Monthly Archives: May 2006

Blue Bloods iMix!

Remember mix tapes?? I know everyone does mix CDs or iTunes playlists now, but I still think mix tapes were the best… since CDs can hold SO much information, it’s not really a mix but more of a list of all the songs (who really listens to 4 or 5 hour mixes??)… But when I was a teen, those 60-minute mix tapes meant that for a certain specified time, you could control the songlist. In college, making a mix tape for a friend was the HEIGHT of sealing a friendship…and to make one for a crush, or to receive one from a cute boy, the HEIGHT of love.

My friends always laughed at me because I made the WORST mix tapes. I would put two or three songs from the same artist (usually Madonna) in a row, which was AGAINST THE RULES of mixes…we always aimed for a high/low aesthetic–Color Me Badd and then Elvis Costello, Lou Reed segueing into Pump Up the Jam.

One of the most important lessons I ever learned from my friends at Columbia was to cultivate a sincere appreciation for highbrow and lowbrow culture. To say you only listened to opera and classical music made you a stuck-up nerd, but to only listen to Top 40 meant you were kind of brainless. We all aspired to a fun-loving sophistication. Mahler one day, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch the next.

Our mix tapes reflected this ideal– we would put in Mozart’s Concerto No 19 and then play The Connells right after it. I even have a mix tape with the Hallelujah chorus that fades into Like A Virgin.

Anyway, because I am kind of mix-tape handicapped, when I put together the iMix for Blue Bloods, I asked my husband Mike to help me. Mike was a college radio station DJ in his youth, (one of the inspirations for ANGELS, which is partly set at a college radio station) so he has to take the credit (or the blame) for the iMix.

You can access the iMix through this link which will launch iTunes on your computer.

You can also search for it– it’s called Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz Book Soundtrack!

And if you don’t have iTunes, here are the list of songs on the mix that you can get from any other online store I believe. Or maybe you even own these songs already…And don’t worry, there is no classical music on this, but there is a nice instrumental piece.

All these songs inspired/inspire Blue Bloods…

1. Muse: Time is Running Out – Jack and Schuyler’s Theme
2. Love and Rockets: Haunted When the Minutes Drag – Michael and Gabrielle’s Theme
3. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness: I Want to Die in the Hot Summer – The band’s name sounds like something Mimi would say
4. Jelly Roll Morton: Blue Blood Blues – Is there any other kind?
5. Death Cab for Cutie: I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Bliss and Dylan’s Theme
6. Stellastarr*: Love and Longing – The Blue Blood Anthem
7. The Crimea: Lottery Winners on Acid – Oliver’s Song for Schuyler
8. My Bloody Valentine: Sometimes – A Gothic Love Song
9. Run Run Run: Fade Into You – Schuyler’s Wish
10. M83 : Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun – A Conspiracy Tune

Enjoy! As we used to say, “chair-dance” away….

xoxo
Mel

PS-I will also be putting up an Au Pairs iMix very soon!

Literary Crushes

Rivers Cuomo is graduating from Harvard next week! How cute is that. And he even lived in the dorms. Read the story here. When I was writing Sun-Kissed, I had to think of three new hot guys, and one of the guys I always had a crush on in college was Rivers, so he was the inspiration for Ben Defever, the cute guy with glasses who is one of Jacqui’s three boyfriends this summer. I gave him Warren Defever from His Name is Alive’s last name because I wanted a rockstar last name, and His Name is Alive is one of Mike’s all-time favorite bands, so it fit.

I was so excited to see Ryan Perry from the Au Pairs made the list of this reader’s Top 20 literary crushes. I get SO much email about Ryan, and I have to admit I have a bit of a crush on him too… he’s just so adorable isn’t he? I was happy to find a couple of my literary crushes on the list too. Jaime Lannister and Jon Snow from the Song of Fire and Ice Series, Will from His Dark Materials. I should add Paul Atreides from Dune, Laurie Lawrence from Little Women, Aragorn from LOTR.

