Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meet Denny's Chick, Kelly! Cheep, cheep!



It's us! The Denny's Chicks! And we're actually at Denny's! Waiting for our breakfast. From left to right: Kathy, me, Kelly, Sandy. You have to admit we are probably the best part of the decor!

Last, but certainly not least, I'd like you to meet KELLY HAYES. Kelly is EXTREMELY well read. If she hasn't actually read a book you mention, she'll know the premise. It's pretty much impossible to stump her. She could make a lot of money on Jeopardy. Alex Trebek would be totally smitten with Kelly and her dry sense of humor. With bottles of his Pinot Noir, he'd try to bribe her to be Writer in Residence at his Napa Valley Vineyards. "No, no, no!" Kelly would cry. "I can't move north and leave my Denny's Chicks!" (Not to mention that she's also happily married.)

The tres tres humorous interjections in blue are mine (i.e. Barrie's)

My name is Kelly Hayes and I met Barrie several years ago at an RWA-San Diego meeting. Shortly thereafter we attended an RWA plotting bootcamp where Barrie and I shared a hotel room and partnered with Kathy Krevat for the whole session. We shared lots of caffeine and even more maniacal laughter. I still feel sorry for our poor fourth partner who no doubt thought we were insane. That night, Barrie and I plotted into the wee hours and came up with some great stuff. Or so we thought under the influence of too much green tea. (Uh, Kelly, it WAS great stuff!) It was the beginning of a productive, if at times slightly wacky, writing friendship.

Soon Barrie wrangled (translation: gently persuaded) Kathy into forming a critiue group with us and Kathy in turn wrangled (translation: well, actually, "wrangled" pretty much covers it!) Sandy. We started meeting at Denny's and the rest is history.

I started writing about nine years ago when I was still living in London (my husband's a Limey). I chose historical romance because I thought it'd be fun to write. And it was, for years. But in the last year or so I've branched out a bit and tried my hand at YA fiction. Yes, Barrie has been a big influence in that respect. Her talent for coersion is quite impressive. (Nix "coersion." Replace with "gentle persuasion.") I had an idea for a near-future sci-fi which somehow, after telling her about it, turned into a YA. But I'm grateful because it was a lot of fun to write something totally different. I'm still revising it and plan to send it out to several agents very soon. (And a smart cookie of an agent will snap it up!)

I work at a local library where I run the library book club. So I spend a lot of time talking about books.

Uh, Kelly, you forgot to mention how INCREDIBLY ARTISTIC YOU ARE! Below is a card Kelly CREATED for me. It's got all sorts of elements from I So Don't Do Mysteries.

Isn't this card just amazingly creative? The letters are hard to read due to my lousy photography, but it reads, Fearless Rhino Warrior


And here it is again next to a $1 bill, just to give you some perspective.




Besides being super artistic, Kelly's an excellent baker, reviews our manuscripts with a fine eye, has a delightful understated sense of humor and is always on time! Can you say EXCELLENT critique partner.

And, uh, no, you can't have her.

She's ours!

53 comments:

blueviolet said...

I don't see how you girls get any work done! How fun!

Charles Gramlich said...

I wish I could be a fearless Rhino warrior.

novelmom1 said...

I don't think her humor is very understated. She makes me laugh all the time!

Kathy

Barrie said...

Hi Charles! I'd like to be a Fearless Rhino Warrior, too.;)

Barrie said...

Hi blueviolet! Yeah, well, one of has to crack the whip. You can probably figure out who! :)

Barrie said...

Kathy, I guess I just meant "dry" humor. Better? Have fun with Mickey today. Although....you know you should be writing! :)

Stacy said...

What is this about Alex Trebek and vineyards? Is he interested in adopting a 30-year-old?!

Hi, Kelly. Nice to meet you. :)

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, she does sound excellent!

Nice to meet you, Kelly. Great job on that card. It's beautiful!

Now I want Denny's. :)

Barrie said...

Hi Stacy! Alex owns Creston Vineyards Winery in N. California. I read somewhere (but don't quote me) that he bought it from a friend who was going through tough financial times. And....definitely ask Alex about the adoption thing.,.in the proper format...For 200 points, who wants to adopt a 30 year old? Like you couldn't see that coming!

Flo Moyer said...

Barrie, you have the greatest friends slash critique partners. I enjoyed meeting them.

