants and the star, we also had ace gaffer Keith, who hustled the rest of L's truckload onto the set before B. could finish her morphine drip.  Wait...coffee!

And then The Star arrived. Beautiful! An excellent actress, it turned out. And absolutely dead wrong for the part, which called for an overweight redhead. Well, forget overweight, the kitten was only barely chubby herself. But the hair. Inky black. Okay, a quick call to Fifi Mahony's, wiggers extraordinaire to the drag queens, Mardi Gras revelers, strippers, and performance artists of the French Quarter. Alas, not happening till noon.

 As it turned out, that was no problem at all. Although here was the deal:  The Star had only managed to work in the gig by giving away half her waitress shift, but she ABSOLUTELY, NO LEEWAY had to  be at work by five-thirty.

So good news and bad news: We had time to get a wig, but no time to make the video. Because the ace gaffer had to turn the set (aka my house) into a studio.

 Pretty soon I couldn't even find the dog's leash. Because by one-thirty p.m., my house was a studio. Miraculously,  though, the hellcat--now a redhead--had actually started to look the part.

By three-thirty they'd shot two out of twelve scenes.  I was never doing this to my house again. I was over all the personnel drama.
And the star was due at work at five-thirty. I took B. aside. "Look, if we don't get anyhting else, let's at least get the Big O scene. We can use it by itself if we have to."

Okay, she said, and, afraid of what I might do otherwise, I went in another room to rest my eyes. E. arrived shortly. "Got some black thread?"

 "Oh, sure," I said, "whatever you need." And then it occurred to
me to wonder what on earth they needed with black thread.  Black just wasn't in the phone kitten's pink-and-green palate. E. gave me a look I'd never seen on her face--a kind of braced-for-flight look. "Uh..."

"Come on You know I'll find out."

She spoke really fast, like maybe I wouldn't hear her that way. "They need to animate the roach."

YEEEEEK!  An hour and a half to go and they were animating roaches? Seeing my face, the hellcat
suddenly started purring: "Weeell...I guess I could cheat another half hour out of my shift."

Oh joy! A whole half hour!

"Could you just....do the Big O?" I croaked.

Nope. Not yet they couldn't. But damned if they didn't at approximately five-forty. We had to cut two scenes, but otherwise, guess what? We actually shot the video! I mean, they did.

There was only one other tiny mishap. At ten of six, The Star raced to the bathroom to change and next thing you know, wild shrieks issued out of there. This from a woman who'd work with roaches!  I was pretty sure she'd broken a leg, but e. knew exactly what the problem was. "Looked in the mirror, didn't you?" she asked. "With the granny pants on."

Yep. She had. Some things are worse than roaches.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Since half the fun of being an ebook publisher (I thought) would be making little movies, I couldn't wait till we shot the video to enhance PHONE KITTEN, a hilarious mystery by Marika Christian. The book's about Emily, a sweet but slightly nerdy girl who ends up doing phone sex after losing her job, and finds herself in the middle of a murder. So here's what we thought:  A three-minute movie showing what a phone sex worker really does while fulfilling fantasies. Pretty funny, n'est-ce pas?

We held auditions, found the perfect actress, who I'll call K, cajoled B., a well-known producer, into wrangling the camera, and hired L, who's worked in local TV for twenty or more years, to do lights.

 It was going to be down-and-dirty, the e-guerrilla way--half a day to dress the set, half a day to rehearse, and a day to shoot. E. and I scrambled till 1 p.m., producing a cozy phone kitten nest. Please note the pink princess cover and Edgar Allen Poe doll.

Good, said B, and ditto the disgusting phallic cactus. But she thought the roach looked a little fake. We could live with that, but then K. was overcome by a rogue attack of shyness. Couldn't fake orgasm if you paid her (which we were going to, but not much). All seemed lost until e. thought to ask politely if K. ever indulged in spirits. It seemed the kitten did. Well, then, would K. like a tiny libation to loosen things up? K. lit up, and three vodka-and-cranberries later, the big O was roaring out of her. While she mopped.

Okay then! We were ready for the big time.  B. left with an admonition to look sharp by 8 a.m. the next day  and don't forget the muffins and coffee. I was thinking about celebrating with my own libation when the phone rang. I knew it couldn't be good. No way it could be good, especially when I saw it was K. Yep, she was backing out. She thought she could do it, but she just couldn't. She'd realized she probably couldn't run for president if she went through it. Or even the Board of Education. She sounded like she'd had quite a few more pink drinks.

I had one of those weird dissociations like you get sometimes. You know, you break a leg and notice the run in your pantyhose.  I suddenly realized she'd gone home wearing the pink granny pants so essential to the plot.  But wait a minute, the plot was still lying soggily on the page.  It wasn't going anywhere.

And then the phone rang again. It was e., from her local in the Lower Garden District. "You want the show to go on?" she said. "Here's what we're gonna do..."

Stay tuned for Day Two: WHY THEY CALL IT DRAMA