The two guys in my new book ANGELS are pretty crush-worthy as well. Although Nick Huntington, the male protagonist, is a bit different from the other guys I have written. He’s the type of guy, like Ryan Perry, who always got everything he ever wanted, he’s handsome, rich, and popular, who’s always kind of cruised by on life but then something happens and he’s shaken out of his contented life and he has to make some interesting choices…The other guy, Johnny Silver, with ‘platinum hair and violet eyes’ is kind of a “ghost” in the book, he’s in the first and last chapter, but his influence is felt throughout the novel. Anyway, I should probably stop talking about these characters and start finishing their story!

xoxo
Mel

My First Starred Review!

Just wanted to share that the Booklist review, which I have posted on my blog previously, was printed in the Booklist magazine with a STAR and in its own BOX! This is very, very special. I have NEVER gotten a starred review before! And I have always dreamed of having one! And now I do. Hee!

You can check out the full content of the Booklist review on my site and click on the “Press” page.

There are many new additions to my home page, in “Photos” you can see MORE photos of the fab launch party, and under “Publication Schedule” you can see what books I have coming out in the next year. I also added a few new links to some friends’ websites in “Links”.

Yesterday we went to see X-Men 3. It was just OK. We were pretty excited for the movie (Dark Phoenix! Whoo!) but in the end, it was just like a Justice League cartoon. Enjoyable, but eminently forgetttable. I guess we’ll all just have to reread the comics and be satisfied with that. We also saw The Da Vinci Code the other day, which was SO boring. The book kept me up until 3AM, and the movie was such a snore. We knew we were going to be disappointed and yet we saw it anyway. We also saw Mission Impossible 3, which was just Alright for me, dog, as Randy on American Idol says. Mike and I love summer blockbuster movies, but I think after this round we’re going to go see some quirky independent or foreign movies now. Although our hopes are high for Superman Returns. (Or as Mike calls it, “Superman Returns…His Blockbuster Video!” “Superman Returns…His Library Book!”)

Today I’m going over the first 100 pages of Angels and figuring out if the pacing and story are working. I was a little worried it was moving too slowly, but now I think it’s moving too fast. You gotta get it *just right*. 🙂

Have a great Memorial Day everyone!
xoxo
Mel

Great VOYA review of Blue Bloods!

Got a GREAT review in VOYA today…

“Schuyler, Mimi, Bliss, and Jack live the good life in New York City. Young, beautiful, and rich, they are members of the exclusive philanthropic society known as The Committee. More than just a charitable board, The Committee guards an ancient secret that the blue-blood members of the American upper class are actually Blue Bloods, a four-hundred-member ancient race of vampires that might not be as invincible as it believes. Combining historical references to the lost colony of Roanoke with high-fashion name-dropping and the threat of an evil hunting the Blue Bloods, de la Cruz takes her trademark brand of high-society chick-lit and turns it into a fresh and engaging vampire tale. The four main characters develop from character types to believable teens struggling with the realities of being both young and undead. To be sure, most teens do not get modeling contracts in the hallway of their high schools, but many deal with distant, ill, or embarrassing parents, much like these teens. With tongue-in-cheek explanations for everything from how the no-sun or garlic myths began, to vampirism being the reason that these elite girls can eat their weight in cupcakes without gaining an ounce, de la Cruz opens the vampire genre to readers who cannot get enough glimpses into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Recommend this title along with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005/VOYA October 2005) as a delicious reading feast and be prepared to be asked when the next Blue Bloods book is due. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Hyperion, 256p., Ages 11 to 18.”

-VOYA – Vikki C. Terrile

Yay!!!! Thanks Vikki! VOYA rocks!!!

By the way, a “4Q” is a really high ‘writing’ rating for VOYA. I’ve hardly ever seen 5Q’s. Although I did get a 4Q and a 5P “Most YAs were dying to read it yesterday” – the highest appeal rating — for The Au Pairs.

