Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My end of the year thank you...

Fans of MEG, fans of VEE, readers who've sent me emails and posted on my MySpace and Facebook pages, blog followers, friends...I feel very lucky to be a writer in an age when there can be immediate feedback between reader and author.

This year has been one of unbelievable highs (2 books published in April!) and super-duper lows (let's not get into that). I finished 3 brand new manuscripts, rewrote another, met some amazing editors I'd love to work with - and also watched as publishing crumbled into a giant heap with lots of terrific people losing their jobs.

You win some, you lose some. But I'm not going to dwell on the negative and instead will concentrate on the good stuff:

--I took 2 trips to the east coast for 2 reunions and several school and library visits, sold out at the Borders in Farmington where I was reading, spoke at book fairs and conferences, and did 2 local television appearances.

--I started teaching ballet again in March and now have 7 classes of my own and a whole bunch of students whom I adore! I've also been fortunate to find a new teacher to take classes with and to learn from - and who can inspire me so I can inspire others.

--Through the magic of the interweb, I've met some fantastic authors who have since become friends. Lots of great YA writers - and some adult writers too - live in and around LA and I am so honored to know them. Go LAYAs!

--LOVE, MEG was included on the 2008 Kansas Education Association Recommended book list for High Schools as well as the 2009 California Collection for the State of California's High Schools.

Good, bad, high, low, up is a series of adventures, not an end to itself.

Happy New Year to all, including the many wonderful reviewers and readers who've been so terrifically supportive of me this year like, Teen Book Review's Jocelyn, In Bed With Books' Liviania, The Book Muncher's Rachael, The Page Flipper's Chelsea, the lovely ladies at YA Fresh, Harmony Book Reviews' Harmony, Jessica at Teen Free Book Friday, Holly at Woman Tribune, Khyrnithia at Frenetic Reader, Bloomacious, Rachel at My Very Own Blogetary, not to mention all the amazing people who posted comments and reviews of my books at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes &, and their own sites.

Thank you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I swore...

...that I would take a long break from web stuff while my parents were visiting. I figured it would be the perfect time for me to wean myself off Facebook and Goodreads and Blogger, etc. After all, who's reading the web between Christmas and New Year's? Who needs to know what my current status is, whether I'm reading a book, avoiding work, or making cookies?

Well, um, me.

As it turns out, I think almost exclusively in "status updates," what the Twitter folks call "tweets." Here's an example: when I saw "Valkyrie" the other day, I thought, "The best thing about Tom Cruise's performance is his hair." And then a second later, "I could status that."

Or another: while walking through Santa Barbara on Sunday, I overheard a woman explaining to her young son what "war" was and I thought, "I could status that."

[NB: I am single-handedly starting the trend of using "status" as a verb. You are welcome to also, but I'd appreciate it if you attribute the original usage to moi. Merci.]

Sadly I didn't have access to FB until I got home late last night. It was all I could do not to update constantly, cycling through all the things I did and saw and heard over the weekend.

So here we go, New Year's resolution #1: stop checking the web all the time. It'll take some serious restraint but it will be worth it in the long run. I'll get valuable time back and stop this sucking black hole of internet, at least temporarily.

Oh hey, I could status that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A brightly-spangled website

Just in time for the holidays...the website has been updated...pretty, shiny! Take a look!

Nice work, Ninja Webmaster!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good deeds that warm the heart

The other day, my Ninja Webmaster and I were having coffee with our friend V at a Hollywood Bucks and noticed a meter reader giving out a ticket to a silver VW bug. We rolled our eyes and said,

Geez, that sucks, getting a ticket while you're shopping for Christmas presents.

But the guy remained. He wasn't just writing the ticket and moving on. Well, sure enough, in about five minutes, a tow truck arrived to take the VW away. It seems the car was parked in an anti-gridlock zone, one of those streets in LA where they post signs that say you can't park there during the morning or afternoon rush hours. An automatic tow.

Ouch! That's a hefty chunk of change at the holidays.

But to be somewhat fair to the City of LA, there are a TON of signs posted so it's kind of hard to feel too much sympathy. Right?

[Aside: While all of this is going on and the tow truck is backing up and hitching the VW to its rear, a second and then a third car pull up into the parking spot behind the VW, their drivers get out and start to put change in the meter and only stop when the tow truck driver alerts them to WHY he is towing this car. Then they glance furtively around them at the signs before getting back in their cars and driving away. Honestly, it's so hard to find a parking spot sometimes in Hollywood that you have to assume there's something amiss when you see a whole bunch of them in a row...]

So we're watching and thanking our lucky stars we walked to the Bucks and didn't drive when who should come up but the people who own the VW. Are they young and sprightly? Are they a family with kids? Are they a yuppie couple picking up Wii games at Best Buy?

No, they are an elderly couple, loaded down with toys from Target - and the man is carrying a cane. We gasped and said,

Oh no! What will they do? How will they get their car back?

Because once that ticket is written, once that tow truck has been hitched, game is over, my friend. None of it can be undone. Unless the tow truck driver has a heart of gold and is giving the old couple an early Christmas present.

Which he did, thank god. We cheered,

Yay, tow truck driver!

These are the kinds of true stories that really reflect the meaning of this time of year. Not the false sentiment of corporate giveaways or staged generosity but just things like a tow truck driver giving away a job.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Your favorite Roseanne character...

...aside from Roseanne herself?

That was my most recent celebrity sighting! Check it out here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The I Heart Your Blog Noms

The lovely and amazing writer Kimberly Derting (THE BODY FINDER) nominated me for an I Heart Your Blog Award!

Tell me how touched I am! Go on, tell me!

No, it's more than that.

Yup, more than that too...

There ya go! That's exactly how touched I am by this honor. I adore reading her blog, The Road to Publication. It helps me relive all the joys I have felt along the way to having my own books published - and reminds me of how grateful I am for all that I have.

Now, that being said, here are the rules for the nominations:

1) Add the logo of your award to your blog (done!).
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (see above!).
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (see below).
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog (you got it!).
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs (will do!).

So here are my choices...the first couple are blogs I love because I totally dig their pro-girl stance, despite being so very different.

1. The Chick Manifesto - Go, Taren! Taren seasons her book and movie reviews with a heavy dose of sentiment and just the right amount of sarcasm.

