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I know. It's been a long time. I've been working on the new books. And I should be working on them right now, except:

1. I don't want to, and

2. I have to bitch about something

But first let's talk about Jane Bites Back. It's all done and now I'm just enduring the wait until it's released on December 29. This is always a strange time, particularly if you've moved on to other projects. The book coming out is always on your mind, and you're excited about it, but you've also got these new kittens to pay attention to and they're mewling and scratching at the sofa legs. Inevitably one of them gets its feelings hurt and turns into Jan Brady, running from the room and screaming, "It's always Jane, Jane, Jane." Or "Zombies, zombies, zombies." Or "The gay guy with the broken leg, the gay guy with the broken leg, the gay guy with the broken leg."

You know, depending on which book I'm working on at the moment. Or, more accurately, which
two I'm not working on.

So Jane. As some of you will recall--because everything in my life is deeply interesting and you can't help but want to follow my every move--we were going back and forth on the cover. Well, here's the final version. You know you love it.

Along with a cover comes the inevitable need for cover blurbs, which to my mind are kind of like those guys who stand on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter holding giant signs that say BOTTOMLESS HURRICANES! or AUTHENTIC VOODOO CHARMS. (My favorite, seen on a recent trip to New Orleans, said THIS WAY TO THE TRANNY HOS). The point being, they're meant to get you to come inside.

And so we have some blurbs. I'm very excited about these. Seth Grahame-Smith is one of my favoritest people, and I'm really pleased that he thinks JBB is funny. And Stephanie Barron is the Austen Queen, so when my editor called to tell me that she loved the book, I am not ashamed to tell you that I soiled myself with joy.

Here's what they have to say:
"A hilarious send-up of vampire novels, the Austen industry, and one immortal author’s complete inability to find a publisher -- Jane would have loved it!"
Stephanie Barron, author of the Jane Austen mysteries
"It’s impossible not to love Ford's sharp-witted, sharp-fanged Jane Austen (and I’m not just saying that because she spares my life in Chapter Six).”

Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesI know, right? Very exciting. So that's today's excitement about that. There will be much more as the pub date gets closer.

And now for the bitching.

Everybody knows that the films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy brought in a couple of bazillion farthings. And most everybody knows that Warner Brothers is in the process of milking not one, but two films from Tolkien's The Hobbit. Some people are even excited about this.

Well, that process has been held up a bit by legal wrangling between the studio and the Tolkien estate, at least until this week, when the issues were settled (a.k.a someone got paid) and everybody smiled and shook hands and pretended to like one another.

Overlooked in all of the celebrating was this statement made by Warner Bros. President & Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn, who said:
“We deeply value the contributions of the Tolkien novels to the success of our films and are pleased to have put this litigation behind us. We all look forward to a mutually productive and beneficial relationship in the future."Seriously? The novels contributed to the films? I'm sure Alan Horn is a lovely man who is nice to dogs and always remembers his friends' birthdays, and I'm certain that he didn't mean this to sound the way it does. However.

Everyone in the industry jokes that the least important person on a movie is the writer. I suppose that it makes some sort of bizarre sense, then, that on a movie based on a book the author of the original book is even less important than the writer hired to make a script out of the book.

Perhaps Tolkien doesn't mind, seeing as he's dead and all. And perhaps his estate doesn't really mind, seeing as they're rich and all. But I kind of mind.

Years ago a writer friend of mine had her book optioned for film by a very well-known actor who was making his directorial debut. My friend, who had been around the block a few times, knew that liberties would be taken with her book and was prepared for this. What she wasn't prepared for was the day she was invited to the set to meet the director. When they were introduced, this charming man looked at my friend and said, "You wrote this book? But you're a woman. A woman couldn't possibly have written this book."

Oh, the fun of it all!

Curiously (or perhaps not), when the film was completed the director attempted to remove my friend's "based on the novel by" credit. I guess he was embarrassed that the story he related to so strongly was written by someone with a va-gi-na. It apparently didn't occur to him that a few people might guess that the film was based on the very well-known novel of the same name. After all, no one reads, right? It would just be our little secret.

Hollywood is the only place where, at a party, I have had people come up to me and say, "So, why are you here?" And they don't mean, "Are you visiting?" or "Is Janet your cousin?" they mean "What is it you do, so I know whether to keep talking to you or not?" I don't know if when Jane Bites Back is made into a film they'll let me have anything to do with it. But let's assume they do. Let's also assume that when it's nominated for 12 Oscars someone will remember to invite me. I think when I walk that red carpet I'll wear a shirt that says: BECAUSE I WROTE THE DAMN BOOK, THAT'S WHY on it.