Part of me is still a kid who loves getting good grades. Hee.

One of the things that is so hard about adulthood is that there are no progress reports. I was one of those kids who derived a lot of my self-esteem from my report cards. Yes, I know, I was a big nerd. But I didn’t have a social life back then, so I had to find happiness SOMEWHERE.

In other news, I am an aunt again! I haven’t blogged much about it because my sister is one of those people who likes to keep her private life private and probably finds being related to an author a bit…inconvenient sometimes. (Like when I used to post all my dad’s emails on McSweeney’s a long time ago, behind my family’s back, and um, my sister and brother got REALLY mad at me.) But my new nephew is amazing, and I just love him so much. His brother is my godson and these two boys are the light of my life.

Ok. Must. Stop. Blogging.

I have been procrastinating all morning working on ANGELS. I really need to get back to that book. My goal is to have 30 pages done by Sunday. I know I can do it, which is why I keep pushing it off. Ack.

xoxo
Mel

Girls Rule!

I’m always so surprised that I have so many great girlfriends. This might sound strange coming from the author of The Au Pairs, which is about rah-rah sistahood-boom-bah friendship, but for the longest time, I was really wary of having close relationships with women. I think it came from having attended a bitchy all-girls school, where I had no friends at all.

So for the longest time, I much preferred the company of gay men–they were my confidants, my sista-divas, my best friends.

I will always love my boys, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to deeply appreciate my close friendships with women. Girls rule!

I was just thinking about this because yesterday I hung out with two women writer friends in L.A., Anna and Celeste. It was so nice and relaxing to hang out and talk shop (we’ve all written for the same magazines and worked for some of the same editors). Women are so supportive of each other–at least, the RIGHT women.

There is definitely a competitive streak in ambitious career women, but I think it becomes muted as you mature. For me, I’ve come to the realization after a long, long time that it is not about “beating” other people in the race, it is about running your OWN race, at your OWN pace. And after all, the same wave floats all boats, and what is good for one gal is usually good for another.

I have known my best friend from college, Jennie, who is the reason I am on MySpace (she urged me to join and she puts up all my pictures) for seventeen years now. We were seventeen when we met! (And seriously, how unfair is it that Jennie still looks seventeen!) The best part of our friendship is that when we hang out, we are reduced to being seventeen again. Just smoking and giggling on the couch, even though I’m not supposed to smoke anymore since I “quit” a couple of years ago (but oh, old friends bring that out in you! And I SO look forward to hanging out with Jennie because it means I can be wicked and smoke again-wheee!) and flipping through the channels of the TV or looking through magazines together.

What I miss the most about being a teenager is how fun simply hanging out is… doing NOTHING with your friends and having a blast. When you grow up, all the fun is scheduled–dinner parties, dinners, or going to openings or going to see someone’s play or band or reading or whatever. Which is all fun too, but not quite the same.

I realize I haven’t posted in a while about what I’ve bought lately. The truth is I’ve been so nauseous I haven’t had the energy to shop, plus since I’m going to get a lot bigger in the coming months, shopping for clothes doesn’t seem that exciting right now. But I did buy some fab maternity jeans at Barneys. How much do I love that elastic waistband on my Chip and Pepper ($110 from $180) jeans? And my new prego Citizens of Humanity jeans ($100 from $150)? SO MUCH. I love how the waistband is so comfy, and with a longish top covering it, you look totally “the same” as before.

Prego jeans rule! Almost as much as hanging out with girls!

xoxo
Mel

Drinking! Drugs! Non-Explicit Sex! Huh?

