Yearly Archives: 2008

YA Chippies Unite!

I just read this very thought-provoking article about YA novels from Caitlin Flanagan. I like Caitlin Flanagan. I like how everything she writes pokes at you with a sharp stick. She’s annoying, interesting, controversial, and writes with verve. People are up in arms because of what she’s written in the piece, like “I hate YA novels. They bore me.” HA! And, my favorite, about Gossip Girl, “These chippies could make a crack whore look like Clara Barton” or this one about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: “It’s about female empowerment as it’s currently defined by the kind of jaded, 40-something divorcées who wash ashore at day spas with their grizzled girlfriends and pollute the Quiet Room with their ceaseless cackling about the uselessness of men.” HILARIOUS! She’s so mean I love it.

And yeah, even though I’m a YA chippie myself, I can smile. Writers like Flanagan are interesting because they’re so vociferous in their opinions. They don’t hold back, and when they skewer they do it with STYLE. And c’mon, she totally nailed it: Ever been to a Quiet Room lately? She’s so right on: all those swaddled rich ex-wives complaining in shrill tones about men and how life is about being there for their “girlfriends”. Ya, right. (My girls: I love you, but let’s never become those women, ok? Ok.)

I don’t take her essay as an insult, I take it in the spirit in which it is intended. To cause people to think, to react. YA problem novels bore me too. But some people enjoy them—and that’s fine. There’s an audience for that, and there’s an audience for my books (chippies meet Twilight?).

I also thought her essay was very interesting in figuring out why Twilight has so much appeal. I’ve never read the books, and I was excited to see the movie. (I heard the books are way better. The acting, I’m afraid, was atrocious. It got better in the end. But in that first scene when Edward sniffs Bella? He looked constipated.) I thought what Flanagan said about young girls, and how they read, was so right on. When you’re young, you have a such a rich inner life, and books are awesome because they draw you away. Real life is mostly boring and routine and uneventful. (Unless you’re a smug socialite who tells the NY Times you have no idea why anyone would own a DVD player or watch TV.) Books are exciting and thrilling and wonderful. When you’re a kid, it’s so much nicer to escape to a fantasy world because, if you were like me as a teenager, the real world pretty much sucked. But it’s not only girls: sensitive boys (“sensis” as on Scrubs) also have this experience. 🙂

And even in your 30s, it’s STILL nice to escape. I get so many emails now from 20-30-40-50-something readers, who say they discovered my books (mostly at Target! Yay!) and can’t stop reading them. That is soooo coool. I write my books for me, I don’t really think of it as “writing to a reader”. (Who does that?) Age is just a number anyway.

My favorite word is INAPPROPRIATE. Did you guys ever watch that Conan sketch when they had that aging British rocker say “INAPUH-ROPE-PRIATE!” Anyway. The other day Mattie pushed me because she watches Spiderman cartoons and Spiderman “pushes” people. I tried to explain to Mattie that pushing was not good and Spiderman only pushes by pointing his fingers at people. It was then that I realized, hey, maybe watching Spiderman at two years old is…



Harry, My History

I found myself WITHOUT A BOOK on the flight back from D.C. Which is insane, because I have three shelves of unread books in my home, most of which I have been DYING to read and just haven’t had the time to do so.  But, what can you do. With mombrain and the fact that I pack for everyone in my family, it was bound to happen. (How I would love to be my husband, who merely has to stroll into an airplane with his ticket without worrying about whether he packed dental floss. Because that is my job. But also: I’m such a control freak I like everyone to look nice. Whenever Mike packs he thinks that one pair of everything is okay for a whole week, which is just, so gross, but then that is what guys are like.)

Anyway, no books for me since I forgot. So I bought Harry, A History, a history of Harry Potter fandom by the webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron, the biggest Harry Potter fansite. It was a very interesting read, half of the time I was facepalm in horror and the other half I was really enjoying it. You know, part of you wants to go Shatner on SNL and yell “Get a Life!” and the other part is kind of happy that all these people found friendship and happiness through a book. You know? The best parts by far are when J.K. Rowling makes her rare appearances. Did you know that she wonders about Albus Severus Potter??? How cool is that!!! And hello: we would all buy a new Albus Potter book, right? I mean, totally.

