Valerie Frankel's
Palace of Love

Gates of winter

2/05 - 1/05

February 28, 2005

The March 4th issue of Entertainment Weekly gives the book a B+ (I think it deserves an A+, but let's not quibble).

"Lowdown: The city-mouse-in-the-country setup draws laughs."—Jennifer Armstrong and Clarissa Cruz

How's that for a back cover blurb?

In other news . . . I have no news. I've been editing The Good Witch non-stop for days upon days. The end is in sight, and then, I might spend an entire day seeing the Oscar nominated best-pictures. I missed four out of five (Sideways was great). I will read the pile of books on my desk. I'll go to fucking yoga class (I mean it), and I'll take my sweaters (all of them) to be drycleaned.

I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous to meet Kyle Smith on Wednesday at our Barnes and Noble reading. I thought Love Monkey was line-by-line hilarious, but I don't want to sound like an asshole saying, "Love the book!" I'm going to Minneapolis do to another event with Mr. Smith in April. That'll be a long, cold weekend if we don't get along.

February 23, 2005

The first review for The Girlfriend Curse is a good one. Four stars from the Romantic Times Book Club Magazine. Here's the highlight:
"Frankel's prose shines with wit and warmth as Peg journeys to hard-earned wisdom. Her relationship insights are right on target."—Cindy Harrison
Thank you Cindy Harrison and Romantic Times. Feels like an unexpected hot bath.
More review snippets as I get them. The book comes out on Tuesday. Reading with Kyle "Love Monkey" Smith at Astor Place Barnes & Noble on Wednesday. The Cosmopolitan review is in their April issue. Looking forward to that one very much.

February 19, 2005

We joined millions of New Yorkers (and guests) to see the Christo Gates today. Verdict: I loved it. It was fun, friendly, exciting, beautiful. As an installation, I give it an A. Some photos here, and some more on the Pix page.

February 18, 2005

I'm trying a new look for my website. A more SOPHISTICATED, more MATURE, more GROWN-UP flavor, since, as many of you know, I am over 40 now.

I got an interesting email from someone at the K-Y company (yes, the jelly makers). Apparently, they're launching two new products, and are putting out feelers for spokespeople. You heard me: I have been approached about my spokesperson availability from the jelly makers. Naturally, I told the very nice woman that I was wide open, and well-lubricated, for such an opportunity. We'll see what happens. Steve asked why K-Y (K-why?) would want a 40something author (albeit a fine-looking hottie), instead of an actor, etc. Such questions cannot be answered by spokesperson wanna-bes, which I am, make no mistake. Alas, I will most likely never hear from the jelly folk again...

A few months ago, I was approached by another company regarding another product (my contact wouldn't say what it was, but clues have lead me to believe it was Intrinsa, a testosterone-based sex-drive enhancing patch for women), to write a serialized online novel about a woman over 50. I LOVED that idea, and would have done it gladly for whatever they were willing to pay. But, after several rounds of submitting and e-interviewing, I never heard from them again. Soon after, the FDA postponed approval for Intrinsa. A temporary setback, I'm sure. NOTE TO PATCH PEOPLE: When approval does come, I'm still interested! Don't forget about me! Call me! I mean it!

Anyway, The Good Witch is due in, oh, eleven days. Am I worried? Am I sweating ? Do I cry into my pillow every night?

I'll just leave those questions hanging until I can stop worrying, sweating and crying.

February 14, 2005

To the three people who read this site, I wish you Hearts! Chocolates! Flowers! Thank you, Daryl Chen, for the Chinese New Year card. You are a clever girl. You should consider getting a job in publishing. Mom, Dad, the most romantic couple I know, just don't kill each other on this festive day of love!

To anyone else how stumbles across this blog, I apologize. I have been a delinquent shit about posting. My excuse this time? I was miserably sick with a cold. I am not a functional sickie. I complain and whine and mope around the house in a bathrobe and old socks, with a box of tissues in one hand, and a novel in the other. Since my nose has been a snot faucet, everyone stayed far away from me and I could read in peace.

