Valerie Frankel's
Palace of Love

This really happened!

This also really happened!

Stacy London in my room

Coming in January

Brit edition of "I Take"

Brit edition of Hex

Taiwan edition of Girlfriend Curse

Satellite Sisters name "I Take This Man" as summer '07 beach read!

Wow.

8/07-8/06

August 30, 2007
Hello, there, peops. A quick post, because everything has to be fast when I am alone with the kids, with no other adult help. Yes, once again, my husband has left me. Steve is gone, gone, gone. Until Monday night. When he returns from Lakeville, CT. He's been doing the Labor Day gig at the same place since I've known him, probably longer than that. We have never spent a Labor Day together. I mean, I've thought about driving the two hours to see him preform, but we'd have no where to stay, he wouldn't get the bonding time with the husband and wife director/​producer team that puts on this show. He goes off to gambol on stage in the country. I am in Brooklyn with two bored kids. Anyway, if you're in the Lakeville area, go see Steve as the Lord Chancery in Iolanthe this weekend. In case you didn't know, Iolanthe ROCKS! (It doesn't really. But I can pretend...)

We saw Wicked for the first time last week, at the famous Gershwin Theater on 51st Street. Maggie's birthday present from me. She is now twelve. I have a seventh grade child. Freaky. We all loved the show. I identified so intensely with Elpheba, that when she sang her song about saying fuck this and fuck you to all the people who'd misunderstood her and put her down for her whole fucking life, I cried. (Naturally, in a family musical, she used better language). The song is called "Defying Gravity." I'm told it's more popular than Popular.


August 23, 2007
It's a damn dirty shame that I haven't blogged in WEEKS, peops! Truly, I suck. What have I been doing, you might ask, instead of posting for the public good? I've been driving all over New England, in an eight year old Volvo with a broken cup holder. Vacation is now over (and it was a load of fun; thanks to the Frankels, Wegs and Quints for opening your homes to a bunch of lazy, hungry but well dressed guests from Brooklyn). It's time to put my nose up-close-and-personal against the grindstone. I've got revises to do, novels to outline and let's not forget about Fringe Girl #4, aka Fringe Benefits, to write.

In work news, my memoir, formerly known as Thinner and Figure Eight, is in need of another title. I am batting a thousand re: titles that are not quite right. So, ideas, peops, I'm begging here. In far sunnier memoir news, my beautiful and brilliant editor at St. Martin's, Jennifer Enderlin, has read the draft and admired my hard work. She used the word "love" no less than SIX times in her email. Revisions will be needed, of course. I mustered my courage to look at her memo, and the notes are few, reasonable, wise and not too hard. Yea! My first memoir, and it's on track. Still no idea about pub date. You, my five blog readers, will be the first (five) to know.

My blog attendance had been hefty this month, despite the scant posts. Is this the power of NPR, still? Wow. Imagine what would happen if went on Fresh Air to talk about the memoir. Must put that on my Impossible Dream List. Thanks for stopping by, visitors. I'm going to assume that you, like us, are also lazy, hungry and well dressed. Damn glad to have ya!

We'll be headed back to Brooklyn's Floating Pool tomorrow, so Maggie, just back from camp, can see what all the fush is about. Lucy and I just love the pool. Who wouldn't? It's an Olympic sized pool on a barge in the East River, skyscraper views all around. Ahhh. Makes summer in the city just a little bit wetter.

I read The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud. Very good novel. Highly recommended. I watched High School Musical 2, and I'm sorry to report that there is no way that Zac Efron is a straight person. The kids insist he is NOT gay, but I refuse to believe it. The movie, alas, didn't have the same magic as the first. The kids loved it, but they're so easy. The Simpsons Movie: Seen it twice. Lucy can quote it, at length. For any fan, a highly satisfying experience.

School starts in two weeks. Before then, I must clean out both girl's closets, do back to school shopping, finish an outline for a new novel, finish sample chapters for said novel, and do the revises on the memoir. I'm kind of scared, just thinking about it. But I will press on, and hope for the best. I didn't do a lick of work on my vacation, and now I will suffer (SUFFER!) mightily. Oh, well. It was worth it.





August 8, 2008



I notice my blog hits have skyrocketed since yesterday, which I can only attribute to the NPR link. Sarah Handel, a Talk of the Nation producer, blogged about my Shallow Val article in Self. Thank you, Sarah, and welcome NPR peops! Do not be afraid of the cursing and general jocularity here. It's OKAY not to talk about Iraq and George Bush for a few minutes at a time. My regular five blog readers can click on the link above to read what was said about my shallowness. NJ shrink Lynn Schlesinger is thoroughly enjoying her starring role in the article, or so Mom tells me. Live it up, Lynn! Get your thrills while you're still young(ish)!

Some news:
1. There was a tornado in the Brooklyn nabe Bay Ridge this morning! First on record. And flooding in Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. Staten Island might've sunk (for all I know).

2. My Sex Diet article was accepted by my Self editor. She wants some official, accredited sources to comment on the orgasm diet. Like I would make this shit up? The orgasm diet is hardcore science, people! No snickering in the back row.

3. I've had an eclectic summer reading list. Potter, natch. Also Valerie Stiver's "Blood is the New Black," Alafair Burke's "Dead Connection," Lionel Shriver's "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Larry Doyle's "I Love You, Betty Cooper," Eleanor Herman's "Sex with the Queen," John Twelve Hawk's "The Traveller" and "Dark River," and a few others that don't deserve mentioning. All great, for completely different reasons. I recommend 'em all. Especially "Kevin" and the John Twelve Hawks series.

4. America Fringe will hit bookstores in January. Fringe Benefits (#4; yet to be written) will follow in September. Hopefully, 2008 will be Fringe Girl's breakout year.

5. Lucy and I saw Ratatouille, and LOVED. We also saw No Reservations—cooking movie theme week—which we only liked. Go to the rat movie. It's adorable, funny, clever, and hits you in the sweet spot.


August 1, 2007


Bloody hell, it's been a long time since I updated the blog. Summer will make anyone a lazy sod, and I'm no exception. A few bits of news:

1. The body image memoir is DONE. I've sent it to my editor and agent, and await their reactions. The working title is Figure Eight. I have to write a brilliant subtitle to go with it along the lines of: One woman's eternal quest to fit into the size of her dreams. Size matters, or does it? Etc. Any suggestions, peops? Michele? Figure Eight might not turn out to be the title. I have 60 other (really lame) ideas. I hope this one flies.

2. Sex Diets for Self is also DONE. Haven't heard whether it's been accepted, but I have confidence that it will be.

3. My Shallow Val piece is out now, in Self. I was scheduled to do a radio show, The Radio Ritas, to support it yesterday morning. At 7:45 AM. I completely forgot about it, and didn't set the alarm. The producer called, woke me out of a sound sleep, and said, "We go live in 30 seconds." I ran to the bathroom, and hoped I'd finish peeing before I was patched on. Didn't want the sound of my tickling to be broadcast all over the country. I finished and flushed about five seconds before the interview started. Whew.

4. I begin work on a new novel today. Or, I should say, resume work on a novel in progress. I've decided to cut the last 20 pages, and start the chapter over. Hate to do it, but if it's not flowing, it's not working.

5. Lucy is back in Brooklyn with us. She has two weeks of local day camp, and then we go BACK to Vermont to get Maggie, and BACK to Maine for a week of state-trotting at various relative's houses. It'll be fun, exhausting and necessary. I'm already casting my eyes to the future, a few weeks from now, when the whole family will be together again in Brooklyn, getting ready for the new school year to begin.

6. I've read Potter. Thumbs way up. A completely satisfying conclusion to a much beloved series of stories. I cried, natch.

7. Simpsons Movie. A must see. Even if you don't follow the series (who the hell are you?), go see the flick. I also loved Hairspray. Top tapping fun for the whole fam. That John Travolta guy, he's gonna be a star!


July 13, 2007
The organic vs. conventional kids' taste test vid is up on spring.com. It's pretty funny. The kids are all so freaking photogenic!

Well, Steve and I decided to walk across the Bridge and have dinner in the Seaport yesterday, like a couple o' tourists. We checked out the TKTS booth, made the spontaneous decision to buy tickets for Curtains, the musical comedy starring David Hyde Pierce. We had a quick and excellent dinner at a seafood hole in the wall (god, I love soft shell crabs), and subwayed to Times Square for the show. I give it a thumbs up! Very fun, entertaining, lots of cheap jokes about tits, balls and shit. Just my kind of thing. We subwayed home later and were very proud of ourselves for having taken advantage of living in New York, which we don't do nearly enough. Steve, incidentally, is going to the Met tonight to see the first of four parts of Wagner's The Ring cycle. I am not crying in my ice coffee about missing it.

July 12, 2007


Can't believe it's been nine days since my last post. Steve and I have been to Maine and back for Arlo's wedding (very fun, as Quint weddings always are). I've been editing the memoir. Halfway done, and, I have to say, it's looking tight (whew). We've been eating out every night. And I've dragged Steve to the gym with me. He sweat like a pig! So did I, of course. I am a copious sweater. Someone once told me that's a sign of being in good shape. Riii-ght.

I've noticed my blog readership is down this month. What? My five readers are off having summer fun, and not glued to their computers to read my scant entries? How DARE they! Just kidding, Mom and Dad! Go ahead, drag out the canoe. Go paddle. I'll just sit here and type...

The girls are sending notes home from camp about twice a week. They seem great. I continue to be a horrible mother about not missing them at all. Steve and I continue to parade around naked. We both got hair cuts. I'm telling you, BIG excitement around here.

July 3, 2007

I do know Jack

I heart the UK. I've always hearted the UK for punk rock, Jane Austen and Hugh Grant. I've just learned (wiping stray tear) that, apparently, the UK loves me back. Little Black Dress, my English publisher for Hex and I Take This Man, has decided to buy the rights to four of my backlist titles as well! I've sold rights before to a couple dozen foreign countries, one book here, one book there. England, Taiwan and Brazil, however, have snatched up reprint rights like loose diamonds. Now, if someone can figure out what these three peoples have in common BESIDES a deep and throbbing love for my novels, please let me know.

The children have written to us from camp, as we demanded. For those keeping a tally (Steve and me), Lucy has scratched out four notes. Maggie only two. But the summer is young! We've been going out to dinner every night. Parading around naked. Our neighbors must be grimy accepting of it. We haven't heard the screams for two nights now. The cats seem relaxed without the kids around. A few people warned that I'd be bored or lonely and miss the girls. I must be a defective mother or something, because I'm digging the freedom. A lot. A whole lot.

The wise women at Good Housekeeping have read my article on The Secret, and found it fit for publication in their fine magazine. Hurray! It's always a special satisfaction when I get the seal of approval from a new mag. And, in this case, it's the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, which, correct me if I'm wrong, actually exists.

I haven't started my memoir revise yet. I was supposed to be three chapters done by today. I haven't read the early chapters in many months, so I might be procrastinating out of rank fear. Just one more fear to face. And I will. Tomorrow.




June 28, 2007

Deep regret and sorrow for ignoring my blog for nearly two weeks. Sorry Judy McGuire! She, of the fabulous new book out, available for pre-order at amazon.com!

San Francisco was awesome. We cable carred, scooter carred, rented a Mustang convertible and car carred. We went to Alcatraz and bought "real inmate" tin cups as souvenirs. We glutted ourselves on chowder and clams. The kids were perfection, even on the long flights. I loved every second of our trip, especially shopping like a drunk housewife in Chinatown. For Father's Day, I bought Steve a lacquer box, dragon and phoenix on the outside, pictures of Chinese couples doing nasty, nasty things on the inside. Heh, heh.

Since our return, I've taken the kids to camp in Vermont. Maggie is an old pro at sleepaway. This is Lucy's first year. I was nervous for her, but she seemed okay. She took to her counselor and tent mates. It's only three and a half weeks until we see them again. When I got home last night, Steve and I immediately went to Pete's and had a few rounds. When we got home, we did it with all the doors wide open. And then walked around the apartment naked! Yes, children, this is what happens when you go away to camp. Nude middle aged people in the kitchen having a snack.

Body image memoir first draft: DONE. Article on The Secret for Good Housekeeping: Almost done. Article on sex food for Self: Nowhere near done.

I want to thank with all my loins the fabulous Satellite Sisters for having me on their radio show today, and choosing "I Take This Man" as one of their summer beach bag books. We had a swell time on the radio, chatting about sex, New Jersey, maternal rage, sex, nudity, and a little more about sex. Click on the photo link above to go to their fun website!

Heather Graham interview in the Toronto Globe and Mail today. She mentioned The Accidental Virgin again. Fingers still crossed, have been for FOUR YEARS ALREADY. As always, I remain cynically optimistic.


June 8, 2007



I wish I'd used the power of The Secret to manifest more posts last week. Sorry! The end of the school year brings with it a rash of parent-participation/​attendance projects, plays, concerts. No excuse. Just explanation.

I have two new magazine assignments. Both are pretty fun. Good Housekeeping wants me to access the Law of Attraction, to Ask, Believe, Receive, via The Secret and to keep a record of whether this (ahem) BULLSHIT works. Oopps. I have to maintain a positive attitute! It will work! It already has! I was joking when I said bullshit! Anyhoo, I'm trying to manifest a good table at Nobu. So if anyone cares to invite me to dinner, I'm wide open.

My other piece is to stick to the "orgasm diet" for Self. No, it's not oysters and Spanish fly. This is serious science, people! So far, I'm taking a lot of fish oil supplements, and soaking up free radicals with dark chocolate and blueberries. Can't say the diet is turning me into a sex machine yet. But it's only been three days.

The first draft of the memoir is very nearly done. One chapter to go, and a short epilogue. WHEW! I'll have six weeks to edit it and then I'll submit on time (knocking wood) in August.


June 1, 2007


Well, it's finally happened. I prayed long and hard that it would, and now it has. I'll have to come up with a new wild, crazy fantasy now, to replace the old one, that actually happened last night.

I met Amy Sedaris.

Yes, it's true. I was at the Grand Central Books BEA party last night (thanks again to Daryl Chen for letting me tag along). Amy ("Strangers with Candy," "I Like You") was an expected guest, and my eyes were peeled like grapes searching for her in the crowd. Daryl said, "Amy Sedaris, right next to you." I turned. There she was in a gold dress and three inch heeled white patent pumps (which brought her up to about 5'2"). I squealed, put my hand on her shoulder and said, "I'm your biggest fan!" She looked a bit frightened. I babbled on about how we once played phone tag when I was trying to interview her for a Redbook article. I snapped a picture with her and Joshilyn Jackson (who I was also pleased to meet), but it was crap! My cell phone camera SUCKS! Anyway, Amy saw her chance to flee the rabid drooling fan, and disappeared into the crowd. What a thrill, to ramble at and terrify a woman I so deeply admire! Ahhh, heaven.

But the fantasy did NOT end there. Suddenly, the crowd parted like the Red Sea when STEPHEN COLBERT showed up. Colbert, whose "Colbert Report" I love, was also a co-star on "Strangers With Candy." I pushed my way through an adoring circle of fans around Colbert, stuck out my hand and said, "I love your show! You do great work! Thank you!" He shook, smiled brightly, seemed to be soaking up the love, and thanked me for thanking him. I thought after that I could have told him I recently caught his guest star stint on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," but I forgot in my star-struck haze. Daryl, meanwhile, had a FIVE MINUTE conversation with him (he's very young and handsome in person, BTW, with a bit of a scruff). She floated back to me afterwards, a goofy smile on her lips. Ahhh, heaven.

BUT THAT IS NOT ALL! Later on, I was innocently stalking Amy Sedaris, and I noticed that the incredibly handsome man at her side was none other than Paul Dinello, yet another star of "Strangers with Candy." I zipped over, offered my hand to him, spewed about being HIS biggest fan, and then got a photo with him and novelist Caprice Crane (Caprice: Send me the photo! I'll post.)

Whew. My head was spinning clean off my neck at this point. But the celeb encounters just kept rolling along. Chris "Hellbound" Hitchens was leaning against the bar. I went over, told him I always enjoy him on Bill Maher and congratulated him on his recent bestseller "God Is Not Great." He gave me a genuine smile and thanked my tits for the kind words (my tits are God given, Hitchens. Maybe God is just a little bit great???)

I also had a Janet Evanovich encounter. We shook hands. I babbled again. Wish I could say she greeted her fans as warmly as Colbert, Dinello, Sedaris and Hitchens. I will say she looked good, and was patient.

The party was full of fun civilian encounters, too. My wonderful agent Nancy Yost was there! It's always great to see her, and she looked snappy as ever with her platinum hair. We ran into Kristen Mulvihill, photo editor at Self. Last time I saw her, I was naked! Kyle "Love Monkey" Smith was nonplussed by the celebs all around. He told me that he is finally engaged to his girlfriend of four years. Congrats, Kyle and Sara! I met Bill Hoffman of the Post's Page Six. We had a nice long chat. I really liked him; he's a total sweetheart. Gossip columnists can be nice! Shocking, but true.

Other author sightings: Brad Meltzer, Nicholas Sparks, Nelson DeMille, Carla Krupp.

Whew. What a night! I am such a giddy freak at these big book parties. It's almost embarrassing.