2. Menstrual Poetry - Go, Holly! Holly posts about all things girls and women should pay attention to, from politics to entertainment.

Next are some writers I adore and whose work I hope to be able to showcase very soon.

3. Christina Rundle - Yay, Christina! Christina is in the midst of several YA novels- her blog chronicles her progress on her projects as well as the sweet treat she's enjoying that day.

4. Dreaming in Red - Yay, Chandra! Chandra's book, THE TAROT CAFE NOVEL, will debut in January 6, 09 from TokyoPop...

5. My Very Own Blogetary - Yay, Rachel! Rachel writes lots of short stories and is also working on a novel. Her blog reflects her liberal politics and creative brain.

And finally, two writer friends of mine from Los Angeles whose novels debuted in 2008:

6. Paula Yoo - Whoo-hoo, Paula! Check out her book, GOOD ENOUGH, from HarperTeen...

7. Jordanna Fraiberg - Whoo-hoo, Jordanna! Look for her book, IN YOUR ROOM, from Razorbill...

It was really tough for me to narrow down the blogs I love to just these seven. Here are some other fantastic blogs I follow on a regular basis and I won't officially nominate them because they have all been nominated by other people: Bookluver Carol's Reviews, Reviewer X, The Page Flipper, The Story Siren, The Book Muncher, Literary Rejections on Display, Woman Tribune, Pub Rants, In Bed With Books, Harmony Book Reviews, YA Fresh, Stupid Blog Name... I forgetting anyone? I hope not!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Things that put me in a Holiday Mood

1. Coming home late at night to find HH has put all the Christmas lights up in the windows and around the apartment. This makes me happiest because A) I wasn't involved at all and B) it makes me feel like a bunch of little elves came in and decorated for me.

2. Watching the tots in line to talk to Santa Claus at the Grove. Sure it's crass commercialism, but those kids don't know it yet. I wish I could swallow up some of that innocence for myself.

3. Listening to "It's a Wonderful Life" while I work. HH and I know every single word and sound effect of this movie (it's one of the very first things we realized we had in common when we met!) and I have seen it about fifty million times so I can't actually watch it. But listening is the next best thing and it makes me feel better - more spirited - when I write.

4. Drinking tea from my pretty Christmas cup that my friend Rachel gave me. On what other holiday do we have special dishes to use? Easter? No. Valentine's Day? Please. 4th of July? No, but I do have special candles for the 4th.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

True crime "novels"

As promised, here are some of my favorite true crime books - some people call them novels, although they are actually nonfiction, because they read so smoothly, so "novel-like."

The acknowledged masterpiece is "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote. Absolutely chilling. This was my first taste of the genre and it quickly led to others. I went on a true crime spree (a reading spree, that is) when I was in my early 20s; now I'm more tempted by episodes on Dateline or 20/20, which often serves the same purpose.Another great one is "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi about the murders committed by the Manson family. The fact that Charles Manson was obsessed with the Beatles' song of the same name is a little weird.
High on anyone's true crime story list has to be "Fatal Vision" by JoeMcGinniss about Jeffrey MacDonald who murdered his pregnant wife and two daughters. I think I saw the movie first which starred Gary Cole as MacDonald (the same Gary Cole who played an amazing Mike Brady in the "Brady Bunch Movie"!).And finally, no list would be complete without "The Stranger Beside Me" by Ann Rule about serial killer Ted Bundy. To this day, I can't see a man with a cast and not shudder to think of Bundy, who used to wear a fake one to garner sympathy from, and ultimately entrap, his victims.

Oh yes, good times, good times...this stage of mine didn't last terribly long, possibly because the number of truly excellent books like this was small and I went through them quickly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mother Daughter Book Club likes MEG!

I adore the idea of a mother-daughter book club and I wish my mom and I lived close enough to each other that we could attend one together - we both love to read and compare books - so I am super thrilled to read this very nice review and recommendation of LOVE, MEG to mother-daughter book clubs by none other than MotherDaughterBookClub!

Thank you so much!

And if any clubs are considering selecting my book, I'd be happy to talk to your group either over the phone or in person if I'm nearby. How fun would that be?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More book lists!

Just in time for the holidays...

My friend, the super fantastic, sweet and funny writer, Claire LaZebnik (grab a copy of her latest novel, The Smart One and the Pretty One as a treat to yourself for the holidays!), runs a blog called Bookstore People with her friend, Kim Allen-Niesen. This week she asked me to come up with a list of great YA books for teen girls - books you might give as gifts to friends or family.

The first attempt was short and too serious: I was definitely thinking about books that mean something, you know? Because those, to me, are the kinds of books you give as gifts. But then Claire reminded me that YA readers are looking for all kinds of great books. So that set my mind at ease and I was free to recommend all sorts of good books, including (this is a disclaimer) many by people I know personally.

What can I say, I happen to know some amazing writers who've written some terrific books. I'm just lucky like that!


Best Book Gifts For Young Adult Readers

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Things I Wish I Had the Guts to Do

1. Contact people who give me crummy ratings or reviews and ask, "Why no love?" Why give my book a 2? Why say you hate the ending? Why make nasty comments?

In this age of the Internet, no posting is truly anonymous. I can easily email or message someone and ask them why they wrote or rated the way they did but what would that get me? Reviewers and readers should feel free to give their true opinions without fear of being stalked by a maligned author. But honestly, if you don't like something, it would be really great - and helpful - if you can say why.

I'm just sayin'.

2. Contact old boyfriends just to say, "Hey! How ya doin'? Ever wonder what happened to me?" Believe me, I am a happily married woman and I would not want to get in touch for any reason that's, shall we say, untoward, but I kind of just want to sort of know if they ever think about me.

Wouldn't you want to know if someone considered you "the one who got away"?

Again, just sayin'.

3. Stop posting at Facebook and Goodreads and Myspace for, like, a week.

Ah, who am I kidding? I can't go a day without looking at all those sites. Maybe I could cut down to once a day?

Oh please, yeah, that's not happening.

4. Stop weighing myself every single morning.

I'm a freak like that. I'm way into the numbers game: Amazon, my scale, blog visits, website hits. I wish I didn't care but I do.

