Monthly Archives: July 2006

Some Nice Reviews/Fashion Frustration

Found this nice review of Blue Bloods from the Herald-Mail newspaper. Here is the link and the text is below if you don’t want to jump to the link.

Sink Your Teeth into this coming-of-age book
by Christine Burgh
Herald-Mail.com

Set in dramatic New York City, Melissa de la Cruz’s “Blue Bloods” puts a different spin on the vampire novel.

Schuyler Van Alen is a 15-year-old girl descended from the rich and powerful of New York. With her mother in a mysterious coma and an absent father, Schuyler is taken care of by her elderly grandmother.

But things soon start to change. When Schuyler receives an invitation to “the Committee,” a club Schuyler is sure she isn’t meant for, her first reaction is to decline. But her grandmother has different ideas. Schuyler reluctantly attends the meeting and discovers a startling truth: She is a blue blood, an immortal vampire. Even worse, something is killing her kind.

This book has a great story line, incorporating the dilemmas of teenagers into the life of a vampire. The story is told through the viewpoints of different characters, giving the novel unexpected twists.

I would recommend this 302-page book not just to vampire novel fans but to anyone who enjoys a great story.

Look out for the next book in the series, “Silver Bloods.”

_____

Only the sequel is called “Masquerade” not “Silver Bloods”. Not sure where the reviewer got that info.

Also, TeenReads.com reviews Sun-Kissed! Here is the link.

And here’s an excerpt from the very nice review from Amy Alessio!

“Au Pairs fans will enjoy reading about where these three friends are heading. While the clothing and party descriptions add ambience, the strength of this series has always been the friendship among the girls. The problems are real, and although many storylines are tied up neatly yet satisfyingly, there are surprises in this installment.”

___

Also wanted to say that I will be posting “Advice for Young Writers” on my website and a “F.A.Q.” page very soon… I get so many emails from you guys asking how to start out, and so I have collected my thoughts together and have posted the kind of advice I wish I had been given when I was starting out…

Still working on rewrites for Masquerade, and beefing up the second half of the book. I’m hoping to be done by mid-August so I can have a bit of a vacation before gearing up for the next two books I have due! And then the baby comes! Aaah! Craziness.

What can one do when one is so busy??

Why, spend all your time FANTASY SHOPPING of course. I am officially kind of sick of maternity clothes. Yes, they were fun for a while. And I’m having a fun time trying to be “Angelina Jolie pregnant” (lots of empire-waist Theory dresses) or “Gwen Stefani pregnant” (fun kimono tops). But seriously, ENOUGH.

I have been drooooling over all the new clothes in Vogue and Bazaar and W… and I really really want a great new winter coat. Every year when I lived in New York I would buy a new winter coat (or two). It was one of the funnest parts of living in the city– because you know, we don’t have cars, in the city, so your coat and your handbag equals your luxury SUV. I would buy sumptous tweed and fur and velvet coats from Valentino, Michael Kors, Viktor & Rolf, Veronique Branquinho, vintage suede Pauline Trigere… every season DEMANDED a new coat.

But now I live in LA and really, I cannot justify buying a new winter coat because we don’t have winter here. Yes, I know, it does get “cold” in L.A. Otherwise known as sixty degrees. But seriously, when you’re just running from your car to the restaurant, there is no need for a coat. So I’m bummed. I loved buying coats, they were one of the highlights of my fall fashion spree.

The funny thing about all the summer sales going on right now in LA is that all these clothes that are on sale can still be used for at least four more months… the weather really does not change from August to December. (It actually gets more pleasant, because 100 degrees is awful, but 80-85 is great pool weather.) So I should just stock up on all these summer clothes since I can wear them anyway…

I am OBSESSED with this empire-waist dress from T-Bags. It’s sooo gorgeous. Everyone in LA is working this whole long-dress thing right now. Last summer it was strapless and empire and long and jersey, this year it is halter and printed and long and jersey. I just came back from Montana Ave and was so sad that none of the stores (not even Planet Blue) had this T-Bags dress. I asked and they said they are sold out! So now I have to pre-order it at Shop Intuition. Which is a pain, I’m all about instant gratificiation. Who even knows if I will want this dress when it finally arrives? Also, just to complain–at Planet Blue this dress was only $110. (They had the size smalls but I’m pregnant and need the large!) But for some reason it is $200 on Shop Intuition. Wassup with that? I really want this dress because it is a) not a maternity dress and b) tres fabulous.