May 24, 2007

Sorry I've been lax. Very busy . . . gardening. I just love my container garden! My rhododendron is kicking ass. Anyhoo, you might have noticed that Green Day appeared on the finale of American Idol, doing the John Lennon song "Working Class Hero." I was squirming with sheer joy every second of the performance. In fact, as Daryl Chen can attest since she was here, when Seacrest announced Green Day, I jumped up and down clapping and hooting like a contestant on the Price Is Right. Did it seem weird for Green Day to do Idol? A punk band doing a mainstream show? Well, my feeling is that Green Day's integrity is so solid that the band is above judgement. Doing Idol for Darfur, selling a song to the kid movie Surf's Up, it all seems enthusiastic and inclusive. So I'm okay with it. Odd how the cameraperson for AI lingered on some random guy playing rhythm guitar and barely showed a single shot of Mike Dirt.

Wilco's new album, Sky Blue Sky, is a winner. Go forth, and purchase. It's got a heavy Grateful Dead vibe, perfect for your summer barbecues, sunning on the deck, etcs. Not so great for running. My friend Dana said he has a religious experience recently running to Madonna's greatest hits. I might have to give that try.

Re: my reading at B'nai Jesh in Short Hills. The temple ladies loved me! I read three chapters from the memoir-in-progress. The audience of 150 laughed when appropriate, and they seemed completely with me the whole way through. I got to hang with my oldest friend in the world, Liz Brous, who looks incredible and wrote a funny introduction for me. My mom was there, too, with a bunch of her friends. And, I sold almost 30 books after the lunch. A great event! More like that, Supreme Being, please!


May 17, 2007

Hello! I'm not quite over my cold yet. It's incredible that one person can produce so much mucus. A heartfelt shout out and thank you goes to Laura Lippman, whose novel No Good Deeds helped me through the worst of my cold. Praise Gawd my amazon order came in when it did. Otherwise, I'd have to have grit my teeth and read Jonatham Lethem's You Don't Love Me Yet. I love the rock and roll music, as my five blog readers are well aware. But I have yet to read a rock and roll novel that didn't seem phony and pretentious.

Bad cold = ghastly cold SORE. Yes, astoundingly predictable, and yet, time and again, I fail to take preventative measures. As my cold winds down, the viral flower has appeared on my upper lip. And only five days before I speak to a crowd of some 150 women at a charity event at the Short Hills B'nai Jesh temple on May 22nd. I haven't written a piece about my twenty-year battle with cold sores yet. But perhaps that would make an apt addition to my 25-minute talk. Anyway, if you're in Short Hills, NJ, are a lady, have some money to put down for a table, and promise not to stare at my cold sore, please come hear me read excerpts from the upcoming memoir.

I still have no clothes. Day before yesterday, I cursed Stacy London's name in my dark closet when I couldn't find a not-too-ratty t-shirt and pair of stained jean shorts to walk Lucy to school. My not-too-ratty clothes no longer exist. They have moved on. And I am forced to wear a blouse and skirt (!) to schlep my kids around the nabe. The girls and I went to a local boutique and BanaRepu yesterday, and I bought some hot new items. Inky jeans, a skirt, a great dress (come see me wear it at the B'nai Jesh event), a summer weight sweater, a blouse, a pair of wader shorts. All cuts and colors matched Stacy's specs. I desperately need tops, so I'm off to the city today to go to Anthropologie and J.Crew on Fifth Ave, conveniently located right next door to each other.



May 15, 2007



A few announcements:

1. I'm sick. I have had a terrible cold since Mother's Day Eve. It's been two days, and I can finally lift my head high enough to write. So expect little! Avoid dissappointment!


2. Stacy London came, she saw, she trashed. About 20 percent of my wardrobe remains. She showed no mercy, and I might have been upset, if she weren't so freaking funny ("This sweater would look better on Peyton Manning." "You wore this dress when you were pregnant? That's sweet. But you're not pregnant anymore.") What amazed me was Stacy's photographic fashion memory. She would pick up a hanger and say, "I remember you wearing this skirt at Mademoiselle." Like, ten years ago. (Let's just forget for a second that I still have—had—clothes in my closet that were ugly ten years ago.) One dress I wore to a mutual friend's wedding, I distinctly remember her complimenting. But it was thrown into the reject pile. I said, "You liked it at the time!" She said, "I lied." Once the trashing was over, Stacy gave a list of things to buy, their cut and color and where to shop. It reminded me of Mark Bittman's story in the Times last week about what pots, pans and knives you need to stock a kitchen. Well, I've given myself permission to spend $2000 to restock my closet. Anthropologie, here I come!

3. Wilco's new album, Sky Blue Sky, is out today. I downloaded this morning, but haven't listened yet. So far, all rave reviews.

That's all I can muster now. Must go lie down.



May 8, 2007



Greetings! Two quick items:

1. My video on Sprig.com with the girls is up today. Photo and link above. Sprig.com is the new website for urban green people, created by my pal, Jeanie Pyun. Do have a look at the site. It's pretty great!



May 4, 2007

More Clinton coverage. Click on photo to go to The Brooklyn Paper story. I'm quoted, as are my two downstairs neighbors

Third and final cover. You like?

May 3, 2007



Hello, there! Yes, I AM talking to you, my five blog readers. I've been a container gardening fool for the last week. Growing stuff in a pot is FUN, yeah.

In happy fiction news, I've started a new adult novel! Twenty five pages in. I'm getting the "yes" feeling.

In exciting news, re: the memoir: One week from tonight, Stacy London, the host of What Not to Wear on TLC, is coming over to trash my wardrobe. She and I worked at Mademoiselle together way before she became a TV star. Just shows what kind of a person Stacy is, how she hasn't forgotten her old friends now that she's famous. I expect she'll make me throw away every item of clothing that is (1) from Old Navy, (2) was acquired before 2000, and (3) no longer fits. If so, my closet will be completely bare when she's done. I'll have to walk around in my underwear—which is, actually, all very nice.



April 26, 2007



This photo requires just a bit of explanation. Yes, this is the former leader of the free world with an arm around each of my daughter's shoulders. How did I come to have this photo, you might be wondering?

OH MY GOD! I GOT A PHOTO OF MY KIDS WITH BILL CLINTON!

Sorry about that. I'm still shaking. Okay, it went down like this: Lucy and I were walking home from karate class, and each stoop on the block was packed with people. Not normal for a Thursday night, to be sure. I asked my neighbor what was up, and he said Bill Clinton was coming to my block to speak at a Irish Democrats fundraiser at the home of a famous Irish actor who is my across the street neighbor. Now, a lot of movies are filmed on my hood. A bunch of stars live in the area (my kids' babysitter, just yesterday, had a long chat on the street about dogs with Orlando Bloom). I see the Usual Suspect damn near every day. But THIS was big news. Bill Clinton. Zowie. I ran upstairs, got the camera, and we waited. He arrived in a motorcade of two black SUVs (one a hybrid, one a fucking tank) with about half a dozen secret service people. He waved once on the way in, but was too quick for me to get a shot. He promised to pose for photos when he came back out later. His aide took paper from the crowd, and brought back autographs which he distributed to the kids (Maggie and Lucy each got one). Then, the girls and I, and about twenty of my blockmates, waited in the cold for another chance to snap. And hour and a half later, he finally came out, and Maggie asked, "Can we take a picture?" He (he being BILL FUCKING CLINTON), said, "Sure, really quick." I snapped. I asked, "Who do you like in '08?" And he laughed.

BILL CLINTON LAUGHED AT MY JOKE! I AM DEAD, AND IN HEAVEN RIGHT NOW.

He ducked into the hybrid and was gone. A professional photog came up to me after and showed me his shot of BC and my girls. It's ever better than the one above. The photog is sending it to me on Monday. WHEWWWW! What a completely FANTASTIC unexpected surprise for a Thursday night in Brooklyn. The outgoing party guests said he gave an incredible speech, meanwhile. He told the party that we need change. AND HOW.

Clinton coverage in the Brooklyn Eagle
April 25, 2007

I just read in the Post today that brownstone Brooklyn has the highest concentration of bloggers in the entire country! Can you believe? I'm sure most of my neighbors manage to post more often than I have lately. SO sorry, peops! After this week-of-many-lunches, things will settle down and I'll be better.

Much to report.

1. The In The Flesh Reading with spankmistress Rachel Kramer Bussel was a blast! I loved it. Doug and his peops came, as did Judy and her friend Heather. THEY said I killed, and I'm happy to take their word for it. Thanks, Rachel! Once again, I curtsy to you for your generous support of other writers. You are a wonderful spirit, and a great writer. Keep an eye out for Rachel's two new books, "Woman on Top" and "Man on Top." Link to her website below.

2. The Much Ado About Books Fair in Jacksonville, Florida. It happened. I met many famous writers who were also decent human beings. I bummed cigarettes from dashing preppy gentlemanly Lee Child. I sat next to Luanne Rice on the bus and talked about Brooklyn and cats. I spent a half-an-hour in the airport chatting with Sandra Brown, a perky bundle of southern-fried sweetness. I praised the New Yorker with Joseph Finder, whose brother is the editorial director at that mag. I had a "We are Proud, We Are Jews!" bonding moment with Brad Meltzer. It was certainly a thrill to be near such huge, towers of books that, by the end of the day, were all signed and sold. Their books. Not mine. I moved about 40 copies. A good day for me. I was, as always, just glad to be there!

3. My dear friend Jeanie Pyun's new website, sprig.com, for the sassy, sophisticated green person, is finally up. It's fun, friendly, beautiful, must like Jeanie herself. PLEASE check it out. After only one day, sprig.com has 100,000 subscribers! Huffingtonpost, watch your back.

4. I'm doing a cross promotion with booksonboard.com, the primo destination for ebooks. Link below.

5. Last night, I finally picked up the phone to vote for American Idol. Actually, the girls and I voted five times each for our three choices. Maggie: Jordan. Lucy: LaKiesha. Me: Melinda. Sorry, boys. This season, you're just not worthy.



April 18, 2007

To Amazon! Away!

A few things...

1. Please come to the reading tonight at the Happy Endings Lounge. It's True Sex Confessions night, part of the In The Flesh reading series, presented by spankmistress Rachel Kramer Bussel. I'm leading off after intermission, so if you get there by 9, you won't miss it, and I'm sure so many of you are just burning to hear me do my 8 to 10 minute on my red hot sex life with Steve. Well? Ain't'cha? Event link below.

2. Friends in Florida! Your attention, please. I am appearing—this afternoon, at the Verizon wireless store (more on that late)—but ALSO in Jacksonville, Florida, at the Much Ado About Books Fair. This weekend! Come say hi. I'm going alone. Will have to Meet New People, which, my five blog readers are well aware, is not one of my favorite things to do. So anyone in the area must come relieve me from my stranger anxiety! Link below.

3. An ten point path from buying a self-cleaning litter box to crying in the Verizon wireless store.
* Self-cleaning litter box is so fantastic, I often forget to replenish fresh litter.
* Ollie likes litter in box. He's like a kid in a sand pit.
* In absence of adequate litter, Ollie finds other places to pee.
* On Maggie's school backpack, say.
* She notices yellow puddle on her bag, and empties it out, hurrying because, as usual, she's late for school.
* I immediately throw soiled backpack into the washing machine.
* While I'm at the gym, Steve washes backpack.
* I pick up Maggie at school many hours later, and she says, "Did you remember to take my cell phone out of the pocket before you washed my backpack?"
* Rush home. Find waterlogged cell phone in clean pocket.
* Curse everyone involved in this debacle, mainly Ollie.
* Go to Verizon wireless and learn that if phone needs to be replaced before two years have gone by, one must spend twice the "promotional" price, and pay "full retail." The phone I originally spend $70 on, will cost $150 to replace.
* Cry. But only for a second. Just one bitter tear.

That was yesterday, I have to go back today to get the model Maggie wanted on backorder. I have myself to blame, as much as Maggie, Ollie and Steve (not really him at all, but what the heck?). As I said to Maggie, "Shit happpens. And then you cry one bitter tear and hold a grudge forever." I'm such a good mother.




April 10, 2007

Back to the coldest winter I've ever known: Spring in Brooklyn. It's FREEZING here, like 30 degrees. A bit of a shock after our 85 degree week in Florida.

Some quickies:

1. The first cover try for American Fringe above. You like? I was envisioning an American flag backdrop, a la Patton, with Fringe Girl standing in front. I dig the friendship theme on this cover, though.

2. Alanis' parody of My Humps below. Made me laugh.

3. AUTHOR APPEARANCE ALERT! Usually, I limit my appearances to weekly Fairway trips and mornings at the gym. But next week, I have a bona fide event (not for you, Howie and Judy). It's Lusty Lady columnist Rachel Kramer Bussel's In the Flesh reading series, as always, at the Happy Endings Lounge on Broome Street. I'll be on the line-up next Wednesday, April 18th, on True Sex Confessions night. My selection: The piece I wrote for my Self editor, the lovely and talented Paula Derrow's upcoming essay anthology Behind the Bedroom Door. Starts at 8. Nice group of writers. Should be a howler of a night. What's more: DARYL CHEN WILL BE THERE! Link below.


April Fools Day, 2007

Taiwan cover for The Girlfriend Curse. Cute, right?

I noticed, in the TV ads for the animated penguin movie Surf's Up, the theme song is "Welcome to Paradise," a track from Dookie, the breakthrough 1994 Green Day album. How do we feel about this? Is it selling out? Or is it a nice introduction for this movie's audience (kids far younger than the song itself) to the band's catchy tunes? As far as I'm concerned, the more Green Day out there, the better. I'll probably have to sit through this movie with Lucy, so might as well enjoy something about it.

Off to Florida tomorrow for four days. I probably won't post until I get back. In the meantime, here's another review of I Take This Man (minus the first few graphs of plot summary):

"A comical story, I TAKE THIS MAN is a farce that will have readers laughing at Esther's antics. Penny doesn't seem too concerned about the whole fiasco, and puts on quite a show for the wedding attendees. Although she still claims to love Bram, she consoles herself by shopping while Natasha feeds the 'dog' and Esther torments him. Bram is beginning to feel ashamed of what he did to Penny as he gains weight and writes notes to the wedding guests. Is there a chance that these thwarted lovers will communicate and get back together? Will Bram ever forgive Esther?

Funny dialogue and silly, light-hearted situations make I TAKE THIS MAN a laugh-out-loud story. It is sexy, outrageous, and entertaining. Fans of comedic tales are sure to enjoy this one."—Marilyn Heyman, Romance Reviews Today

Thanks Marilyn! "Laugh-out-loud, sexy, outrageous, entertaining!" I can see the future cover blurb already.

The Library Journal review comes out next week. I hope it's a good one! A recommendation in Library Journal could give ITTM a huge boost.

Sorry to be so one-track lately. But when a book comes out, it becomes the top priority.

Fringe Girl in Love is like the orphaned step-child, with all this ITTM attention. The pub date for FGIL is on Tuesday. Hopefully, some reviews will come in and I'll post them ASAP.

March 30, 2007

Much news:

1. Billie Joe Armstrong Knows Who I Am!
On one of the GCC blog entries, I was asked to supply my desert island discs. My first three were Green Day CDs. Lo and behold, the next day, the entry appeared on a Green Day fan site. IF BJA happens to read his fan sites, and IF he checked in on that particular day, PERHAPS he might have perused the entry, and it is therefore POSSIBLE his eyes swept across the letters that, in the correct order, compose my name. Chills, I swear.

2. Curtis Sittenfeld Also Knows Who I Am.
Daryl Chen, books editor at Glamour and one of my five original blog readers, forwarded me part of an email exchange she had with the author of Prep. I asked Daryl for permission to include in this blog entry. Below, the actual typing of CS:

btw, i was looking at a book the other day in B&N and it was dedicated to YOU! (I Take This Man) very cool! also i noticed another dedicatee was jeanie pyun, who can attest to my days as a desperate freelancer. when she was at mademoiselle in 2001, i would pitch her
an article every 10 minutes. she never took anything, but she was nice.

Well, there you have it. Famous chick-lit basher Curtis S. admits to flipping through pink-covered books at B&N. Wonder what Jennifer Weiner would say to that!

2. TakeMyDress.com
My friend Elisa Zuritsky, former TV writer for Sex and the City and Six Degrees, has created a website to give away her wedding dress. It's a writing contest, peeps, go get cracking. Link below.

