Monthly Archives: January 2009

Faketastic Interview, Back on the List, Shop Till you Bop

Fun stuff today!

First off, the Blue Bloods series is back on the New York Times Best-seller List this week at numero otcho!!! That’s number eight in gringo.  (It will be printed on Sunday but the pub houses find out Wednesday night and you get an email from your editor telling you). Happy happy dance! And it’s also back on the USA Today Top 150 List as well! Oh-yeah-Oh-yeah-It’s-my-birthday-Oh-yeah… (Do you remember that? Whenever something happened that was good you’d sing It’s-ma-birthday-it’s-ma-birthday…blame Fitty! Or was that just me and my gay gang?)

I did an interview with the hilarious and awesome Alexa Young, author of the Frenemies series to celebrate the release of her new book FAKETASTIC. If you like The Ashleys, you’ll love Frenemies and Faketastic!!

And for those of you who ask for writing tips and aren’t content with the writing tips on this blog, I’ll point you to Ally Carter’s great blog post about how the publishing business if not for wusses and also her best advice for aspiring writers.

I’m so glad Ally is writing about writing because now I don’t have to. 😉 Because you know, what I really like to write about on my blog is shopping.

Remember shopping?? I’m sure YOU do. Because even in down economies, people like to make sure their kids have books and clothes. Yay, teens! Yay, parents!

Apparently we are all supposed to go shopping in our closet these days. Which is kind of fun when you think about it! And makes you really smug: Oh THIS old thing? It actually IS an old thing I pulled out of my closet! Last night I put on my vintage-looking black Libertine for Target dress that I’d never worn (I bought it a year ago for $39 but I like to let the fashion cycle pass, especially for the Go-from-Target line before wearing them. Because otherwise you end up seeing WAY too many people in the same clothes. Like this striped Proenza-for-Target coat I bought, I wore it when it first came out and I could not go anywhere in New York without seeing some other chick in my coat. So now I wait a year or two before wearing them.) Anyway, I wore my Libertine Target dress belted with my Hermes belt, my peep-toe heel Marni knee high boots, and my Balenciaga wool and suede jacket with the big military buttons that I bought a year ago for my January book tour, my multi-colored sheer Missoni scarft, and to complete the outfit: my YSL black oversize Muse bag.

I looked in the mirror and I was like, I LOOK FANTASTIC!! I had had my haircut that day at Warren Tricomi (Edward cut my hair for years in New York) and I looked like my old self. The one who used to go to Fashion Week and get photographed by Bill Cunningham.

So where was I going looking so fly?? You’ll laugh. Okay. We went to dinner. (But not anywhere where people are seen, you know, it was more like “the place around the corner” in Sex and the City lingo. As Carrie says: I’m NOT a neighborhood restaurant girl. I’m not either, but we didn’t feel like hiking all the way to Bev Hills for once.) And then we went to the movies. And I was sooooo uncomfortable in my outfit. I was sitting in the theater and slowly and surreptitiously began to take off the layers: first went the jacket and scarf. Then the belt. Then the boots. Unfortch, I could not take off what was really killing me: the Spanx. Nope. Those, of course, had to stay on.

Let’s just say I couldn’t wait for Revolutionary Road to end! And you know what, if I wanted to be entertained by fighting I could just stay home and fight with Mike. 😉 Kidding! (Sort of.)

But as for real shopping-shopping I have been taking advantage of all the sales (and also not. Also just buying spring clothes full-price. O’well. I can’t help it.) I bought my Oscar de la Renta dress. It is beyond. I mean: WOW. It is so well-crafted and SO flattering. Now I understand. His clothes make you look gorgeous! I have no waist. I’m a straight up-and-down girl. No hips. But no waist either. But in the de la Renta, I had this tiny nipped-in-waist. It was body-conscious without being at all unsightly. No bulges. No weird bumps. Just precision engineering. Amazing. I’m a convert. And seventy percent off!!! Mine is the brown tafetta one with gold flowers. I think I’ll wear it to my brother’s wedding in May.

I also bought two new Diane Von Furstenberg dresses for Spring. This one and this one. DVF is the pretty girl’s secret. My friend Minty who always looks perfect swears by them. The dresses are SO flattering and well-made. Designer genius all the way and they cost $300 on average. I never used to wear DVF. I always thought it was too I don’t know, feminine for me. I used to work at an edgy fashion site, I wore Daughters of the Whatever (I can’t remember the label’s pretentious name but it was something like that) and Bernhard Wilhem (Bjork’s favorite designer) and As Four (they are now Three As Four). I liked things that were…UGLY now in retrospect. I liked them more for the shock value and the fashion snobbery than actually looking good. I think I was able to pull off these clothes because 1) I was much younger and 2) I was much thinner. (See my earlier post about how young skinny people can look good in anything.)

But now I don’t want to look like a fashion freak. I want to look….nice. And in DVF you actually don’t just look nice, you do look a bit fashion-forward too, and most importantly, you look like yourself, only better. Not so fat. Not so washed-out. (And you know what I mean by not so fat. Even skinny girls feel fat. But please, don’t get all ana on me. Rexy ain’t sexy.)