I also want this Rachel Pally caftan dress that Sarah Jessica Parker was wearing in the pages of US Weekly. Doesn’t it look sooo comfy? Although again, it is sold out everywhere and the only version available is the long one. Which will be great for the fall but right now it is just too hot to wear kimono sleeves AND a floor-length hem in LA.

In other news, I visited the Eagle Rock Target on Friday, and lo and behold – they had the Paul and Joe for Target line already!!!!! SOOO EXCITING!!! I’m such a huge Paul and Joe fan! And their clothes are SO expensive, I bought a cute caftan top of theirs from Barneys and it was friggin’ $600! For a top! But they are worth it because they are so, so cute and they look so individual and no one else will be rocking that top since they don’t make very many of them. So, you can imagine my extreme happiness at seeing the Target version for $40!! Alas, they did not have my size. (The racks were CLEANED out my friends). But I did manage to get a really cute silk kimono top $39, cute green silk dress $49, really cute plaid shorts $29, and ultra-cute plaid hoodie-caftan $59 and adorable peach lace-trimmed camisole $29. Almost nothing fits right now except for the kimono top, so I have to wait until I have the baby and get back to pre-preggers size before I can wear these clothes. They also had a really cute white leather jacket for $149, but I’m going to think about that one first. I still haven’t even worn the Luella one that I bought last season!

It’s really so heartening to see designerwear at such cheap prices, so accessible. I can’t wait for the Nine West Sophia Kokosolakai, Vivienne Westwood and Thakoon line, and Viktor and Rolf at H&M! Woo hoo!

I always talk so much about how you can get all this great stuff from Target, but when Mike or my mom points to one of my clothes and asks, “That’s nice, is it Target?” I get really annoyed! Because more often than not, it is NOT Target, it is from Barneys and costs a fortune. Just because I have SOME stuff from Target does not mean EVERYTHING is from Target.

The coolest would be to wear that great Balenciaga cape coat (you know the one that makes you look like a lampshade) with the Paul and Joe shorts from Target. Fashionista, baby!

Ok, now back to BB2: Masquerade…which is chockfull of fabulous, fabulous outfits for the most fabulous teen vampires evah!!!

xoxo
Mel

Meeting in the Ladies’ Room

This weekend, I finally updated my iPod. I have been listening to the same 800 songs for oh, about six years… I’m very musically challenged and the only reason I listen to any new music at all is because my husband Mike is a former college DJ and keeps up with all the new music. Thank god, someone in the house HAS to be plugged into the music culture otherwise it would just be pitiful.

My ex-best-friend was once THE source of new techno/hiphop/dance music and it was so great knowing him because he always had the most cool and cutting-edge dance music and via knowing him I could be vicariously cool. But since he is now an XBFF, sadly, he does not provide this service anymore. Isn’t it sad how almost whole parts of one’s life disappear when friends do? I really miss Morgan. And I think I miss his CDs just as much.

One of the songs I downloaded yesterday was “Meeting in the Ladies’ Room” by Klymaxxx. It’s such a hilarious 80s song, and one that I remember very fondly. It also made me think about the whole phenomenon of girls going to the bathroom together. My best friend Jennie is a huge advocate of this power move. I remember in college and our early 20s whenever we would go out with a group of cute guys and they had invited some girls we didn’t know, Jennie would always say “Mel, I need to go, do you need to go too?” And that was the cue that Jennie and I would collect our handbags and exit NOISILY from the table, letting the other girls at the table know that we were leaving to go to the bathroom, so we could talk about THEM. One time, one of the other girls even huffily said, “Why do you guys always go to the bathroom together? So you can talk about us right?” And Jennie and I professed to be shocked, shocked to be accused of such bitchy behavior! And you bet we talked about it in the ladies’ room. Hee.