The interesting part also for me was to find out that J.K. still holds a grudge against the New York Times Bestseller list since they split the list into two—Adult and Children’s after her books took up the first FOUR places on it. And the list has now been split into a myriad categories since then even. I forgot that there used to be just one Children’s List, now there are four kinds of Children’s Lists. (When you have three books in a series you get calculated in the series list, which is where Blue Bloods was counted). But not many people know that this has happened to the list. Most people still think of the New York Times list as, well, one list.

Like my dad for instance.

Here’s what happened when I hit the list.





A few hours later, via emails, my dad found out that I had hit the New York Times CHILDRENS list.

“What is this Children’s List? Is that still the New York Times list?”

“Yes Pop. This is where JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer’s books are counted.” (One of the disadvantages of writing about vampires is that ever since Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books have hit so big, now instead of my dad asking me why I’m not on the level of Danielle Steele, now he asks why I’m not like Stephenie Meyer. Sometimes my dad just says to me, out of the blue: STEPHENIE MEYER!!! And you know what he means: If she can, why can’t you? I’m lucky I know my dad is just joking. That is how we show love in my family. By endless teasing. A’s are never enough when A pluses are being handed out.)

“What? I don’t get it! What is this Children’s List? Where can I see it? I need proof.”

“It’ll be on the website and on the paper on Sunday.”

“Okay. I need proof.”

Note the LACK of Oh-my-gods and CAPS once my dad found out I’d hit the “Children’s List”. Sigh. On the one hand: it would be nice if the New York Times list was still ONE “The New York Times List” on the other hand, the children’s list IS STILL the New York Times list. And it’s really freaking hard to get on it. LOL.

But yeah. I’m with you J.K. I’m with you.


Twenty-Four and Not the One with Kiefer Sutherland

Only Twenty-Four more shopping days!!!

I’m not ready!!!

I’m never ready. Ever. Because I always have a book due. (And this time I have two. Fun. Lucky me. But really: lucky me.)

Shopping is always a last-minute run through the mall, madly grabbing anything that looks like someone in my family might like it. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. This year I will plan! I will online shop! I will NOT be at the UPS store on the hour-long line sending all my gifts overnight delivery and wasting hundreds on postage because I was late, late, late.


See you at the UPS line on December 24!


PS – Revelations is on its fourth week on the USA Today Best Seller List!!! I heart you USA Today!!!

Things to be Thankful for

So many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving…We had a lovely party last weekend to celebrate the Blue Bloods series being on the bestseller lists for three weeks (both the New York Times and USA Today—oops there I go, brah-ging again, hee). The party was at the super-swanky Peninsula Hotel and lots and lots of our beautiful friends came. I wish I could have invited you all since you guys are the reason we had the party, but it was also nice to just have a personal celebration of the book with the people who know us and have supported us for so long. I’ve had a LOT of book parties in my ten years as a published author, and while those parties are celebratory, they are also…promotional-tory. There’s a lot of selling and inviting the press and giving interviews and at those parties I never get to talk to my friends because, in the end, those parties are fun disguised as work.

I also haven’t had a birthday party in a LONG time because every year I have a book release party (sometimes I would have two book parties a year even) and it seemed too much. On Saturday I wore my new Philip Lim dress, and my open-toe knee-high Marni boots and Mattie wore her Marc Jacobs black tulle dress and matching black velvet coat and Mike wore his brown Helmut Lang blazer and white Prada shirt and skinny Barney’s jeans and we looked pretty glam, if I do say so myself. It was also nice to celebrate with old and NEW friends. I think the most boring thing about parties is seeing the same people all the time, it’s nice to shake it up and also invite new people that you have become close to. We are so lucky in life to have such a great group of family and friends. My nephews were running around while everyone was drinking champagne.

The other day I read on AOL Headline News (you know, it’s my main news source, which is funny since it’s the oddest selection of headlines sometimes. I always know about the 8-year old shootings and which celeb has dumped her cheating hubby), anyway on AOL Headline news there was a story about how happy people don’t watch too much TV. Or that the more TV you watch, the unhappier you probably are. And that people who socialize more, get out a lot, and see their friends, have a much higher happiness index.

Which totally makes sense. When we lived in New York, we were out almost every night of the week. The only TV we’d catch was the 11pm Voyager (I totally got addicted too. Year of Hell anyone?) on weekdays, on weekends, it was usually the 2am showing of Blind Date, which was kind of a fun way to end the evening, making fun of other people’s bad dates while you are comfortably smug with your spouse.  But since moving to LA and having a kid we really don’t get out much as much as we used to, and we definitely felt a lot more glum.