Again, so not happening.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Creating book lists

Earlier this week, a writer friend of mine asked me for some recommendations for a book list for teen girls (I'll post the link when she gets it up on her site). I have to tell you, it totally freaked me out for about 12 hours. Asking a writer to compile a list of favorite books is like asking a computer to figure pi - it just goes on and on and on and on...

When I was growing up, I read everything and I do mean everything: all genres, all writers, all types of stories. Shorts and classics, sci-fi and true crime...seriously, everything. But there was one sort of sub-genre of fiction that I fixated upon briefly when I was about 12 or so: the sad and depressing main character stories.

So herewith are My Favorite Mental Illness Books:

LISA, BRIGHT AND DARK by John NeufeldTHE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath

SYBIL by Flora Rheta Schreiber

What does this say about me as a teenager? Only that we all get obsessed with certain things at different times of our lives.

Next: great true crime novels

Monday, December 8, 2008

New (Zoo) Reviews

I'm sure no one in the blogosphere is old enough to remember the New Zoo Review, are they?

A show of hands? No? Okay, moving on then...

I'd like to take a brief respite from blogging about all the things I like and all the things I eat and all the things I do to mention some very cool reviews about, ahem, my books.

Seriously, I so love hearing from readers and it's just amazing the kind of feedback you get on the web. Where it used to be - before the Age of the Internet - you had to post a letter to an author you liked and send it to her publishing house in New York and then someone there would hold onto it for a year and finally forward it to the author herself, now it's just a click of a button and you can share your opinions with the world - or whoever happens to read your blog.

Good, bad, an author has no control over what people think or interpret or ultimately write about her books. And in the anonymous webspace, anyone can pretty much say anything with very few repercussions. So that's why it's especially satisfying to read positive reviews, like these:

Here is Chelsea the Page Flipper's review of ALL ABOUT VEE. She uses the word "surprising" which I have to say - and told her - many, many people say about my books. I would love to know why! Is it that they are expecting something completely different based on the title or the cover or what they've heard? And if so, what were they expecting?

Is that a question for the ages? I hope one of you amazing reviewers out there will enlighten me if you can.

Here is Frenetic Reader/Khyrinthia's review of LOVE, MEG. Again, she is also surprised at what she got. I'm so happy she thought the characters were realistic and I do love that she appreciated the ending - while most people love that it had a not-happily-ever-after ending, I've heard from a very few who didn't. And that surprises me. Thank you, K, for putting the book in the Realm of the Very Good.

And for just one more, here is The Book Muncher's review of LOVE, MEG on her site. Another insightful analysis of the book that thrilled me to pieces. I love that she said she could connect with Meg, and really, that's the character I put my heart and soul into.

While I can't speak for other authors, I know I appreciate thoughtful reviews that give context for what and why a reader did or did not like about my books. It's nice to hear someone loved a book I wrote, but when they can tell me why (or why they didn't), I both appreciate and respect their opinions and the fact that they took the time to give them.

Thanks to all of you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The winners are...

Eileen Micale - ALL ABOUT VEE
Thao Tran - LOVE, MEG

Congratulations, Eileen and Thao!

I hope you both enjoy the books and that you'll let me know what you think when you've read them. I love getting feedback from my readers! And no, I don't think free books make people like the book better. Heck, I would give them all away if that were true!

Jessica at Teen Free Book Fridays told me over 300 people entered her contest which was just so shocking and thrilling. I love that so many people wanted to win one of my books!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Things I Won't Ever Be

1. A car aficionado - As much as LA is a car culture, I just can't wrap my mind around spending the equivalent to a year's worth of college education on a car. I can't make the words "I drive an Avalanche" sound right coming out of my mouth.

2. A vegan - I like soy products, I really do, but I also like wearing cashmere. Is that so wrong?

3. A Tom Cruise fan - His bland likability may appeal to a wide swath of the movie-going public but he's too...bland and too...likable for my taste. He has no edge, unless you count jumping up and down on Oprah's couch edgy, and virtually no potential for criminal activity and I truly dig that in my Tinseltown idols.

4. A romance writer - Not in the sense of "a writer of romantic fiction," no, but perhaps in the "a writer who thinks it's romantic to be a writer" vein. For while I believe spending one's life in the pursuit of the perfect turn of phrase, the plot twist that no one saw coming, and the story that makes every reader cry at its end is both noble and worthy of great sacrifice, I simply haven't mastered the ability tot make a romance the centerpiece of my MC's world.

I tried it once and it turned out gay - literally. I wrote a novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down when she falls in love with another girl. Not that there's anything wrong with that...but it's certainly not a conventional love story.

Not that there's anything wrong with that either.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

3 Movies I'm Jazzed About

Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith and directed by Gabriele Muccino (who also directed Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness"). Will Smith is a suicidal IRS agent who decides to help seven people before he kills himself. I know it doesn't sound very promising - sort of maudlin with a likely sappy ending - but in the hands of these two, I know it will be heartfelt and sincere, if nothing else. Also, didn't they say that about "It's a Wonderful Life"?

The Day the Earth Stood Still, starring Keanu Reeves and based on the classic 1951 sci-fi film which was directed by Robert Wise and was itself based on a short story by Harry Bates. "Gort, Klaatu barada nicto!" Come on, who in the free world has not heard those words before? The first time I saw the original film, I was in junior high. I have no idea what class it was or why the teacher showed it to us, but I absolutely remember every frame of it. Will the Reeves version be as good? Hard to tell. It's got a great cast and likely amazing special effects but will people believe Reeves (and lord knows he's one of my favorite actors of all time and I'll watch him in just about anything) is Klaatu and not Gort?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, directed by David Fincher, and based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald (one of my absolute favorite writers ever - ever!). A man is born very old and ages backwards. Pitt and Blanchett - together? My heart does a little pit-a-pat. I love Cate, adore her like I do Meryl and Michelle. The movie, I can tell from the trailers, will break my heart. I just know it. Sigh. Bring it on.

Don't forget to enter the Teen Free Book Friday contest to win a signed copy of LOVE, MEG or ALL ABOUT VEE! Contest ends Friday, December 5th!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You lie!

I'm writing a character now who lies to manipulate other people, including my narrator, to bend them to her will - but in a nice way. I have written lying characters before (see Reed in VEE, who lies to be cruel and Lucie in MEG, who lies to protect herself) but I've never written one like this.

