Yearly Archives: 2008

Happiness Writes a Blog Post?

Another fun day on the last day of the tour, the highlight meeting ALL of you fabulous teens—including gorgeous girls Sabrina and Katie, who told me about the in-suh-hayyyne YSL exhibit at the DeYoung, which, unfortch, I will miss since my flight leaves pronto. But I think me and la famille will have to take a little trip back to SF to see it. And just so I can enjoy all these cities I’ve visited at a slower pace and actually get to shop and eat somewhere other than room service. (You know how when you’re a kid room service was this SPECIAL treat, although really, my parents weren’t the type like the Simpsons who didn’t let you touch ANYTHING because it might cost money, I remember they would order us room service on the nights they went OUT in the cities we were visiting in Europe. “Ta, ta, kids, Pop and Mom are off to see Rome…you guys have fun ordering pasta with Grandma!”) Anyway, when you grow up, room service is still a special treat, until, well, you kind of get sick of it and miss being at home. Or eating in a real restaurant that doesn’t serve the usual good-but-somewhat-bland chicken.

I have to say though: I’m staying at the Four Seasons on Market Street and it is noooicceee. I love me some Four Seasons Hotel. That almost makes up for having to order room service nightly. Nice hotels are really one of the wonderful things in life, aren’t they?

Last night I had the honor of doing a panel at the venerable Books Inc’s Not Yo’ Mama’s Book Club with the awesome Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, Glass, and the new Identical, and a debut author, Christina Meldrum, whose novel Madapple sounds SO intriguing. Jen, the head mama of the book club, was so wonderful and brought us all cupcakes, and I got to meet the famous Walter the Giant Storyteller, a Bay Area YA icon. It was really interesting to hear Ellen and Christina talk about their work. Ellen writes free-verse ‘problem’ novels, and read from her newest, Tricks, about teen prostitution. Ellen is a spitfire and a really cool chick, and I want to read one of her books soonest. I’m not a big problem-novel person. I tend to stay away from those because I don’t really like to “go there” as a writer or a reader. But now I really want to read them after hearing Ellen talk about her books. And Christina’s book is about pre-Christ mythology which sounded fascinating, and also dealt with some heavy issues tied to parental abuse.

I realize all the time how blessed I have been to have had a really happy childhood—a childhood marred by being disappointed there were only twenty and not twenty-one presents at Christmas, or you know, parents uprooting us to a different country, but usually problems that were so infinitesimally small when I think about it now I marvel at how I managed to concoct teen angst from it (really: how bratty! how much like Dudley I was back then. Definitely a Veruka at least!) and even the immigration thing, I mean—these were problems OUTSIDE the home, with trying to fit in, blah blah blah.

At the core of my life has always been a really supportive, really functional family. I still remember my dad charging up to our private school to accost my sister’s English teacher because Mr. Sweeney (oh yeah: hi Mr. Sweeney! His real name) had the AUDACITY to accuse my sister of plagiarism because he thought her essay was too well-written and suspected sis copied it from an encyclopedia. My dad explained to Mr. Sweeney that plagiarism is a SERIOUS charge and not one to be thrown about lightly, and that my sister wrote the essay herself, of course, I mean, it was not even in our imagination to do something like that. We were absolute follow-the-rules kids. We did not COPY. Anyway, when you bring up Mr. Sweeney to my dad today, he’ll still get angry (a little) but he’ll also laugh because Mr. Sweeney was pretty taken aback that a parent would take it so seriously.

But isn’t that what it’s all about? Taking everything your kid does pretty seriously? And making sure that other people can’t hurt your kids? Even casually, even inadvertently? I always remember that David Sedaris essay, where he moves next door to a pretty manipulative kid, a kid who was totally neglected by her parents, and bugged David for company and treats, until it was too much and David had to stop the acquaintance, at which point, his mother (David’s mother) comes and helps him move out of his apartment because his mom didn’t want the trashy people next door to even think about *hurting* her son—I remember the last lines of the essay so well: his mom packing up the boxes, telling him in no uncertain terms that he was moving out, because who knows what the neighbors next door would do next—accuse him of child abuse maybe? Because he was gay? It was a realistic concern, given the vituperative things the people had said in the days leading up to that. So. She was getting him out before they could even think along those lines and make life hard for her son. And David’s essay says, “I wonder (if the kid next door) even recognized what this was: a mother.” Because the kid did not have anyone looking out for them in the same way.