Some fun stuff today… My editor at Hyperion sent over the School Library Journal review of “Blue Bloods”. I *heart* SLJ, they have been nothing but KIND to my Au Pairs books, and Fresh off the Boat, so I was totally expecting another nice review…

And here’s what I get:

“This novel constantly name-drops and is full of product placements, drinking, drugs, nonexplicit sex, and superficial characterizations, but the intriguing plot will keep teens reading. De la Cruzs explanation for the disappearance of the Colony of Roanoke is unique and the idea that models dont gain weight because they are Blue Bloods rather than anorexic is unusual.”Sharon Rawlins, NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Trenton”

OOF! Bad, bad writer–name-dropping?? Product placements? Drinking? Drugs? Non-explicit Sex? (LOL! All those things teens DON’T want to read about right? 🙂

I’m just glad I had that intriguing plot up my sleeve!

I found this review a little funny, because here’s SLJ’s review of The Au Pairs:

“De la Cruz name-drops and power-shops throughout, creating an entertaining vision of how “the other half” lives. The Au Pairs offers wealth, status, steamy sex, lots of heavy drinking, changing values, and juicy fun on the East Coast for fans of Zoey Dean’s “The A-List” series and Cecily von Ziegesar’s “Gossip Girl” series (both Little, Brown).”Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL

So the Au Pairs reviewer thinks name-dropping, power-shopping, steamy sex, status and heavy drinking are fun and entertaining and juicy… while the Blue Bloods reviewer thinks all those things are the total opposite…

Which just goes to prove that Everybody Is Entitled To Their Own Opinion.

Some people are going to like, even love, what I write, because of the fun, party-hopping, shopping, sexy stuff, and some people will hate it because of these same exact elements…

When I was a teen, I read books PRECISELY because of all the fun elements in it that I didn’t have in my own life…I really liked to fantasize that I was this jaded, cool person who knew New York like the back of my hand, and had all these awful, glamorous problems. And sordid stories were an added bonus. I’m thinking here of V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic series, Bret Easton Ellis’s Less than Zero, Jay McInerney’s Story of my Life… And all the “hot” parts in my mom’s off-limits Harold Robbins books that I read on the sly…

One thing that gets slammed a lot I notice, is the whole “product placement” angle. Why is it called product placement? I don’t get any money for mentioning brand names in my books. I know some people find it annoying, but if you do, then don’t read my books. So simple! Who needs to be annoyed all the time? Seriously. Life is too short to be annoyed by a book.

I grew up reading Stephen King, and his books are chockfull of pop culture references and product placements –Coke, Cheerios, Fords, Twinkies. But no one ever mentions him. But all us chic-lit girls get slammed because we like to write about the perfect pair of Chloe pants.

Part of this prejudice, I think, is the whole anti-fashion feeling. There’s this idea or perception that people who read are not interested in fashion, or should not be, as readers they should be “above” that. These people are scared of fashion, and think that fashion is elitist and snobby and should not be celebrated.

When I think of fashion, I think of Miguel Adrover making a cap-sleeved sweater with real NY Yankee caps for sleeves. (And of how I really should have bought it even though it was a joke, it was only $300 and I know it will be in the Costume Institute some day.) I think of creativity and humor and over-the-top outrageousness, all of which should definitely be celebrated. There’s a difference between fashion and materialism, which Karen and I stress a lot in The Fashionista Files. But some people can’t tell, or don’t care to see the difference, and they read a line like “Marni camisole” in a novel and smoke comes out of their ears. Pah!

Tess Gerritsen on her blog writes about how even twenty years later, she’s labeled as a “romance writer” and that peeling off that label is something that the media won’t allow you to do. I totally sympathize, because for the longest time, whenever anyone wrote about me, I was former “fashion writer” Melissa de la Cruz. As if the only thing I should ever write are captions for clothing layouts.

It’s so much easier to stick someone in the romance or the fashion ghetto than to acknowledge them as a writer, isn’t it?

Anyway, I got moving again on ANGELS, and wrote thirteen pages yesterday. I was sick with a cold and pregnancy nausea, but the reason I had a bit of a block was that I came upon a really nasty review of Blue Bloods on the web, which really knocked me off my game. It was just the most vitriolic, hateful, spiteful, and personally mocking “review”, with plot spoilers to boot!