3. Jersey Girl Gets Props!
Here's a review form the Bergen Record:

Route 80 West to Heartbreak
By EVELYN SHIH, STAFF WRITER

* I TAKE THIS MAN, by Valerie Frankel, HarperCollins, 304 pages, $13.95.
If you're tired of jokes about spandex-wearing, poofy-haired Jersey Amazons leading somewhat lurid lives, "I Take This Man" may not be the light entertainment you're looking for.
But if you don't mind "What exit?" as a pickup line (from a tall, well-connected Manhattan man, of course), then author Valerie Frankel has dished up an amusing, if inconsequential, romance offering.
Frankel grew up in Short Hills and admits openly that her fictional town of "Short Hares" draws liberally from that locale, down to the Millburn High School, affectionately known as -- ahem -- the Short Hares Institute of Technology. Also featuring prominently is The Mall where characters slap down the plastic for therapeutic shopping -- and where they experience life-changing events.
The premise is simple and silly: Esther Bracket, a rich widow, learns that her prospective son-in-law, Bram Shiraz, has jilted daughter Penny prior to their ridiculously expensive wedding. She loses her cool and conks him on the head with a champagne bottle. She locks him in Penny's old nursery, which becomes an interrogation room complete with a one-way window and intercom.
Meanwhile, the distressed Penny, a fresh-faced 23, has moved back into her mother's mansion and soon begins to suspect something is afoot. Her bridesmaid and best friend, Vita Trivoli, a cartoonish "(basic cable) soap actress" and living Jersey stereotype, tries to help her move beyond the crippling moment of humiliation.
Complicating matters is the budding love affair between Esther and the groom's father, widower Keith Shiraz. Despite their attraction, Esther is determined to keep Bram locked up until he eats all the uneaten wedding banquet food, or somehow exhibits true remorse.
This plot may sound dangerously close to Romantic Comedy 101. But to her credit, former sex advice columnist Frankel manages to work in a discussion of female performance anxiety. She also includes several scenes of frank arousal between her two middle-aged characters, still steamy at 45 and still worrying about birth control. The Q&A section at the back of the book elucidates further on women's sexual issues.
Hey, don't say she never did anything for you.

Thanks, Evelyn! I heart NJ, and I HEART YOU!

My profile in the Star Ledger comes out in a couple of weeks. I'm taking Jersey by storm! Which is the only way to do did, 'cause subtle don't play in NJ.

March 26, 2007

Another five star review, from Romance Junkies:

"I TAKE THIS MAN is an entertaining portrait of relationship hang-ups, vengeance and one missing groom. Valerie Frankel scores again with a humorous story that had me laughing until my sides hurt. Penny and Bram are a misguided couple that need help in finding their true feelings for one another. Keith and Ester search together to find Bram, even when Ester knows where Bram is hidden. The skewed relationships of all the main characters, Penny, Bram, Ester and Keith are so immensely appealing in depth and characterization. I absolutely adored the antics in this story. Frankel wonderfully explores family relationships with incredible insight, humor, and compassion. Readers will find this a zinger of a story that is a pleasure to read."—Michelle (no last name)

Thanks, Michelle. Zinger of a story. That's got a nice ring(er) to it.


I'm under a mountain of work at the moment, and the kids are on spring break. I'll post when I can!

March 21, 2007

First day of spring, I almost cracked my skull by slipping on a sheet of ice. Lucy keeps asking, "When is March going to turn into a lamb?" Perhaps climate change has pushed winter so far ahead (warm December and January; freezing March and April), that we lose half of spring in exchange for an extended fall. I say, shit and double shit to that.

My father reminded me of something Chris Rock said on Bill Maher's show: "Rudy Giuliani is like a pit bull. He'll protect your house from robbers. But if there're no robbers, he might eat your kids." So spot (Spot?) on!

My five blog readers know how shy and bashful I am, especially about trumpeting my positive reviews. Honestly, it takes a lot of gumption to brag. It's so unnatural and unladylike. That said, I simply must share a four-star review for "I Take This Man" from Romantic Times:

"Quite simply, Frankel makes reading a blast. No premise is too outlandish and no character is without a set a flaws. The plot is cleverly kooky and not one many authors could realistically pull off. Frankel has an endless bag of tricks that seems to get deeper—and more hilarious—with every novel."—Lauren Spielberg

Well, Lauren, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You get it. You understand exactly what I'm trying to do with my novels. As I told Daryl Chen last night at dinner (Brooklyn restaurant week is here! Cheap eats at fancy places—like Quercy—until the end of March!), that one review made me happier than any other in years, but sad, too, since "I Take This Man" will be my last kooky, outlandish novel, at least for the time being. I mourn the passing of this phase of my writing life. Daryl asked, "Can't you just be happy about the good review for five whole minutes before you start feeling sad?"

No.

Fortunately, though, the sad feeling is just as short lived as the happy one. My aim, with the memoir-in-progress, is to write compellingly, if not kookily, while upholding my usual tone of cleverness and hilarity—and adding a lot of raw emotion into the stew as well.

Daryl reminded me that it's not like I'm abandoning fiction entirely. I will be putting out a Fringe Girl book every nine months. And I WILL return to adult novels soon. It's just so odd not to be in the midst of writing one NOW. Oh, well. We must change in order to grow.

Spring break next week. Off to Vermont to ski, and then down to Florida to swim.


March 16, 2008



It's getting closer. I've got two books coming out in the next couple of weeks. So far, the advance word on "I Take This Man" has been great. So that's a relief. Fringe Girl in Love got its first review (5 star) on teenreadstoo.com. I'll post the text ASAP, but in the meantime, the reviewer used the words "fantastic" and "entertaining." So there you have it. I'll add that Fringe Girl in Love is more than just fun and fast. It's got HEART! Above, British art for Hex and I Take This Man. Re: Hex, I prefer the British cover. Re: I Take, I like American.

I've been enjoying the Rudy Giuliani campaign on the national news. Most New Yorkers are snickering at the spectacle. It's like watching your lame ex-boyfriend do the cock walk at a party. Like you know the real deal about him, and are waiting for everyone else to figure it out. I predict now: Rudy will NEVER get the Republican nomination. Pre-9/​11, he was feared, mocked and distrusted in his own city. On the fateful day, Rudy got a lot of credit, but for what exactly? Showing up for work? Most people forget that Rudy was out of a job only a few months later, having been replaced in January 2002 by the deservedly beloved Mike Bloomberg. We'll see just how long "America's mayor" can play the leadership card. It's the only one in his deck (besides "I took out the mob"). Not that I'm rooting against the Rudy nomination. Any democrat could beat him.

March 8, 2007

1. Two out of three cats agree: The Littermaid Mega Elite self-cleaning litter box rakes crap. Penny and Ollie love their new digs so much, they play in it like a sandbox. Tulip is characteristically suspicious. A new box is a major life change; Tulip fears change. Penny has been doling out extra grooming to help Tulip through this difficult adjustment. I find that the self-cleaning box needs daily other-cleaning. Clumps gets stuck behind the rake. The sand spills over the top of the waste receptical. The plastic receptical doesn't stay in place. That said, I'd rather dust-bust, snap the plastic tabs back into their slots than scoop myself. Also, no more stink. After three days, I'd give the LME a B+.

2. Mahler at Carnegie Hall. Steve got four free tix from a subscriber friend. We tried to sell the extra two, but it was 10 degrees on Tuesday night and no one was loitering outside the venue. So, Steve gave one of the tickets to a homeless woman, who seemed to enjoy the concert more than I did. Two hours of teeth clattering in the freezing cold vs. two hours of a German orchestra playing Mahler's 5th symphony in C minor? It's a toss up for me. (Steve, if you're reading this, I'm KIDDING. I LOVE classical music! I ADORE Mahler. He's my absolute favorite.) I've been to many concerts and operas with Steve, but he refuses to go to my kind of show (except for the Rolling Stones, but that was a wedding gift and didn't count). I asked, "If Green Day played Central Park or some other big outdoor arena, would you go with me and the kids?" He said, "I'll try to get drunk enough to stand it, yes." So, yeah, I have that to look forward to.

3. Got my first-bound copies of I Take This Man and Fringe Girl In Love. I love BOTH of these covers so very much. Turned in Shared Sex Fantasies to Self. My pseudonymous piece on couples therapy is in the March issue of Self. Check it out. Some good lines and advice.


March 4, 2007

Me, after three miles

Another I Take This Man review, from Publisher's Weekly:

"Veteran chick lit and YA author Frankel (Hex and the Single Girl; Fringe Girl) delivers a kooky romp about a wedding gone very awry. Penny Bracket, a spoiled new-money Jersey girl, hates her $15,000 wedding dress, but loves her fiancé, Bram Shiraz. So when she receives an "I can't go through with it" note from Bram just before she's due to march down the aisle, she's upset. Penny's mother, Esther, couldn't be happier—Bram, she thought, never was right for Penny—but maternal rage takes over, and when she finds him packing his suitcase in his hotel room, she knocks him out with a champagne bottle and whisks his unconscious body to a hidden room in her mansion. While Penny tries to mend her broken heart by shopping with best friend Vita, Bram's father, Keith, gets hot on Esther's tail—er, trail—as he searches for Bram. Esther's attraction to Keith thaws her icy heart for the first time since the long-ago mysterious death of her cheating husband, Russell. Secrets are revealed, heads are cracked, and protection orders are issued as Keith realizes Esther kidnapped his son, and Penny learns the reason Bram left her. A too-swift and confusing climax gives way to a haltingly fluffy ending. Frankel's latest is clumsily over-the-top yet insubstantial."

Fluffy?? Clumsy?? Insubstantial?? Why, I oughta crack some heads at PW! Clearly, the reviewers are humor-challenged, in need of remedial comedy classes. What I would love to know: Who do you have FUCK RAW at PW for a good review? I know editor Sara Nelson. We'd have lunch. We've bonded at parties. I've kissed her ass many, many times. God knows, I would fuck her for a good review, but she won't have me (sigh).

Oh, well. I don't have a good history with PW reviews. My first novel, "Deadline for Murder" published in 1991 when I was 26 was describe as having "all the pizzazz of stale popcorn." It's pretty much been downhill from there at PW. Notice how the anonymous reviewer called me a "veteran"? Not sure how to take that.

I can always use "Kooky romp!" and "Secrets are revealed, heads are cracked!" for blurbs if needed.

Yesterday was an outdoor day (first in forever). Maggie and I jogged a mile together, while Lucy scooted on her Razor alongside. I dropped them back at home and ran another two with the ipod. Then, the whole fam walked over the Brooklyn Bridge (PACKED with tourists), and into the South Street Seaport for lunch and the Bodies exhibit. Bodies was fantastic, a truly remarkable look inside ourselves. Lucy was very excited to hold an actual human brain. She held it up, and said, "To be, or not to be?" which made everyone standing nearby crack up. I was particularly fascinated by the exhibits of the nervous system. The spinal cord and nerves are so fragile, it's incredible any of us get through life without serious impairment. Definitely worth checking out!

March 2, 2007

Littermaid Mega Elite LME9250

March sure did roll around fast this year. Two months into 2007, and I hadn't done a damn thing about my New Year's resolutions. So, I went on a mission to scratch one off the list. I'm happy to report, I am now the proud owner of a self-cleaning cat litter box. I won it on ebay last night, after some fevered bidding, for around half the price of retail. I just know that the Littermaid Mega Elite will change my life! Or, at the very least, that the ionic air cleaner (whatever that is) will make my cat closet smell better. I should arrive in a few days. I'll definitely report back, in clumpy detail, if it's any good.

Question: When we see a dozen "factor sealed, never been opened, not used or refurbished" appliances posted on ebay by the same seller, are we to assume that the products fell off the back of a truck? It's probably best not to think about it. Better to do the happy dance when you win the auction, and get on your scoop-free way.

I also went to Tiffany's online yesterday and bought a bracelet of sterling silver beads and the matching necklace for my niece, Lily. She's turning thirteen in a few days, and will be bat mitzvahed in a few weeks. We're all very proud of her. She deserves to drape herself in shiny silver stuff. And so she shall.

I wish I had more purchases to report. My five blog readers know by now that I break out into hives when I spend large chunks (okay, medium chunks—FINE, small chunks) of money. Big spender days are few and far, far between. I did feel a thrill, winning the litter box. Hope it's big enough for Penny. She's got a wide rear end. For a cat.

February 26, 2007

The first Fringe Girl novel has gone into its second printing! Hurray! I love it when that happens. A little insider tip for those not in the know: Look on the back of the title page of any book. At the bottom, you'll find a sequence of numbers (usually 1,2,3 etc.) If the lowest number you see is 1, then the book is in its first printing. If the lowest number you see is 32, the book is in its 32nd printing. All of my books have gone back to press multiple times, with the one exception of Hex. But Hex is still young. I have hope for it yet!

So, Fringe Girl is keeping the streak alive. I got the news today, only an hour or two after I emailed Fringe Girl 3 to my editor. Talk about a load off. My eye lid is still twitching from the hours (and hours) I spend working this weekend.

I took one break, to see Music and Lyrics By with the kids. Eh. Two and a half stars. Okay to pass the time. I watched the Oscars at my friend Nancy's. She made an apple raspberry crumble that was better than the show. Loved the Al Gore bits. When he was on stage with Leo, it was the first time he didn't seem stiff to me. But, then again, Leo's radiance would make anyone melt a little.

Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, even George H.W. Bush are all excellent examples of the great things one can accomplish post (vice) presidency. We were saying at Nancy's that Al Gore should get a high ranking cabinet post, Secretary of Energy or something like that, when the 2008 administration takes over. But perhaps he's better outside of politics, fighting for his cause and getting people motivated. Melissa Ethridge (God, I adore her, but she looked like a soccer mom in those earrings) was downright inspiring when she said we can be greatest generation if we stop global warming. You tell it, Melissa!

I was happy Jennifer Hudson won. But for the love of BEEP, did she have to thank God ten times? Flaunting one's faith annoys the crap out of me. God, if She exists, does not care who wins the freaking Oscar! The hubris of thanking an all-powerful being for your career advancement is BULLOCKS! If God had anything to do with the Oscars, it was in creating Leonardo d C, who just keeps getting hotter. He is one fine looking hunk of manhood.

February 22, 2007

Peops. I am shocked—shocked!—at how incredibly lame I've been about blogging. Judy ("L-word freak") McGuire busted my bullocks yesterday about posting, which brings me here today. In exciting news, the first review of "I Take This Man" has come in, a month pre-pub, from Coffee Time Romance. The reviewer gave it five (out of five) cups, which means "Ultra Rare Extraordinary Read: Not many books will be rated a 5. This is a book you would like to tell everybody about because you just can’t say enough about it." Hey, they said it, not me. But I agree, of course. Here's the nugget:

"I Take This Man is high-octane enjoyment at its best. It definitely keeps the reader entertained. The antics of Esther are hilariously funny not to mention Bram when he wishes he had a hammer to hammer Esther into next week. I cannot remember when I laughed so much. Penny and Bram are likeable characters and the journey they learn about the other is wonderfully sweet in every way. Esther is a hoot and the plan she has for Bram is remarkably majestic. Valerie Frankel spins a tale that really captivates with non-stop hilarity that is truly awesome and is one lively story that should not be missed. This extraordinary tale brought back so many laughable moments I use to share with my sister and really is the best medicine to bring on the cheers."—Cherokee Sanders for Coffee Time Romance

Thanks much, Cherokee! Link to the website below.

I think ITTM is my best chick lit novel yet. The way things are playing out, it might be my last. A nice swan song. I just hope this one doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of ITTM, the fan who write the book's title, Michele Cagan, is now blogging herself. She's reporting on alternative health and "health news and breakthroughs you can trust" for the Health Science Institute. DEFINITELY worth checking out, peops! Be warned: You might not like what you read, but read you must! Link below.

The kids are back in school after a four day weekend that nearly killed me. Steve and I took them so see Spring Awakenings on Broadway. It was practically the only option at the TKTS booth. I remembered reading in reviews, all glowing, that it was a musical about teenagers in love. Figured, a nice love story about teens. The kids'll dig it. When we got the theater, the usher warned us that the content was mature. I thought, my kids are more mature than most. They've seen Little Miss Sunshine. We curse. They'll be fine.

And they were. Eventually. After songs and scenes about incest, maturbation, physical abuse, S&M and, the climax of the first act, a half-nude graphic deflowering scene, I might never recover. Of course, if it were just me and Steve, the content would have been another day at the salt mine. But I was frantic about the kids seeing it. I covered Lucy's eyes for most of act one. We left at intermission. It was days until I got over the shock and remorse, convinced the girls would be scarred for life. Maggie will probably never forget that sex scene. She assures me she's okay. She seems to be. Anyway, my point: DO NOT GO TO SPRING AWAKENING WITH ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN!!!

Fucking hypocrite that I am, I'm reporting an article for Self about sexual fantasies, and will write some interactive elements into the piece. Should be fun. FYI: Most common male sex fantasy is having multiple partners. For women? Being seduced in a romantic environment. More to come, as it were, later.

Fringe Girl 3, aka American Fringe, is DONE. Yea! I'm sending it to my lovely editor, Anne Bohner, on Monday. Whew. How do you spell relief (F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D)? Next up, I return to the memoir, already in progress, and more magazine stuff.

AND MORE BLOGGING! Surely, I can be cut a little slack for my lapse because of a book deadline? That's something you know all about, Judy McGuire, having blown off your own L-Word rantings to finish your book last month. Despite her deadline, Judy let me drag her to the release party for Candida Royale's new soft-core porn movie. We lasted about five minutes before we left. It's EXTREMELY weird to walk through a gathering of middle-aged pornographers, sweaty cheese platters, and large video screens showing body parts in motion. Ick. Public porn. It's just so wrong.


February 14, 2007

Oh, man, have I been a lazy shit about blogging. So sorry! The sad truth? My life has been very dull. All work and no play. Fringe Girl 3 is due in two weeks; I'm revising the Leslie Bennett story for Self; I'm reporting another piece for Self about sexual fantasies. I interviewed Jane Greer about how to get your man to open up about his fantasies yesterday. She was on her cell phone at her hair salon, explaining loudly how women should grope a man under the table at dinner. Those are the days Jane's stylist loves his job.