A really wonderful story, and why Sedaris, of course, is one of my favorite writers.

Anyway. I guess I just miss MY kid right now too. I didn’t mean to let this post be so serious!! Oy! Ellen: see what you’ve done! LOL!


You can go home again!

Had the MOST fun event last night at the fabulous Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma. All the events on this tour have been really fun and energizing and filled with so many cool teens—you guys are so stylish and enthusiastic it’s been really wonderful meeting you all!!! And thanks so much to Marci and Art at Copperfield’s, who hand-sold Blue Bloods and The Au Pairs to their buyers and spread the word really early. You guys make it all worth it.

It’s so nice to be “home” in a way (although to me New York will always be my real home). This is the city where my family moved to from Manila when we immigrated. I am an alumni of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a school that I appreciate more and more as I get older—how wonderful and cozy the atmosphere was, how dedicated the teachers were—while I didn’t have the best experience socially in high school (sometimes it was downright miserable) I have come to realize some of it was inevitable given my personality and circumstances at the time. It’s so much easier for be popular when one is confident and blessed instead of shy and struggling.

Last night as we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog, I saw mountains covered with mist streaming down from the clouds. Wow. It was really breath-taking. Ours is a really beautiful country, and it was nice to get the chance to see some parts of it I had never seen before (Phoenix and Austin) and revisit the cities I grew up in and re-discover how amazing they are (New York and San Fran).

I’m in a writer-group email list, and one of its members sent over a link to this post about how the book business is really suffering during this economic downturn, and how we can all help by buying books this Christmas. I always buy books anyway, I think half of our money goes right back into the book business—we’re always at B&N or Book Soup or Vroman’s or Borders buying up books—somehow Mike and Mattie and I are genetically unable to leave a bookstore without spending $50 or more, and that does not even include the late-night Amazon shopping! And I hate to be preachy so I would say, just buy whatever you like—books or sweaters or fancy handbags, but dear god, let’s go out there and BUY SOMETHING! LOL!

Is it just me or is everyone not shopping? I haven’t bought anything (well, except for tons of books) in a while. But I also have to say: I shopped A LOT last month and just finished paying off the scary credit card bills (hands over eyes and ears and noses in denial about what fashion truly costs). So I have a pass. I think. If fashionistas stop shopping we really are in trouble.

Anyway: some fab news: the Blue Bloods series holds steady at #7 on the New York Times Best-Seller List! Hooray!!

I’ve been reading all the reviews of Revelations online, they are all dear to me especially the ones that start out “I am a huge fan of this series, BUT…” oh, that BUT, that BUT kills me. And I just realized I have a completely different experience from reading my books because I *know* the answers to all the questions and so when I read them, I know what I’m hinting at… but I now realize this is NOT how you guys read it at all, and for you, it is frustrating not to know why or how something happened. All I can say is: trust me. I have a big and juicy story to tell, and it will all be told. And book four will be big!

As a reader, I share your pain. I have been an avid fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series for YEARS now and am EAGERLY awaiting A Dance with Dragons, forever. And his books don’t even come out every year! You have to wait like, three or four years before reading the next book! Oy! Authors. We suck, don’t we?? 😉
I’m very excited about this news: A Song of Ice and Fire is coming to HBO!!! Woo-hoo!!! Greenlight that sucker!!

Anyway, I’m off to a big day again. Hope you all come see me tonight!!!
This is my last appearance on this tour. After this, I go back to my home and my family and my books that need to be written.

November 13, 2008 (7:00 PM)
Reading/Signing in Palo Alto, CA!
Books, Inc.
855 El Camino Real #74
Palo Alto, CA
(650) 321-0600

I’ll be appearing with Ellen Hopkins and Elizabeth Scott and Christina Meldrum! Fun!!!


10,000 Hours of Expertise

I was reading something today about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book about success (“Outliers”) and how it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get good at something. That translates to roughly seven years. (For instance, when Bill Gates was 22 and started Microsoft, he’d already had his seven years of practice because his parents had a computer and he had access to university computers in his town, when other people did not have the same opportunities.)