When I come upon things like this, and in my ten plus years as a writer, I have encountered it before (I used to write incendiary essays for the New York Press so I know a lot about hate mail), it never ceases to bother me. I get over it after a day or two, but when someone unleashes so much hatred on your creation, you can’t help but feel stomach-punched.

But the thing is, you get up. You feel better. You realize all your dreams have come true, and that continuing to write, getting paid to write, (I am signed up for 13 books in the next three years. Isn’t that crazy?), is the best revenge…

And the nice thing is that I have read so many nice reviews of Blue Bloods everywhere else, and so many readers have been emailing me telling me how much they like it, so everything is worth it. Who cares about one rotten apple?

Like I always say, being annoyed by a book is the stupidest thing I have heard of. Books are a PLEASURE. They are one of the most enjoyable things around, so if you look for books that contain things that will just make you irritated, why read it?

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has emailed about Sun-Kissed! I re-read it the other night, and it cracked me up too.

I’ve also started reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I really really loved White Teeth. I just thought it was brilliant. I’m enjoying On Beauty a lot, although some of the dialogue of the American teens sounds off to my ears, which is bothering me. But not a lot. I’m not annoyed! Just a little confused. White Teeth was so spot-on and perfect. On Beauty is not quite White Teeth, but is very riveting and moving.

One thing that I thought was really interesting in the story is how she depicts Zora, the 19 year old precocious daughter of the protagonist. One of the plot lines has Zora really annoyed that she can’t get into this Creative Writing Seminar, and so she complains to the Dean that the professor of keeping her out because the professor had an affair with her father (another professor at the university).

So the Dean asks the professor in, and explains the situation, reminding the professor that she doesn’t want to be put in this position, (going to the Adivsory Board, a possible lawsuit, etc). Basically Zora is very manipulative. And in the end, the professor lets her into the class. (The professor is really angry, because the affair has nothing to do it, she says that Zora can’t write poetry. She has “arguments”.)

This chapter was really involving for me, because I *SO* remember going to school with all these little Zoras… manipulative, intelligent, grade-grubbers. They were the ones who bullied and argued their way from a B to an A-. They’d been so used to getting easy A’s all their lives, it was such an affront to them that anyone would give them a mere B.

And I also remember how competitive it was to get into Creative Writing Seminars in college. My friends and I all wanted to get into these Story-writing classes, along with oh, hundreds of other people… I was a freshman in a junior-level Creative Writing class, the only one in the class. And I have to proudly say, I got in because I quoted Madonna in my essay on Why I should Be in the Class. I think I quoted from “Burning Up”. Something like “I’m down on my knees, begging you please, I would do anything…” And the professor probably thought that was pretty funny, she had a good sense of humor. I thought it was quite clever myself. Back then Madonna wasn’t a thesis subject quite yet. She was still just a pop star. So it was an anti-intellectual move. Which worked.

But I also didn’t get into some other classes. I didn’t get into A.M. Homes’ class. I interviewed with her and she read my story (which was about two college girls who kill the boy who was cheating on both of them. If I ever find it I’ll post it sometime. It’s funny.) and her lip curled. And I could just tell she was one of those people who don’t like my style of writing. And I didn’t get in. Oh well. You win some, you lose some…

No grade-grubbing! Enjoy life! Read books that won’t annoy you!

xoxo,
Mel

Dignity at the Valet?

One of our good friends in L.A., Ian, a television editor, is buying a new car. Ian is from the East Coast, his parents are artists in Maine, and one of the things he is looking for in a new car is simply “dignity at the valet.”

Everywhere you go in this city, you HAVE to valet-park. It is almost impossible to find street parking, and after going round and round the block several times, paying five bucks to have a guy wearing the standard white-shirt/black vest uniform park your car is a huge relief.

