Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Introducing...Dennys' Chicks!

Hey, bloggy friends! The time has come for a melding of my online and offline life. I'm dying to introduce you to my three real-life critique partners: Kathy, Kelly and Sandy. That's them, in alpha order. And today Kathy's going to post here on the blog.

We call ourselves Dennys' Chicks because, uh, we meet at Dennys. Where we
genteelly sip gulp gourmet mediocre coffee and carry on civilized literary discussions hack each others' manuscripts to death. (Don't worry; Kathy, Kelly and Sandy are used to my sense of humor!)

Actually, we have fun together. You'd love to hang with us. Ask our spouses. We hold an annual Christmas do and
invite force our DHs to attend. (Can you tell I have just figured out the strike format??)

Anyway, without further ado, I'm handing over the blog to one of the Chicks. Take it away, KATHY! (Although I might do some LIGHT editing in this blue font.)

Hi! I’m Kathy Krevat, one of Barrie’s critique partners. Kelly, Sandy, Barrie and I have been working for a few years, meeting every other week at Denny’s. Why we originally chose Denny’s and why we’ve been relatively faithful (except for some illicit side trips to Panera’s), I don’t know. Perhaps because we live pretty much on the four corners of San Diego and Denny’s is right in the center, and we had the misguided idea that Denny’s would learn to make real coffee. And because our favorite waitress Holly always remembers how we like our veggie omelets (egg beaters, no oil used to cook the veggies or the eggs). (Note from Barrie: Can you say DRY omelet?)

We met at RWA-San Diego’s boot camp weekend where we successfully plotted out four books. Back then, Barrie was planning a chicklit about [censored], Kelly was writing a historical romance about a cross dresser, and my mystery was driving me crazy. [Okay, I didn’t really need to censor Barrie's chicklit – just trying to spice things up.]

We stayed up way too late that weekend, laughing at just about everything, and annoying our other boot camp partner, and began a friendship that has survived betrayal, divorce and rehab – sorry, that’s my Mom’s Night Out group.

With the welcome addition of Sandy (from my previous group), our critique group has survived something tough – telling each other the truth about how to improve our work. And through it all, we still believe that the publishing industry will one day recognize our genius.

We all knew that Barrie’s book, I So Don’t Do Mysteries, would make it. She has an amazing voice, beautifully timed humor, and a unique concept that kids will love. Add in her incredible work ethic and knowledge of the publishing industry and she couldn’t miss. (Note from Barrie: Kathy, the check is in the mail.)

And she’s just as charming, funny and downright likeable in person as she sounds in her blog. (Note from Barrie: It's a big check.)

I’m currently working on getting an agent for my first book, a humorous mystery called PTA Meetings Are Murder while writing the next two, Moms’ Night Out Was Murder and Stage Moms Are Murder. In PTA, recently-divorced Tiffany Luce must track down the murderer of the PTA president, while juggling three kids, rekindling a romance with her ex-husband, and producing a news segment, “Don’t Get Nailed By Your Contractor.” In Mom’s Night Out, Tiffany’s talented new hairdresser is suspected of murdering her fiancĂ© and Tiffany must find the real killer before her highlights grow out. In Stage Moms, Tiffany learns that the Sunny Ridge Youth Theater is full of something more than theatrical drama kids, ruthless stage moms, and insincere tech people – someone is trying to stop the building of a new theater, and they’re willing to murder to make sure the show does not go on. (Note from Barrie: These mysteries are BRILLIANT!)

From my books, you can probably tell that I’m a mom. I have two wonderful daughters who are far more creative, brilliant, and daring than I ever was – they both have beautiful voices and act in musical theater productions, perform improvisational comedy, write books and scripts in their spare time, and are amazing sisters. My fantastic husband Lee (the girls get the brilliant and creative from him) supports all of my writing efforts, even buying a new house so I could have my own office instead of the dining room table. Okay, there were many other reasons, but that’s the one he tells people.

We are all SO excited about the release of I So Don’t Do Mysteries! (Note from Barrie: I couldn't have done it without these chicks!)

Thanks for having me on the blog, Barrie!