It is Valentine's Day. I've been commissioned by the fam to make a homemade baked mac and cheese in the shape of of a heart. I'm going to cheat. Make it in a flat pan, and then cut out hearts. Husband Steve spend an hour yesterday, scouring Brooklyn in search of what I asked for: sugar free, fat free chocolates. He returned with a beautifully wrapped box, full of air. No seriously, he found sugar free truffles, and they are fab. Close enough!

The weather is absolutely disgusting today, and I refuse to leave the house. So there.



February 8, 2007

Read it here first!! I predict that the cause of Anna Nicole Smith's death was an overdose of diet pills. Just wanted to go on record with that. It's 10:47 PM Thursday night.

In other Topic A news (a big week for it): Mariah Carey said in Playboy that her nervous breakdown was brought on, in part, by Howard Stern calling her "fat" on the radio. Under attack from trash media, Tyra Banks is driven to go on TV to defend her God-given right not to starve herself into modelling weight.

How can normal women even begin to accept themselves and all their imperfections when sex symbols and models are killing themselves and having nervous breakdowns because of their own? I mean, SHIT!

I don't fault Mariah, Tyra and Anna for their obsessions. I sympathize! I've certainly got my own—although I've been working on them this year, reporting Self articles on Topic A, and writing the memoir, which is going GREAT, btw.

Just watched "Friends With Money." A lot of excellent performances, especially Catherine Kenner and Frances McDormand. Definitely worth Netflixing.

Again, thanks to all the readers who are sending supportive notes about my naked photo article. The response has been tremendous, and it means an awful lot to me.

I almost bought Casino Royale on DVD at the FULL PRICE today so I could watch the scene of Daniel Craig getting dressed in his gambling tux over and over again. I shook myself out of the daze just in time. I might not be as strong tomorrow...

Last but NEVER LEAST, a hearty "you rock" goes to Daryl Chen, one of the blog's original five readers, who met Zac "High School Musical" Efron at Glamour today, and got autographs for Maggie and Lucy. They are beyond psyched! And chuffed!



January 30, 2007

One of the great things about writing articles for Conde Nast magazines is selling reprint rights all over the world. Italian Glamour has purchased my naked photo story. Look out, friends, Romans, countrymen!

I thank all the blog readers who've sent in their words of encouragement about my southern exposure. Emails from friends continue to flow in, too. No one has accused me of exhibitionism, to my knowledge. Still no word from the 'rents or my sister. But, then again, family members tend to be squeamish about clan nakedness, despite that fact that they've seen me in my all together many times. Although, not in 30 plus years.

So there I was, at Bubby's diner in DUMBO with the fam on Saturday. I headed off to the bathroom for relief. As I rounded the corner, I saw a couple and their three kids—two school age boys and a baby. The baby threw a bottle on the floor, the parents' hands were full, so I gallantly bent down to pick it up. When I handed it to the dad, I realize with pleasant surprise that it was Andy Postman, the novelist, Times op-ed writer, House & Home section contributor. At his side, Alex Postman, exec ed at Elle, formerly my editor at Redbook and (the defunct) Sports for Women. Boy, was I glad I picked up that bottle instead of ignoring it, thereby reinforcing my "not a bitch" reputation.

When their new baby was born, Alex sent a very funny mass email, saying they'd had a girl who probably hated her already. My five blog readers know, I am no fan of other people's mewling, drooling babies. But the Postmans' kid was pretty cute. Smiley and happy. Alex said this baby was the easiest of her three, and that she was savoring the experience. I said to Maggie, "Hmmm. Maybe I should have another baby." And then we both burst out laughing. That. Will. Be. The. Freaking. Day.

Alex and Andy both look great. I always thought Alex was one of the most beautiful civilian women I've ever known, and she still takes my breath away until I can adjust to her glow. Maggie and I asked her all kinds of questions about Nina Garcia of Project Runway, also fashion director at Elle. Alex dished only a bit. She's very discreet. Maybe that's why she's the boss....

Yesterday, lunch at David Burke & Donatella on East 61st Street with the lovely and wise Dr. Jane Greer, marriage counselor to the stars, and Judith Newman, the hugely talented writer who makes everyone else look like a desperate hack. Judith had just returned from California where she interviewed Sandra Oh for Marie Claire. I can tell you now, blog readers, if you care about Grey's Anatomy, you won't want to miss Judith's profile. Keep an eye out for it.

Judith mentioned that, on her online community, The Well, the message boards were burning up about my nude photo shoot article! All of it favorable, says Judith, with one caveat: Apparently, some Well-ers suspected that the pictures were airbrushed or retouched. For the record, they weren't. I humbly submit, not to brag (God for-fucking-bid), I don't have cellulite. Never have. I have lots of body flaws—including a big, flabby belly, intentionally hidden from view in the pix—but cellulite ain't one of them.

File under "greener grass": Would I trade my smooth thighs for cellulite and a tiny waist? You bet your dimpled ass, I would!

January 24, 2007

Reactions to my naked photos and essay in Self have all been positive thus far. Then again, who is going to say, "You've completely, totally embarrassed yourself!" to my face. Hello, that's what mothers are for, and mine hasn't weighed in yet.

My pal Judy McGuire did a cute post about it on her site. Steve covered the news on his, too. Thanks for including me and my nakedness, guys!


January 23, 2007


Happy Birthday, Steve! The husband is creaking along at 53 today. That's right, peops: I married a geezer. I gave him a long speech this morning, about how it's the first day of a whole new year, and he's still young enough to build stamina and muscles, before it's too late, three flights is a lot of stairs when you're 80 unless you have decades of cardio backing you up. Anyway, my guilt worked. He went to the gym with me. And he is now dead asleep on the bed. Aquarians. They need their rest.

For his birthday dinner, I have been marinating a beef chuck roast in red wine, vinegar, cloves and juniper berries for three days (thanks again, Mark Bittman, my favorite minimalist, for the recipe). I will rub the meat with garlic, brown it and then slow roast for three hours. I will also bake Steve's requested brownie cupcakes with vanilla frosting. And then I will serve this fine meal to Steve and his guests, Doug and Turtle. I will fuck Steve later tonight, too.

I am such a freaking wifey today.

My memoir is humming. Michele Cagan sent some good title ideas (thanks again, Michele!). I'm still not a hundred percent on anything. I've decided to stop thinking titles, focus on the writing, and let a brilliant phrase bubble up in my subconscious.

Leslie Bennetts, of Vanity Fair fame, author of the upcoming The Feminine Mistake, was a great interview. We spoke for two hours on the phone, and boy was my ear sweaty. Our Q&A appears in the April isue of Self.

Last, MY NAKED PHOTOS ARE OUT! If you care to see all of me, or, as much of me as you're going to get in a family publication, go to a newsstand and look at page 32 of the February issue of Self. It's blue and orange, Kelly Ripa on the cover.

My first reaction to seeing the story: Yikes. It was one thing to pitch it, another to actually do the shoot, still another to write the piece, yet another to await publication. But nothing could have prepared me for the bowel drop of opening a magazine and seeing myself naked inside it. Steve laughed and said, "That's ballsy." Indeed, this might be one of the boldest things I've ever done. Which, as my five readers know, is saying a lot.

Anyway, if you do see it, please send me reactions. And, for the love of God, I'm begging you to BE NICE!!!

January 17, 2007

rule my world

My birthday happened. Thanks to everyone who remembered! I am 42 now.

A couple of my five blog readers may not know that I edited the horoscope column in Mademoiselle magazine for many years. I know more than the average cynic about astrology. Despite my cynicism, however, I do embrace some starry ideas. For one: I dig the concept of the Saturn Return. Every seven years, the planet Saturn orbits back to where it was, in relation to the Earth, on the day you were born. Hence, the Saturn Return. It's supposed to be a time of intense learning and emotional growth, especially for Capricorn such as myself, who claim task-master Saturn as our ruling planet. When Saturn enters my sign (sounds sexy...), I can expect a period of hard, rewarding work, and a confidence boost. On a Saturn Return year, double the fun. No, triple.

I told Maggie about Saturn Returns, and she (smart girl) quickly divided 42 by seven, and deduced that I was in for a big year. She made me a card with a drawing of our apartment building, the ringed planet hovering directly above like the Sun. She is hotly anticipating her next Saturn Return in three years, when he hits 14.

I'm right back there myself this week, writing the junior high school chapter for Thinner (better title still needed, if anyone—Michele Cagan???—has any ideas, I'm begging you to send my way). I thought it'd be tough to return to Hell, but the words are flowing. I've never written about this period of my life before. I'd avoided it for too long. Feels good to purge, as it were.

My birthday, meanwhile, was quiet, relaxed. I ran 3 miles, found a new furniture store in Dumbo that I made a mental note to troll through later. I wrote five pages (the daily dose). Steve helped Lucy make a fantatsic posterboard about Broadway, complete with a red curtain (a sheet of red wrapping paper), she'll "open" at the start of her presentation. Then Steve took us to Pete's, our regular joint, for dinner. Later on, he gave me a few other birthday treats, if you know what I mean. A good start to my Saturn Return year. Watch this space for news of intense emotional growth.


January 13, 2007

Lucy and I just got back from seeing Dreamgirls. I loved every second of it. And SO DID LUCY! We decided to go as part of her 2nd grade Broadway landmark project, as the next best thing to seeing another live musical. Jennifer Hudson is so powerful. She should be elected president, go to Iraq and sing the insurgents into submission. The big scene, when she sings "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Leaving" made me cry and cry. I have never been to a movie before that inspired the crowd to burst into applause—not once, but three or four times! Anyone who loves R&B must go. Anyone who loves design (set or costume) must go. I'm still blown away. Best movie since Borat. But, you know, different.

January 11, 2007

I'd loved Bruce Campbell on Xena. And then I met and married Steve, who introduced me to the Evil Dead movies, Campbell's hilarious biography, as well as the brilliant cult classic Bubba Ho-Tep (a must Netflix). Anyway, came across this primo Campbell moment on youtube. Love the boats, and the squish leather chair sounds.


January 10, 2007

It's Dad's birthday, peops! If any of my five blog readers care to send him wishes, the link to his blog is below and to the right. I'm talking to you, Bill and Lynn! Don't forget!

While walking home from the gym, small flakes of white matter were blowing around in the air. I had a vague memory of this phenomenon, but it's been so very long since I've seen it. Back in globally cooler days, I believe we called it "snow."

Yes, it snowed in Brooklyn for five minutes today. It was thrilling. A relief, actually. Big white flakes, blowing in the cold wind. I walked a block with a smile. And then I remembered. I hate cold. Especially windy cold. Ah, well. The kid'll be happy.

Okay, GCC time again. Also, FYI professional writers (if any of you read my blog), the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit has had a defection or two. Our waiting list is short, and if you'd like to be put on it, contact Karin Gillespie. Her link is below and to the right.

This week, I'll be hawking the wares of Melissa Senate, a writer I can vouch for as witty, smart, funny and accessible. She's also a supportive friend, someone I root for whole-heartedly. PLUS, we've got the Maine connection. She moved there a few years ago, and I married a Mainer. Her new novel info:

LOVE YOU TO DEATH (January 07, Red Dress Ink)
By Melissa Senate

Abby Foote’s worst exes are on someone’s hit list. Who’s going around shooting men who broke Abby’s heart? And why?

First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way possible) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced. Then two other exes report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? A very hot detective from the Portland Police Department doesn’t think so. Neither do Abby’s friends, family, coworkers and former boyfriends dating back to kindergarten, who are all shaking in their shoes as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of, say, poisoning their Diet Cokes. Is someone trying to frame her? Do her some kind of warped favor? Abby, with that delicious detective on her trail, is about to find out.

“Readers will cheer Abby every step of the way as she tries to clear her name and find her prince for whom the glass slipper will finally fit.” –Publishers Weekly

Melissa Senate is the author of six novels, including her best selling debut, See Jane Date (the cute TV movie version is available on DVD), and one (so far) young adult novel, Theodora Twist. Melissa contributed an essay to the newly published anthology It’s A Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life In Your Twenties and to the forthcoming anthology Everything I Needed To Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume. A former book editor (romance novels, Mary-Kate & Ashley tween novels and Sweet Valley), Melissa now writes full time from her home on the southern coast of Maine, where she lives with her young son and his toys.



January 8, 2007

Steve is a "standout" says the Post

Here are two reviews, both out today. Read how the Times exclaims over Steve's "comic timing." Note the Post describing Mr. Quint as "very moving." He is genius, I'll say for him since he'd never say so himself.
Congrats, Steve! You rock worlds!


January 6, 2007

The kids are still home on winter break. We've been sleeping until ten or eleven every day. It's going to be quite a shock to our systems when we get up at seven again starting Monday. Some recent events:

1. Hairspray A Winner. For her second grade landmarks project, Lucy has chosen Broadway. She's required to make a poster board, research some facts and go to her landmark. So, on Wednesday, we took a walkabout on Broadway, and went to see Hairspray. Diane DeGarmo (AI 3) had a big part it in! That added a lot for me and Maggie. Also, Bobby Bacala from the Sopranos (or the actor who plays him) was seated right behind me. The show got three thumbs up from me and the girls. Highly recommended. Next, we went for dinner at famed Broadway restaurant/​institution Sardi's. Atmosphere: 10. Food: 3. The last time I went to Sardi's was with my parents the night we saw The Producers (around five years ago). I told them that things with Steve were getting serious. That we were in love, and would probably get married one day. They told me about the early days of their romance. My own little Broadway memory.

2. Brooklyn Museum Showcases Many Penises. I took the kids for a day of art and culture. A watercolor exhibit by Walton Ford of wildlife included many animals fornicating and a three foot long elephant penis on a wallsized painting. Lucy claims to be scared for life. We also saw an exhibit by realist sculpture Ron Mueck. More penises, and Lucy insisted I lead her through the show with my hand over her eyes. Maggie was much more mature. The Annie Liebowitz retrospetive was boring. Sorry, but I've seen Demi Moore's baby bump a million times by now. Didn't need to see it again.

3. Mikado Rocks City Center. Maggie plays the Axe Girl, and Steve is Ko-Ko for two shows today at City Center, and all week long. The New York Times reviews is coming tonight, which makes them excited and me nervous. I'll post the Times review—and all others—as they come out.

4. Yeoman of the Guard. Steve stars as the jester Jack Point. I'm taking the kids to see it tomorrow. Another matinee for Steve, coming off a day of two Mikado performances, which are very physically demanding. He'll be exhausted. At the Yeoman last night, he made the chorus girls cry when he dies at the end. I cry quite easily at shows (I cried at Hairspray, for example). So I'm looking forward to turning on the facets.

5. Woman Approaches 42, And Doesn't Shrink in Horror. My birthday is in a week. A Saturn return year. Should be a biggie.

6. Fringe Girl 3 FINISHED! Minus three scenes which I'm writing today. What a relief! On Monday, I begin my memoir for St. Martins.

January 1, 2007

New Year's news:
I took a new year's cruise of my online sales rankings at various websites, and saw, to my surprise, that I have four books in the top 600 at barnesandnoble.com. Before any of my five esteemed readers get as excited as I was, let me explain the mitigating factor. The world's largest book retailer is having an online post-holidays sale. My adult novels are flying off the warehouse shelves for $2 a piece. You could buy six of my books for less than the price of one at the cover price. It's such a bargain (and I can't resist a bargain), I purchased a dozen of my own books, along with a few by other authors. This is a hell of a sale. Paperbacks for $2. Hardcovers for $5. Spend $25, and get free shipping. It's book lovers dream.

Resolutions:

1. Get my car washed.

2. Buy some indoor plants.

3. Purchase a self-cleaning cat litter box.

4. Hire a lawyer for Steve to adopt the kids.

5. Not see the new year as a chance to make myself over (and let myself down), but rather, to be grateful for the continuation of my existence and the opportunity to take care of business and pleasure to the degree I'm able.

December 31, 2006


Happy New Years, peops!

Maggie is my date for the evening. We're going to see Steve perform at Symphony Space, doing a repertoire of Gilbert and Sullivan favorites.

Yeah, I know. Snooze-o-rama. But this is what you have to do when your husband is an actor and you can't unload one of your children on someone else. I remember long ago New Years Eves as drug and alcohol fueled baccanalias. Actually, I don't remember them too well. I do recall the puking and moaning on many a New Years Day.

In any event, it's always a thrill to see Steve on stage. G&S fans just love his elfin, agile antics, and I love it when they give him a standing ovation, which they do, every time. It ain't Wilco. But what is, really?

In work news, I'm doing an article for Self on the upcoming book by journalist Leslie Bennetts called The Feminine Mistake. It's a polemic about the dangers of stay-at-home moms' economic dependency on their husbands. Naturally, I agree with her arguments on the economic and intellectual benefits of being a working mother. I've been enjoying the read, cruising along the pages, and then I came to a passage where Bennetts quoted a New York Times op-ed called "The Silence of the Moms by writer Alison Frankel." That's right, peops! She was referencing my very own sister! Alison was included alongside Anna Quinlin and Maureen Dowd. It was cool. This was almost as fun as reading "She Comes First" by Ian Kerner to research another article, and came across a reference to an old Madmemoiselle article by "author Valerie Frankel." Anyway, I called Alison right away and she was pleased that her piece had been noticed and included.