Obviously, writers have to create characters who are nothing like themselves to populate their stories. Otherwise it would be unbelievably boring to have everyone act like one person - the author. But whenever I write someone who is so different from me, it makes me think about my own personality and if there's a part of me in there too.

I am not a liar. It never occurs to me to lie to get my way. Maybe it's the way I was raised, maybe I've seen other people get in trouble for lying. Ultimately, I do believe in karma - that whatever you put out there into the universe will come back to you in some way. I'm the kind of person who responds to email in a day, who returns every phone call, who doesn't pretend to be busier or more important than she is to make herself look smarter or more popular. If anything, I'm a glass-half-empty gal, while HH would love for me to be more glass-half-full. He wants me to be more elusive but to me that's a false note. If I'm busy, sure, that's one thing but if I'm not, why pretend to others that I am?

Sometimes in my personal life, I have a hard time understanding where people who lie are coming from. What drives them to fib about how much money they make, how busy they are, how popular their books are...I don't cut them much slack because it's something I never do.

But when I write, I can imagine all sorts of motivations for characters who lie. Interesting that I can't do that with real people.

A reminder: Teen Free Book Fridays is featuring me as their author this week and will be giving away 2 signed copies of my books, one each of LOVE, MEG and ALL ABOUT VEE. So head on over and sign up to win!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Free Books!

What's better than a free book?

TWO free books!

Looking for a gift for a friend? Or a treat for yourself? Then get on over to Free Book Friday Teens! For the next week, I will be the *featured author* on the site and then on Friday (hence the title of the site!) December 5th, Jessica will give away 2 books: one copy of LOVE, MEG and one copy of ALL ABOUT VEE - both signed by moi!

Gifts for you just in time for the holidays...friends and readers, I'm trying to do my part to save you money. That's just the kind of caring author that I am. No, no, don't bow down to me. Seriously. Well, maybe a little, just your head, that's're welcome.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving = Pie Time

A holiday of giving, yes? So my gift to you all is a brand new pie crust recipe. Please, please, your thanks is enough, no need to send me money...

I really only cook one thing well. Fortunately, it's an apple pie and who in their right mind doesn't love apple pie? Even I love it and I am not a sweets person (some would even say I'm not a sweet person either but that's kind of a mean thing to say, don't you think?).

I have used the same pie crust for years...years, I tell you! My mother gave me the recipe and it involves white vinegar and eggs and refrigerating for hours and although it does come out deliciously well, it's also time-consuming and fraught with danger.

So imagine my huge, happy surprise when I found a very, very simple pie crust recipe in my old Betty Crocker cookbook, one my late grandmother gave me when I got married. I didn't have nearly the right ingredients for my mother's recipe so this one seemed a decent attempt. I had a couple of people taste test it for me (thanks to HH and Yooli who volunteered their taste buds) and it was declared a winner!

Here I am making the pie:

And what it looks like before it goes in:

And what it looks like when it's finished:

Flaky and light and so very yummy. I was so impressed with this recipe and I'll use it again today to make a second one for my Thanksgiving guests (since my testers polished off half of it last night! Guess that means it was pretty good!).

So here it is. Use it for a 2 crust pie and fill with apples or other fruit or maybe banana cream or chocolate pudding. The possibilities are endless!

2/3 cup plus 2T shortening (like Crisco but I used an organic kind)
1t salt
2C flour
5T cold water

Cut shortening into flour and salt until coarse and crumbly. Add water by T until dough pulls from sides and can be formed into a ball. Then evenly split into 2 balls, roll out, and voila, you have 2 crusts for a pie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thinking Thanksgiving

I was recently asked by Carrie at - a gorgeous site dedicated to all things beautiful - to recount my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Take a look at what I wrote and tell me what yours is. Believe me, I had a difficult time trying to pick just one! Thank you, Carrie, for letting me share.

In this post, I love how Joanna Goddard writes about enjoying a roaring fire in her friend's fireplace in Brooklyn. She is absolutely right about the "tease" of some New York fireplaces. They're usually all blocked up and if you could even free one up, you'd probably fill the house with smoke.

I do miss the fireplaces in my home state of Connecticut, which is kind of the ideal place to have Thanksgiving. Aside from all of the history of the state, the Pilgrims and the Puritans and the colonies and such, there's the weather which is far more conducive to roasting a giant turkey and attending football games than most places in the country. It just feels more like Thanksgiving in Connecticut than in LA, where some years I have actually served dinner in flip-flops!

But no matter where I am, the best part of the holiday is enjoying time with friends. I really do love cooking for and feeding other people. And this year I'm trying a brand new pie recipe! Yum!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Bits of Goodness

1. Celebrity Goodness - check out my latest celeb sighting here in LA.

2. Television Goodness - HH and I have been watching "Fringe," which was okay for a while but has suddenly gotten downright terrific. Before I put up with it because I was so missing "The X-Files," which used to be a big-time favorite show of mine, but I didn't feel "Fringe" was X-worthy. This week's episode proved it just may be its successor.

2A. Commercial Goodness - I hope all Trek geeks like myself and HH (and Paula Yoo!) saw the fantastic trailer for the JJ Abrams-directed "Star Trek" which won't hit theaters until May 09 (argh!) but will have me on pins and needles until then. Complete awesomeness!

3. Authorly Goodness - there are a lot of things I don't care for about LA but one of them is most certainly not the presence of some amazing authors. I have had the privilege of meeting up close and personal many of my very favorite authors right here in this city. Among them: Paula Yoo, CG Watson, Liane Bonin, Claire LaZebnik, Jordanna Fraiberg, Sasha Watson, Amy Koss, Kerry Madden, Sally Nemeth, Michael Reisman, Phyllis Gebauer, Janet Tashjian, Lisa Yee, Joyce Lee Wong and I'm sure I'm leaving someone out! How lucky am I???

4. Goodness Goodness - all you knitters out there, pick up your needles and get knitting some preemie caps for the Save The Children fund's "Knit One, Save One" campaign this year. They're so very easy to do! And they're so important. And don't forget to send along a message to our President-elect, Barack Obama, urging him to consider aid to needy children around the globe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Honors and Privileges

As an author who sits in her bra and eats Puffins all day, occasionally leaving her writing desk to take or teach a ballet class, I take every excuse I can to get out and see people. I have to. Otherwise, all of my characters would sound like me. Or HH. Or Oprah and Ellen and the ladies on The View. So I consider it research.