I thereby recommend Lindsey Davis' Shadows in Bronze, the second in her detective series set in Rome, 72 A.D. The hero is palace informant Marcus Falco. The wit! The tunics! The goat sacrifices! Two great lines I must steal. First: Falco, describing his squalid apartment, points to his decrepit kitchen table where, he says, "I eat, drink and contemplate the filthiness of life." Second: Falco finds himself the harp tutor of an aristocratic woman he's trying to extract information from. She doubts his abilities, and he defends himself by saying, "Tutoring is like making love. It's not about how good I am, but whether I can bring out the best in you!" This series is out-of-print, but you can get used copies via second-hand dealers at amazon.

In other news, The Best You'll Ever Have got as high at number 6 on, but has slid to the twenties now that Valentine's Day shopping is over. The Good Witch is nearly done, but I lost a few days under the dark, damp cloud of my illness. I am behind schedule, as par habitude.

I did a radio show on Saturday night (sinuses clogged, voice distractingly nasal) to support The Girlfriend Curse, along with two other authors, Gayle Callen and Cathy Maxwell, who had their own books to flog. The way it worked: I called the station, and they patched me onto the air. At one point during the interview, Lucy picked up the downstairs extension. Her six-year-old queries ("Hello? Who's there? Hello?") were heard by the greater Atlantic City listening area. Dave, the host, said, "Sounds like Val's home with her kids." One of the other authors said, "So much for the glamorous life of the romance novelist."

For Valentine's Day, Steve dealt with the kids this morning, dressing, feeding, lunch box packing, taking them to school, and has dropped little heart candies all over the apartment for me to find. He took care of me during my cold, and got Lucy off the phone during the radio show. He's the prize in the Cracker Jack box.

February 7, 2005

The above title is the best-selling sex book at Barnes & Noble as of today.
Naturally, after fourteen years, twelve books and over a million words (I did the math), I feel excited, and nauseated, too, if you really want to know. Shannon, meanwhile, is happy and giddy and says things like, "All the pieces are in place." TBYEH is her first book. She has no idea what this means. Bless her ignorance. Bless her beginner's luck. I'm grateful to be along for the ride. The thrill is quiet. But it's a thrill nonetheless.

February 3, 2005

In two days, ten 17-year-old girls are coming to my house after school. The reason for this Teen Invasion? Well, when I finish The Good Witch in a few weeks, I will begin working on Fringe Girl, my teen series for NAL. I have no doubt that I could recollect my own high school horror years with crystal clarity. Watching 13 hours of Freaks and Geeks brought it all zooming back. But Fringe Girl is set in 2006, not 1981. I need insider info, and hence, a twilight with teens.

Where did I get these specimens of adolescent angst, you ask? Maggie Levine, an upper school English teacher at a neighborhood private school in Brooklyn, is a friend. I sent her an imploring email, she forwarded it to her students, and lo, some of the girls are willing to come over and divulge. I sent them a talking points email: social order, dating rituals, the importance of trends, popularity, tribes, etc. I'm ordering some food platters from Fresh Direct (having thrown a successful all-Fresh Direct party in October), but I don't know what teens eat. I thought, at first, I should give them beer and pot, but I was advised that is not a good idea—illegal, even. I'll go with coffee and cookies and fruit. Maybe some diet Coke.

God, I hope they like me. I'm not going to try to be cool, because, that's, like, so uncool. Right? Anyone?

January 31, 2005

The Good Witch first draft is finished, and I've started the edit. I realize this is of little interest or importance to ANYONE besides me--and Steve, since I bitch less now--but it's all I can think about, and hence, blog about.

The way I write a novel: I start, predictably, at page one, and plow forward, figuring out characters and plot along the way, no looking back, until it's finished. I lay off for a week, and start again, at page one, reading words I haven't seen in months. This is the scary part. The pages could suck.

To my monumental relief, The Good Witch does not suck. The forty pages I've edited are action-packed (two sex scenes already; no clunky exposition). Let me just say, WHEW!!!!!

In other news, I just received an email that will have me grinning--smugly, insufferably--all day. Thank you, muchly, humbly (as humbly as I can be while still being insufferable) for it. I'm talking to you, Sara Margrat from Seattle.

January 20, 2005

The book party for The Best You'll Ever Have at Lotus last night was loads of fun. The theme-oriented cocktail (free!) was Sex on the Beach. I had so many of them, I woke up with sand in my mouth and under my eyes. I can only imagine how I'd feel it I'd been drinking the Slippery Nipples.

