Yearly Archives: 2006

Podcast Up!/Nice Reviews/Existential Questions

Some fun stuff today…

I taped a podcast for HarperCollins’ Sweet & Sassy Summer Girls of Fiction Podcast, and it is now up on the HarperTeen site here. Scroll down to Episode 11, which is my podcast. I talk about thrift-store shopping and more! I was nursing a cold while I taped it, so my voice I think sounds a little hoarse, and I think I ramble on too much because of all the Sudafed I was taking.

Recently I found out Blue Bloods has been nominated for an ALA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers! The Au Pairs was a 2004 Quick Pick, and Skinny-Dipping and Fresh off the Boat were both 2005 Quick Pick Nominees. It’s an honor just to be nominated (natch) and it’s so fun to see Blue Bloods on the list!

There’s a nice review of Blue Bloods here along with Jennifer Barnes’ Golden and Cara Lockwood’s Wuthering Heights, both excellent books!

Here’s also a nice review of Mistletoe that I found on a YA blog.

And here’s something I found tres amusing–this disgruntled reader thinks I don’t even exist! “Melissa de la Cruz, the supposed author of The Au Pairs, which furthers my theory that these books are cranked out by recent college grads in a Hoboken sweatshop, the authors names made by snootynamegenerator.com.”

First off, I love that I have a snooty name! 🙂 Because I once asked my dad where our name came from and he said when the Spaniards came to colonize the Philippines, they posted names on a tree, and the Filipinos had to pick one (because we didn’t have last names in our native culture). And our ancestor picked “de la Cruz” so in a sense, it’s not a real name. But it is MY real name. And I do have Spanish blood–on my mom’s family’s side were wealthy Spaniards (the snooty Reyes family).

What’s funny is that if I don’t exist, then who wrote all those incendiary essays for the New York Press? Or those sex articles in Marie Claire? Or published her dad’s emails on McSweeney’s? I’ve been a published writer for a decade, and my career can be traced via Google at any time. I’ve only been writing YA books for the last three years, but I certainly didn’t come out of nowhere.

And alas, all the books written under my name ARE all mine, the deadlines are mine, the advances are in my checking account, and any praise or blame, falls on me, not some poor annonymous college grads… Hilarious. You’ve got a have a sense of humor when you are somewhat in the public eye. (And I’m so glad that as authors, they don’t post pics of us dropping or gaining weight on the cover of tabloids!)

xoxo
Mel

US Weekly Celebs, Little Luxuries, Lunch Joy, Angels Cover News

US WEEKLY CELEBS SIGHTING!

Mike and I were waiting for a table at La Conversation, on Doheny, a really cute little French cafe on the border of WeHo and BevHills, for brunch this morning, when a black Escalade pulls up, and two teeny-tiny girls alight from it: Nicole Richie, looking tan, blonde and MUCH prettier than those scary anorexic pics in the tabloids (and yes, thin, but not scary thin like that bikini shot in Star. She’s just really tiny), wearing a loose white and blue peasant blouse, huge sunglasses, denim cutoffs, and holding a black Balenciaga motorcycle bag.

She was with Mischa Barton, who was wearing a pink and orange Pucci or Matthew Williamson mini-dress that came up mid-thigh, rocking a cute patchwork Chanel bag, and white sandals. They were both gorgeous and impeccably made-up, although their hair was artfully casual (Mischa’s looked like it was still wet, it was twisted back from her face and then hung in loose curls). They were with Cisco Adler (Mischa’s boyfriend) and Nicole’s new boyfriend, I can’t remember his name, but he’s been pictured with her in Us Weekly.

It was an US Weekly moment come to life! There were paparrazzi across the sidewalk waiting for them to leave the restaurant. Mike and I were seated right behind them, so we even overheard their convo a bit. It was REALLY hard not to stare, they were straight in my line of vision.

They were pretty loud, laughing a lot, kind of high on the attention (and if you’re young and beautiful, why not??) and plotting their ‘escape’ from the restaurant so they would not be harassed by paparazzi. It was fun to see them–they just seemed like a couple of pretty kids who liked to have fun. They were also nice to two little girls who asked for their autographs, and to an older matron who showed them a picture of themselves in some magazine.

SALE NEWS

This morning Mike and I also made our way to the DIVA Cappellini sale, a fabulous Italian brand that carries B&B Italia, Alessi, Cappellini–high-end modern Italian furniture. Our Cappellini couch is one of our most treasured objets and we heard they were doing a MAJOR sale, so of course we got there before it even opened.