This past weekend, I was invited to speak to a group of fantastic and fun writers at their monthly meeting of the National Writers Association Los Angeles Chapter at Mo's in Toluca Lake. It happened to be a day when the fires were raging in Montecito and freeways were closed and Ahnuld declared a state of emergency so I was doubly pleased at the turnout. I had a fab time, loved meeting everyone, and hope I get to see them all again, either in person or virtually. They even wrote about me in their newsletter (thanks, LaVonne!) and presented me with a framed certificate of appreciation (thanks Tom!). How awesome is that?

It's also pretty fantastic when you find out you've been honored in other ways, like when the State ofKansas puts you on their recommended reading list for High Schools and when California Readers puts you in their 2009 California Collection for California High Schools. I loved hearing these bits of news! I was - and am - so excited to know that an entire state (or 2) will get a chance to read LOVE, MEG.

But the one that made me laugh out loud was learning that a copy of LOVE, MEG is in the Rare Books Collection at the Central Branch of the Boston Public Library! Apparently, it was a gift from the Boston Authors Club and is included in the library as part of its Boston Authors Club Collection. I think that's pretty cool, actually, and I had to share with my immediate family who still haven't read the book.

LOL - or am I secretly crying? Hmmm...a fine line. I must get out more.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stupid Writer Tricks

The thing about writing for me is that I have to sort of rev my engine a bit when I'm beginning a new project. I spend a lot of time working on the outline so I know exactly where I'm going when I start. I know lots of writers work "organically," starting with a character or two and maybe a general idea of the plot and then they let it happen from there.

That scares the hell out of me!

If I did it that way, I would write and write and get off track and maybe get back on track and editing and rewriting would be a major hassle. Instead, I spend as much time as I can developing the outline, knowing what some candy bar scenes will be, and listening to the voice of my narrator. Only when it's bursting out of my head do I begin.

Believe me, I have started too soon and although I have finished those books, they are pure crap.

So now I have my outline and I'm raring to go...but it takes me a little while to build up to my 2K per day output. I have to gradually leave the real world behind and enter the one I have created and it's hard to let go sometimes. Especially now, while I'm constantly checking things on the internet and I'm worried about the books I have out there and if people like them and asking myself what I can possibly do to earn more money...augh!!!!!!!

I won't be comfortable that I know where I'm going and what I'm doing until I hit the 150 page mark - that's about halfway through the story for me. I'm struggling a bit now, and it's taking me far longer to get my word count this week. To help me along, I'm trying something I've never done before: I am posting pictures in front of my work area of what I think my characters look like.

It just came to me last night...I was flipping through some holiday catalogs and I realized many of the models sort of resembled characters from my new book. It takes place in a tiny New England town and these models were all wearing LL Bean type clothes and were posed in fake snow. Perfect! I cut out a few pictures and now I'm going to place them on my corkboard so I can see them as I work. Maybe it will inspire me!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Cool Things and 1 Sad Thing

1. Talk Thing - Tomorrow I'll be giving a presentation to the National Writers Association Los Angeles Chapter in Burbank. I call it "Just Finish It!" because that's the number one piece of advice I have for writers. It's at Mo's Restaurant on Riverside Drive at 9:30A, if anyone is interested.

2. Read Thing - On Sunday, I heard Sasha Watson read from her brand new book, Vidalia in Paris (how awesome are books with V-named main characters???). I'm so psyched to read it! Here is a photo of me with Sasha and YA authors Paula Yoo and Michael Reisman, taken by HH with Paula's way cool camera.

3. Watch Thing - HH and I have been enamored of Chef Ramsay since we first saw the British version of his "Kitchen Nightmares" show. Now in its second vitriolic yet altruistic season, we still love it. And him.
4. See Thing - San Francisco Ballet is performing in LA this weekend. They are gorgeous! I saw them do "Don Q" years ago and it was unforgettable. I love that they are a very diverse company (i.e. not everyone is skinny and pale).

And now...

1. Sad Thing - Michael Crichton passed away at the age of 66 on November 9. Prolific author of so many amazing books, creator of one of the longest-running dramas on television, a screenwriter and director, software company owner, and oh yeah, a doctor, Crichton packed SO MUCH into his life. I can only hope to achieve a tiny amount of his success and I will consider myself successful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This is my new favorite movie. I definitely want to own a copy. Amazing cast (Robert DeNiro, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer), great effects, and the story is just wonderful. Based on a Neil Gaiman graphic novel, it's a fairy tale for adults (as Gaiman described it in an interview). A young man, Tristan, is in love with Victoria, a selfish young woman who asks him to retrieve a fallen star for her as proof of his love for her. To get the star, he must go to a foreign, enchanted land.

Claire Danes is the luminous star. And not just Tristan is after her. She also has a ruby necklace the king's son wants and a heart that can provide eternal life for a witch (Pfeiffer) and her sisters.

It's romantic and funny with action but it's not a romantic comedy. The director, Matthew Vaughn who was also a co-writer of the script with Jane Goldman, knows exactly what he's doing. He lets the actors do what they need to but reigns them in before they go over the top. This is a "Princess Bride" for a new generation. It's what Terry Gilliam should have directed instead of "The Brothers Grimm."

I think the marketing team at Paramount didn't know what to do with this one. Many graphic novels reach a lot of demographics at once - they don't have the sorts of constraints lots of novels and movies do - because so many different kinds of people can read and appreciate them for very different reasons. So where do you position this film? Not a true romance or comedy or action or fantasy. Even the star power is playing against type: DeNiro as a fey pirate and Pfeiffer as an old evil crone.

I hope it gets a new life on DVD and becomes as popular as "Princess Bride" (I actually prefer "Stardust" but then I am biased toward anything that stars Michelle Pfeiffer).

Monday, November 10, 2008

New show: Ruby

A new show to check out: Ruby

As many people who have read my novel, ALL ABOUT VEE, know, people with weight issues are very close to my heart. I've had my own battles - and continue to wage them even as I get older and presumably wiser - so I can empathize with both the overweight and underweight who suffer.