Shannon Mullen, the book's author (of which I am the co-), looked gorgeous and was surrounded by fans/​well-wishers all night long. When I left, she was chatting with a very handsome TV producer. I would dearly love to know if anything came of that. As it were.

I met Candida Royalle, erotic film director and author. She is intelligent, sweet, humble, all around the best possibly ambassador from Pornutopia I could possibly imagine. She has a new book, too, called How To Tell A Naked Man What To Do, which, forgive me if I'm wrong, we could all use some help with.

My only complaint about the entire night was that Crown sent over only 30 copies of the book, and sold out after, approximately, five minutes. (Much appreciation goes out to Ann Billingsley who bought three, and Karen Hiniker-Simons who bought two.) If you were at the party, and were heartbroken not to get a book, please order from (link above; click on the book cover). As of yesterday, at that site, The Best You'll Ever Have is the number two sex instructional guide for heterosexuals (a 1,000 book category), second only to Jenna Jameson's How To Make Love Like a Porn Star. A misnomer. As I noted for the April issue of Self, Jameson's autobiography is NOT a sex guide. The title should really be, How to Become a Porn Star, which I don't recommend. The book, or the job.

January 17, 2005

So, by now, you've all heard about Armstrong Williams, a right-wing columnist who was paid $250,000 by the Department of Education to plug No Child Left Behind. In another report, two bloggers were exposed for taking payola ($3,000/​month) from the Howard Dean campaign to praise the candidate.

I would like to make a private service announcement: I am available for payola. I will sing the praises of any product or candidate, etc. for a modest fee. I CAN be bought. I WANT to be bought. Every woman has her price, and mine is VERY LOW. So, please, make an offer. I'll tout your product for, say, $2 a day. I have great influence on the three people who read this blog. In other words, Mom and Dad will do anything I say. (Daryl Chen might not be so easily convinced).

Thank you. That is all.

January 13, 2005

In two days, I will face four major challenges:
1. Pay estimated quarterly federal taxes.
2. Revise a Glamour article to fifteen editors' satisfaction.
3. Complete the first draft of The Good Witch, currently weighing in at 75,000 words (the heft! the depth!)
4. Turn 40.

That's right. I'm soon to begin my fifth decade on Earth. In short, I am aged. I'll probably get back a few years when I finish The Good Witch, though. My sister, who's finishing the first draft of her own book (non-fiction), asked what The Good Witch was about.
I said, "It's about vision, art, religion, sex, love and magic."
She said, "Is that all?"

I just wrote and deleted a paragraph that describes one of the final punchlines of the book. I shouldn't tell the ending here, nor should I present jokes I think are fucking hilarious when they're out of context. So I had to delete. It's better this way.

The Good Witch has a kooky plot, a Greenwich Village setting, and a telepathic matchmaker, a dirty photographer, a bombshell diet pill spokesmodel, a Caucasian rasta sculptor, a sadist accountant, a masochist corporate watchdog, a half-British software designer/​fine artist/​sex machine, an imprisoned white collar criminal, a natty nonfiction book editor, and other assorted Village people (including a palm-reading waitress and a Jew for Jesus). The showcase sex scene is extremely hot, I must say. I started sweating when writing it.
The long road to submission, however, is not at its end. Once I finish the first draft (I'd be a lot closer to doing so if I stopped procrastinating here and got to work), I have six weeks of editing before I send in the manuscript to my lovely and talented editor, Carrie Feron, at Avon Trade.
After that, it's straight to work on my teen novel, Fringe Girl Takes Over the World, Only to Watch It Crumble At Her Feet (working title).
Okay, procrastination over. Time to buckle down.

January 8, 2005

My father, Howie, has a birthday on Monday. He'll be, uh, let me do the math here...2005 minus 1938 equals...Jesus Christ, that's 67. He's older than I thought. So this old man, Howie, is a retired nephrologist (kidneys, BTW), who just completed his course work at Dartmouth's geology grad school (I suggested to him that his Masters thesis should prove that if you drilled into the center of the earth, you'll find chocolate pudding).