We totally scored–we got this fab office chair that’s usually around $800 for $100, a walnut bookshelf ($200 from $2000), walnut side table ($150 from $1100), a small felt bench with chrome legs ($200 from $900), three light fixtures for $90 each (they are $900 at the store) and a fabulous Wenge (dark African wood) coffee table ($450 from $3000).

There was this fabulous oak coffee table that was only $150 but it was SO HUGE we had no idea where to put it. And this one couple who saw it, they were so aghast at the price–they had bought the SAME ONE just last year for about $4000!

The clientele at these design sales is so great for people-watching–hipster couples with their cutely named children “Sienna! Come here!”, architects with their geometric frames, lots of older Europeans–one fabulous woman, she looked German, she had white-blonde hair, a deep tan and was wearing a white eyelet sundress, very low in the cleavage, with gold Prada sandals and a white Lanvin purse with a gold chain. She was probably around 60 and she looked AMAZING! Total Baroness Schraeder.

Overheard at the sale. A couple looking at a Jasper Morrison watering can (very sculptural plastic) The man saying huffily, “I can’t buy it. I already have TWO ridiculous watering cans!” Mike and I totally giggled because, sadly, we also already own TWO ridiculous watering cans. I bought Mike a beautiful Stelton stainless steel watering can for Valentine’s Day last year ($400) and we also own a Philippe Starck watering can. Did I mention that we only own ONE plant? It’s a lemon tree out on the deck.

But isn’t life about little luxuries? The $5 cafe latte? The $20 Chanel lipstick? They said the secret to life is to have little happy things that you look forward to every day. The Taiwanese are apparently very good at this. And we can vouch for this, our Taiwanese friends are very cheerful people, and they look forward to such things as eating a really great dinner (and they ALWAYS know the best places to eat).

My dad is like this also–he’s always looking forward with much joy to the small things in life, like lunch. When my dad first had chemo, the two of us had lunch every day, and there was this Taiwanese dumpling restaurant we ate at EVERY DAY because they had the best pork dumplings. And every day, without fail, we looked forward to this meal–talking about what we would order, and then afterwards, reminiscing about the food! And then the next day we would go back there again.

Pop’s back on chemo for three months, and we’re going to go back to our usual schedule of rotating restaurants that we love…President Thai (the best roast duck salad), Din Tai Fung (the dumpling house), Goldilocks (a Filipino restaurant), yummm… I look forward to it!

What a great day–today I received the book jackets for ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD, and they are GORGEOUS!!!! It is GOLD FOIL with EMBOSSING on the angel wing tattoo. It’s just so lovely. I can’t stop looking at it. You know how writers always complain about their covers? (And I have had my share of ugly covers–I won’t mention the book, but just know it’s the one with my picture on it! Yikes!!) Well I am SO HONORED with this one. S&S really did such a great job!!!!! THEY ROCK! I wish I could put it up but you won’t be able to see the SPECIAL EFFECTS of the cover until you see it in a bookstore. It comes out February 27!

And that means I should sign off now because I am still rewriting it!

xoxo
Mel

Sad News, Good News, Update on Book Schedule

Hello, I am still here. No, Masquerade is not yet done. But it will be SOON. I can almost TASTE it.

The sad news is that my wonderful editor, Helen Perelman, who has been the book’s biggest cheerleader, fairy godmother and close reader, is leaving Hyperion. WAH! I knew Helen was a kindred spirit from the beginning because her favorite character is the bitchy Mimi. (My theory is that in life, as in Sound of Music, you are either for Maria or the Baroness Schraeder, and I’ve always been a Baroness girl. Hello-a nun?? Not! I love when she tells Captain Von Trapp, “I’ll just go back to my little circle in Vienna, where I belong” letting him know that he is going to MISS OUT on the most glamorous life evah! And hey, the Baroness also has the best couturier in Vienna…that’s gotta count for somethin’! So she doesn’t get the guy. His loss!!)

But the good news is that my new editor, Jennifer Besser, is also wonderful, and that is Jen’s beautiful neck on the cover of Blue Bloods!! Isn’t that great karma? It’s like destiny. I’m looking forward to working with Jen!

I’m also in the midst of rewriting Angels on Sunset Boulevard, so with the vampires and the missing rockstars, I’m really busy. I also want to give a shout-out to my ultra-fabulous editor at S&S, Emily Meehan, who really understood what I was trying to do with this book and has helped me find the essence of the story and hone in on it. What is a writer without her editors?