I just thought it was so interesting—and correct. There is such a thing as talent, but perseverance and practice by far are more important on the long, uphill climb.

What’s so great about writing is that you don’t need anything too expensive to become better at it: a pen, a paper, a computer (they are much cheaper now) and simply, time and dedication.

Of course, practice does not mean you will be successful, but I think it will bring you closer to your goal.

Come see me tomorrow night!

November 12, 2008 (7:00 PM)
Reading/Signing in Petaluma, CA!
Copperfield’s Books
140 Kentucky Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 762-0563

I’ll be discussing Revelations and Ligploss Jungle!

November 13, 2008 (7:00 PM)
Reading/Signing in Palo Alto, CA!
Books, Inc.
855 El Camino Real #74
Palo Alto, CA
(650) 321-0600

Not Your Mother’s Book Club is hosting me for a reading/signing for Revelations and Lipgloss Jungle! Other authors will include Elizabeth Scott and Ellen Hopkins! Yay!


Cha-Cha Slidin’ into the New York Times Best-Seller List!


16 BOOKS. (13 NOVELS.)



Oh yeah, baby. The Blue Bloods series debuted at Numero Four!!!!
Check it out!!

I found out really early—Wednesday night—apparently that’s when “the List” is sent out to publishers and you know, there is ONLY one list. The New York Times list is nirvana – the place all authors hope to go once they publish—anyway, my agent and editor told me I’d hit the list at Number Four and there was mucho screaming in my hotel room and dancing around. I was on tour in Phoenix when I found out. (Why is it all my good news is always while I am traveling? I don’t feel like I travel all that much. But I found out my first novel sold while I was out of town too. Hmmm.)

And Revelations also debuted at #55 on the USA Today list! The USA Today list is of ALL books regardless of category (adult, childrens, fic, non-fic). Very cool!!

It was so nice to celebrate at the Masquerade Ball with all of you!! Big shout outs to Amanda and Rhianna – gorgeous, gorgeous girls from the Blue Bloods message boards! Along with all of the beautiful teens in goth-punk finery, and super-fab finery (there was a mother-daughter team of amazon models—hi guys!). It was so nice to meet everyone!! It was really, really fun. Thanks to the lovely ladies of the Scottsdale Public Library who hosted it: Mariana van Meter and Medina Zick. You guys are so awesome. I was so moved by how much these teen librarians care so much about their charges—Scottsdale teens are very, very lucky to have Mariana and Medina looking out for you!

At the ball, we all did the cha-cha slide…I gotta say, there’s no better way to celebrate debuting on the bestseller list than cha-cha sliding with a hundred masked teens at your own Masquerade Ball!

Hugs and kisses to all, and especially to you, dear readers, who made it all possible.

And now I’ve gotta get back to work!!!


Phoenix is Cool not only because it’s named after one of the X-Men

Just arrived in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona. Actually my hotel is in lovely Scottsdale, with a gorgeous view of the Camelback mountain. One of the wonderful things about going on this book tour is discovering how varied and gorgeous and interesting our country is, Austin was awesome, and Phoenix is sooooo cool. I love the desert, I love the flatness and the starkness of it—it’s very striking and poetic. And the cacti! It’s like one of those old Snoopy comics with his cousin (I forget Snoopy’s Arizona cousin, but he was always drawn with a cactus behind him.)

Anyway, I’m again, exhausted, but happy (see: election results!!! YAY!!!) and tomorrow is our baby’s 2nd birthday. I can’t believe she’s so big now. She’s such an articulate little monster. “Put on my pull-ups so we can go to the pool!!!”

Okay! Okay!

Don’t forget: tomorrow: (Nov 6) I’ll be at the Poisoned Pen at 7PM
4014 N Goldwater Blvd, suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

and Friday night, Masquerade Ball!!!
7:30 PM
3839 N Drinkwater Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 8521-4452
Come in your finest, your Goth finest, your Blue Bloods finest, or whatever you think looks fine!!!! Pimp it up people!!!