Fun B-List Sighting!!

Perhaps this is even a C-List sighting. On Friday night, Mike and I were having dinner at Taste, this trendy new restaurant in the Farmer’s Daughter hotel and halfway through the meal, this huge group of young guys came down and sat at the table next to ours. And then Mike started doing this sideways shake of his head and eyes darting to the side, to let me know he had spotted someone FAMOUS. So I totally turned just as this redheaded girl was walking past, and I was like, “Who is it??” And the guys at the table next to us looked in the direction I was looking in, because they too, wanted to know if they had missed some famous starlet or something. Then Mike started laughing because the famous person was at the guys’ table. BJ Novak, who plays Ryan the Cute Intern on The Office! So that makes two “Office” castmembers we have seen now. We saw Jon Krasinski at Poquito Mas a couple of months ago. Really, this is a C-List sighting, and the meal was quite tasteless and over-priced, but we’re big fans of The Office so I give it a “B”.

This weekend we also saw a bunch of movies–it has been so hot in LA that we have had to escape to the movie theaters. We saw “Lady in the Water” which was just dreadful. Just awful. We knew it was going to be bad, but it was the only movie we were able to catch at the time we arrived, so we saw it. Can I just say the movie has a water-nymph character who is called a “Madam Narf”–Um, does she run a bordello under the sea?

We also saw “A Scanner Darkly” which we liked a lot. The movie kind of meanders a bit, and there’s a lot of just druggie humor–you know, how druggies just sit around and make jokes while they chop up lines/roll joints/what have you. Entertaining up to a point. But there’s a great twist in the end that was very cool. And plus, Philip K. Dick – can’t mess with that!

Last night we saw “Clerks II” which was awesome. It really made me laugh, and I had been needing a laugh…my dad’s latest CT-scans came back last week (he has been battling cancer for three years) and well, it’s not great news…not the worst news thankfully, the cancer is still localized and has not spread, but it’s not totally gone, either, which means more chemo, which is a huge bummer.

You know when you hear “chemo” you think oh, you just get nauseous and you just sleep through it. You don’t really understand what it does until someone you love has to live through it. It’s actually really, really difficult–I don’t know how my dad does it. It’s so hard on you, not only the hair fallout, or the nausaea, but the skin rashes, and how food starts to taste different. Chemo kills the cancer cells, but it also kills you a bit too. Which just SUCKS. Cancer just SUCKS. UGH. But anyway, what can we do but fight? You can’t give up. We had a nice break for four months while Pop was on a “chemo holiday” and felt like himself again. But reality has come crashing down on us.

So anyway, really needed a laugh and Clerks II really came through with all sorts of fanboy geek humor which we enjoyed immensely, especially the bit where the two LOTR fans compare how many times they have seen each movie in the trilogy. For the record, Mike and I are “three-two-two”. There’s also a funny bit where “Jay” (of Jay and Silent Bob fame) does a dance move to this rockin’ tune, where he starts putting on his chapstick as if it’s lipstick and he’s looking in a mirror and pretends he’s an 80s sexpot vixen, anyway, it’s just sooo funny.

In work news, I’ve finished the first 100 pgs of BB2:Masquerade, now I have to whip the second 150 pages into shape. The writing has been going very fast, but the rewriting is taking a while. So far, I’m really enjoying getting back in the elite vampire world. There are new characters and whole new twists in this one, and I should go back to my work and start untangling things…

xoxo
Mel

Cover for Angels on Sunset Boulevard!

