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
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.