It’s important to keep the balance—on the one hand, Mattie really likes having her BOTH her parents home when she goes to sleep. But on the other hand, we would go crazy if we didn’t keep up our social life. When I was younger, my parents went out all the time, they had hugely busy social lives in Manila, always off to the opera or some benefit or a party but when we moved to America, that whole lifestyle ended and they never went out at all. Guess which one I preferred as a child? I remember going to sleep kind of sad when they were out and we were just left at home with the maids. Abandoned!

When I was growing up in Manila we always had brunch at the Peninsula Hotel on Sundays after church. We rotated between the Mandarin and the Peninsula.  It was only later, when we were immigrants we would go to the Carl’s Jr. after church that I realized how lucky we were earlier. Now we try to take Mattie to the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel for brunch every Sunday. A total indulgence, but it’s the way I grew up, and hey,  it’s not such a bad thing to take things for granted…as long as you are thankful for them later!

Happy Turkey Day everyone!



I went shopping.

I didn’t *mean* to buy anything, but everything—EVERYTHING—is on sale. And who can resist?

The shopping gods are smiling on me.

Especially when I really wanted an hourglass, pencil-skirt, sexy-sexy but class-y dress…and there it was at Nordstrom. Thakoon. Half off! In my size! And I don’t even need to diet to wear it and have it look good! THIS is why designers are genius. Because the cut is so flattering—there is no need for the gym! I love you Thakoon. I also love saying Thakoon. A friend I went to college with works closely with Thakoon. Isn’t Tina so chic? She always was, even back then. The first time I bought designer anything was with Tina. Freshman year. Columbia. It was Betsey Johnson. A blue ruffled-hem tunic and matching pants. The most outrageous thing I’d ever bought. I used to wear that outfit with black plastic hoop earrings. It was the 80s.

I think Michelle Obama owns my dress too. Which is so cool. Every time I read about the Obamas I get a bit teary. Still. You know? Like in the “O” issue of the New YOrker that was all about the election. That last line from Hendrick Hertzberg’s Comment still gets me: “A few months from now a blue-and-white Boeing 747 emblazoned UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will touch down on a tarmac somewhere in Europe or Asia or Africa, the door will open, and out will step Barack and Michelle Obama. That is something to look forward to.” Wow. Awesome. Tears.

So I bought the Thakoon dress and this amazing Thakoon blouse-jacket combo which looks kind of subversive Chanel. Which I will wear to my dear friend Tyler’s gallery opening in New York in two weeks. Tyler and I used to be NYC club kids together. And now he owns his own gallery! Now I really feel grown up when friends I used to go to Sound Factory with are now chi-chi galleristas.

The other favorite designer I have right now is Black Halo. Who cuts her clothes so that all women who wear them look “five pounds thinner and two inches taller.” Now that is a designer I can get behind!


The Brah-g

My friend Rachel Cohn has a funny name for writer’s blogs, she calls them the “brah-gs” because it seems we writers always toot our own horns when it comes to our accolades and have no shame in describing them in detail in our blogs I mean brah-gs: I’m on Tour! My Book is Out! I Got an Awesome Review! An Award! The Best Seller List! And on, and on, and on… You can see why I love Rachel so much. Acid wit goes a long way with me. And yes, blogs do tend to focus on the Up With Books news, which can get SO boring. You know?

But my problem right now is I. Dont. Feel. Like. Shopping.

Why is that? This is a terrible sign for the economy. I mean, I loooove to shop. Shopping is good for the soul! Terrible for the bank account but great for the soul. And right now I feel over-shopped. Like I spent too much money (Mike will definitely agree) and I can’t even conceive of buying anything. Or wanting to buy anything right now. Nothing is exciting. I mean, I would LOVE one of those new Herve Leger by Max Azria dresses that everyone is wearing right now, and also one of those Roland Mouret dresses too—right now I want sexy dresses that are tight but class-y. You know? Form-fitting but not a lot of skin exposure. And right now I want the body I had when I was 23 so I could wear them. My doctor tells me that I don’t have to return to my “ideal” weight. My “healthy” weight is enough for me for the rest of my life. But does healthy weight equal bondage dresses? I want to get back to fashion weight. If anything is going to make me diet, it’s a desire to wear new clothes. You know? Just like Karl Lagerfeld who was sick of being fat because he wanted to have the kind of body that could wear all those skinny skinny Hedi Slimane suits. I want a body that can wear a Leger. I’m pretty tired of all the blobby dresses in my closet. I’m feeling hourglass. I’m feeling skin-tight. I’m feeling…like I want to shop again! Hooray.


