Thursday, December 3, 2009

Faces of the Divas

What can I say about Brad Parks? I mean, he used to work for the New Jersey newspaper THE STAR LEDGER. And since the LEDGER automatically hates anything to do with Rutgers and Rutgers sports, I should hate Brad.

But I can't really.

In fact, I kind of feel bad for him. I mean look at his author photo. With that sports jacket and turtle neck, he looks like a cross between a Community College professor and a confused senior citizen. I have it on good authority that the photo was taken 3 seconds before he hiked those khakis up to his nipples.

So, it is out of pure pity that I allowed him to push his debut novel Faces of the Gone (Out Tues, Dec 8th) and spend the next 1000 plus words going on about Paris Hilton. Enjoy!



By Brad Parks
Guest Blogger

Two months ago, in this virtual space, Dave White changed book blogging history when he laid bare the simple fact that 90 percent of all blog posts center around eleven oft-retread subjects, at least nine of which are not even that interesting.

In the rigorous discussion that followed Dave’s insightful post – and I think we all can agree any post that generates 24 comments in this highly fragmented blog universe qualifies as “rigorous” – something regrettable happened.

A writer named Bill Crider slandered Paris Hilton. Now, I don’t know Bill Crider. And it’s probably best we never meet. Because we would need to have words. And they might become ungentlemanly.

Thankfully, Mr. Crider’s insult did not go completely unanswered, as author Dave Zeltserman gallantly stepped in and defended Paris far better than the Maginot Line ever did, pointing out – rightly, I might add – “There’s no such thing as too much Paris Hilton.”

I know what you’re thinking: Oh great, another smug wiseass who thinks he’s clever by pretending not to malign Paris Hilton while he really is maligning Paris Hilton.

But I’m quite serious: I really do admire Paris Hilton. And, lest you accuse me of lechery, it has nothing to do with my preference for slender blondes or with any of her, ahem, straight-to-video acting performances.

Did you know Paris’s trust fund was only $10 million? It’s true. (Well, okay, let’s define “true” as “told me by a source I had when I was a reporter, a person who is well-connected to the Hilton family and probably had no reason to lie to me… though I never made even the slightest attempt to verify if what he told me and don’t intend to now.”).

Now, weep not for Paris. Clearly, $10 million – or whatever it was – is more than most of us will ever see. It’s even almost as much as Dave White’s last royalty statement. But it’s also not jet-around-the-world, spent-$400,000-a-month-on-parties-for-your-Chihuahua kind of money.

No, Paris has earned that kind of money on her own. Today, Paris is worth $418 million dollars. I’m not kidding. (If we define “not kidding” as “I’ve pulled this number straight out of my nether-regions… I actually have no idea what she’s worth, other than that it’s more than $10 million”).

The point is, for whatever you might think of her, she has parlayed a famous last name and a small fortune into an even more famous name and a large fortune with savvy and hard work. She’s been a model, a recording artist, and an actress and, arguably, has been successful in all three areas, inasmuch as she has been well-compensated for doing so. She has put her name on purses, perfume, shoes, clothes, hair extensions, and nightclubs, to name a few. She has been a celebrity pitch person for everything from Italian sparkling wine to hamburgers (you were trying to forget that Carl’s Jr. commercial, I know).

She has even been, yes, a bestselling author. Her 2004 memoir “Confessions of an heiress” debuted at No. 7 on the New York Times Bestseller List. And I suspect there are more than a few of us reading (and writing) this blog who would gladly trade their knucklebones for that.

So what can we learn from Paris Hilton? As Dave White would say, “Prepare for awesomeness.” Because I have done rigorous research – and I think we can all agree that 10 minutes reading the free pages of her memoir posted on Google Books qualifies as “rigorous” – and come up with…

TEN THINGS CRIME FICTION WRITERS CAN LEARN FROM PARIS HILTON


1. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: People need to believe your life is better than theirs.”


Out of the mouth of a babe comes great wisdom. Is there anything worse than hearing some mid-list author gripe about how their publisher isn’t doing enough to “push” their latest book? Let’s face it: For however far down on the list we are, there are still about a million people out there who would gladly swap places with us. We should act accordingly.


2. “Never have only one cell phone when you can have many. Lose one all the time. That way, if you haven’t called someone back, you can blame it on the lost phone.”


Now, I don’t care what line of work you’re in. That’s just good advice.

3. “Be born into the right family. Choose your chromosomes wisely.”

Kicking myself I didn’t think of this sooner. Do you think Lee Child’s parents feel like adopting? Maybe Harlan Coben wants another kid? Or, heck, I could take matters into my own hands and just file the necessary papers for a name change. Because for however many books “Brad Parks” sells, I’m guessing “Brad Higgins Clark” would sell more.


4. “Have absolutely flawless skin, but fret over it.”


I believe this qualifies as Paris’s advice on book covers. See? Told you this chick is savvy.