Happy Election Day, Happy Moms Are Made in California (and Canada)

Go Vote!

Okay. You’re done? Were the lines long? Did you get a sticker?

I’m jealous. Because, um. I’m not actually a US Citizen. NOT YET anyway. I have to apply next year. It’s a long sad story why I have lived here 23 years and am still not a citizen. It involves shady immigration attorneys, lost applications, and 9/11. But, since my husband can vote, I have a voice in “half” of his vote.

Here’s a happy mom email. Now this REALLY made my day.

Dear Melissa:

I want you to know that after a long struggle, my 12 ½ year old daughter is actually “reading” for pleasure!  She bought your book “the Ashleys” at a school book fair and just finished it last night.  She couldn’t put it down!  I’ve been trying forever to get her off the computer and now she wants me to buy her more books from your collection.

Thank you so much!

From a happy mom in Barrie, Ontario, Canada!

Awesome!! Thanks Happy Mom!

And I’m going to be in Scottsdale, AZ this week! I’m doing a reading at a bookstore on Thursday night and then the super-fancy Masquerade Ball is on Friday night! We’ll have a DJ! A Tarot Card reader! A Make-up Artist! Goody Bags! And me!

November 6, 2008
Poisoned Pen Bookstore
4014 N Goldwater Blvd. Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 947-2974

November 07, 2008 (7:30 PM)
Masquerade Ball in Scottsdale, Arizona!!
Scottsdale Public Library – Civic Center
3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 312-7323



Back in LA, Missing Tayhas

Am back in L.A. now. Austin and the Texas Book Festival were really awesome. So many nice volunteers and such a well-run festival! The highlight, of course was meeting fellow authors—Lauren Myracle, who is zany and hilarious and made us take photos of lifting fans up in “princess chairs” (Lauren: my arm STILL hurts!), Paula Yoo (who plays a MEAN violin and has the BEST skin I have ever seen. What is it with Koreans and their baby’s-butt skin?? Tres unfair!!) and Shannon Hale, who kept us all in stitches the entire night at the Austin Bat Cave. Lauren, I have to warn you, Shannon and I want REVENGE on the scare-a-thon.

I’ve been very entertained by all the other authors who participated in the scare-a-thon. Lauren’s Thriller video has go to be seen to be believed. (Did she learn it in all one take???) and Shannon’s Dean Witch project is so spooky and funny, and this from Scott Westerfeld is one of the best, I think: funny, unexpected, totally entertaining. And here’s Meg Cabot in her fairie costume, zexy!!!

Technical glitches on the secret Revelations story have been fixed. So please try looking again! And Borders and Chapters should have the books in VERY soon. I was in a Borders yesterday and they didn’t have it yet, but they said it should be in this week.

Now I have to go as I have GIRL due and I am only halfway done through my final polish!


Haylll No! On 8!!!

I’m still in the lovely state of Tayhas, but those of you who live in California know what I’m talking about.

There’s a referendum on the ballot on November 4th to reverse the right of gay people to get married, legally, in California.

A few months ago, the California Supreme Court concluded that not allowing all its citizens the right to marry was UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Everyone has a right to marry who they want, even if the person is of the same-sex. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and in most of the Western world (Canada, Europe, etc.) and, currently, in our great state of California.

Proposition 8 would reverse the California Supreme Court decision and invalidate all the same-sex marriages that have been performed here.

There are benefits to marriage: tax benefits, estate benefits (being able to inherit your partner’s money without paying taxes or running into weird estate laws), laws like…who can come into the ICU when you’re sick, because it’s “family only”. Or who can decide what to do if you’re brain-dead…your partner, your husband/wife, should be the one making these decisions. But if you’re gay, your partner isn’t “family” which, when I think of this, I am about to burst into tears—can you imagine???? Mike and I aren’t family because we are not related to each other. But that’s what it’s like for gay and lesbian couples.

My dear friends Paul and Matt, have been together for fifteen years. Matt laughed wryly and said that all his brothers and sisters are divorced, but he and Paul have been together for much longer than any of his siblings. They own two houses together, and yet, they are not “married”.

