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10 celebrities who've fiddled with fiction writing

By Kelli Bender, The Frisky
Steve Martin starred in the movie version of his novella "Shopgirl" with Claire Danes.
Steve Martin starred in the movie version of his novella "Shopgirl" with Claire Danes.
  • Pamela Anderson and Lauren Conrad turned their real lives into fiction
  • Julianne Moore's children's book teaches kids to love who they are
  • Steve Martin starred in the movie version of his novella, "Shopgirl"
  • Books

(The Frisky) -- Yes, yes, James Franco is going to Yale, the third stop on his tour of schools in the tri-state area -- before graduating from Columbia and going all Ivy League business, Franco had a brief fling with New York University. Amongst those precious days he spent at the latter, I was fortunate enough to share an elevator with him on the way to one of my classes.

He was disheveled, kind of unwashed, but still pretty sexy. Most importantly, he spoke to me. He greeted me and asked me to press a button for his floor, and I pushed that button with more glamor, class, and subtle sex appeal than I have ever shown in any previous elevator-related activities.

Throughout this enchanted encounter, I felt gifted and starstruck, but I didn't really feel like Franco had a way with words. Apparently, he's out to prove me wrong because he has been hard at work on a collection of short stories called Palo Alto -- one of the stories, "Just Before the Black," was featured in the recent issue of Esquire.

Here are some highlights: It features a dragon bong, has a 268-word sentence, and also has quite a collection of f-bombs. The story has received an array of reviews, and most suggest that Franco's fiction probably wouldn't have been published without the acting career. Ouch! Let's hope the book gets a little more enthusiasm.

Of course, Franco is nowhere near the first celebrity to take on fiction. Read on to see what writings other famous folk have produced, and what the critics had to say.

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"Baywatch" babe Pamela Anderson

Book: "Star and Starstruck"

Summary: A poorly feigned attempt to pass Pamela Anderson's real life off as fiction. Star Wood Leigh is flung into fame via a show called "Lifeguards," later dealing with the gossip and drama that follows her marriage to rock star Jimi Deeds. Overall, an easy way for Anderson to reveal everything about her life but pretend it never happened.

Review: "Anderson's range is predictably limited, and she abandons quite a few unrealized plot threads along the way. This thinly veiled novelization of her own life doesn't pretend to be anything but trashy and cheesy, which gives it an amiable charm." -- Publishers Weekly

"House" star Hugh Laurie

Book: "The Gun Seller"

Summary: Before Hugh Laurie could be watched in our homes on the TV show "House," we could read his wit in Seller. A spy-spoof about Thomas Lang, an ex-solider who accidentally finds himself in a James Bond-esque plot. The situation is ignited when Lang turns down an assassination job and tries to warn the victim before some else does the deed. What follows is a whirlwind of terrorists, espionage, guns, and gags.

Review: "The Gun Seller is fast, topical, wry, suspenseful, hilarious, witty, surprising, ridiculous and pretty wonderful. And you don't need a permit to buy it....a delightful novel." -- The Washington Post Book World

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Material mom Madonna

Book: "The English Roses Series"

Summary: So the movies and Madonna didn't really seem to work out, so the next stop was apparently children's books. The "Roses" book series for younger girls is about a group of four female friends who promise to stay best buddies forever. The foursome talks about and has some their first experiences with boys, frenemies, and young life in general.

Review: "Forget Madonna's wild ways. She offers a vital message for girls. Judge the book, not the author." -- USA Today

Lauren Conrad of "The Hills"

Book: "L.A. Candy" Series

Summary: Following in Anderson's hardly fiction footsteps, Lauren Conrad tells the story of a Jane Roberts, who is offered a TV show with her best friend Scarlett. The two think that a reality show in L.A. will be a dream come true, but it turns out there is a lot of drama on camera and off, aka this is the novelization of "The Hills," which fits, since it is practically fiction anyways.

Review: "Is there nothing LC can't do? Well, uh, yes. Write a 'novel.'" -- Entertainment Weekly

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Model Naomi Campbell

Book: "Swan"

Summary: In Naomi Campbell's book, "Swan," the most successful supermodel in the world decides to give it all up to create change in her life. This departure from modeling includes the famous face stepping down as the rep for her own company, Swan Beauty. The book follows the happenings of five different girls vying to be the new face of Swan.

Review: "Despite the insider perspective provided by Campbell -- herself a supermodel -- the narrative is somewhat disjointed, making the various stories difficult to follow. Not an essential purchase." -- Library Journal (Whoever wrote that review should always keep an eye on the sky for falling cell phones, just saying.)

Actor Ethan Hawke

Book: "The Hottest State"

Summary: Ethan Hawke's first novel about a young actor who moves to New York from Texas. In this coming-of-age tale the main character deals with the usual literary fare: a difficult girlfriend, bathroom sex, and a sense of confusion. This doesn't really sound like a far stretch from the real Hawke, not even the bathroom sex.

Review: "Hawke does a fine job of showing what it's like to be young and full of confusion." -- The New York Times Book Review

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Actress Julianne Moore

Book: "Freckleface Strawberry"

Summary: Julianne Moore continues to prove she is a caring and classy lady with this children's book. It is an adorable story about the title character learning to absolutely love who she is, even with the bullying-trigger traits of red hair and freckles. Something tells me this is Moore helping kids work through childhood esteem issues that she suffered through herself.

Review: "The four-time Academy Award nominee joins with illustrator LeUyen Pham to create an endearing picture book about a common childhood experience." -- Barnes and Noble

Comedian Steve Martin

Book: "Shopgirl"

Summary: The story of a shopgirl Mirabelle who works at the glove department of Nieman's, "selling things that nobody buys any more." She has a hopeless relationship that seems to fit her somewhat sad life, but then meets a rich older man. A man who seems willing to make her life little more interesting. The book has been made into a film starring Steve Martin, which makes me wondered if he had that planned all along.

Review: "...a hilarious but intense first novella...One of the nicest things about this novel is the way it effortlessly bridges generations." -- Vogue

Star Trek

Book: "A Lifetime of Love"

Summary: As if Leonard Nimoy isn't remembered enough for being "Star Trek's" most memorable Vulcan, Mr. Spock, but he is also trying to touch our hearts through poetry. This collection offers an in-depth look at the basic urge of all people "to love and be loved" from the perspective of one man fighting through life's complex emotions.

Review: "A talented writer whose words celebrate humanity and what is important in the world. A Lifetime of Love is a story told in poetry of one man's journey to find a place of serenity and peace within himself." -- Barnes and Noble

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