Fringe Girl 3, aka American Fringe, is nearly completed. I have just a few more scenes to write. And then I start on my memoir for St. Martins. I thought I'd open it up with a rant about how annoying it is to have big boobs. Think that's grabby? Anyone?

Thank you, Mary and Marty Quint, and Howie and Judy Frankel, for entertaining me and mine this holiday season. We had a great time, and appreciate everything you do for us, all year long!

December 19, 2006

My sister told me last night that I haven't updated in over a week. So sorry. I've been (1) sick with a cold, (2) writing Fringe Girl 3, (3) attending to holiday related mishegas, (4) a lazy ingrate who can't take ten minutes to type a few words for my loyal five blog readers.

Truly, I suck. And I beg forgiveness on bended, bloody knee. I can only hope that my five readers will find a fiber of forgiveness in their hearts in this Christly time of year.

The most exciting news I can muster: Sunday (two days ago), I showed Herculean strength by opening my wallet wide enough to pay $275 for a family dinner at famed Brooklyn steak house Peter Luger (a cash only establishment). Ordinarily, it takes all the sinew I have available to pry open the wallet to buy $15 worth of pierogies at Teresa's, the local Ukrainian diner. So you can image the physical feats I displayed to extract $275! Muscles rippling and bulging. Veins and eyeballs popping. When I withdrew the last $20 and slammed it on the table—still gasping for breath, sweat pouring down my reddened forehead—the other customers burst into applause, cheering, whooping and so forth. It was a joyous, touching holiday moment that none of us will soon forget.

We drive to Pittsfield, Maine, on Saturday, crack o' dawn, to visit the girls'step-grandparents. On Xmas, we head south west to Thetford, Vermont, to see their maternal grandparents. Then back to Brooklyn a few days later to receive Florida-based paternal-grandparents. The gifts will flow like Kool-Aid! And be just as artificially colored!

December 11, 2006


Page One:

1. Maggie Rocks Fiddler!
Maggie was the bestest villager ever in the middle school production of Fiddler on the Roof last week. She danced, she sang, she delivered her one line—"An eye for an eye!"—with savage gusto. The crowd (especially me, Lucy and my parents) thought she stole the show.

2. NYU J-School Students Make Sign of Cross and Throw Garlic At Women's Magazine Writer!
I was invited by pal Dave Kushner to speak at his magazine journalism class at NYU. When I started explaining the women's mag biz and the kind of articles I've written and edited, the expressions of the students tranformed from bright-eyed optimism to masks of horror. Granted, students tend to be idealistic. Ninety percent of them probably have NYT dreams of glory, toppling corrupt governments, etc., with their brilliant reportage. And then I showed up, talking about roundups of lip plumpers and road tests of sex toys. I was their version of hell. Dave called the next day and told me that his female students, despite appearances, were energized and appreciative of the reality check and fresh perspective on one avenue of magazine publishing (Dave is too, too kind). The four male students? They'd sooner slit their wrists than pursue my kind of career.

3. A Walk Through Rockefeller Center with Survivor Star Jonathan Penner Causes Near Riot!
Okay, that might be overstating it. Jonathan Penner, besides being the most recent Survivor player voted off the Cook Islands, is also my old friend Stacy Title's husband. The Title/​Penner family (including their two cute kids) came to New York for the obligatory post-Survivor morning show circuit. Lucy and I met them for lunch at the Carnegie Deli on Sunday. We fed the kids and then walked over to see the big Xmas tree. Several people stopped Jonathan for his autograph. Many stared at him with open mouths. It was fun to walk around with him, watch the people react. Now the Title/​Penners will resume their otherwise glamorous life as movie/​TV writers, directors and producers. Great seeing you guys!

4. Husband Steve Goes to Gym, and Lives!
I've been forcing Steve to come to the gym with me three days a week. He fell off the treadmill the first day (classic "spaz goes flying" slapstick), but has recovered nicely and is now accepting of the new way. Plus, we are keeping each other committed. Can't very well skip a day if the other one is counting on you for motivation. It's true, what I've written in a dozen articles: Having a workout buddy really does helps.

5. Brooklyn Family Gets Spirit On!
We bought a tree, some poinsettas, and a few jingle bell mistletoe hanging thingies. Our house now looks like an Xmas bomb went off in our living room. Yes, we are Jews. We will light the menorah, etc. But Steve was, as I've mentioned before, born Catholic. So we tree.

Now, the best for last...

6. Sixth Grader Makes the Honor Roll!
Yes, I speak of my first born child. At the parent teacher conference last Friday, we were all thrilled to learn that Maggie's GPA qualifies her for the honor roll. No one was more surprised than Maggie herself. She beamed. I'm telling you, nothing makes a parent more proud than to see her kid's pride in herself. Steve said, "You're on a roll, kid!" We are very proud of our studious villager! Go, Mag!


December 7, 2006

A million thanks to Daryl Chen for picking up the Ryan Adams tix. How was the show? Peculiar. Like no other professional rock show I've ever seen. It did recall the many times I went to a bar full of drunk idiots to hear a boyfriend's band (most of the drunk idiots, of course, being IN the band).

The night started well. Ryan Adams emerged on stage looking super cute in knee high black patent leather platform boots (think Paul Stanley) and a pony tail sticking straight up on the top of his head (think Pebbles Flintstone). He muttered unintelligiablly into the microphone for a few minutes and then launched into a Grateful Deadesque plinky, spacey jam. Which ended prematurely because of technical problems with the guitar pedals. Enter: roadies, who futzed with the distortion machine for fifteen minutes while Ryan stood around in this boots, griping and rambling aimlessly about the "buzz kill" and how he was "losing his mind." The band played some more, they took a beer break after half an hour (WTF?), came back on, more muttering, long pauses between songs to tune his guitar. Some people started yelling "Don't forget about us!" But Ryan did seem to forget he was playing for an audience. He kept all his interactions with the people on stage, barely acknowledging those in the theater. And when he did, it was incoherent babbling about Dr. Who, or "fucking" (no elaboration, unfortunately).

All that said, some of the music was fantastic. He's clearly in a Grateful Dead stage, playing a cover of "Stella Blue" and using a rose as his new website and album cover symbol. I wished he'd replaced one or two of his space-like jams with a few of his catchy tunes. Oh, well. I checked out some reviews of his shows online, and my experience seems to be typical of his live performances. He's hit or miss on stage. We got a miss. But I'd still go to see him again, hoping for a hit.

December 5, 2006

It's 30 fucking degrees in Burrrooklyn. Shit! I hate winter. Some good news has warmed me up:

1. Heather Graham and her part

It's 30 fucking degrees in Burrrooklyn. Shit! I hate winter. Some good news has warmed me up:

1. Heather Graham and her partners are renewing their option for The Accidental Virgin for the fourth time. Talk about commitment to a project. I just watched "Cake"—the movie she and the lovely Miranda de Pencier produced last year. It was cute! Gives me hope! Check it out on Netflix.

2. My agent, the incredible Nancy Yost, has sold Hex and the Single Girl to the land of cheese, clocks and leiderhosen. I haven't been translated into German since Smart Vs. Pretty (six years ago?). So let's give an "Ach!" for my return to Deutschland.

3. RYAN ADAMS AT TOWN HALL TONIGHT! I am so excited, I can barely stand it. He's Jeff Tweedy, Morrissey and Paul Westerberg wrapped up in grungy, twangy hot little package. I'll report back tomorrow with a concert review.


December 2, 2006

We walked over to Boerum Hill to pick up Maggie at her friend's house this morning. As we left the house on Bond Street, we nearly collided with the actor Kerri Russell, she of the perfect hair and cheekbones. She was walking with man. I can't tell you more details since I barely looked at him. She is extremely pretty, even up close. Sparrow tiny. Like I could snap my fingers to break her arm.

A half a block from where we'd nearly trampled the dewy and fragile Kerri Russell, we bumped into Dan Zevin, high school friend, best-selling author and new dad. As Steve said, after reading "The Day I Turned Uncool" (recently optioned by Adam Sandler, btw), Dan's writing is "funnier than David Sedaris in fewer words." Anyway, he looked good, despite having a new baby in the house. Congrats on all the recent good fortune, Dan!

I'm still recovering from Lucy's sleepover party on Friday. Entertaining a pack of eight year old girls sucks out precious vital force through the ear holes.

Naked photo update: My article about posing for a nude portrait is definitely running in the February issue of Self. Paula, my ed, told me on Friday that five (!) photos will accompany the article. Yikes. Not viewing or reading for the faint-hearted. I'm starting to have third (fourth, whatever) doubts about doing this. A picture says a thousand words. Five pix: 5,000 words. Hopefully, none of them are "ewww," "what was she thinking?" and "not for a million dollars."

November 27, 2006


We adopted Penny six years ago from a shelter in Long Island. She'd already been at the shelter for two years by then. Apparently, she was found nearly starved to death in a parking lot, along with her newborn litter of ten kittens. The shelter workers nursed her back to health, and placed her kittens in good homes. But no one wanted to adopt Penny. They told us she'd become their beloved mascot, the adoptive mama to all the kittens that were brought in. We'd originally gone to the shelter to adopt Tulip, a two month old kitten. We noticed immediately that Tulip was attached to an older cat, and seemed reluctant to part from her. Then we were told Penny's story, and we couldn't part with her either. We adopted both of them. The shelter workers cried about losing Penny, but they were happy to have finally found a home for her. I got emails from them for years, asking about her.

I've lived with a lot of cats, but none have compared to Penny. She is the greatest cat I've ever known. Besides being supremely affectionate, Penny is Buddha like in her serenity. She's also Buddha like in her girth—it's incredible she was once ever thin—weighing in at close to 20 pounds. Compared to her wild beginning, Penny lives a life of domestic comfort here in Brooklyn. She gets near constant attention, plentiful food, and warm places to sleep.

She's always had the unusual habit of dragging Beanie Babies off Lucy's toy shelves, and carting them around the house. When we go away for a weekend, we always find Beanie Babies dotted all over the apartment upon our return. Often, at night, Penny mewls at tremendous volume at Beanie Babies, hats, mittens. We laugh and say that she's talking to them.

And then, last week, Steve said, "She's not talking to them. She's calling for her lost kittens."

Like I said, this is the sweetest, kindest, happiest cat ever. But Steven's idea has settled in, and I believe that he's right. In her small feline brain, she remembers her past, how she almost died giving birth to that huge litter. Sometimes, Penny's eyes tear. The vet says it's not an infection, just irritation from dust. When I see those tears, though, I now wonder if she's crying for those lost kittens.

Even happy creatures with tiny minds can harbor deep sadness. They can mourn with an instinctual sense of loss. I could kill Steve for mentioning his theory. When she mewls at the top of her voice, it's no longer funny, quirky, cute. It just makes me sad. But I love her even more for it.

November 22, 2006

Click here! Now!

GCC plug for Kyra Davis, an author I've exchanged emails with, and like a lot (so read this one, if you please).

Reviews:

Kyra Davis brings insight and energy to "So Much for My Happy Ending,"…In April, Davis has created a narrator with a sensitive, honest, engaging voice.

--Boston Globe

Davis fuses light-hearted romance with keen domestic suspense, making this an absorbing…read.

--Publisher’s Weekly

Davis' engaging departure from her usual focus is a unique entry in the chick-lit genre and should appeal to those looking to move beyond typical fare.

--Booklist

Davis’ tragicomic tale is both entertaining and horrifying at once….it’s a harrowing account of marriage to a man with bipolar disorder. Still, it’s hopeful and even wildly funny at times.

Four stars

--The Romantic Times

Novelist Kyra Davis spins a chilling tale

-Ebony Magazine


Author Bio:
Kyra Davis is the author of the highly acclaimed books, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte and Passion Betrayal And Killer Highlights. She has spent her life in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, where she currently lives with her young son. Now a full time parent and writer, Davis previously divided her time between a career in retail fashion and various artistic endeavors. So Much For My Happy Ending is her third novel.

Press material:
Kyra Davis, the author of the very successful mystery series that includes SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE, was married to man diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. The symptoms were barely noticeable at first. But as the marriage wore on, her husband’s erratic behavior—his lies about his job, his extravagant spending sprees using her credit cards that almost resulted in her filing for bankruptcy, his fits of temper and other highly unsettling behavior—led to her divorce.
In her latest book, SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING (MIRA Books, November 15, 2006, $13.95)—a departure from her light-hearted mystery series—Kyra Davis tackles the subject of mental illness. With her usual wit and humor, Kyra probes a very serious subject, and one that is close to her heart: What happens when the man you love and subsequently marry turns out to be someone entirely different from the man you dated? How do you recognize the difference between mental illness and the usual marital problems that afflict all couples? How could a man who was so romantic and loving turn out to be bipolar ?
Kyra explores these questions as she chronicles the relationship between April and her soon-to-be husband, Tad, who is the man of her dreams: romantic, attentive and adoring who holds the promise of a normal, secure life. But on their honeymoon—Tad’s withdrawn behavior, his refusal to leave the hotel room, and other disturbing behavior—are cause for alarm. When they return home, however, and Tad reverts back to the man she knows and loves, April rationalizes his behavior during their honeymoon, but she can’t quite dismiss it. “The warning signs were there,” she later muses. No neon signs, mind you, just little sparks at the end of a very long string. Funny that I could have been blind enough not to realize that the string was a lighted fuse.”
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING chronicles every step of April’s relationship with Tad, from the engagement and subsequent marriage, through the unraveling and finally the turning point. As April tries to cope with what is happening to her husband, Tad is grappling with the demons that are driving him apart from April and threaten to destroy the one stable anchor in his tumultuous life.
In her unique style, Davis examines the disturbing subject of coping with bipolar illness of a loved one with the sensitivity, insight and perspective of one who has been there, and the humor of one who has had to make difficult choices in order to survive and move on.

Pay a visit to Kyra's website
November 21, 2006

Peck a little

Sorry for not posting in a while. A quick catch-up:

1. My article on Chronic Dieting in out. Pick up the issue of Self with Cameron Diaz on the cover. My contrib page photo looks decent; the article reads well. Not an embarrassment! Yea!

2. American Fringe (aka Fringe Girl #3) is humming along. I'll hit page 75 today. So far, so good.

3. Tomorrow, for Lucy's birthday present, Steve is taking her to a matinee of The Producers on Broadway. She knows the musical version by heart, thanks to repeat viewings of the movie (which we love, no matter what critics said; I'm talking to you, Kyle Smith). She knows her gift is an event, but she knows not what. I can practically see her face when they get to the theater and she sees the marquee. Steve has arranged it through a friend who ushers at the theater to get them back stage to meet the actor who plays Ula. Anyway, I'm squirming with excitment on her behalf. While Steve and Lucy are at the show, Maggie and I will bake pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving—made with love and Splenda. A low-cal alternative to my dad's pecan pie, which would put a diabetic into a coma just looking at it.

4. Steve flies to Tampa on Saturday to do Mikado. He will be Ko-Ko as always, and will sing and dance his little heart out. Maggie will be appearing at City Center in the Mikado again this January. Get tix at the link below.

5. Lots of foreign editions came in this month. I already mentioned the English edition of Hex (love the cover!). I was just informed that it'll be included in a box of three novels for a big in-store promotion at the British equivalent of Target stores. Who knows? Maybe I'll have a best-seller across the pond. Also, I got the Taiwan edition of The Accidental Virgin, in Chinese. Very cute anime type cover. Last, the French version of The Best You'll Ever Have. Mais oui! You won't think the French needed sex tips and tricks. But, apparently, they do.

6. We're babysitting Doug's cat Agnes for the week. That makes four cats on one litter box. Phew. We'd scooping like the wind.

7. Please congratulate Maggie for her first three mile run. That's right, peops. Maggie ran the bridge with me last weekend (that's the Brooklyn Bridge, BTW). She is willing to try the four-mile Hartshorn School run in Short Hills on Friday. We'll see. I don't want to push her (or myself) too fast.

That is all. I'll do a gcc post tomorrow, and then probably nothing until after the holiday. Have a happy!

Mikado Tix On Sale Now!
November 14, 2006

Click Me

Another GCC blog tour, this time for Lola Douglas. Her new book is called...

MORE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET – OUT IN HARDCOVER AS OF 11/​2/​06

Just when Morgan Carter was falling in love with the simple life she'd built in Fort Wayne, Indiana, her true identity as an infamous Hollywood starlet was exposed. Now Morgan has a choice to make: return to her glamorous movie star existence--or stick with the wholesome life, and the new love, she's found in the Midwest.
In this sequel to True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, Lola Douglas's heartfelt prose and headstrong heroine return to delight readers.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

Kirkus Reviews
The continuing travails of 17-year-old Morgan … come across with delightful zing, yet address serious subjects. … Douglas manages the lightest of styles while delving into deep issues for adolescents. Fun, breezy entertainment with thoughtful undertones.

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET – OUT IN PAPERBACK AS OF 11/​2/​06 (WITH A HOT NEW COVER!)

Teen star Morgan Carter's mom is trying to kill her. At least, that's what Morgan thinks when she's sent to Ft. Wayne, Indiana after a near overdose outside LA's Viper Room.