The story of Ruby, which is chronicled in a mini-reality series on Style channel beginning last night, is a touching one. Many people might look at Ruby and think she's lazy or weak-willed, that if only she really wanted to lose weight, she could do it.

It's never that easy. Please.

But one of the most unusual things about Ruby is that she's basically a very happy individual. Certainly, she is on this program to document her weight loss, but that's because her doctor has told her in no uncertain terms that she will die much too early if she doesn't take off some weight. She's happy. She has great friends. She loves life. I hope she's able to maintain her happiness even as she goes through what will be a very difficult - and public - time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Can you feel it?

The winds of change are blowing through and although I wish they were a bit more balmy than they are, at least they will bring a much-needed dramatic shift in the currents.

For so long I have personally felt at odds with the cultural climate. I didn't understand the raging interest in reality television that encouraged bad behavior among its contestants. I didn't understand how people could be so cruel to one another under the guise of anonymity on the internet. I didn't understand how people in cars could have no respect for the people around them. If anyone was naming this past decade the "end of days," I believe they could point their collective finger at how we have treated each other as evidence.

I have repeatedly called this decade "thin and cheesy." As in, we are living in thin and cheesy times. The books and movies and television and art we are leaving for the next generation are insubstantial and cheaply made. It's like the "me decade" and the "greed is good" attitude tossed together with the obligatory 15 minutes of YouTube fame. People expect to have things handed to them because they taped their cat playing the piano. And why not? Someone else got a million-plus hits for their baby laughing.

It comes from the top down, this lack of work ethic, which is shocking because we are descended from the Puritans whose work ethic and inner strength are legendary. What happened to us?

We need to change the way we talk about ourselves. It can't be "I" and "me" all the time.

We need "we." We need "us." We need "our."

We need to banish the "I" for a little while, unless it's, "I can help you."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I woke up SO excited this morning. Part of me is thrilled the long campaign season will finally be over but another part is simply awed that this is such an historic one. To think that we have the option of voting for an African-American Presidential candidate!

I have to admit I was a Hillary supporter until the bitter end of the primaries. I always admired her in the White House, how she stood strong when people were throwing things at her, always wanting to tear her down and poke holes in her cool facade. Perhaps she came off as TOO cool and people interpreted that as icy and detached but if anyone were to be in her shoes, how else could they react when constantly being attacked? Do you fall apart at the seams all the time? No, you have to be strong. And then when she won the Senate seat in her own right, I was so proud of her - and I continued to be supportive until things started to get a little ugly and negative at the end of the primary campaign.

I still think she would have made an amazing President - and a fantastic VP to Barack Obama - and I hope she has a place in the Obama cabinet, should (when) he win.

I am so excited to be voting for an African-American candidate. It truly is an historic day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Home Ec Flashbacks

At the first junior high I attended back in the Stone Age, both girls and boys were required to take home ec and shop classes. At the second one I attended, I was in the gifted program and we didn't have anything like that. And at the third, only girls took home ec while only boys enrolled in shop.

What strikes me odd about this is that the first school was in a very rural area of Pennsylvania, the second a suburban town near Philadelphia and the third was in a fairly progressive and liberal-minded town in Connecticut.

So I did learn a bit of wood and metal shop techniques but I spent most of my time in home ec, learning how to measure things in cups and ounces while the the rest of the world was using liters. I also learned to use a sewing machine and follow a pattern in that third school, which was fine and fun until I chose the same material for my final project that the most popular girl in my class did and everyone thought I had copied her.

(Ah but where is Popular Girl now? Last time I saw her she was drunk and flirting with my husband at our high school reunion...wear that dress well, sweetheart.)

The best part of home ec was the cooking. Remember, this was education for the public school students; nothing fancy, nothing complex, no super-costly items in the recipes. Everyone had to be able to cook something. I was reminded of them recently at a writers' group I attended when a woman showed up with a batch of cookies that caused me to go into flashback mode. So I thought I'd dig up some old recipes.

Forgotten Cookies
2 egg whites, room temp.
1 (6 oz.) bag mini-chocolate chips
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. chopped pecans (can add more if desired)

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly add sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is stiff. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cookies in oven, close door and turn off oven. Leave cookies in oven overnight and do not open oven door.

And in the morning, you have cookies!

Marshmallow Crescent Puffs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
16 marshmallows
1/4 cup margarine
2 cans crescent dinner rolls
powdered sugar icing
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip marshmallows in melted margarine, roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture. Wrap a crescent roll triangle around each completely covered marshmallow and squeezing edges of dough tightly to seal. Dip in margarine; place in muffin pan. Put on foil and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove. Drizzle with icing. Sprinkle with nuts.

Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

1. Not a Halloween costume.

This is HH at the wedding in his very first tux. Doesn't he look handsome? Seriously, two dimensions do not do him justice. He looked fantastic.

2. Not a Halloween movie.

Bill Maher's documentary, "Religulous," is excellent. I highly recommend even if, like me, you're not a big fan of Bill Maher. He did his homework which is more than a lot of people can say.

3. Not a Halloween trick.

I just found out a friend of mine was the visual effects editor for the movie, "Twilight." She just finished and is exhausted. Apparently, they pushed the release date up by a few weeks which meant she had to work harder than ever. Hey, I have a Twilight connection!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SCBWI Conference Fun!

On Saturday, I was invited to be part of a YA author panel at the SCBWI conference held at Mills College in Oakland, which is northern California near San Francisco. What a gorgeous campus! And for those of you who are counting, it's a women's college that was started by an alumna of Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts which is where I got my undergrad degree.

Go MHC!!

This was my first writers' conference EVER, which was a huge surprise to my fellow speakers, all of whom were far more seasoned. Thank you to them all for making this a really great experience for me. And a great big special thanks goes to Margaret Speaker Yuan and Colette Weil who invited me and who put together the whole thing. They did an amazing job. Every detail was so well-conceived and the conference itself was so well-organized. Kudos!

First up, to begin our day at Lisser Hall, keynote speaker Elizabeth Partridge, who has written several nonficton biographies of John Lennon and Woody Guthrie, among others, talked about the business of being a writer, not just the important things like getting reviews and using the internet but also the philsophy of being a writer. She talked about her "mean Barbara" who sits on her shoulder and whispers negative thoughts like, "You can't do this, who do you think you are." We all have a mean Barbara - whether it's a real person or just the voice of our subconcious mind - and we have to push her away.