And on top of that, me and my dear friend Tom Dolby are editing our anthology GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS for the awesome Trena Keating at Dutton. It’s about the friendship, love and lust that exists between gay men and straight women, and we just have some wonderful writers on board – Simon Doonan, Cindy Chupack, Ayelet Waldman, Andrew Solomon, and tons more… Some of the stories will make you laugh, others will make you cry (god I sound sooo cheesy!) but really, this is a GREAT book and Tom and I are so proud of it! It comes out June 2007, just in time for Gay Pride!

I once marched in the Gay Pride parade in New York City with my (now-ex) best friend Morgan (who is gay- and a man- some readers have asked if Morgan is a girl, he is not). We marched with GMHC, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, where we were both volunteers. And it was really fun, marching up and down Fifth Avenue holding up the GMHC sign and chanting “G!M!H!C! Safer Sex for You And Me!” (What is ironic about this is that when we marched, we were about 21 years old and both of us were still virgins at the time. Yes, we were very late bloomers. We were practicing the safest sex possible!)

The best part was when we got booed by the religous right freaks who were protesting the parade. And we chanted back “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho! Your homophobia’s got to go!” It was really thrilling and empowering, because we were SO much louder and stronger than they. And as my mom would say, of course you were louder–you have a REALLY loud voice. Yes, I am the girl in the restaurant with the loud laugh. It sometimes embarasses my husband. But what can I say? I come from a line of loud-mouthed ladies. (My mom is also really loud. I think it is because we are both a little deaf. Whaatt?)

I also just wanted to let my readers (and yes, I know I have been slack with my emails. I’m so sorry – I promise to respond as soon as I meet all my deadlines) know the following, since you guys seem to be most concerned with:

1) Will there be an Au Pairs 4? YES! It will most likely come out in May or June of next year. But I do not know yet what the book will be about, since that’s next in line AFTER I turn in BB2: MASQ and ANGELS and GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WLB.

2) When is the sequel to Blue Bloods coming out? Next April. And it is called MASQUERADE. And it is hot, hot, hot. Lots of Sacred Kissing and cute undead boys and intrigue…

And I know I have promised writing tips and all that, I will be updating my website with all the new info as soon as… say it with me, “My deadlines are done”.

Life really goes on hold when you have book deadlines.

The other sad news is that I won’t be able to go to Saint-Tropez this summer like I had planned. This was where I was going to set the first book of my new series SOCIAL LIFE, but with the new schedule of Au Pairs 4 being a reality, S&S and I have decided to push back SOCIAL LIFE for now until 2008. I just can’t handle it all! I wish I could, but with another series debuting next year (THE ASHLEY FILES) which comes out in October 2007, my plate is heaping and full. So Saint-Tropez will have to wait till next summer.

And as my agent says, “Don’t even talk to us about Au Pairs 5!” Although of course, you know, I would love to write it. I can’t seem to get those girls out of my head!

Other good stuff coming down the pike: MISTLETOE which is out in October, and 21 PROMS, out in February. Both are from Scholastic, and I have a story in each book. The one in Mistletoe is fiction, the one in 21 PROMS is the true story of my high school senior prom.

And the other day, Mike and I were at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove, and we found Sun-Kissed face-out in the new teen books section. So cool! The other week, they had NO copies of ANY of my books and I was CONVINCED my career was over. Yes, I take the temperature of my career by how many books B&N stocks. But then we went back a week later, and they had stacks of Skinny-Dipping, Sun-Kissed and Blue Bloods! So I asked the B&N lady how the books were doing and she said they had SOLD OUT of everything the other week and had to ORDER MORE. They were down to the LAST copy of The Au Pairs, even.

Which is what an author who just bought a 4 BR house in the Hollywood Hills likes to hear. (We closed escrow today and get the keys tomorrow- yippee! But don’t even talk to me about moving. I can’t focus on anything till the books are DONE.)

Earlier in my career, re-orders would have been UNHEARD of, I always assumed that my books were not on the shelves because they had been RETURNED. As in, pulped, remaindered, going to that book cemetery in the sky. You really only have about a month to “prove” yourself in the bookstores. If they don’t sell, back to your publisher they go AFTER A MONTH!

But now they are being RE-ORDERED. And really, it is thanks to all you wonderful readers out there, who have turned your friends on to my books, who buy anthing with my name on it, and keep telling me you want more. I aim to please!

I hope you guys like ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD. It’s a little like Blue Bloods but it also has that upstairs/downstairs quality of The Au Pairs, because the girl is from the wrong side of the tracks and the hot boy is from Bel-Air. There’s a cool mystery in it too…

Anyway, I have babbled on long enough. It’s back for work for me.

xoxo
Mel

Just a Note

Just wanted to put up a quick note to everyone who has emailed me in the past month. I’m really behind in my correspondence, but do not fear, I will answer your email when I FINALLY turn in Blue Bloods 2: Masquerade in the next week or so.