Right now Ian drives an old Toyota Corolla. At valet stands, he is not immune to looks of pity, and he confessed that part of him always wants to say to them, “WHAT??? I CAN PAY FOR THE FOOD!”

He just doesn’t buy into the snobby car culture, and he’s determined not to buy a flashy, expensive car just because everyone in L.A. drives one. But he DOES want a car which WON’T engender those looks of pity. Hence, a car with “dignity at the valet.”

Most people in L.A. go for INTIMIDATION at the valet.

I have to admit, for the longest time (ever since we moved) I have aspired to this level of car nirvana. In fact, as anyone who has spent anytime with me knows, I am OBSESSED with buying a Range Rover. I tell everyone that I can’t wait until the lease on my car runs out so I can buy the baddest, coolest, most pimped-out Rover there is on the market. I have become a broken record about this. I have made this car out to be the most awesome car in the world, and that owning it would definitely change my life…

See, the problem is, when we moved to L.A., Mike and I still thought like New Yorkers. And to New Yorkers, ANY car is awesome, because no one OWNS a car in Manhattan, it’s such a bonus luxury. (In fact, our friends back in NY still marvel at the fact that we own TWO cars. They think we live a life of total indulgence.) So, we bought New York-value cars, as in, practical, dependable, not-flashy. Back in NY, the few of our friends who do own wheels are proud owners of Toyota Camrys, (the quintessential Park Slope car I am told), Subaru stationwagons, Kias.

We bought a Honda Element for Mike, who loved the car’s design, and practicality, and it’s a Honda–it’s SO dependable. It’s very “architect” he said. (He also said that some guy at his old firm who drove a Mercedes was roundly scorned.) And we leased a VW Passat for me, since it was “on sale” the week we leased it–it’s so cheap it’s the same amount I pay our cleaning lady every month. I like my Passat, it drives really well, it’s nice-looking, and it’s one of the safest cars out there.

But it has no WOW factor at the valet. It’s a bit of a stodgy family car. And as we got acclamated to L.A., I realized, your car is like your handbag. And you know how I feel about handbags! I felt like I was rocking the Kate Spade of cars. Or maybe even a leather Coach bag. It was nice, it had a bit of style, but it wasn’t terribly expensive or cutting-edge. And I DON’T own any Kate Spade or Coach.

Whereas, you know, the Range Rover, now that’s like a Chanel handbag. Classic. Must-have.

But now that I’ve talked about this to anyone who would listen to me whine, I realize I’ve changed my mind. Status-symbol cars just aren’t going to do it for me anymore. I got grossed out by my rampant materialism, and remembered how when I was in college at Columbia, we were all youthful idealists who all agreed owning a statusy car was the epitome of disgusting bourgeouis values. (And this from a girl who grew up being chauffered in a Mercedes!)

And that’s the word I was looking for–idealism. When did I trade in my tie-dye values for logo aspiration? Now don’t get me wrong, I still love a great car–when Mike and I have the money, we are going to ask our neighbor, who restores vintage cars (he drives a vintage Citroen that I gave to Mitzi Goober in Skinny-Dipping), to restore one for us. (They are really expensive, around 100-200k.) And we call our IRA the “Lamborghini Fund” –we’re going to spend our retirement money on an Italian sportscar!

I think dreaming about cars just runs in the family. My dad, for instance, has for years been talking about buying a Porsche Carrera. He’s visted the dealer so many times, they know him by his first name when he walks in. And yet, even though he can afford it, he’s never bought it. Because although Pop likes to talk about how great the Porsche is, and how wonderful it will be to own it, Pop REALLY loves driving his ten-year old Plymouth Voyager minivan. He can’t seem to part with it, which is why he can’t bring himself to buy the Porsche. It would feel like a betrayal to his down-to-earth values. (The other car is a Mercedes but Mom drives it.)

In fact, when I bought my Passat, Pop always kidded me by saying I should have at least leased a BMW. When I told him how cheap it was, he said, “That’s not the point!” But then Mike and I counter by reminding him he drives a Voyager. Ha.