Morgan's going to recover out of the spotlight. Way out. She's given a major make-under, a new name, and a completely different identity. Morgan's plan? To write a tell-all book about her experience and stage a comeback. But when this LA girl finds love and a new life in Middle America, will she abandon it for another shot at superstardom?

WHAT PEOPLE SAID:

School Library Journal
This tell-all journal-style story is nearly as amusing and compelling as Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" and Louise Rennison's "Georgia Nicolson" series.

RomanticTimes Book Club
Told via the heroine's humorous journal entries, this cute tale shows the downside of being a young star. Readers will root for Morgan and yell at her when she veers off track. With a charming ending that leaves a few loose ends for the
book's sequel, due in the fall of '06, this unpredictable tome is pure enjoyment.

TeenReads.com
Morgan is charming (even when she's obnoxious), witty, fun, and most importantly, a multifaceted person who has to overcome a lot of garbage in her life. Meg Cabot fans, this is the book to pick up while you're waiting for the next Princess Diaries installment.

The Tampa Tribune
Written in a confessional journal style, with plenty of real-life name dropping, Lola Douglas' teen novel, "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet," has mass appeal.

The Des Moines Register
This funny, diary-format novel ... is a satisfying read, with more depth and heart than most chick lit.

BIO:

When she was five, Lola Douglas wanted to be an actress like her then-hero, Drew Barrymore. Instead, she became a supermarket checkout girl, a video store clerk, an administrative assistant, a features reporter and a textbook development editor before deciding that writing teen novels was her real forte. Lola has lived in seven of our great United States, including Indiana, and says that during her five-and-a-half month stint in Fort Wayne no one ever forced her to see the movie Hoosiers. She was, however, coaxed into auditioning for a part as an extra in a Neil LaBute film (Your Friends and Neighbors, to be exact), but was rejected during the first round. When not watching too much reality television, reading Gawker, or obsessing over all things Marc Jacobs, Lola can be found working on her next super secret project, which will be published in 2008.

To this day, she remains fascinated with Drew Barrymore.


Lola Douglas website
November 13, 2006

This just in: Daryl Chen got tix for us to see Ryan Adams in December at Town Hall!! Oh, YES!!!!

Back from Vegas. Much as I tried, I didn't see a single naked tit, other than my own. I thought strippers were five to a corner in Vegas, but it turned out, you have to pay big bucks to see nudity, even in the national capital of smut. We did see a lot of g-string ass. It was on display on every bus stop shelter, the side of poster-adverstising trucks cruising up and down the strip, dozens of five-story billboards. Vegas hearts hookers, as you realize immediately thanks to the "Call me!" phone/​photo catalogs that literally line the streets. Does anyone (I'm talking to you, Judy McGuire) know what a Twink is?

Gamblingwise (not wise, actually), I lost. Not a lot. I played $10 rounds of roulette. I was up a little for most of the weekend. At one point, I was up $75. But I blew it all, baby. Five blacks came up in a row, so I bet red. Three times. And each one came up black. So I lost all my winnings, and another twenty. I can live with that. I got at least several hours entertainment for my $20. It was like going to the movies.

I saw some stunning wins, and depressing losses. Sometimes, by the same person. I sat next to a guy who put $800 on red—and won. That was his first bet of the night. He and his buddy screamed, hugged, danced. Steve and I left to go to dinner, and walked by the same table hours later. The guy was still there. Turned out, he'd lost all his winnings, and an additional $1000. In two hours. Scary. Another guy, after we both won a round, said to me, "If you win enough to pay for the trip, you're doing great." I said, "Are you crazy? I'm trying to win enough to pay for a vodka tonic." He said, "You'll never win big if I didn't bet big." Hmmm. The basic math of gambling: You're bound to lose 9 percent of your stake over time. I guess my attitude is the opposite of my optimistic friend. If you don't bet big, you won't lose big. I'll limit my risk taking to things I have control over. Like going non-fiction for a year with Thinner. BTW, I'm in need a a title once again. Thinner and The Hunger have been rejected. How do any of you feel about:

1. Such a Pretty Face
2. Wallflower
3. Really Good Personality

Re: drinking, I had more cocktails in two days in Vegas than I'd had in the last six months in Brooklyn. The free cocktail cards were flowing like, er, wine. Since I can't resist anything that's free, we made good use of the coupons. Ordinarily, on two sips, I feel the alcohol. At Treasure Island's bar, however, I sucked down two V&T's and felt NOTHING. I'll assume the booze was either watered down, of their mixology errs on the side of caution (after all, the casino wants customers to be a little tipsy so they gamble recklessly, but not so drunk that they fall down on the carpet and can't reach the table).

The one naughty thing we did in Vegas? We bought a pack of Camel lights to smoke at bars. Can't do that in New York—for any price. Now that I'm back in Brooklyn, I'll return to abstaining and pining for cigarettes. Smoking is like alcoholism. You never stop wanting to do it. It's part of one's personality. Even though I haven't (technically) been a smoker for fifteen years, I'll always be one.

The sex conference itself was kind of dry, considering the subject matter. A few famous shrinks were there, many of whom I've interviewed over the years, including my friend Lou Paget, Marty Klein and the fantastic Stella Resnick, who did a great lecture on the perils of monogamy. Again and again, the connection between low sex drive and marriage came up. One grad student introduced her talk by saying: "What one food is guaranteed to kill a woman's sex drive? (Wait for it...) Wedding cake." An audience member suggested "baby food," which I like even better. I sat through three hours of seminars and lectures each day. I got what I needed for a story. A couple of key phrases that will find their way into my Self article: "Fantasy Training" and "Peak Sex." Intrigued? You'll just have to wait to learn more...

November 6, 2006

What happens in Vegas...

Only three more days until Steve and I depart the fair island of Brooklyn, and jet to Las Vegas. The travel agent for Self booked us a room at super-schmaltzy Treasure Island. "I hadn't realized Treasure Island was one of Conde Nast's preferred hotels," said my editor, which made me laugh and laugh. The photo above is from TI's "Sirens" stage show, where sexy sirens lure half-naked pirates to their sexual doom, every hour on the hour. The stage is a real-size pirate ship floating in a moat right outside the hotel. Yea, baby!

I love schmaltz! I could bathe in it (and will; three days and counting...). Steven and I have been on some fun trips before. But this is Vegas, peops. By day, I will do my convention thing ("Sexual Fantasies vs. Realities," brought to you by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, aka SSSS). Steve will fill the time visiting the Hoover Dam and the Liberace museum. By evening (and night), we'll walk the Strip, eat expensive food, guzzle champagne out of girl-shaped glasses. Then we'll slap some twenties on red, and that sucker RIDE!

No, seriously, gambling to a cheapskate like me is like waving a needle at a hypochondriac. Losing money—nay, throwing money down the toilet—is not an appealing prospect to me. But, then again, maybe we'll WIN BIG! Maybe we'll HIT THE JACKPOT! Maybe, by dropping a quarter in a slot machine, we'll walk away with a MILLION DOLLARS!

Steady girl. Easy now. Deep breaths, in and out.

Much stands between me and half-naked pirates. Tomorrow morning, election day, I will vote. A neighbor who volunteers for moveon.org invited me to make get-out-the-vote calls with her, and I heartily accepted. Fingers crossed for a big win, fellow travelers! Wednesday, I'm having lunch with Jennifer, my new editor at St. Martin's. Should be fun. That evening, Daryl Chen has RSVPed to go to a party celebrating the latest memoir by Gore Vidal. And Vidal will actually be there. And she's asked me to tag along.

Gore Vidal has been one of my favorites forever. I love the historical novel series. And I adored the afore mentioned memoir. But what to say to him? "Thank you for the words you've given me?" Unlike John Updike, who I had the priviledge of meeting for five seconds a couple of years ago, Gore Vidal scares me. He's so fucking smart. He knows everything about everything. And seeing him the day after an election, he might be in a very grumpy mood. Maybe I'll let the election be my guide. If the Dems win, Vidal will be happy, and I'll go. If the Reps win, he might want to kill something and I won't go within fifty blocks of the guy.


November 4, 2006

Steve forwarded these to me. Some are pretty hi-larious.

From the Washington Post's annual Neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.) appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.) impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.) to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.) olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.) a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n) a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

November 3, 2006

Too sexy for her dress

Heather Graham is talking to press about The Accidental Virgin again, so that's good. She was interviewed by a reporter for the Los Angeles Times after modeling at designer Michelle Jonas' recent fashion show. Incidentally, Michelle Jonas used to be a fashion editor at Mademoiselle magazine. I knew her, but only to smile and nod in the hallway. The fashion editors were on the same floor as the articles department, but on a different planet, really. Anyway, the link to the article is below.

Accidental Virgin Update
November 1, 2006

A boxed set. Impressive!

Another GCC post, today for author Laurie Stolarz to support her new novel, BLEED.

Ten teens, one unforgettable day

Over the course of a single day, the lives of ten teenagers will intersect in powerful and unexpected ways.

Among them are Nicole, whose decision to betray her best friend will shock everyone, most of all herself; Kelly, who meets the convicted felon she’s been writing to for years; and Maria, whose definition of a true friend is someone who will cut her. Derik discovers his usual good looks and charm won’t help him get the girl he really wants, while Joy, a fifteen year old waitress, hoping for true intimacy, narrowly escapes a very dark fate.

Seamlessly woven together, this collection of interconnected short stories paints an authentic portrait of today’s teen experience that is at once funny, moving, and often very haunting.

What the Critics are Saying:

“Stolarz expertly weaves a combination of stories the reader will remember for a long while.” – Anne Keller, RandomReads

“The reader is swept along in this masterful plotting of characters as their lives intertwine in most unexpected ways. Laurie Faria Stolarz has captured perfectly the angst and folly of the teenage world.” – Teenreads.com

“…a funny, yet poignant book of interconnecting short stories in which the lives of 10 teenagers are seamlessly woven together….The author demonstrates the ability to identify with today’s teen experience…” – School Library Journal


Also Available by Laurie Stolarz:

The Blue is for Nightmares Collection

Nightmares. Dark Secrets. Premonitions of Death.

Welcome to Stacey’s World!

With over 250,000 books sold, the Blue is for Nightmares Collection is now available as a boxed set, including a copy of Stacey’s spell book, filled with some of Stacey’s favorite home remedies.

It begins with the dreams. White lilies, the death flower. Being chased through the woods, knowing she cannot outrun her pursuer forever. Visits from the spirit of a girl who was murdered. Threats and taunts from an unseen assailant.

But that’s only the start. When the dreams begin to spill over into Stacey’s waking life, that’s when the nightmare really begins.


About the Author:
Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. She is currently working on Project 17, the companion novel to Bleed, also for young adults.

Laurie's website
October 30, 2006

UPDATE: I know you've all been on the edge of your seats about my latest book proposal. Well, the wait is over. I can now tell the world (or the five people who read this blog) that my non-fiction memoir has been officially sold for quite a respectable amount. The working title is "Thinner: Confessions of a Diet Addict" about how I've viewed my entire life, from age eleven on, through the prism of a weight obsession. Lately, though, I'm thinking a better title is "The Hunger: Confessions of a Diet Addict." It's funnier and says more about the quest for thinness and the emotions that drive it. Thoughs?

The hardcover book will be published by St. Martin's Press, under the guidance of editor Jennifer Enderlin. She has edited memoirs before (perhaps you've heard of "Running with Scissors"?). She does a lot of fiction, too, including the novels of Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, Emily Giffins, to namedrop a few. I will be in very good company at St. Martin's and with Ms. Enderlin, who, just this minute, called to set up a lunch for next week. I can't fucking wait to meet her, and get started.

Each book presents a new opportunity. I'm honored and humbled by this chance to write another—first memoir!—and continue with the career I've chisled out of solid rock. As much as I define myself as a mother and wife, I'm a writer in my blood. That's all I've ever done, peops. All I've ever wanted to do. And so, for at least one more year, I persist.

Thank you, Jennifer, for betting on me! All the good karma in the world goes out to Nancy Yost, my incredible agent, who believes in this project as much as I do.

The crack of Halloween

Our official wedding portrait

October 26, 2006


October 23, 2006

Re: my non-fiction proposal, I'm overjoyed to report that I've received my first offer. It's a solid offer, from an editor of great renown at a major publisher. I've actually been dying to work with this editor for years. My agent and I are waiting to hear from the other interested parties, too, before we finalize. Once the dust has settled, I'll reveal everything. Suffice it to say, the relief is profound. My confidence has returned. I'll be able to pay the girls' tuition. What had looked like a devastating ending now feels like a fantastic new beginning. I wonder how many times I'll have to learn this life lesson before it finally sinks in. So this is how I spell relief: W-H-E-W.

October 20, 2006

More book news from my small corner of the universe:

My brother-in-law, the esteemed Dan Fagin, currently teaching science journalism to graduate students at NYU, has landed his second book deal. It's called "Tom's River," about the history of environmental cancer research and one particular cancer cluster in NJ. Some nice, light reading. It's a whopper deal, too, btw. Hurray, Dan! Keep my nieces in cashmere!

One of my oldest friends, Judy McGuire, aka Date Girl, has just inked a deal for her first book. She writes:

"It's called 'How Not to Date,' and the publisher is Sasquatch. I'm so excited that last night, as I was walking over to my agent's place, I started to get about-to-puke nervous. I'll be looking for bad date stories, so keep an ear open for anyone who'll spill."

Please help Judy collect nightmare date stories! Share your tale, and you might save a writer from puking on the sidewalks of Williamsburg.

A million congrats, Judy! Your Date Girl columns and blog are hilarious, and it's about freakin' time you got a book deal. Send scary date memoirs and congrats to Judy via her blog, Bad Advice (link below).

Judy McGuire's Bad Advice
October 19, 2006

Lucy and her loose teeth

Chicken potpie from Fresh Direct (free) for breakfast? You betcha, says Steve

Packing the lunches

Penny at rest

A good day yesterday, for many reasons:

1. Lucy is feeling much better.

2. Steve came home! And what a post-game homecoming it was. I'm very tired, but don't care.

3. Jeffrey won Project Runway, although I would have been satisfied to see Uli take the grand prize, too. I am not, nor have I ever been, a fashionista. But it was plain to me that Jeffrey was the only visionary in the field. That's why he has so many flops, as well as huge successes. I'm glad his unconventional point of view was rewarded and acknowledged.

4. Go Mets! One more win, and we're in. I've been amused by the difference in the NY vs. St. Louis fans. Am I alone to find it Big Brotherish and disturbing that every St. Louis fan wears red to the games? Red shirts under the whitest mass of faces in the world. At Shea, you see palookas, families, guys in business suits coming to the game from work, etc. A normal, healthy real-person range of faces, races, ages, etc. New York is, as I've pointed out before, the greatest city in the world for our incredible diversity, and individuality. No one is going to make a New Yorker wear blue or orange if she doesn't fucking feel like it.

2. Another publisher has expressed strong interest in my non-fiction proposal, and is seeking next step "in-house" reads. As it stood yesterday afternoon, three editors are interested, two are not, one hasn't called in, but she was a late submission. No firm offers yet, but hope remains.

3. Copies of the English edition of Hex and the Single Girl arrived yesterday, and the cover is so bloody cute, I hooted when I saw it. As soon as I get a jpeg, I'll post. It's gonna be a big hit across the pond, I just know it.

4. Self magazine wants to send me to LAS VEGAS to cover a sex convention. Yea! Steve can come, too (we'll pay for his flight), but the hotel and meals are on Self. I can use some fun in Sin City for damn sure. Babysitting is all lined up (thanks Judy and Howie!). I'll be working the convention during the day, but by night, Steve and I can frolick. We haven't had a weekend away, just the two of us, since we got married over two years ago. Las Vegas wouldn't be my first choice, but I'm very excited to go.

October 18, 2006

Read all about it!

Check it out!

GCC time again. This tour is for E. Lockhart's paperback release of The Boyfriend List and the sequel The Boy Book.

The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them
is the sequel to The Boyfriend List, which is just out in paperback. The Boy Book is about Ruby, who in the first book plummeted from social butterfly to leper, rebuilding her life junior year of high school -- with the help of a guide to understanding the male sex that she wrote with her ex-friends.

The new, cheaper edition of the first Ruby Oliver book (The Boyfriend List) has a fun author Q&A at the back, plus provocative questions for your book club or reading group.

In The Boy Book, Rub confronts the secret about Noel,
mysterious notes from Jackson,
the interpretation of boy-speak,
the villainy of Cricket,
the horrors of the school retreat,
and the exploitation of hooters everywhere.

There are fruit roll-ups.

There is upper-regioning.
There are so many boys to choose from!
And there are penguins.