Exciting news! We just got the cover for ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD! My new book coming out in December about a cute skater girl from the Hollywood flats and a hot preppie boy from Bel-Air who discover a shadowy cult that is manipulating teens in the city. It’s a little like The Outsiders meets The Great Gatsby meets The Matrix, with a beautiful, silver-haired and violet-eyed David Bowie-like rockstar who mysteriously disappears on the eve of his biggest gig.

So excited for the release of this book! And check it out – it says “bestselling author of the au pairs series” under my name. Woo-hoo! That’s pretty sweeeeet!

xoxo
Mel

Blog Against Racism!

I’m sooo hungry….

I am sitting here waiting for my lunch to arrive. Yes, I have found the one deli in LA that delivers!! YESSSS.

And I can’t concentrate on my book because I am too hungry to write. So I thought I would blog…

From fellow writers’ blogs E. Lockhart and Justine Larbalestier, I have learned it’s International Blog Against Racism Week, so I thought I would add my two cents.

As a writer, I have always felt American in my writing. I think it was VS Naipaul said that the English language belongs to everyone–not just those born in England and America. I grew up reading American and English books – Sweet Valley High, Enid Blyton, JRR Tolkien, etc. So culturally, I always felt very Western even though I was growing up in Manila.

When I was older I did seek out Asian writers – Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, and writers of color, like Terry McMillan.

It was Terry McMillan that I adored. I loved her books, because while they dealt with race issues, they were also FUN and about shopping, and sex and men. Somehow, the Asian writers I was reading were a little too gloomy and serious for me. My goal was to be the Terry McMillan of Asian writers.

So I wrote this book called STUCK UP TRENDY ASIAN BITCH. About three hot Asian girls who just got out of college, and their fun lives in New York, shopping and having sex plus dealing with race and family issuses as well. Unfortunately, even with the great title and the great idea, I was only 22 and I really didn’t pull it off. One editor who loved the book said it “really started on page 150” — halfway through the novel. Also, this was before the chick lit revolution.

When I published CAT’S MEOW, I made Cat half-Caucasian and half-Japanese, because I really didn’t feel comfortable writing a main character who was totally white.

But then when I did THE AU PAIRS, which I felt was in the tradition of Sweet Valley High, it was a mainstream book, and two of the main characters are white, as the genre does call for, but I was able to sneak in a hot South American girl, which I was happy about. And now, in SUN KISSED, the newest au pair is a saucy Korean girl (much like many of my friends and readers). I don’t recall any character in the Sweet Valley High series who was even vaguely Asian. Maybe there are some characters now, but not in the 80s when I was reading them.

I’m also loving how Harry Potter had a crush on Cho Chang. Harry has a gook fetish! He’s into the bamboo! He’s a rice queen! LOL. These are just some of the derogatory ways bigots use to explain why people would be attracted to Asian women. I just find them kind of funny. I even wrote an article called “Gook Fetish” when I was younger and angrier about this phenomenon. But I think Harry just thinks Cho is pretty. And in the end, he doesn’t end up with her anyway, not because she is Asian, but because she is whiny. A good reason to dump someone!

I do try to make sure my characters reflect diversity in some way. It is important to me. And I also feel like it doesn’t really matter what race they are since each of my characters reflect a part of me. I’m Filipino/Spanish/Chinese and my husband is Irish/German/Croatian/Ukranian, and we both consider ourselves simply American.

One of our good friends said, when we told them we were excited to see how our kid turns out (will she look Asian? Caucasian?), she said she never even saw race when she looked at us — in fact, she was surprised to realize as we were talking that we WERE from different races, since she considered us just “the same.” Just “Mike and Mel” not white Mike and Filipino Mel. I think that’s what being American is all about isn’t it?

Lunch has arrived. Hooray. And now back to BB2:Masquerade.

xoxo
Mel

New Blue Bloods Fan Board!

Just a few quick things today…

One of my readers, the fabulous Amanda, has started a Blue Bloods fan board! Yay! You can log in, talk about the books, talk about the characters, and my favorite -talk about who you want to see in the movie, if there ever is one. (Hopefully we will have some good news in that front soon!)