Next at the podium was editor Gretchen Hirsch of HarperCollins who discussed her favorite first pages, from books she's loved as a reader and as an editor. Among them, Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" and E Lockhart's "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks." Most interestingly, though, she took us through several drafts of the first page of a novel called "The Body Finder" to show us how she and the writer worked through changes to make it smoother and more concise, selecting just the right words to convey meaning.

Following Gretchen was agent Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary who talked about query letters. She had us in hysterics as she read some of the awful mistakes people make when sending letters to agents, including one hilarious letter from a man who must have been a car salesman in his daily life because it was filled with "offers" to Erin to be part of the millions his books will surely make. Erin basically told us, look, it's one thing to be confident in your work but another to treat it like a money-making venture. When you query an agent, you want to be personable, to give him or her a reason to want to read and like your work, and to want to pursue you as a client. She also read letters that she liked and made her want to read more of the writer's work.

Then Erin and Gretchen took questions from the audience through Margaret Speaker Yuan at the podium.And very quickly, it was Carrie Watson's (QUAD) and my turn, with Betsy Partridge as moderator. We talked about...I have no idea! I think we talked about writing and what it was like to write about difficult issues for teens. It's hard to remember because I was so focused on all of those people looking up at me. If anyone reading this attended, maybe they can remind me of what we said. I'm pretty sure Carrie got a bunch of laughs because she's very funny. Me, I'm more like a deer in the headlights, regardless of the kindness of some attendees who said I did a good job.

And then it was on to lunch where HH and Carrie and I hung out with some attendees and Colette. We stayed for a short while to hear editor Julie Romeis of Chronicle Books talk about Lisa Kline's book "Ophelia" but then we had to leave to get back to LA. HH was a groomsman in his friend's wedding the next day and we didn't want him to be super tired - too exhausted to put on his tux.

What a great weekend! I so wish I lived closer to Oakland because there were some amazing people I met up there and I adored Mills College - like a west coast version of my alma mater! And a super special thanks to Luan from Laurel Books in Oakland who provided all of our books in a sort of mini-store outside the theater.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Of Heroes and Housewives

Who's watching these shows this season? Are you liking them?

I have to say, I was quite disappointed in the way both series played out last year. In Heroes, sticking Hiro in the past for the whole season? And Maya and her lame black-eye-death power? Plus I was so confused about Sylar who is such a great bad-guy!

As for Housewives, the fast-forwarding (like in my very favorite show, Lost) was a great idea and a terrific means of freshening up some stale storylines. Mike 'n Susan had gotten so old and I was just about tired of Edie constantly stealing everyone's man. New stories, writers, please!

So I'm happy to say I'm cautiously optimistic about this season for both shows. I love seeing Robert Forster as the ultimate villain - and the father of Sylar to boot! And last night saw the return of Kristen Bell as Elle, the electricity princess. Love her!

And over on Housewives, I have to say, Sunday's episode was truly brilliant writing. I loved the judicious use of flashbacks to flesh out some of the women's fears and to delicately shed light on what happened during the 5-year jump. Learning more about Bree and Catherine's relationship was very important (although I could pretty much guess Carlos and Gaby's situation). And I am so very intrigued about Dave's motives - who is the man who ruined his life that he's come to Wisteria Lane to take care of? I thought for sure it was Bree because someone told me his last name is the same as the deceased pharmacist she was engaged to and whom she let die. If it's not her, then who is it?

Hmmm, very juicy.

Monday, October 27, 2008


So you've got your bra on and you mean business. You're ready to write, right?

Not so fast there, cowgirl. You ain't nowhere near ready til you get some food in your stomach. How can you possibly create when you're running on empty?

Here's how I do it:


I hate just one kind of cereal. And do not give me sugar in the morning. I'm like a gremlin that way.
All day.

Gotta have Joe's joe. Many cups, sans cream or sugar.


Master the carbs = master your mind. No, seriously, I just love the taste and it's really cheap and cheap is a key word in Writer Land.

Afternoon snacks.

Surprisingly, carrots are very very tasty with black coffee. If I'm super hungry, I'll snack on the breakfast cereal. Lots of good stuff in those boxes: complex carbs 'n stuff.

Vitamin supplement.

We pescaterian girls need all the help we can get. And extra calcium since I do soy instead of cow's milk.

Okay, now I can write.

Wait, what time is it? Dinnertime? Well, maybe I'll write tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

4 Treats & 2 Promised Treats a Week Before Halloween

1. SCBWI Northern California Conference, YA Panel, 12PM, Saturday Oct 25th. I'll be panelling alongside Elizabeth Partridge and CG Watson with Margaret Speaker Yuan moderating. Whoo-hoo! Oakland's in da house! (Is that how the hip kids say it?)

2. 11th wedding anniversary, Saturday, Oct 25th. HH and I were married in a tiny Italian restaurant called Brunetta's in the East Village of New York City. It's where we had our first date and where he proposed; he was planning to do it at the Empire State Building but there were a million people in line to go up to the top - this was August, after all. Sadly, Brunetta's is gone but it was fantastic while it lasted. (Is that a bad sign?)

3. Wedding of our friends Shan and Beth, Sunday, Oct 26th. HH is one of Shan's groomsmen which means he has to wear a tux! He's never worn one - he wore a nice suit for our wedding, which doesn't fit him anymore. (Is that a bad sign too?)

4. I've finished a new draft of a new manuscript but I absolutely positively know it needs to be revised and polished. Whew...thank god I like these characters or this would be a miserable experience. In the meantime, I've got a short story up on my website - which I think I mentioned last week - and honestly, why would I say "I think" when all I have to do is look back at my blog? So yes, I did mention it. It's called "I Brake for Whales" and it's kind of creepy. Check it out.

And next week's promised treats are 2 posts about the writer's life:
--the importance of shaving one's legs and underarms and the effects thereof on one's creative talents

Monday, October 20, 2008

Work-At-Home For Big Bucks!

When people want to know what the writer's life is like, I tell them it requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline, sticking to a self-imposed schedule with deadlines and goals, and wads and wads of optimism.

It also requires a bra.