Third Week’s The Charm!

Fun interview with The Story Siren! Where you will discover my true inner self has a name: Garth from Wayne’s World.

Also, Blue Bloods is in its third week on The New York Times Best-Seller List! (And it’s week three on the USA Today List also!) Very, very cool. People: you are spoiling me!

I’m sorry I don’t have a date yet for BB4:VAL. I’m still writing it. I’m hoping you will not have to wait that long for it once I turn it in. (It’s due in January.)

Anyway, I gotta go. Deadline, deadline, deadline. My daughter says to me: Mommy put your computer away!!! Come play!! Sadly, I cannot.


A Good Mood That Has Nothing to do with Sales Numbahs

I’m in a good mood today. It’s because I am SO SO SO SO SO CLOSE to finishing a new novel. The first in a new series called GIRL STAYS IN THE PICTURE.

This is for my Au Pairs faithful—and I’ve been working on this book since um, June!! And it’s taken a long time to get to the finish line because on this book I have not had CLARITY until now.

You know what clarity is? Clarity is when you actually know WHAT YOUR BOOK IS ABOUT. Why am I SHOUTING you ask? Because when you have CLARITY on your book, fixing it only takes a couple of days—and you can SEE the finish line because you now know HOW to FIX it. It’s like you were in a fog before, and then suddenly, you can see the shining city on the hill.

It’s taken me almost half a year—but now I know how to fix my book. THANK GOD! HOORAY! LET’S GO GET MASSAGES! MEET ME AT THE SPA!!

There’s nothing quite as sweet as understanding your own book. It’s one of the best parts of the creative process. It makes all the hair-pulling, cuticle-picking late nights so worth it.


Fourth, NOT FINAL – A Big Difference

Just wanted to clear up a few things: The fourth Blue Bloods book, The Van Alen Legacy is NOT the final book in the Blue Bloods series. Not at all!

I have planned many books. I have a big story to tell and I won’t rest until it’s all told in the right way.

I don’t know yet when Book Four will publish, most likely Fall 2009 is my best guess. When there is a more definite date, I will share it with you. I am still writing this book. And it’s really fun to be back at work again.

Oh and exciting news! The Blue Bloods series has just been bought by Simon & Schuster Down Under (Australia). Yay! Welcome all you Aussie Blue Bloods. And because we live in a VERY small world, I just found out that the publisher at S&S Oz (who bought the series) is the sister of a friend of MY sister. (My sister lived in Australia for several years because she married a Kiwi. Not the fruit. A New Zealander.) Anyway, cool beans. And welcome Aussie Blue Bloods!


125,000 Copies in Two Weeks!!!!

Oh. My. God.

My publisher just told me we’ve sold out of the 125,000 copies we printed of Revelations in two weeks. And they’re going back to print 50,000 more.


People!! I am floored. Just gobsmacked. Like someone just hit me on the back of the head with a bludger.

That is so fracking cool.

I am so humbled. You know when people win an Oscar, they go up to the podium and they say, “I am so humbled” and you want to throw your popcorn at them?? Like, puh-leeze. Like we believe you. Humbled? Your head must be so big it’s about to explode right now out of our TV screens. SPARE US YOUR FALSE HUMILITY.

And yet. And yet. I DO feel humbled. You know, when I wrote Blue Bloods, when I started figuring out the mythology, and getting really into it, I was just excited because of the sheer pleasure of creating the world and the characters and getting caught up in the story. And the cool part is—it’s STILL like that, except now I have all of you to take on this journey with me. And that is SO awesome. And scary, too. But mostly awesome.

When I was a kid I used to draw and tell stories at the same time, mostly for my sister and our best friend, I would narrate as I drew the action, and they loved it, and I loved it too, because it gave me a chance to show off. I guess that’s what it feels like, knowing there’s an audience for my story. That someone’s listening. And even though it’s not just Aina and Treena listening to me anymore, but thousands of you, it’s still the same thrill. Someone’s listening to my story. Cool.

When I was writing Revelations I was paralyzed by so much angst, but now I just feel FIRED UP and READY TO GO. I’M SO EXCITED about the story I’m about to POP!

Ok. Back to earth. Have a nice Sunday everyone!