When I was a kid, my dad always talked about buying things, a bigger TV, a bigger house, a more expensive car… but he also always seemed perfectly happy with what he had. But he REALLY liked to dream and to fantasize about how life would be different “if”… But now I realize that what Pop was subconsciously telling us all along, was that even if you can afford the Porsche, or whatever it is you want, the pleasure really comes from THINKING about it, and not owning it.

Once it’s yours, the dream is gone.. and it just becomes some THING that you have…which is not that exciting.

I think, in the end, I’m really my dad’s daughter. Because as much as I have complained about my car being so “boring” I find I really can’t stomach the thought of being the kind of person who needs an expensive car just to have self-esteem. Mike told me that William Gibson, the awesome sci-fi writer, just drives a Jetta. And Neil Gaiman drives a Mini. Of course, Danielle Steele drives a Bentley…Mmmm….

But hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Shelf Life

I was happy to find TeenReads.com had reviewed Blue Bloods! It’s one of my favorite Teen Book websites. Here’s what they say:

“Secrets, intrigue and suspense — it’s all here in this first installment of Melissa de la Cruz’s spine-tingling new series.” – Amy Alessio, Teenreads.com

And I also found this from B&N.com, another review from the trade press:

“While teenage vampire stories are numerous nowadays, this title adds new elements about vampires that keep the story and legend fresh…This book is a worthy addition to the vampire genre.” -Amie Rose Rotruck, Children’s Literature

Yay!

Yesterday we were in Santa Monica to run errands and I walked into the B&N and they had Sun-Kissed face-out on the new books shelves! Awesome! And Blue Bloods was prominently displayed in the middle of the “Tales of Love and Romance” section as well. And they had paperback copies of Skinny-Dipping and Fresh off the Boat. Which means I actually have four books out this month. And am competing with myself for space. Too funny.

I realize so much of my blogging is about seeing my books on shelves. How embarassing! But it really is a thrill to see them there, especially after years of having my books either all the way in the back, or categorized in an obscure shelf. (Our How to be Famous Book was always under “Sociology” or “Pop Culture” or “Journalism” and no one I know could ever find it in a bookstore. Ditto Fashionista Files, which was filed under Fashion next to coffee-table books. Karen and I always wondered why there wasn’t a category “Non-Fiction Chick Lit” to put them under.)

A couple of readers have been asking when I will write a new adult novel, a follow-up to Cat’s Meow. I actually had signed on to write “The Fortune Hunters”, which was a satirical/comic novel like CM, but for some reason I got distracted by my YA work, and my agent and I decided to cancel the contract for now. I even gave back the money. But the Fortune Hunters is calling to me again, as is a new idea for an adult book, so hopefully it won’t be too long. The only problem is my schedule is so packed right now, I don’t know when I can fit them in, and I really shouldn’t be thinking of other books when I have two that are DUE, DUE, DUE.

The guilt has taken over, I must go back to writing.

xoxo
Mel

Blurb Sluts and The Book Vortex

I wrote ten pages of ANGELS today, Woo-hoo! Yesterday, I wrote ZERO pages. So, according to my schedule, this means I have to make up for yesterday by writing twenty pages tomorrow. The goal is to get 100 pages done by the end of the week. The story is moving really well, and I’m really loving my main characters, Taj and Nick. They’re so different from any character I’ve ever written–both of them are SO flawed, and yet so lovable… Anyhoo…

The reason I wasn’t able to write anything yesterday was that I got totally SUCKED IN by a book. You know how that happens, one day, you’re just bobbing along with life, and the next moment – VOOOMPF you’re sucked in the vortex of an awesome book, and that’s it, you’re gone… I can never not know the endings to books, or put down a book I’m reading if it’s really really good, so what usually happens is I read until wee hours of the night, after husband is asleep, forsaking dinner, until I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

The book that sucked me in was Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle”. If you have not read this book yet, I urge you to run to your nearest bookstore and BUY IT. It is sooo good and sooo funny. I have not laughed out loud since Ignatius J. Reilly tripped over that old lady in “A Confederacy of Dunces.” There is a scene where one of the characters is mistaken for a bear, and, well, you will just have to find out for yourself! But it is HILARIOUS.