What else have I bought: A new Zac Posen dress from the Spring line (another sexy skin-hugging dress. I think maybe all this sexy dress shopping is in response to all those blobby dresses I bought two years ago.) Green knit with flamenco neckline. Mike liked it and he almost never comments on my clothes. Stella MCartney sweater. This was outrageously expensive. It’s one of those drapey wrap-y sweaters but short-sleeve and you can wear it two ways (which halves the price, right?). Mine is in ivory, not navy. I wear it almost every day. So a good investment I think. I hope. And lots of Chloe. Chloe boots and pumps both at seventy off, you know the patent-and-suede pointy ones? This one in purple and the pumps are electric blue. A new Chloe sweater from the new collection. Also hideously pricey but again, I wear it all the time so worth it. Then went outlet shopping over the holidays and hit the Jimmy Choo outlet and snagged one of those evening bags that used to be $1500 for $400. Gold metallic leather with the signature buckle. And croc-embossed knee-high boots. And a sequin short mod shift dress from Banana Republic that was $50 from $200. Cap-sleeves and so cute and a lot of fashion for a little price as fashion editors like to say.

And did you guys get the Thakoon at Target line? I love this shirtdress. SO great on and at $39. But if you’re like me be smart and wear it in two years when no one remembers it!

xoxo
Mel

Girl Powah

This blog has logged Two Million Hits! Wow. That is cool. I also stumbled upon some ranking that figured out who and how many people read this blog. It’s no surprise that most of you out there are teens. Hi teens! Specifically teen girls. Hi girls!

I went to an all-girls school up until college and at my school every assembly, every class, was always begun by the teacher saying a cheery (and somewhat motherly) “Hi Girls!” to us. We always had warm cookies after assembly. And our school was housed in this beautiful Beaux Arts mansion. There was this grand marble staircase that we trudged up every morning, the same one our seniors wearing white tea dresses slightly above your ankles, gloves, and holding a bouquet of roses glided down on during commencement. (You had to bring your dress to be approved by the Dean. It couldn’t show too much skin and it had to be exactly the right length.)

As much as I bitch and moan about my high school experience, some parts of it still make me smile. And yes, for those who have asked, the school in Blue Bloods is based on my school. I had to imagine what it would be like if we had boys in it. But most of it—even the ghost of the founder rattling around the attic classrooms—were straight from the rumors we girls told each other back then.

I just wrote a little synopsis of The Van Alen Legacy for my newsletter and I thought I would share it wit’choo:

BLUE BLOODS: THE VAN ALEN LEGACY:
Now that the Conclave is in ruins, will Charles find it within himself to have the courage to lead the Blue Bloods once again? Will Schuyler discover her life’s true quest? With Oliver’s help, she just might…Meanwhile, Jack and Mimi’s bonding draws ever closer. Nothing can come between them now, or can it? And will Bliss ever regain dominion over her own self? Find out in Fall 2009!!!

xoxo
Mel

Resistance is Futile, or, the Borg are right

First off, Happy New Year chickens!!!

It’s 2009, do you know where your books are???

I’m sorry for the radio silence over the holidays. We had quality family time and no nanny which means I had no time for anything other than the kid, the husband, and the extended family. It was nice to take a bit of a break -I was starting to feel truly burnt out at the end of last year but this morning I woke up just RAZZZING to go.

I read a lot of good stuff over break: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which I could not put down all day yesterday, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, which I devoured in two hours on the couch after Mattie fell asleep, What Happened to Cass McBride, which I read during our Palm Springs vacay, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, which I’ve been peppering my husband with tidbits from in every conversation (don’t get me started! But did you know you only need to be “smart enough” and not “super smart”? Smart enough goes a long way!). I haven’t read a lot of YA lately and it was nice to get back in and find out the water’s so nice and warm. Great books all and heartily recommended by moi. My next reading batch is E. Lockhart’s Frankie Landau Banks book, Sarah Mylnowski’s Parties & Potions (Sarah is stopping by my blog on her online tour! I will post more deets when I know them!) and Holly Black’s The Good Neighbors.

As those of you who met me on my book tour know, I really don’t read a lot of YA other than Diana Wynne Jones (who is more fantasy than YA in my opinion) and I read a lot of cooking memoirs instead, since I can’t read in my genre. Well, I think that was just hoodoovoodoo on my part, because I believed I didn’t want anyone else’s teen voice in my head while I’m writing my own teen books. Because now that I have started reading YA again (I used to devour Gossip Girl and Clique books like candy), I’m really happy with the books I’m reading. And I finally got to read Twilight, too! After watching the movie I could not resist. And I’m happy to report they are so different from my books that it was another escape. I’m looking forward to picking up the House of Night and Vampire Academy series also. Lots of good YA stuff out there!

I guess I just feel happy with where I am in my work. More secure maybe. Blue Bloods IV: The Van Alen Legacy is going really well, and I think you guys will enjoy this book because it answers so many questions. Of course, there are still unanswered questions, but big big stuff is answered. Also: there are rumors on the Internet that Book Four is being released January 2009. This is so untrue and I’m sorry for whoever spread this rumor. The book will not be out until Fall 09 at the earliest, if I hear otherwise, I’ll let you know of course!!

Anyway, I guess I’m feeling zen about my work because even if this turns out to be another five-novel year, which it’s shaping up to be, I’m okay with it. I realized that in the past, DENYING that I had this much work to do only made me miserable. Resistance is misery, Acceptance is freedom. I read that somewhere over the break, and it is so so so true. Now that I ACCEPT I have all these books to write, I just get really excited about them. And when I ACCEPT my workload, I do stuff like schedule my days so that it all gets done (as much as possible) on time. But when I RESIST my workload and my deadlines, I just plow ahead and cram and then angst and wail. I procrastinate because I am in denial about how much work there is. But with acceptance comes rigor and discipline and writing.

Which means: gotta get back to it. Books aren’t going to write themselves!

I wish you all very happy and a very prosperous New Year. God knows we need one!

xoxo
Mel