As for me, I always imagined Mary Kate Olsen as Schuyler, and Adam Brody as Oliver. It’s hard to cast Jack, since there are so few super-blonde actors (I read somewhere that Hollywood likes dark-haired leading men, blonde was seen as too elitist and would alienate the movie-watching public)–something that led to the disastrous dye job on Tom Cruise when he played Lestat. Anne Rice always said she imagined Rutger Hauer in the role.

I also forgot to add a few fun celeb sightings from last week.

B-List Sighting!!

Last week I was having lunch with my girlfriends at Joan’s On Third, the same deli where I spotted Kirsten Dunst earlier this year. Who was standing in line in front of me? Nick Stahl! The cutie from Terminator: Rise of the Machines, and Carnivale, and the movie where he’s an architecture student who gets killed by the ex-husband of Marisa Tomei, his girlfriend in the movie. I can’t remember the title but it was a good movie. I love when they make movies about architects since my husband is one. (In the movies the architects always make models, which is so funny since making models is a very lowly intern’s job!) Anyway, Nick Stahl, in a gray button-down shirt, dirty jeans, and looking totallllly skinny and cute, with those big blue eyes. Hmm, maybe we could put green-colored contacts in him and he could play Jack? He’s SUCH a hottie. All of us girls just wanted to pet him.

A-List Sighting!!

Last week, Mike and I were having dinner with my dear friend Kim DeMarco (who illustrated my first novel Cat’s Meow and is a cover artist for the New Yorker) at Ita-Cho, a very New York-y Japanese restaurant in L.A. It’s New York-y because it’s all grungy but the food is fabulous, and the clientele is super-snooty entertainment insidery people. It’s not a flashy, in your face place like Koi. And who walks in at 10pm but Leonardo di Caprio and his new girlfriend Bar Rafaeli! Leo was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap pulled down low (a sure sign it’s a celebrity–we non-famous people have no need to wear caps pulled down low over our foreheads). He looked a little chunky. Bar was pouty and pretty and wearing a tank-top and looking all of 17 (she is 20). Leo was feeding her sushi. He was also totally chowing down. There was a frisson in the restaurant when he entered, although since it was a New York-y place, we all pretended not to notice. Although Kim and I kept whispering very loudly to each other: “Leo!” “I know!” “So cool!”

Anyway, that’s it for today. Sign up on the Blue Bloods board! I’ll be logging on too. I have the Blue Bloods sequel due so I won’t be blogging as much in the coming weeks.

xoxo
Mel

Le Cirque du Fab

Sooo many things to blog about! I just got back from spending the Fourth of July with the in-laws. My mom-in-law threw me the loveliest baby shower, and now we have all these baby-related goodies for the new bebe. I also bought the first baby outfit for my child–a fabulous tunic and gold sandals! Yes, it’s a girl!!! We are having a girl!!

We are beyond thrilled…Almost everyone I know said they couldn’t imagine me with a boy, and as for me, I’m just RELIEVED that I will have someone to pass on all the designer handbags, clothes, and shoes to.. because you know, we fashionistas always like to excuse our exorbitant purchases by saying “it’s for my daughter, someday.” Fashion economics!

That is, unless my girl is more like Sapphie from AbFab, who absolutely abhors fashion. Eeks. I love Saph, she’s such a great foil to Edina, and I do kind of want nerdy kids. Hey, nerds rule! I was a nerd. But I also do hope that she likes fashion in some way, otherwise all these Balenciaga bags are going to waste!

I turned in the first draft of ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD to my editor, and I’m just waiting with bated breath to see what she says… I’m a bit worried about this book, since it’s a little different from my other books. But I have to cast it out of my mind now, because I have to finish up MASQUERADE (ie Blue Bloods 2) at high speed.