"Lockhart achieves the perfect balance of self-deprecating humor and self-pity in Ruby, and thus imbues her with such realism she seems to fly off the page." -- VOYA

"Each chapter begins with an excerpt from 'The Boy Book' which is hilarious...The book not only covers topics teens obsess over, but it helps illustrate the connection Ruby had with her friends, especially Kim, and what a loss she has suffered. Ruby's overanalytical, fast-paced and authentic narration will win over new devotees, while her loyal fans will no doubt hope for more." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The story is both humorous and witty, and the language is realistically raw. Sections such as "The Care and Ownership of Boobs" are particularly funny." -- School Library Journal

"[Ruby's] character's strength stems from her earnest search for identity through introspection, sexual experimentation, therapy, and the formation and rehabbing of new and old friendships. Refreshingly honest." -- Kirkus

October 17, 2006

File under "Never a Dull Moment in Parenting": Yesterday, Lucy and I spend the day at the emergency room at LICH. She'd had a fever for days, nausea and late presenting abdominal pains. I feared appedicitis, and took her in. Turned out, she was having a rare bad reaction to medication for a scalp rash. A sonogram revealed an enlarged liver. A blood test confirmed high liver enzymes markers. The treatment: No more rash meds. She's home again today to rest. The fever is gone. She still has tenderness in the abdomen. When she gets a pang of pain, she grabs her side and says, "Oh, my liver!" Poor kid. She's not looking forward to her follow-up blood test on Friday. Can't say I blame her.

My article about how parents influence their kids' future spending styles has been accepted by Parenting. Look for it in the April 2007 issue.

My pseudonymous article for Self about couples counseling has also been accepted. Nor sure when that'll run. In the spring, probably.

My non-fiction book proposal has won approval from two of the five editors it was sent to on Thursday of last week. It's now being read by other editors at each publisher. Getting a book deal, for those who don't know, is a multi-step process. So, at two houses, I've cleared the first hurdle. We haven't heard from the other three houses yet, but no "no's" thus far. I'm keeping my expectations low, alongside my morality. Fingers crossed, peops!

I'm getting no work done, with Lucy's illness taking my attention away from business. Considering how wigged out I've been lately, that might be a good thing.

This morning, a flock of robins hopped around on my deck, drinking out of the cats' water bowl. The cats were literally drooling at the deck door, but I wouldn't let them out until the birds flew away. In other outside news, the huge maple tree that overhangs the deck is changing. Some gorgeous reds, oranges and golds on the tips of branches.

Steve returns tomorrow. He's been eating his heart out about being on tour with Lucy sick. Lucy has an even lower pain threshold than I do (my father once described mine as "the pain threshold of a gnat"). She shrieks and hollars when I brush her hair. So you can only image her with a needle in her arm. He can take her for her blood test on Friday when she's sure to air out her lungs again.

October 12, 2006

Update on my non-fiction book proposal: No news, I'm sorry to say (very sorry). I should know something by next week. Fingers crossed! I guess I'm slowing coming around to the mindset that if it doesn't fly, it shouldn't. That fate is giving me some kind of clue about what I should be doing next, besides Fringe Girl 3 (and 4; I agreed to do two more). Looking back, over my long career as an novelist/​author (seventeen years and counting), what did/​didn't work out seemed to be for the best. As my neighbor, the famed shrink Ellen McGrath, told me yesterday, leaning over the railings of our respective decks three stories above the ground, our lives are guided by both "no" and "yes." She believes, in fact, that "no" is more significant developmentally than "yes," and that every "no" is actually an opportunity to adjust, re-evaluate and go forth with renewed clarity. I was also reminded of the Truman Capote quote, that more tears have been shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers. Not that I pray. As secular Jew, praying is against my religion.

My mood has only been fostered by my movie viewing. I'm about a year behind (what happens when you have kids), and have only just seen "Walk the Line" and "Brokeback Mountain." The former was pleasant, a confirmation of my belief that gifted artists suffer deeply for their sensitivity, and that great art can only be achieved through pain. Which presents a problem for me, since I HATE pain, and organize my life around avoiding it. I scoff at the idea that, as a commericial novelist, I'm also an artist. But when I least expect it, the sensitivity that lurks creeps up on me, and knocks me off my rails. Accursed sensitivity! Wish I could will it away.

"Brokeback Mountain": What a beautiful, sad, heartbreaking movie! It's been a few days, and I can't stop thinking about it. A must see. And the gay scenes are sexy, too. I've remarked on this often, especially during the Six Feet Under era: I'm fine watching gay male sex scenes. Lesbian scenes kind of freak me out.

In book reading news, I loved "The Thirteenth Tale." It's the big hit of the fall. Enjoyable, a good gothic flavor (crazy people rambling around big empty houses on the English countryside), some supernatural elements and a cracking mystery, too. Right now, I might be the only person in America who is reading the new Gore Vidal memoir. He's brilliant, of course. Only Gore Vidal can make a viewing log of his favorite movies since the age of ten fascinating and relevant to the world as it spins today.

I probably wouldn't be so mopey if Steve were here. He left on a week-long tour of the southern states. I think they have four or five gigs, all Pirates of Penzance. That's a lot of the Major General song for Steve to sing. Steve is happy when he's working. Unfortunately, his work takes him away from home.

I'm keeping busy doing magazine work. This week, it's an article for Self about how good body image is a benefit to all areas of your life. Look for it in the February issue.

October 2, 2006

New author photo; appearing on the December 2006 Self magazine contributors page. You like? You hate? Let me know. Don't want to embarrass myself.

Hello, peops! Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I've been very, very busy fretting frantically about my non-fiction book proposal. Thankfully, after a week and a half, things are starting to move, so my high anxiety is abated (today). Wish I were as high as my anxiety. (Teen readers: Pretend you didn't see that last part.)

I had one of those moments the other night, a moment of pure affection for my husband Steve. I simply must SHARE. Some background: We live in Brooklyn Heights, in a four story brownstone. Our apartment is the top two floors. Lucy's bedroom faces the street, looking west, toward Manhattan, the East River and New Jersey. Fireworks are frequently launched from barges on the East River, and are plainly visible out of Lucy's bedroom window. This is quite exciting for a seven year old, as anyone can easily imagine. Lucy can also see the moon from her skylights, but that's not important right now. Getting back to why I love Steve. Now, in NYC, fireworks are an almost routine occurrence. We're frequently interrupted by the banging and booming. Maggie and I look at each other and say, "What's THAT about?" This goes on maybe a dozen times a year. Frankly, after the first fifty times, fireworks kinda lose their magic, even out of a bedroom window. But not for Lucy—AND NOT FOR STEVE. At the very first boom two nights ago, Steve dashed up to Lucy's window, and watched the entire show with his usual childlike enthusiasm and attention to detail. At its conclusion, he said, "Great orange tonight!" and "I saw some new shapes!" To anyone in search of a husband, I recommend that you find a man who is easily pleased. Find a lover of small things (and pretty colors, and shapes). Get yourself a guy who leaps off the couch with joy in his heart when he hears loud noises. When Steve is eighty, he'll still run (crawl, whatever) up the stairs to see the show. And I'll still adore him for it.

In Maggie news, she will be a villager in her middle school production of Fiddler on the Roof. She didn't get the part she wanted. But she's approaching her chorus role with just as much excitement and committment, which makes me even more proud than had she gotten the lead. Brava, Maggie!

In major news on the friends front, I am proud and honored to announce that the lovely and talented Rebecca Johnson (a familiar name to my five blog readers) has just gotten herself a MASSIVE deal for her first novel called "And Sometimes Why." And when I say MASSIVE, I mean HUGE. The biggest. A jaw and bowel dropping number. If I were ever offered a book deal that big, I'd have a spontaneous multiple orgasm on the spot. I wish I could post the number, but I've been sworn to discretion (a very unnatural state for me to be sure). Rebecca has worked on this novel for nearly seven years. She totally deserves her glory. I'm impressed by how not-jealous I am. And that, gentle blog readers, is how you know who your real friend are. Not by how they treat you, but by how you react when all their dreams come true. I'm damn proud of you, Slut! Congratulations!

September 27, 2006

Lucy and Matthew Modine

My five blog readers might remember my post two summers ago about the Matthew Modine movie that was filmed on my block, and how I forced a stack of my books on the kind and patient director? Well, the movie is finally done, and can be seen at select theaters on October 6th. How do I know this? The director, Claudia Myers, sent me an email.

Before I could read her note, first I had to get over my shock that she didn't just dump my books in the first open trash can. She must have kept them, or at least remembered my name to track down my website, etc. Therefore, I AM NOW CLAUDIA MYERS NUMBER ONE FAN. Here's her cute email. Peops, go see the flick! If for nothing more, my block is in it!

Hi Valerie,

My name is Claudia Myers and I'm the director who was
shooting a romantic comedy with Matthew Modine on your
street last summer. After premiering to sold-out
audiences at Tribeca in April, I'm pleased to let you
know that the film will be opening in select theaters
October 6th. The movie stars Matthew Modine and Gina
Gershon and introduces Christy Cashman (whom you met)
with a terrific supporting cast that includes Fisher
Stevens, Isiah Whitlock, Jr, Kevin J. O'Connor and
Eddie Kaye Thomas.

Because it is a small indie release, our opening
weekend is critical to the future of the film. I hope
you will be able to attend and help spread the word.
(Your street looks lovely in the film, by the way.)

For showtimes and tickets, visit www.moviefone.com or
look for our ad in the NY Times (with a magnifying
glass).

All the best,

Claudia Myers

Check out the trailer!
September 25, 2006

That's right, another new year rolls around for the Chosen. Let's all raise a glass of Maneschewitz, and say "L'chiam!" Our family observed the holiday by having deep thoughts of a secular nature, centering around what we would have for dinner. I'm pleased to report, in accordance to our nature, we ate leftovers.

Announcements:

1. Tonight, at some point on Monday Night Football, U2 and Green Day—two of my all time favorite bands—will perform a duet to benefit New Orlean's musicians. A football game, at the just reopened Superdome, will also take place. I think I'll skip that part.

2. My non-fiction book proposal has received high marks, and is moving through channels. I hope I'll have good news to report by the end of the week.

3. Daughter Maggie is auditioning today for the middle school production of Fiddler on the Roof. She's going for the part of one of the lesser daughters. Good luck, Shprintze! I mean, Maggie!

4. All the winners of last month's demented movie trivia contest should be receiving their prize books in the mail soon. After weeks of lazy-assedness, I've finally visited the post office. Winners (you know who you are): If the books don't show this or next week, email me. I'll investigate.

5. It's Girlfriends Cyber Circuit time again. The highlighted book is Dollar Daze by Karin Gillespie, the incredible woman who organizes the GCC, and deserves much appreciation for it. Here's the info:

“Each character is lovingly crafted in Gillespie's hilarious, heartwarming, and often irreverent look at senior living in small-town America.”—Starred Review Booklist


Dollar Daze: The Bottom Dollar Girls in Love, by Karin Gillespie

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
Comment overheard under the hair dryer at the Dazzling Do’s

Karin Gillespie’s Bottom Dollar Girls are back with a sugar-spun vengeance in Dollar Daze: The Bottom Dollar Girls in Love (Simon & Schuster; August 2006; $19.95). Broaching the age-old question – Is it ever too late to find one’s heart’s desire? – the feisty ladies of Cayboo Creek are suddenly blindsided by schoolgirl flights of fancy when unexpected romance enters their lives.

Mavis Loomis, Birdie Purdy, and Gracie Tobias, widows in their mid-sixties are certain their dating days are over until they observe their friend eighty-something Attalee Gaines in tempestuous relationship with Dooley Prichard, a trifocal-wearing charmer. If it’s not too late for Attalee, how can it be too late for them?

Unfortunately the eligible men in Cayboo Creek are as picked over as a garage sale at noontime. Things look discouraging until an old high school heartthrob comes to town and Birdie and Mavis compete for his attentions. In the meantime socialite Gracie Tobias finds unlikely love in the arms of a rugged duct doctor. Can she overlook the vast differences in their backgrounds?

All of the books in series have been selected as featured alternatives for Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs. Bet Your Bottom Dollar has been optioned for film by the actor James Woods. Gillespie is also co-author of The Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big-Ass Novel. (Simon and Schuster, January 2007) and has a story called TRASH TALK in This is Chick Lit.

Praise for Dollar Daze
“A sweet and amusing tale of romance and lust for the older crowd”—Kirkus

“Gillespie writes with such conviction that readers are thrust right into Cayboo Creek and the lives of the Bottom Dollar Girls….charismatic and replete with poignancy, a story to pass on.”—Romantic Times, four and a half stars

“Laugh-out--loud”—Atlanta Magazine Critic’s Pick

“Fun factor remains high from first chapter to last… The Bottom Dollar Girls…. provide the simple pleasure of an ice-cold bottle of cola and a bag of salty peanuts and that’s just fine.”—David Marshall James, The Columbia State

“Bless her heart, she's done it again. Karin Gillespie's latest installment of the Bottom Dollar Girls series is a fun, breezy read. As tried and true as ham biscuits at a senior center potluck… the book reminds us of what's important just as often as it entertains."—Dawn Baumbartner Vaughan, Durham Herald-Sun

Buy it!

Karin's website
September 21, 2006

Happy season of death, peops! I have career news. And it's good. After some negotiating and decision making, I'm thrilled to report that Fringe Girl 3, American Fringe, is going to happen. Yeah! I realized that this series is so close to my heart because I share it with Maggie, my 11-year old daughter. She's not allowed to read any of my other books (given their sexual content). When she's 18, she can read The Accidental Virgin. But until then, I'll try to keep her satified with Fringe.

Speaking of The Accidental Virgin, as reported today in MTV Movie News, the movie is either back on track, or front burnered, by Heather Graham. The author is always the last to know... Link below to the article.


Heather Graham interview
September 19, 2006

It's been a busy week here in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Book Fair, which I didn't attend, was, reportedly, a hit. Jonathan Lethem was there. Daryl said Pete Hamill was wonderful, the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with. I believe that's the reason George Bush was elected over John Kerry, so that distinction isn't what I consider trustworthy. I didn't read or speak at the fair. Next year.

Maggie and I went on our first mother-daughter jog on Saturday. When we passed a group of moms with strollers, she said, "I bet those mothers look at us and think, That'll be me and my kid someday.'" We were shooting for two miles, but Maggie isn't used to distance running (she was a sprinter on the track team last spring). She made it a mile, which is pretty impressive for an 11 year old on her firt run. I was damn proud of her.

The Atlantic Antic, our big street fair here in downtown Brooklyn, was on Sunday. It seems to get bigger and more crowded each year. We weren't out there too long, since Lucy is sick with a cold. Sadly, we missed the cheese cake eating contest.

The Mets have clinched the division, first time since 1988. The winning game was played at Shea Stadium, in Queens, about a fifteen minutes drive from where I live. I could swear I heard a cheer after the final out.

The non-fiction book proposal I'd been working on all summer long has finally been edited and revised by my agent's satifaction. It should land on book editors' desks sometimes this week. I'm excited, nervous. The last non-fiction book prop I labored over—The Cheating Zone, a primer on when and why men cheat, by shrink Jane Greer—got a lot of nibbles, but not bites. Since I was just the hired hack, I didn't take the rejection personally. I feel very confident with this proposal, though. I'll go into detail (title, content) when and if I get an offer.

Meanwhile, my magazine work continues. I'm writing an article for Parenting about how parents unknowingly fuck up their kids about money. Any parents of spoiled brats out there? Email me! Tell me about the tantrums at Target! I need to know. Anonymous, of course. Your secrets are safe with me!

September 14, 2006

Thanks to everyone who sent in ideas for the Bracketology of hot, steamy sex in mainstream movie scenes. Here's the top 32 (in no particular order).

1. Body Heat
2. Bull Durham
3. Brotherhood of the Wolf
4. Unfaithful
5. History of Violence
6. Out of Sight
7. Don't Look Now
8. Secretary
9. 9 1/​2 Weeks
10. Monster's Ball
11. Don Juan de Marco
12. Wild Things
13. The Hunger
14. Mulholland Drive
15. Henry and June
16. Kama Sutra
17. Matchpoint
18. Troy
19. Desperado
20. Brokeback Mountain
21. Eyes Wide Shut
22. Team America: World Police
23. The Big Easy
24. The Piano
25. Boogie Nights
26. Kinsey
27. Rosemary's Baby
28. Cat People
29. Pink Flamingos
30. Dangerous Liaisons
31. Poison Ivy
32. Two Girls and a Guy

A few words of explanation. I added Don Juan de Marco, even thought there is only one brief sex scene, because it's the only viable Johnny Depp movie for this list. Imagine my surprise, considering how much I love Johnny, that we haven't seen much sex from him.

I added Two Girls and a Guy for the oral sex scene between Robert Downey Jr. and Heather Graham. Heather Graham, as many of you know, has been trying to make a movie version of The Accidental Virgin for going-on four years now. I am as loyal to her, as she has been to TAV. I also included Boogie Nights, but more for the scene between Julianne Moore and Mark Wolberg than for Heather Graham cavorting nude.

I included Kinsey because Peter Sarsgaard appears COMPLETELY NAKED in it, full front, and then has a manly kiss with Liam Neeson. Even if they hadn't kissed, I'd have put Kinsey on the list for Peter's peter. Matchpoint, a movie I didn't love, made the list anyway, on recommendation and for Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I find sexy.

Last, I put in Troy, an otherwise bad movie, because of the graphic devirgining sex scene between Brad Pitt and Rose Byrne.

September 13, 2006

Buy it!

I STILL NEED SEXY MOVIE SCENES! Thanks to those who sent in idea, especially Emily. Just for clarity, the scenes have to be of actors (fake) doing it, at least partial nudity, if not full blown nakedness.