Anytime, Kathy! It's great getting to introduce you to the blogosphere. And, everybody, here's a link to Kathy's fantastic article Criminal Opportunities--Dramatic License.

Watch for posts from Kelly and Sandy!


Joanne Walpole said...

First of all, I love Dennys (I'm in the UK so I only get to sample their 'delights' when I visit the US). I love how patient they are with the English weirdo and her demands - no cheese!! Secondly, I think it's great that you support each other. I've hardly been able to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) since I lost my online crit partners. You might not always like what they have to say, but they're a brilliant support mechanism when you get the right ones. Lucky you and long may it last. Send me over a 'super' breakfast, will you, no cheese!

D.A. Riser said...

It's been awhile since I've had Denny's. I've been trying all these things to improve my writing when really (it's very clear to me now) I just need to go to Denny's.

I can already taste that omelette ...

Britt said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog :) Can't wait to read more...

Chantal said...

Friends are the best eh! Kathy sounds like a hoot as do her books.

Barrie said...

Joanne--you should hear me ordering at Denny's! No cheese, no oil, Eggbeaters, no margarine!!

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Kathy (and you Denny's Chicks)--boy, I'm behind on my reading! I need to come out of my cave and get Barrie's book. I know Kathy's mysteries are going to get pubbed, too--it's just a matter of time!

See you guys at a meeting. :)

PJ Hoover said...

What a fun idea!

Charles Gramlich said...

I was doing OK until "Veggie Omlets." What some writers will suffer through for their art.

AC said...

I'm so jealous of your awesome-sounding crit group! And way to go on the egg beaters veggie omelets. I've seen the Weight Watchers stats on the regular omelets there and believe me, they're horrifying!

Kathryn Dionne said...

It sure sounds like you ladies have a lot of fun and are able to be productive. I haven't been to Denny's in a long time but then again I haven't had as good a reason as you do. Keep writing those books. I look forward to reading all of them.

Kathy, see you at the SDSU Writer's conference.

~Virginia~ said...

nothing quite like good friends and good food! mmm. now i'm hungry...

Sarakastic said...

Nice to meet you Kathy!

I love the strike through feature I'm tempted to write entire posts with it.

Chris Eldin said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!

I totally love my critique group. I understand this attachment, and they offer so much more than manuscript shredding.

I think writers who don't belong to a critique group are missing a very nice piece of the writing process.

Thanks for sharing this. And Kathy's books sound terrific!!! Good luck!!!

Michele said...

Sounds like you have quite a bond and a fantastic critique group. :)

Gosh, I haven't been to Denny's in such a long time... I'm missing out!

novelmom1 said...


Thanks for your nice comments. This blogging stuff is fun!

We really do depend on each other for more than just critiques -- for support and a kick in the pants when we need it.

Kathy Krevat

novelmom1 said...

D. A. Riser,

It's the new Denny's advertisement: "Eat here and get your book published!"

Actually, our waitress told us that Amy Tan used to write there. :-)

Kathy Krevat

novelmom1 said...


I love your comment! I'm going to tell everyone that you said I'm a hoot. Especially Barrie, Kelly and Sandy when they want to stop fooling around and get back to work.

P.S. I love the name Chantal!

novelmom1 said...

Thanks Crystal!

For anyone who doesn't know Crystal Green, she's a wonderful writer who not only writes fabulous books but also takes time to help out new writers. She's been an inspiration to me for a long time.

Kathy Krevat

novelmom1 said...


We do have a lot of fun. Without alcohol even. Except for the holiday get-together, but we won't go there.


novelmom1 said...


If I was there alone, I'd probably order the Cinabun/French Toast/Pancake Carb Supreme. :-) Peer pressure for good instead of evil.


novelmom1 said...


Don't encourage Barrie in her healthy eating habits. :-)

Thanks for your nice comments. I love my critique group!


Mary said...

Brilliant!! It’s lovely to meet Kathy, and her books sound great. I’m still laughing out loud at this: “Tiffany’s talented new hairdresser is suspected of murdering her fiancĂ© and Tiffany must find the real killer before her highlights grow out.” :)

novelmom1 said...