It’s been a slow easssing back into the world of the fabulous vampires. Today I did a lot of administrative work, I answered a lot of reader mail, updated my weblist, paid bills.

By the way, thank you to everyone who has emailed! In answer to your questions, Blue Bloods is right now planned as a trilogy, with Masquerade pubbing next March, and Revelations pubbing March ’08. I planned it as a six-book series (two trilogies) so hopefully the books do well enough so that I can do the arc I had laid out in my mega-outline. I also have already written an outline for a fabulously tragic prequel, about Charles and Allegra’s past. (Oooh, it’s sooo good!!) Which makes it nine books in all. But these are author’s dreams, who knows if they will let me pub all of them?

As for THE AU PAIRS, we will have some good news on Book Four and the TV show very soon. Yes, I believe there is actually going to be an AU PAIRS 4 after all. Due to reader demand! I promise to update everyone as soon as everything is official!

I have been reading a lot of FOOD memoirs lately. On the plane, I read Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires, about the time she was the NY Times Food Critic. And Jane and Michael Stern’s Two for the Road, about their adventures traveling the country eating good, down-home American food. Both were delicious reads. The Reichl book opens with her experience at Le Cirque. The first as an unknown tourist, and later as the powerful NY Times restaurant critic.

She realizes that one’s experience at Le Cirque depends on who you are, she was treated shabbily as a nobody, and spectacularly as a somebody (Even the raspberries on the tarts were bigger, she says.)

I’ve only been to Le Cirque twice in my life, and both times were magical. The first time was when I was 23, and my company was celebrating Christmas with a Christmas dinner at Le Cirque. I worked for a very small computer consulting company run by an eccentric and affable millionaire, Mr. Desmond. The company was based in Boston, but we were all assigned in New York, and Mr. Desmond invited his three new hires to celebrate the season with him and our boss (the VP) at the restaurant. We were all SO excited to eat there, we’d heard about it (from the NY Times review!) and we were prepared for the worst. After all, who were we but a bunch of computer nerds?

The reservation was at 6:00, that’s how “nobody” we were. There were only five of us at the table, and we were there until MIDNIGHT. We started with cocktails, moved on to wine, then after-dinner cockails…and after-after dinner cocktails…I can’t remember ever being so drunk and having SO much fun. The food was amazing, although I don’t even remember what I ate — although I do remember sharing a plate of sweetbreads (ie cow brains) and feeling very sophisti-ma-cated.

The highlight of the evening was Mr. Desmond handing us our Christmas bonuses, which I stuffed into my purse, and at the earliest opportunity, ran to the bathroom, ripped open the envelope, and yelped. Ten Thousand Dollars!! It was the most money next to my name I had ever seen. I IMMEDIATELY called my parents (from the bathroom stall) to tell them my happy news.

The other highlight was seeing the Victoria’s Secret model Frederique van der Wahl and Barbara Walters (not at the same table) eating in the restaurant. It was my first experience with bold-faced dining, and the food, the wine, the bonus, made for a very happy Christmas indeed. I think we ordered so much booze, they actually gave us extra desserts–and I also remember those lovely petit fours AFTER dessert, which seemed SO decadent. Dessert after dessert? And also I remember seeing Sirio Maccioni eating from untouched petit four plates that had been cleared from other tables. Kind of gross, but also kind of endearing.

The other time I ate at Le Cirque was for one of me and Mike’s anniversaries. I don’t remember if it was our “first date” anniversary or if we were married by then. But I do remember seeing Bill Clinton (the guy was ALL around New York after his presidency) dining at one of the tables. And Mike still raves about the absolutely perfect mashed potatoes they gave us. His eyes glaze over with fond nostalgia. I mean, this is why one goes out to eat right?? And we were total nobodies–our reservation was at 9 PM. I mean, seriously. But it was still awesome.

Anyway, it was fun to read Ruth Reichl’s book and remember all that…there’s nothing like a fabulous New York restaurant…

And now, back to the Blue Blood-suckers!

xoxo
Mel