Last week, the old man made me quite proud by going to an orientation to become a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders, the organization that sends docs and nurses to the third world to innoculate and immunize the least fortunate citizens on the planet. But Howie might not be shipped off to Algeria anytime soon, though. DWB requires a six month commitment, and they also expect volunteers to be fluent in a foreign language, preferably French. Now, Dad had a few years of college French--forty five years ago. He is a brilliant man, an MD, geologist, navigator, astronomer, botanist, etc., but he ain't much of a linguist. He's going to take a crash course in French this summer, anyway.

Bon chance, Howie! Here's to your eternal pursuit of knowledge, unceasing curiosity and keen instinct for adventure. And another year wiser.

January 6, 2005

Our spot in the top slot was short term, I'm sorry to say. But we're still selling in the three digits at Amazon, well, since Shannon did the Opie and Andy radio show, hordes of their fans are posting very strange reviews about the Petersons (Scott, Lacy and Connor) and Tony Danza, for some unknown reason. I'm assuming that Opie and Andy are not bestest buddies with Tony Danza. Then again, who is?

Today, I planned to write ten pages of The Good Witch, clean out the old toys in Lucy's room, and re-read Little House on the Prairie so Maggie and I could talk about it (mini mother/​daughter bookclub). Instead, I got home from drop off at school, crawled back in bed with Steve, and didn't get out until nearly 2:00 PM. At some point, I had a dream about a landslide mega tsunami destroying the entire east coast of the United States (that's what I get for watching the Discovery Channel). The upshot is: I am a lazy shit, and might as well beat myself with a stick. Tomorrow, I swear, I'll do everything I was going to do today, PLUS go running! Watch this space for confirmation.

January 2, 2005

I have to write quickly because, in one hour, the news might change. People, for the first time in my twelve book history, I've got a number one title. The Best You'll Ever Have is on fire. As of 1:27 PM, we are the top seller at in the following two categories:
1. Women's sexual behavior.
2. Sex instructional guides for women.
In "man/​woman relationships," a huge category of some 700+ books, The Best You'll Ever Have is ranked number 2, second only to He's Just Not That Into You.
Oh, Happy Day!
And a Happy New Year!

For Your Amusement

Four women who'd otherwise have nothing to do with each other, join for a bogus 'Diversity Committee" school meeting, and wind up playing poker. Instead of playing for money, they play for secrets. Before long, these four women know EVERYTHING about each other's lives, and strong—not always smooth—friendships are formed. "Instantly addicting," RT Book Reviews. "Engrossing!"—Publishers Weekly. "Friggin' awesome!"—Snooki (she does say that a lot Not about this book, but WHATEVER)
Book #4 in the Fringe Girl series
Book #3 in the Fringe Girl series
Adora Benet is back. In the second of the series, true love doesn't runs smooth for Dora and Noel. Hurdles: a seductive substitute teacher, jealousy, a hot college boy.
A bride, a groom, her mother, and his father. Sex, kidnapping, wedding cake and a cabana with a towel warmer. Who could ask for anything more?
Adora Benet is on the fringe until she leads a revolution that turns her school's social hierarchy upside down.
Emma Hutch has the sexth sense. She sees naked people. Not that she minds...
"Wickedly entertaining."—People "Draws laughs."—EW First chapter, reviews, reading group questions
Three sisters, as many romantic plights
Stacy has a week to get laid or she becomes a virgin again. CAN SHE DO IT?
Smart sister, pretty sister, a murder mystery, a few hot guys, lots of caffeinated humor, and recipes
NEW!! CLICK FOR READERS GROUP GUIDE (Subversive Version) and AUTHOR Q&A Chronicle of my efforts to "get the hate out." Warning: If you love snobby neighbors, NYT bestselling debut novelists, loud cell phone talkers, social butterflies, scary doctors, bratty kids on airplanes, this memoir will OFFEND YOU with its OBNOXIOUS DENUNCIATIONS AND CONSTANT CURSING. Don't say I didn't warn you. "Refreshing! Entertaining! Funny! Warm!"—PW "Hilarious! Helpful, hard-won insight!"—Kirkus
The story of my life as a diet addict, and how I eventually overcame my compulsion to count carbs. People magazine: "Funny! Satisfying!" Kirkus: "Witty! Candid!"
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