Well, good friends anyway. :-) All kidding aside, we do feel an odd kinship with Denny's.


novelmom1 said...


Thanks! Love your blog name.


novelmom1 said...

Chris Eldin,

Thank you! Some days, we feel pretty awesome. :-)

I used to work in a corporate environment, and a critique group provides a little of the social interaction missing from working alone. Depending on your office, that can be good or bad.


novelmom1 said...


We like our little group! Make sure Barrie gives you the details on how to order before you go. :-)


novelmom1 said...


You made my day! I love learning that my words make people laugh.


Maureen McGowan said...

I'm in a long-standing critique group, too, and don't know what I'd do without them!

Nice to meet you, Kathy! (although we may have met in person in San Diego a few years ago...)

Anonymous said...

I've known Kathy and her husband Denny for many years. He is the second Mr. Kathy. When we first met she was married to a man named Perkins. He was not very encouraging about her writing and I can understand why she found it neccessary to grind a light bulb into his cream of wheat. Her first book, "Ruby Tuesdays are Murder" was widely praised by agents and waitresses. It would have found a publisher, except for the fact that she made the rookie mistake of submiting it on an Etch-a-Skecth. Best wishes go out to Kathy and her critque partners, who are working on a paranormal anthology. About pole dancing. Tentative title: "Let's Go Outback Tonight."

novelmom1 said...

Dear Anonymous,

I know who you are. Only one person in America with that sense of humor.

P.S. For those of you who don't know, Perkins is the east coast version of Denny's.

Crystal Green's Blog said...

Aw, Kathy, that's so nice! ;)

I should mention to everyone that you know how to really boil your stories down to great loglines (as evidenced by the one quote above about the highlights, LOL). You've got it, woman!

novelmom1 said...

Kathryn Dionne,

Thanks so much! Kathryn is one of my most multi-talented friends -- a writer, mosaic artist, potter, gardener, and more.

Can't wait for the conference!


Flo Moyer said...

Your blog with Barrie's comments was so much fun. Your titles are cute, and your plots sound great. Someone above said she was jealous--I'm jealous too. Barrie, I wish I could steal both of you, and bring you down here for my critique group. Or clone you maybe. But alas, no Denny's anywhere nearby me.


Patti said...

ah, the secret handshake is denny's, dry omelets and baaaaad coffee.

~writing that down~

novelmom1 said...


No Denny's? What ever do you do for fun?

Thanks so much for your nice comments!!


novelmom1 said...


That's the ticket to get in. The secret handshake is far more complicated. :-)

Thanks for checking out the blog! I gotta get me one of these. (Sorry - just saw Independence Day this weekend.)


novelmom1 said...


Critique groups are the best! We met at the RWASD conference a few years ago. I was the funny one -- I think you also said I was a hoot.


Anonymous said...

How encouraging and empowering it is to find a group of women who are so supportive of each other. The chemistry amongst this group is obvious. Bt the way, I am one of Kathy's biggest fans and think her book is fantastic. It's just a matter of time.

Kathy Holmes said...

Great post, Kathy. I love the titles of your books - they all sound like a winner. And I am so envious of you ladies - would love to have a similar critique group.

Vodka Mom said...

What a FABULOUS idea!! I need to get a local group together HERE!!!

love this post.

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Are you kidding? Is somebody here really called "VODKA MOM" ?? Whoa. hehehehehe.

Kathy - best of luck with your novels. They all sound wonderful (can I have a big check too, Barrie?), and it's just a matter of time and that dumb luck stuff we all wait for to hit the right editor at the right magical moment.

Can't wait to hear what's in store for everybody in this little group. So keep us posted, will ya?

Cheers -


"Barbie and the Beast" - coming in April from Dorchester.

novelmom1 said...

Kathy Holmes,

Thanks! I've been without internet most of the day but it's back. It was fun coming up with the titles.


novelmom1 said...

Thanks Linda,

We'll just keep chugging away. As we chug that Denny's coffee.


novelmom1 said...

Thanks Vodka Mom! I think we met at Barrie's book signing.