5. “The way I keep people wondering about me is to smile all the time and say as little as possible. Smile beautifully, smile big, smile confidently, and everyone thinks you’ve got all kinds of secret things going on.”


Wouldn’t it be nice if more authors did that? Instead, here we are, forced to peddle our flesh on blogs like painted whores in a desperate play for some scrap of your attention, all because our damn publishers won’t push our … uh, never mind. Moving on.

6. “Always tell everyone what they want to hear.”

Good advice for dealing with your publisher.

7. “Accept free stuff. If people want to give it to me, why shouldn’t I take it?”

Good advice for dealing with your agent.

8. “Dress cute wherever you go, life is too short to blend in.”


That means you Dave White. The outfit you wore to the BooksNJ Festival (here) was, like, a total gagfest. A black T-shirt underneath a blue polo? It’s hard to give Jersey Guys a bad name in the fashion world – they may not have invented parachute pants, after all, but they are certainly among their last adherents – yet I believe you have managed to further cheapen their sartorial reputations.


9. “Dance with no self-consciousness. You only live once.”


Substitute “type” for “dance” and you have some of the best writing advice ever given.


10. “An heiress should never been too serious. Being too serious is very dull, and is a sign you have no imagination or personality. No one really wants to hang out with anyone too serious. An heiress is so confident – and why should she be? – that she should always be able to make fun of herself.”


I find this mostly applies to lame guest blog posts.

For more Brad, visit his website, follow him on Twitter or became a fan of Brad Parks Books on Facebook.

13 comments:

John McFetridge said...

Oh, Brad ParkS.

I thought this was going to be a rant about playing in the NHL for 20 years with the Bruins, the Rangers and the Red Wings and never being with any of them when they won the Stanley Cup.

But this was good, too. Thanks.

Jen Forbus said...

Thanks for the laugh first thing Thursday morning, Brad. This is hysterical. I love it!

Cormac Brown said...

Brad,

This was pretty funny and I realize that it was tongue-in-cheek for the most part, but I do take exception to one thing that you brought up-

"a recording artist"

No.

No, she is not "a recording artist." There is no "art" involved with her music projects at all. Just listen to "Stars Are Blind" at Amazon.com, and it evokes the sound of the killing floor from one of those undercover Peta videos, that they run late at night on the local cable access channel.

Bill Crider said...

Wait, hang on, hold it, stop! I am, if not the last defender of Camelot, the last defender of Paris Hilton. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I've been asking the same question for years: "Will the persecution never end?" I yield to no one in my admiration for the wonderful PH.

Jan Brogan said...

Brad,
I think you left out the most important lesson that Paris can teach us.

Initiating your career with a clandestine, but really deliberately distributed "performance" video is the one thing that can get you to the bestsellers list. (or your own reality show, or both.) So Brad, I think you should go for it...

Dave White said...

And Jan officially creeps me out. YOU WIN!

Mike Dennis said...

And now on to Kim Kardashian!

Brad Parks said...

I know this could be counted on to generate an important conversation.

John -- Like Brad Park, I also have not won a Stanley Cup. Unlike Brad Park, I still have all my teeth.

Jen -- I think I need to move out to Ohio so I can have you nearby for the next time I am convinced my writing totally, totally sucks. (Which is probably never far away).

Cormac -- As part of my "rigorous" research I went onto www.ParisHilton.com, where -- if you are unfortunate enough to have the volume up on your computer -- you are treated to her, uh, music. I'll grant you it's not headed for my iPod. (Unlike Taylor Swift -- I think we all agree we'd rather be on the bleachers with her than with the cheer captain). Nevertheless, she recorded an album released by a major studio and while we can debate the quality of her "art" it still is art. In this marvelously relativistic modern world of ours, we must grant that there is SOMEONE out there who might consider it as such.

Brother Crider -- Welcome to the Parish of Paris. We've got room for you in the front pew.

Jan -- I don't actually release until next Tuesday, so my publicist is waiting until then to "accidentally leak" the sex tape to TMZ.

Dave -- I can't hear you. I have my khakis pulled up around my ears...

Carla Buckley said...

Thank you, Brad.

This has been a very instructive post. I have always wondered how Paris Hilton got to be Paris Hilton, and now I know.

I also now know that any Google search for Brad Parks + Paris Hilton will actually produce a match. Why, it's a dream come true--right, Brad?

Brad Parks said...

Carla -- I was going to instruct Dave to make one of the tags on this post "Paris Hilton nipple slip," just to drive in some search engine traffic. Then I kinda figured the 14-year-olds googling that stuff probably aren't going to be into FACES OF THE GONE. They're more reading at what we call "Dave White level."

Dave White said...

Exactly, Brad. Paris doesn't need pictures to help her read.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Oh, Brad!!!! Saved this post as a little treat, much like the scotch mallow in a box of See's chocolates - you just get funnier all the time :)

LINDA M. FAULKNER said...

Very funny - and a reminder to us all: we can find the positive (not to mention humor) in EVERYTHING!