I follow very few rules but the number one rule is put on a bra. If I'm not wearing a structural undergarment, I don't feel like I'm working. I feel like I'm lounging around the house. Free 'n easy, nice 'n breezy, ya know? But with a bra, I'm a working woman.

Which brings me to my second rule: no sweat pants. Jeans, absolutely, and shorts when necessary but no sweats, no how. That just screams "My butt is truly lazy and I don't care!" And I'd rather keep that to myself. You don't need to know exactly how lazy my butt is.

Now, the thing is that we don't get a lot of visitors and when I say "we" I don't mean that in a royal sense because this is a truly democratic household, not a monarchy, except when it isn't. I mean, HH and I share this apartment as a workspace. I'm in the kitchen area and he's in the between-living-room-and-kitchen area. It's a very small apartment. But we do occasionally get a visitor, like our friends upstairs or the mailman. And when that person enters our workspace, I don't want them to see us lazing around - or looking like we're lazing around. I usually try to scowl and show them how much they're interrupting my work, without letting them see I'm actually updating my Facebook page.

Here is a picture of me hard at work (or is that just my Goodreads account I'm looking at?). Note the serious expression which is a sure sign I'm wearing a bra.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

1 Brand New Short Story Posted on my Website

Yep. That's it for my random thoughts. Ninja Webmaster posted a short story I wrote as a Halloween treat. I like writing shorts - but my version of a short story is probably another person's novella. You can't read this in one sitting, or maybe you can if you have a longer attention span than I have.

Check it out...Happy Halloween!

And 1 Giant Thank You (postscript added)

I had a fantastic time chatting with everyone last night, thanks to Chelsea, the Page Flipper, who hosted the chat. Great questions and a lot of lovely and lively chatter. Thanks to Chelsea, Chelsie, Nicole B., Harmony, Steph, Lauren, Mika, Breaking News, Khy, Carol and Hurdler4eva for coming and hanging out for a while. And if I missed anyone among the guests, I apologize - there were a lot of people when I joined!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In Your Room in stores today!

On Tuesday, I had a yummy decaf Americano at Bottega, a small Italian cafe/restaurant in Larchmont Village in LA with my friend and fellow author, Jordanna Fraiberg, whose debut novel, In Your Room, is in stores today!

For those of you unfamiliar with the lovely Jordanna, here are 5 facts about her:

1. She's originally from Canada.
2. She's a former professional squash player (yes, I actually know a professional athlete!).
3. She worked for many years in the movie business - and we actually worked in the same building for at least a year without even knowing it!
4. She recently married and has some of the most gorgeous wedding photos of anyone I've ever seen on her Facebook page.
5. She has all her own teeth (I'm just guessing on this one but she does have a beautiful smile).

And a 6th bonus fact...Jordanna is the number one person I would high-five if I were a high-fiving kind of person.

I love hanging out with her; she's sweet and so smart and funny and she makes me want to use big words. It's also a huge amount of fun to talk to a fellow writer because they know exactly what you're going through on a daily basis: the ups and downs of Amazon numbers, the good and bad of Goodreads reviews, the word count (oh, the word count!). They also know you have to make time to actually get out and talk to people and to give yourself an opportunity to wear clothes that are not jeans and a Home Depot t-shirt.

Seriously, I tried on 4 different outfits before settling on the one I actually wore to meet with Jordanna. Why? Because a) I had no idea what looks good on me anymore b) I couldn't possibly wear all my old, good clothes at once and c) when you're not used to choosing from among a selection of clean clothes, you feel really lost when faced with a closet full of them.

Anyway, back to Jordanna...she's currently on a blog tour, guesting on blogs all over the web and doing interviews, and she's gotten some terrific reviews for her book. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! If you can't find one in stores near you, order it on-line here!

And don't forget! Tonight at The Page Flipper, I'm chatting LIVE (that's me, really, not anyone posing as me) with whoever shows up at 4PM Pac/7PM Eastern. So I hope you'll be there!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who Killed Laura Palmer?

That's the clue for my latest celebrity sighting...check it out on my website.

And a reminder: the Cybil Awards noms end tomorrow, Wednesday 10/15 so you have just 1 more day to nominate your favorite books!

And mark your calendars for one more fun thing: on Thursday, October 16, I will be chatting LIVE at The Page Flipper! I think it's 4PM Pacific/7PM Eastern but visit Chelsea's blog for more info or her author chat page.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reverse Psychology

Do you think reverse psychology works on inanimate objects?

From the Urban Dictionary:

"a technique of convincing a person that they will not succeed in hopes that it will spur them to succeed; a technique employing pessimism in order to effect a positive outcome"

I use this technique most successfully with HH when I need him to cook or clean something for me. I often suggest that he's not manly enough to broil the salmon or not strong enough to scrub the toilet and this usually works on his ego and I get the salmon or a clean bathroom in a matter of minutes.

But what about the publishing industry? Do you think if I were to use reverse psychology on it, I might become successful? As in,

"Oh no, I don't want to be on a bestseller list. That would be horrible."


"Please, do not buy my new manuscript because I would hate that."


"Seriously, my world would crumble into bits and pieces if you made me an offer. Whatever you do, do not buy my new book. Just send my agent a form rejection and move on."

Cuz right now, I'm in the please buy my new book mode and it doesn't seem to be working.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Books on my To-Read Pile

1. HOT WIDOW by Phyllis Gebauer - this is a memoir by a woman I met when I was doing a promotional tv show for the Duarte Festival of Authors. Phyllis is hilarious! She also teaches writing at UCLA. Our tables were next to each other for the festival and we had a ball hanging out together. Can't wait to read it!

2. CATCH A MATE by Gena Showalter - I picked this up at Book Expo in May when Gena was signing at Harlequin. My friend Chandra said her books are awesome - romance with lots of humor which is the way I like it.

3. ECLIPSE by Stephenie Meyer - I'm only halfway through NEW MOON so obviously this one will have to wait until I'm finished. And about half a dozen people have volunteered to loan me BREAKING DAWN so I guess I got that one covered.

4. ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan - I cheated and saw the movie first which will spoil the plot for me but not the novel itself. It was completely by accident! I was visiting the family in June and they had netflixed it and wanted to watch so what could I say? Great movie which means the book will be even better.