Kelly, I wish you the absolute best with you writing. You have one of my most favorite names in the whole world.
Flo

Alli said...

Denny's should think themselves lucky to have a bunch of talented and hysterically funny ladies meeting at their restaurant.

I'm impressed with Kelly's ability to recall books and/or premises. That is a fabulous talent. Good luck with your YA - sometimes a change is better than a holiday!

kelly hayes said...

Hello, everone. Wow! I just finished my breakfast (a peanut butter and banana burrito-an antidote to Denny's breakfast)and you all are already up making great comments. I better get up to speed or Alex Trebek won't be impressed.

AC said...

You guys probably make that the coolest Denny's in existence every time you walk in the doors ;)

Wish I knew lots of book plots and titles like Kelly. It was great "meeting" her!

kelly hayes said...

Barrie,
Do we cluck? Or do we cheep? Maybe a bit of both?

Barrie said...

Kelly!!! You're so right! We CHEEP...cutely. I'm changing the title right this second! See, that's exactly why you can never ever quit the group. Even you broke both your arms and legs and we had to wheel you into Denny's and feed you lousy coffee through a straw. (Yikes. Sorry. Don't know where that came from. Hmmm.....altho I was just reading something about violence and anger...)

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Kelly!
I can't stop looking at that card. It's gorgeous!

kelly hayes said...

Thanks, Crystal! It's called an Artist Trading Card. They're the size of a playing card and they can be any subject, any medium. The only rule is they can only be traded, not sold. It's lots of fun. If there are any artists out there, there's a Yahoo group called Artist Trading Cards. Check it out.

sandy levin said...

If all you great blog readers haven't guessed yet, Barrie's gentle (ha) comments in our blog posts are exactly what we get in our great (ha ha) pages that we give her to critique. I actually like Kelly comments because she critiques my work on the computer in Word. You know the "Track Changes" tool. But for some reason, while we all have MS Word and sometimes we use that command to give comments, each printout looks different. Microsoft must do a lot of updates to their software or one of us (probably me, since I haven't updated my software in the past Hmm 5 years) is way behind the times.

When Barrie got her new computer (a MacBook) I thought oh for sure we'd communicate better - but noooo. Now she can't open my files and I can't receive her emails.

Barrie, maybe it's not us that screwed up - maybe it's this !@#$ technology.

Kelly, did you make a card for Barrie's second book? I don't want to put any pressure on you, but you have close to 7 months to create it :-) In your spare time of course :-)
Sandy

brian_ohio said...

Hi Kelly... I'm so glad there are a nice bunch of you keeping an eye on Barrie. She's short a few buckets of sand in her sandbox. ;-)

Actually... I'm jealous. I'd love to sit with you guys. Not to talk or crit... but to eat that wonderful Denny's breakfast.

And a librarian... my dream job. Besides being an author.

kathy holmes said...

Great post, Kelly! I've so enjoyed "meeting" all of you since I'm in Barrie's MTW group. Hope it's okay to say that. But you ladies look absolutely brilliant and I'm sure you are.

kelly hayes said...

Hi Brian. Nice to meet you. You're right, we do keep an eye Barrie. We just let her think she's keeping an eye on us.

kelly hayes said...

Hi Kathy. It's always okay to say we look brilliant!

Barrie said...

Kelly and Brian: there will be no collusion between you two on my blog. Or eyeballs will roll...

Keri Mikulski said...

Enjoy! And great card! ;)

Misty said...

What a great post! Nice to meet you, Kelly. Love the card and Alli is right that sometimes a change of pace is all it takes to get zooming off in another direction :)

Misty

kelly hayes said...

Thanks Alli and Misty. You're both right. The change was fun and challening. Now I just have to put it to the test by submitting. I can hear Barrie's whip cracking as I write this!

Mary said...

What a gorgeous card!

Good luck with your book, Kelly.

And the four of you certainly do liven up that d├ęcor.

kelly hayes said...

Thanks Mary! I hope Denny's appreciates us adding a little class to the joint.

Ello said...

What a cool crit group! And over breakfast? Very nice! My crit group usually has lunch when we can get together in person! Aren't crit partners great?

So guess what I got in the mail the other day! I SOOOOO can't wait to read it - if I ever finish revisions... and of course I'm fighting off oldest!!! Her eyes are all over my book he he!

kelly hayes said...