Remember that Girlfriend Cyber Circuit I mentioned last week? Well, here's my first plug for CONFESSIONS OF A SUPER MOM, by Melanie Lynne Hauser

Some Blurbs:

"Like its title character, this debut novel has a secret identity...it's unexpectedly poignant and packs an emotional punch despite the cheery veneer... at the heart of this story is a narrative about a lonely, wronged woman who just wants to do right by her children and stand up to an uncontrollable world. Hauser slips in soliloquies on motherhood and womanhood that, though brief, are moving, showing us Birdie Lee's heart and in that, the wishes and dreams of super moms everywhere."-Publishers Weekly

“This silly but fun twist on the superhero tale comes packaged with a socially responsible message about consumerism, but it doesn’t get in the way of the high jinks.”—Booklist

"From the book's very first page you find yourself grinning...never has there been a more loveable, down-to-earth superhero...with wit, humor and some age-old motherly advice, this book gives the reader a true-to-life hero, helping every mom find the Super Mom inside!"-Bookreporter.com

"Looking for something TOTALLY different than all the rest of the books on the shelves? This is the perfect escape using romance, laugh out loud moments, and super powers that every woman would secretly admit to wanting!"-Madison McGraw, ChicksDigBooks.com

"Who needs the speeding bullets, locomotives, and tall buildings - with wit, humor and some sage motherly advice, Melanie Lynne Hauser finally gives readers a true hero for our time - Super Mom."-Jennifer O'Connell, author of DRESS REHEARSAL
and BACHELORETTE #1

"Confessions of Super Mom is a delightful read. Smart, zany, and touching, it is the perfect remedy for overwhelmed mothers everywhere."—Karen Quinn, Author of The Ivy Chronicles

"Forget the laundry, forget the dishes. Escape into the world of Super Mom for a few hours...you'll be glad you did. Melanie Lynne Hauser's quirky characters sparkle brightly as a newly Swiffered floor, and her writing shines like freshly polished glass."—Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Queen of Babble

“Never has there been a more appealingly down-to-earth heroine or a superhero with more enviable powers. Moms everywhere will wish they could be like the Super Mom of Melanie Lynne Hauser’s charming, funny, and heartfelt novel. . . .and will ultimately realize they already are.” —Pamela Redmond Satran, author of Babes in Captivity and Younger

CHOSEN AS A LITERARY GUILD NOVEMBER SELECTION

For every harried mother who dreams of cleaning with the power of 10,000 Swiffers, putting her children into Super Time Outs with just a flick of her Merciless Gaze, and employing a little Super Eavesdropping when the occasion warrants, CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is a must-read. Filled with romance, intrigue, humor and a colorful cast of characters, this delightful new novel introduces a superhero for the Swiffer generation.

Birdie Lee is an average hard-working single mother of two teenagers, PTA lackey, and mild-mannered grocery clerk at the local Marvel Fine Foods and Beverages. One morning, while getting ready for work, Birdie is sidetracked by a stubborn Stain of Unusual Origin on her bathroom floor. Unable to let the stain get the best of her, she tries to annihilate it with every household product she can find –to no avail. Angry, hot, light-headed (and forgetting to turn on the exhaust fan), she makes one final desperate attempt to eradicate this vile, dastardly stain: she loads her Swiffer Wet Jet with every household cleanser she owns, aims, and fires….

And passes out, overcome by the fumes. After regaining consciousness (and reminding herself to scrub the bottom of the toilet since from her perspective — flat on her back — it was looking a little dingy), Birdie realizes something’s amiss. Her ears begin to buzz and her senses are aquiver. Eventually, aided by Martin, her geeky thirteen-year-old son and trusty sidekick, Birdie understands that she now possesses extraordinary powers — superpowers, to be exact. Birdie soon learns, however, that, to quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility and she finds herself struggling to balance a new onslaught of challenges, both at home and in her community. While trying to keep her distant 15-year-old daughter’s heart from being broken (something not even a superhero can do), and dealing with her smug ex-husband and his over-achieving new wife, she must manage her job, PTA responsibilities and a budding romance– all the while trying to rescue her beloved town of Astro Park from an evil force that threatens its children.

So forget those chores— pick up CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM and relish in a much-deserved escape. This charming novel will keep readers glued to the page as they cheer for Super Mom to root out injustice and surrender herself to love. Readers everywhere will find themselves in its pages and rejoice in finding a book that celebrates their overlooked everyday acts of heroism.

Former member of the PTA, Melanie Lynne Hauser is a prototypical Super Mom. CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is her first novel, and she is a contributor, along with Jodi Picoult, Jacqueline Mitchard, Jennifer Lauck and Marion Winik, to the anthology It’s a Boy (November 2005, Seal Press). SUPER MOM SAVES THE WORLD will be published by NAL in March, 2007. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two teenage sons.

Melanie's website—Go there!
September 11, 2006

Hello again, friends. I've been asked to contribute to a Bracketology compilation and need help. What is Bracketology? Think of any sports elimination tournament. You start with 32 teams. Every two are bracketed to play a game. The winner advances to the next bracket, etc. until there is one bracket left, and then, one winning team.

So, I have been asked to organized a bracketed breakdown of the 32 sexiest movie scenes from mainstream film. Not porn. Major pictures (or indies) with recognizable stars. I have a list of about ten I'd like to include. I NEED MORE SEXY MOVIE SCENES! HELP!

In other news, I'm thrilled to have been voted into the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit, a group of thirty writers who give each other blog tours. One writer's new book is covered in the same week by all of the other members. I'll do a GCC blog post on Wednesday. My blog tour won't be until my new books come out in the spring.

Still other news, I'm having a great time writing my latest article for Self. It's called "Shallow Val." Since I've been accused of being "shallow" so many times (usually in the context my novels), I have set out to determine exactly what makes someone emotionally deep or shallow. It's turning out to be a fascinating topic, bringing up art, intelligence, lifestyle, outlook, nature, nurture. Very fun/​great at parties. Thank you, Paula, Dana and Lucy for letting me write all of these unconventional articles!

September 5, 2006

This is a late announcement. Maureen Emmons of Yardley, PA, is the winner of the Big Lebowski trivial contest. She took her time getting her name and address to me, which seems fitting for a Lebowski fan. Congrats, Maureen, and all of last week's winners. The books will soon be in the mail.

School started today. Not a moment too soon. I can turn my attention back to work, and figure out what to do next. Oh, yes, blog readers, friends and fans. I am standing at a crossroads. A big decision will have to be made soon which will determine my future for the next couple of years. After a tense August, a month of mental grappling and scrumming, I'm finally ready for whatever changes come my way. I've pried my mind open with a crowbar, and can conceptualize—nay, visualize—the New Way. As soon as anything is definitive, I'll explain in detail.

Anyway, the wrestling match I've found myself in has been draining my energy. It's also been inspiring. Naturally, I have a new novel idea that is completely different from anything I've done before. For once, I have a decent title going in, which I want to keep close to my vest for the time being.

Shit, I'm a big ball of vague today. So sorry. It's the lunar eclipse. Worse than Mercury retrograde, I hear.

August 30, 2006

Mr. Furious, second from right

The answer to yesterday's movie contest: Mystery Men, as supplied by Cherise Beatty of Arizona. Congrats, Cherise! A copy of Fringe Girl is on the way, as soon as I can schlep my ass to the post office. Same goes for my other winners!

Ben Stiller, who, once upon a time, make witty funny movies, stars as Mr. Furious, a part custom made for Stiller with his patented suppressed rage (see Something About Marry). In Mysterty Men, he lets his fury out, releases it into the wild, to hilarious comic affect. My favorite Ben Stiller movie is Zoolander. I would have given a clue for that (e.g., Who is the following quote referring to: "Hansel is so hot right now"?) but I thought it'd be too easy. Rounding out the Ben Stiller top three: Dodgeball. It's crass, crude, stupid, but just achingly funny.

Well, that ends my movie trivia contest. The remainder of the week, here at the blog, I'll be all Project Runaway, all the time. Make it work, people!

August 28, 2006

The Dude and fan at last year's Lebowskifest

A lot of Big Lebowski fans among my blog readers. The winner sent me an email at 6:45 this morning. I'm waiting for her to send back her name to properly announce her glory. Thanks to those of you who responded later in the day (and, I have to say, I'm impressed how many did).

The Dude (he who abides) is Jeff Bridges in his greatest role ever, The Big Lebowski, in perhaps the funniest pee-in-pants, spit-your-beer movie ever made. Directed by the Coen brothers, also starring Steve Buscemi and John Goodman, The Big Lebowski is a Raymond Chandler mystery, wrapped up in slapstick comedy, with religion, philosophy, porn, art, drugs, sex (and Aimee Mann!) all stuffed into the holes of a bowling ball. The plot hinges on an oriental rug (that which really ties the room together).

Some of you might not be aware of the annual Lebowskifest, this year in Louisville, Kentucky, starting on September 29th. Check out the link below.

One more movie trivia question. A toughie. Only hardcore fans of a certain comic genius/​actor will be familiar with this one. Okay, can anyone tell me what movie's characters include Mr. Furious, The Bowler, The Shoverer, Blue Raja, Casanova Frankenstein and the Spleen? Same prize: one of my books.

Lebowskifest 2006: I can get you a toe
August 27, 2006

You look Divine

And the winner of yesterday's demented movie trivia contest is the novelist Caroline Leavitt. As she wrote in her email, "Dawn Davenport is the incredible Divine in John Waters' hilarious movie Female Trouble!!!! I have your books so I guess I just want the glory if I win the contest." Congrats, Caroline! I had no idea you're a John Waters fan, too. I love that!

Female Trouble was directed by John Waters in 1974. It was also my introduction to the comic stylings of Divine. One of the first scenes in the flick has Divine dressed in a floucy babydoll nightgown and fuzzy slippers, huge hairdo, destroying a lighted tree on Xmas morning, screaming, "I hate Christmas and I hate you" to her cowering parents. Wow. Changes you forever, seeing that.

Okay, since I'm having fun with my trivia con

Okay, since I'm having fun with my trivia contest, I'm going to keep going. Here's an easy one. A lob. From what movie will you hear the phrase "The Dude abides"? No one in the clan Frankel is allowed to answer this, since all of you can recite every line of the entire movie from memory. The first of my five blog readers to send me the correct response gets the usual prize: one novel by me of your choosing, or a free white Russian beverage (that's hint number two, btw). Good luck!

August 26, 2006

Putting the "F" back in Freedom

The winner of yesterday's contest is Julie Ruth from Michegan. The question was, "What movie does the phrase 'America, Fuck Yeah' come from?" She correctly answered with "Team America: World Police." Congrats, Julie!

Meg Cabot also got it right. But she disqualified herself because she already has my books.

Anyone who hasn't seen Team America should Netflix it today. Don't read reviews, don't google the title. It's best not to know anything about it beforehand. Just put the DVD in the machine, push play, and open your mind.

Dog days of August, what better time for demented movie trivia contests? I'm going to do another. Right now. Does the character name Dawn Davenport mean anything to anyone? If so, send me an email with the name of the movie, and the actor who played Dawn. You will receive a free copy of one book (by me) of your own choosing. In the subject line, write the name the book you desire.

August 25, 2006

Well, I've waited years and years for this day. Finally, the FDA has done something right. If you are 18 or older, you will soon be able to purchase Plan B, the morning after pill, over the counter. If you are less than 18, you'll have to get a prescription, which I'm sure any gynecologist would be happy to write, with or without parental approval. The pills ain't cheap. Up to $40 for two (which is, actually one dose). But this is a victory for all women, of any age, in any state, who support choice or "life."

The policy seems like a no brainer. As in, anyone with two brain cells to run together would have put it in place ten years ago. Personally, I think 16-year-olds should be able to purchase Plan B without a prescription. After all, 16 is the new 18. The fear among the opposition is that access to Plan B might result in teens having sex.

Pause for racous laughter.

Marvel at how deluded moralists are. Wonder why sex is considered a threat to our national security. Take a deep breath, and be glad that clearer heads prevailed this round, thanks in part to Hillary Clinton, my state senator, who is determined to protect and guarantee the health, safety and happiness of American women.

P.S. If anyone gets the movie reference in the blog title today—"America, Fuck Yeah!"—I'll send you my last four novels free of charge.

August 18, 2006

From my friends at Avon:

It’s here! Log on now through October 27th for a unique online writing event where Avon Romance authors, editors, and fans team up to create an original e-book novella. Each week, fans will submit chapters based on a predetermined story line. Fans and authors will vote for their favorite chapter and the one with the highest vote total will win the week. The event will continue for six weeks and in the end the novella will be published as an e-book. Throughout the event, prizes will be awarded, including grand prizes of an in-person session with an Avon editor and a $5,000 development deal with Fox TV!

Avon Writing Project
August 14, 2006

I assumed that, while in Vermont, I wouldn't have any celebrity sightings to report to my five blog readers. But when you assume, you make an ass out of yourself (or something like that). Famous people do come to the Upper Valley. Jodi Picoult lives here, as does Janet Evanovich. I've been keeping my eyes peeled (not a pleasant condition, I assure you) for both of them, but haven't seen hide nor red hair. So that's a disappointment. BUT, then it was reported to me that Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor 3, was seen this morning at Isabel's diner in East Thetford, VT. He is a distractingly handsome man, which, round these parts, is a bit of a rarity. So he was stared at, gaped at, jaws dropping off their hinges, while he ate his breakfast. Waitresses were all flutter.

I haven't watched Survivor since season two and don't know a thing about this Ethan Zohn, but I'm considering circling the area around Isabel's anyway. Just for sport.

August 12, 2006

Our time in Vermont draws to an end. This time next week, we'll all be back in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Maggie is still at sleep away camp, Lucy and I are living at my parents' house. Steve is where the action is. Wednesday night, he flew to, you guessed it, LONDON. His plane landed into the Thursday morning chaos of Heathrow. His flight to Manchester was cancelled. He and his friends had to take a train to Buxton, where they will be performing at the annual Gilbert and Sullivan festival.

All day yesterday, I called his hotel, tried to reach him. Confirm that he hadn't been crushed to death in the crowds at Heathrow. Finally, he called me drunk from a pub in Buxton, having just seen a production of The Gondoliers, to tell me he was having a great time. The travel glitch was not a problem, except his luggage is missing. As are all the costumes and wigs for their performance this weekend. He sounds completely unconcerned. Which is good. I'm nervous about his flight back on Friday. But, then again, it'll probably be super safe, given recent events.

I worried far more for Steve than he does for himself. Same with my kids. I might as well just put my heart on a plate every day, and eat it.

Work news: I've been writing a book proposal for a memoir, and it's nearly finished. That's three book proposals so far this summer. A lot of work for the potential of getting work. Waiting for new deals isn't the most comfortable position to be in. Fingers, legs, toes, crossed that my labors will turn into mortgage payments!

August 7, 2006

From the Friends On TV Department:

My favorite sexpert Lou Paget appears tonight on WE TV at 11 PM Pacific, 2 AM Eastern, and again on August 10 at 8 PM Pacific, 11 PM Eastern. The program is called "Making Love Happen with Lou Paget."

Also, Jenna (no, not JennY) McCarthy, a writer from the Mademoiselle days, sent this email: "We promised to share the air-date of our reality TV debut: It’s scheduled for August 12. The show is 'Property Ladder' on TLC. The title: Flipping Foursome’s High-end Hijinx. Not sure what that means exactly…."

I am not scheduled to be on TV this week. But I will be making a rare public appearance at Lou's diner today, at noon, in Hanover, NH, where I will answer any question asked of me, most likely, "What can I get you?" and "Refill on the diet Coke?" and "Pass the salt?"

August 2, 2006

Hurray for the Brits! Two big bits of news from across the pond:
1. Lindsey Davis, along with being a peerless genius, is also a sweetheart. For my parents' 45th wedding anniversary gift, I sent a copy of Davis' See Delphi and Die to her P.O. box in London (thanks again, Jane Chelius for hooking me up), with $40 for return postage and a note asking Ms. Davis to autograph a book to her number one fan, my dad. Well, two weeks later, the book arrives, signed, with a lovely note, and $20. She DIDN'T keep the change! Amazing. I am her fan for life. I'll buy (full retail!) whatever she comes out with forever.

2. Hex and the Single Girl and next year's I Take This Man will be published in England by Little Black Dress, a new Harper imprint. I've sold English rights before, for Smart vs. Pretty. The big excitement about this deal is that I Take This Man will be released at the same time in American and England. I'll have my first international release! Spanning continents simulaneously!

In other news, we went to the Haverhill Fair in Haverhill, New Hampshire. We saw the sights. Prize cows and large dung piles. We also watched some pig races. You haven't lived until you've seen six week old porkers race-swim through a ten foot long lap pool. Lucy loved it, of course. The winning pig got an Oreo cookie. I wondered what would happen to the losers. Best not to think too hard about their fate.

In still other news, I spoke at a book club last night in Lyme, New Hampshire, at the lovely home of Karen Marks. We talked about The Girlfriend Curse, which is set right here, in the Upper Valley. The women were all wonderful, and I had a great time. Thanks again, Karen!

For Your Amusement

Novels
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
Memoir
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!"
Blog Archive
Freshly Killed
Axed by Parenting, 6/05