And I know a lot of you have asked for writing tips, and I promise I will put those up (and email you back) when the book is done.

Here is one tip I should have followed.

-Do not put off your deadline so much that your agent and editor become so agitated and you become so stressed out that you dream you have written pages when you wake up and realize, sadly it was just a dream!!!

But never fear, BB2 is looking SO SO HOT, and I am close to the finish line…wish-fulfilment dreams or not!

xoxo
Mel

Chicklit Schmicklit

As an avid reader of Gawker, I was very excited to see the cover of my book FRESH OFF THE BOAT on its homepage. Of course, it was in a “chicklit chart” that Print magazine had put together, showing how all the chicklit books look the same — pink covers, martini glasses, high heels, etc. The title of the Gawker item was “Gloria Steinem would be proud”. Here is the chart.

I guess if I didn’t have a sense of humor, I would be kind of offended…but gladly, I do, and I *love* that Fresh off the Boat’s cover is on Gawker!!! YAY!! It brought a huge grin to my face.

And as for all the chicklit bashing…PSHAWWWW!!!… As Meg Cabot so rightly put it “there isn’t a container in the universe small enough to hold my concern about being called a chicklit writer” (I am paraphrasing here, but you get what she is saying.)

Chicklit, schmicklit. Who cares??? I write books. Media, marketing, publishing, sales…they need CATEGORIES. They need to put us all in boxes. So they LABEL you — “romance writer” “fashion writer” “chicklit writer”. Whatevah. I like to say I write “chic lit” myself.

And I think Gloria Steinem WOULD be proud–we women scribblers (PG Wodehouse in his Jeeves books always writes about “this passel of women scribblers”–but in the books he also points out that they sell like gangbusters and are very practical women–it’s hilarious and I love his depiction of them)–anyway, we women scribblers are writing our way to independence…we make enough money so that we can pay for all our Manolos, our martinis, our four-star vacations… I don’t have to ask my husband to pay for any of my fashion frivolities, because of the money I make from writing my candy-covered books, I can INDULGE in anything I want…

And so what if it is frivolous? We need more frivolity in this world! MORE not LESS!! There’s a sniffy comment on Gawker about how the first chapter of this chicklit book is concerned with answering the question “WHERE ARE MY MANOLOS???”

Is that a bad thing? It actually made me want to read the book! Where ARE my Manolos?? Hee.

My books have been called “guilty pleasures” “shameful indulgences” “total entertainment” “decadent escapism”. I have to say, no one should feel guilty or ashamed to read something that is FUN, LIGHT- HEARTED and ENTERTAINING. I think those are all great qualities in books.

We all live in the real world right? In the real world, not all the boys are hotties, not all your friends are loyal, brave and true, and not everything works out with a happy ending. There’s so much sadness and wretchedness in the world already. Not everyone wears leopard-print Cavalli caftans and four-inch heels to go grocery shopping in. (But everyone SHOULD. It would be a much sunnier world if we all dressed like Mrs. Roper meets Paris Hilton on acid. Hee.)

I live in the real world. Where there’s cancer and illness and sadness and miscarraiges and friends who don’t turn out to be worth the friendship and trust issues and money freakouts and bankruptcy and foreclosures and wars and death and terrorists and all that awful stuff…I was in New York during 9/11 and I cannot sit through the trailer for that stupid Oliver Stone movie without crying (just thinking of it right now makes me tear up)…part of it is anger that he has made a movie about this (I didn’t see United 93 either, I refuse) and part of it is because anytime I see anything about that awful day I remember sitting in my apartment in a fetal position frantically trying to reach my husband who was working downtown (he was fine, he walked thirty blocks and caught a cab with nice British strangers since we lived 100 blocks up) and calling all my friends who lived and worked downtown to make sure they were all OK (they were all OK)…and for six months after that none of us could talk about anything else. We were so scared. Oy. And I remember that winter, an editor at Gotham asking me to do a fun, frothy serial novel for the magazine, because he was convinced what New York needed right then was some good frothy fun, and he was right.

So yes, I know life is not always megafun like an endless summer in the Hamptons nor will I ever need to use my vampire superpowers to bring peace to my immortal people. But oh, isn’t it fun to READ and WRITE about what that would be like?

I think so.

Back to Masquerade! My agent just handed me my ass on a platter since this book is sooo late. So I’ll be keeping vampire hours for the next two weeks as I wrestle this book to the ground and finally turn it in…

xoxo
Mel

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