Another of my best friends, Tom Dolby, with whom I co-edited the anthology “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” is planning a fall wedding next year with his fiance, Drew. It just about destroys me that the government has the ability to tell people who can be “married” or not. When Tom and Drew got engaged, we received a beautiful engagement announcement from their parents. Friends have feted them at parties from coast to coast. I am really looking forward to a fabulous wedding. Tom and Drew are really upset about Proposition 8, as you can imagine. They have been looking forward to making it legal.

What is a wedding after all, than a chance to celebrate with your family, your community, to be able to declare, in public, that the two of you are pledged to each other? And legal status MATTERS. It just does. Everyone should have a right to be a “Smug Married”. EVERYONE!

NO ON 8!!!


I Heart Austin

Am in Austin! Woohoo! It’s noicccceeee here. Very cool, Southern hipster Tayhas flava. I’m digging it. It’s so interesting to go to a big city that’s not New York, or L.A., or even Chicago. It’s a nice vibe. The corporate overlords have put me in the Hotel San Jose, which is a really nice retro-cool modern hotel, with beautiful concrete floors (my architect-wife’s heart melts) and fountains everywhere and just a really nice garden environment. It’s very Palm Springs in a way. I’ve been shopping up and down “SoCo” and bought a cute little mod mini-dress from By George, and then gifts for Mattie from the Kids Genius toy store. (More Cinderella junk, but oh well. She really loves it.)

The writers I’ve met have all been so GREAT: really warm, friendly, funny, smart people. Did a panel today with Paula Yoo, Lauren Myracle (the scare-a-thon taskmaster) and Jennifer Ziegler, and we rocked the house. A really fun and fiesty group. Paula brought the house down with her violin performance (Stairway to Heaven). I’ve never enjoyed a tour so much since this one. And the other day met up with other fab YA authors Varian Johnson, Margo Rabb (who was wearing a Libertine dress from Target that I also own!! We bonded.) and Tanya Lee Stone, with whom we got into a friendly argument about Melvin Burgess’s “Doing It” (I loved it, Tanya loathed it, but thankfully, I think we liked each other—I can’t speak for Tanya. LOL.)

Anyway, I am contemplating changing into costume number three, I wore a running-around dress this morning for book signings, then a blue Marni dress for the panel, and now there’s a cocktail party and some kind of Family Feud event with other writers and lots of teens. I was going to wear this Nanette Lepore black sheath dress with my new killer patent Loubs but am wondering if it is “too much.” But then part of the pleasure of going out is dressing up, isn’t it?

Okay. Gotta go. There’s an ice cream parlor across the street from my hotel that I need to hit.


I Wanna Be Sedated

Quickly: My Five Randoms interview!

Okay. I rose to the challenge. Lauren Myracle dared me to face my biggest fear.

So. Yes. I made that dental appointment. Here is the proof. A rather boring video: and actually just putting it up scares me. I have no make-up on. I look really goofy from that angle on my built-in iSight camera. But oh well. If anyone really wants to watch it, go ahead. There are three calls made: To my dentist, and her receptionist (Nazzi), and the surgery center, and then back to Nazzi again. Nazzi of course, always remembers me because I’m the one who comes in every year and they tell me I have to get this done and then I promise to get it done and then disappear for another year. Also: hilarity ensues when no one knows what my name is. This is what happens when you keep your maiden name professionally (Melissa de la Cruz) but use your married name for your personal life (Melissa Johnston) and the name on your ID is Melissa de la Cruz-Johnston. You will try to make appointments and no one (including you) will figure out “who” you are. Sigh.

And the scary stuff: “You want to be sedated, yes?” Me: Gulp. Um. Yes!

Okay: gotta go to Tayhas!!! I love Texas!!!!

November 01, 2008 (2:00 PM)
Texas Book Festival Appearance

Family Life Center
1300 Lavaca St.
Austin, TX

Panel: How Not to Be Popular

Melissa de la Cruz (Revelations & Angels on Sunset Boulevard)
Lauren Myracle (Bliss)
Paula Yoo (Good Enough)
Jennifer Ziegler (How Not to be Popular)

Come see me talk with other fabulous and funny authors!!

Happy Halloween! Everyone be safe tonight!! Anyone dressing up in Blue Bloods costumes: pictures please!!