Hi Ello. I'm in the same boat with revisions. I'm at the point where I could put revising off for ever because there's always a great book at hand that I can't wait to start(I work in a library, after all!), but I'm going to have to start doling it out as a reward for revising. Maybe two hours of revision = two chapters of that juicy-looking novel. It's worked for me in the past. But Barrie's chapters are pretty short. Maybe two hours = five chapters!

Vivian said...

It's so nice when you have a great critique partner. Here's to many fun times eating at Denny's, drinking green tea, and plotting, plotting, plotting!

kelly hayes said...

Hi Vivian. And we haven't even talked about our marathon plotting sessions. Fun! Although these days they're getting shorter and shorter.

Bookworm said...

Great card! I love it! Sounds like an awesome group of awesome friends!

kelly hayes said...

Hi Bookworm. Thank you, everyone, for the nice comments on my ATC(Artist Trading Card). I almost feel guilty getting complimented on something I love doing so much. Almost! ;)

Patti said...

seriously, soooo jealous. but happy you have found your group.

kelly hayes said...

Patti, you can find yours too. If you're in a writers' group, whether online or in person, find a writer you click with and take it from there. Many critique groups have started with two people. Others will follow. "If you build it, they will come."

sandy Levin said...

Vivian,

No no no green tea at Denny's. They only have black tea. When I'm really craving green tea, I sneak my own bag in and just ask for hot water. :-)

Sandy

kelly hayes said...

Yes, I've witnessed Sandy smuggling in her own tea bags. Such a rebel. But considering the quality of Denny's tea and coffee, can you blame her?

Barbara Martin said...

Barrie, you haven't told us what you have for breakfast. Tsk, tsk. It sounds like your group has more fun than critiquing each other's work. Great group you have with such nice ladies.

kelly hayes said...

Barbara, I will just say, the directions for preparation of Barrie's omelette are too long to print here. Can you say DIVA? No, but really, how do you think she keeps her slim figure? Not by ordering Denny's food straight off the menu. It takes a lot of tweaking, I can tell you.

Barrie said...

Hi Barbara! Do NOT listen to Kelly. I am actually very easy to please. Here is how I order my omelette: a vegetarian omelette, made with Eggbeaters, no cheese, no oil used to fry the vegetables, dry whole wheat toast on the side, coffee with cream and Equal and a glass of water. See?! Easy as....pie!

Cloudia said...

Wish I could breakfast with you-all!
Aloha-

Michele said...

Oh, you can never, ever have too much green tea!! LOL

And WOW... how cool to be so well read (and remember it all), to write those diverse stories, and to have such artistic talent! That's an amazing card, Kelly.

What a great group!

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Barrie,
I love it that you're sharing tidbits about your critique group!! You gals seem like a wonderful bunch!!
Although...you do look like trouble waiting to happen.
;-)

Wow! The card is amazing! Aren't friends like that priceless?
:-)

D.A. Riser said...

You've convinced me. It sounds like a critique group is what I need to take my writing to the next level. And, now I know what to ask potential partners -- "Do you like Denny's?"

Maybe one of the Denny's Chicks can come out with a book entitled, "Writing and Eating and All I Learned at Denny's." Hmm ... that sounds as enticing as "Chicken Soup for the Soul."

Kellan said...

That card is too cute!! I am enjoying meeting the Denny's Chicks!

Have a great day - Kellan

kelly hayes said...

Thanks all you night owls and early birds! I was having computer problems this morning so I'm late logging on. Good morning to you all!

laughingwolf said...

you gals have TOO MUCH fun :O lol

Amy said...

that card is adorable! And I am way jealous you have a Denny's! I have yet to find one in my area :)

kelly hayes said...

Thank you Amy. You're jealous that we have a Denny's? Really? Maybe you need to visit So Cal for a couple of weeks and get your fill. They're everywhere!

ARCHAVIST said...

That's such a cool card - Rhino Warrior indeed.

Marilyn Brant said...

Fun to read about your critique group and that card is fantabulous, too :).

Elaine A. said...

Hi there! I found your blog through Kellan's. I saw your name and just had to comment because my MIL's name is also Barrie and you don't see that name very often.

She is a children's librarian, although not a writer herself (I don't believe!) so you two seem to have a little in common! (books!) ; )

Anyway, glad I stopped by and your book looks and sounds like a good one. And isn't it nice to have such good friends/colleagues to get together with?

Have a great day!