I have never heard of this book, but I remember seeing it on other author’s “favorite books” list. It’s a book from the 1950’s. The thing that drew me to the book was a blurb from J. K. Rowling. I have NEVER seen a blurb from J.K. Rowling on anything, so I immediately bought it, knowing it was going to be good.

Some of us authors are blurb-sluts. I know I am, if any of my editors ask me to blurb a book of theirs, I usually say yes, even before I’ve read the book. When I was starting out, it was hard to get blurbs from established authors, and I know there are some authors out there who are all uppity about the whole blurb thing (you know you you are!), and I truly despise that. If a few kind words can help a new author, who am I to withold them?

But that being said, I do pay attention to authors to hardly ever blurb–like the aforementioned Ms. Rowling.

Anyway, my only beef with “I Capture the Castle” is that it doesn’t quite end super-happily. And I love myself a happy ending. Its ending is hopeful, but not happy…which means we have to imagine how the characters turn out in the end. Come to think of it, it’s a little like the ending to Sun-Kissed, but I will say no more on that subject.

Still, it was a diverting, awesome read, and while I felt super-guilty not to have worked yesterday, I was also glad to have spent the time in the narrator’s company.

I bought it at Border’s, where I was happy to find copies of Blue Bloods face-out in the YA Fantasy section next to Cirque du Freak. Yeah! And I’m happy to report that Sun-Kissed is currently #145 on the B&N.com rankings. I still haven’t seen that book in bookstores, but readers are telling me that they have been able to buy it at theirs, so it must be trickling out…

Party pictures are imminent! We finally got them from Patrick’s office, and my webmistresses are busy putting them together…

xoxo
Mel

Fun B-List sighting, Work Progress

Yesterday was a great day, I banged out twelve pages of ANGELS, and we saw Jeremy Piven in Larchmont.

We were eating lunch at Cafe du Village, this cute little French restaurant in Larchmont, a very quaint East-Coast-y neighborhood in Los Angeles, near Hancock Park. And who else walks in but “Ari” from Entourage! Mr. Piven looked every inch the star, with his white v-neck T-shirt and dark black Aviator sunglasses. He sat in one of the sidewalk tables, and even from where I was sitting I could see chest hair.

And work is going well, I am gunning to have ANGELS done by the end of the month, so I can wrap up BB2 by next month. I was in a fog for so long about both of these books, and suddenly, I woke up and Hallelujah… everything finally clicked in my head. THANK GOD.

I’ve been reading Tess Gerritsen’s blog (directed to it by Meg Cabot’s fab blog-that should be one word- fablog!) and she was writing (Tess, not Meg) about how as you write more books, you actually get MORE anxious rather than more confident.

It’s SO TRUE. Every book is a struggle. A good struggle, but a struggle nonetheless. Sometimes I wonder if my life is one of those, “be careful what you wish for” scenarios. I wanted nothing more than to be able to write books–SERIES books, like the ones I loved growing up (Enid Blyton was my particular fave), and now that I do, why does it seem like life has become harder and not easier?

So many nights I just toss and turn because I am so worried about my story, my characters, and how I can’t seem to make it work, and it’s quite miserable, really. But then something happens–and haha–the machine starts to chug, and I get really excited all over again…

In between writing I’ve even started outlining the third book I have due this year, SOCIAL LIFE, and it’s going to be SO fun–totally outrageous social antics of three beautiful American girls in St. Tropez–full of topless beaches, champagne showers, and beach discos that open at noon! Woo-hoo! I’ve always loved the French Riviera…I can’t WAIT to start writing THAT…

xoxo
Mel