Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Ashleys; The End

The end of Lipstick Jungle was the end of the Ashleys series. I had planned to write at least two more books, but my schedule did not end up allowing me to do so. I’m so sorry to keep you hanging.
So, at last, here are the answers to your questions about what happens to the Ashleys in THE END.


Ashley Alioto (“A.A.”) moves to Los Angeles with her mom but she and Tri have a long-distance relationship that they struggle to keep together. As the years go by, they keep making up and breaking up and then go to college and graduate and fall in love with other people and think back fondly on their first love. (Because, c’mon, you can’t end up with the person you fell in love with at TWELVE can you? Can you?) Surprisingly, the answer to this question is a YES. Tri and A.A. meet again in New York, where he is a lawyer and she is a sports agent. They have their wedding at the Tribeca Rooftop. The only Ashley at the reception is Ashley Spencer. She and A.A. are still friends, and they laugh that once upon a time, they had fought over Tri, whom most people now call Robert. A.A. and Tri move to Westchester and have three children.

Ashley Spencer gets shipped off to boarding school after Miss Gamble’s, where she goes through a bohemian phase, demands that everyone call her “India” and hooks up with lots of long-haired Phish fans. Cooper is no longer her boyfriend after he comes out of the closet in high school, but they remain the best of friends. Ashley goes off to Brown for college, and moves to New York, where she works for a succession of fashion magazines and is subsequently laid off not once but several times due to the ups and downs of the magazine industry. Finally tired of all the chaos, she starts her own blog, Daily Kisses, and after a few years sells it to Stalker Media for twenty million dollars. She’s thirty-six, still single, and has moved on to dating moguls.

Ashley Li (“Lili”) never does go back to the Ashleys after the big split at the end of the year. She’s still friendly with A.A. but the two lose touch after A.A. moves to Bel-Air. Instead, she hangs out with Max and his friends and transfers to the art school that he attends. They split up after a few months, and after high school she goes to RISD, where she majors in Painting. She never speaks to Ashley Spencer again, although later the two of them will reconnect on Facebook and meet up for drinks in the city and laugh about how silly they all were in seventh grade. After working for a famous photographer, she has a gallery show of her own and achieves a modest amount of fame. Max grows up to be a corporate banker, which she also finds out through Facebook. Ashley Li lives in Tribeca with her husband Garret, a musician, and their two dogs.

Lauren Page’s dad loses all his money in Great Recession, but Lauren and her mom amassed so many designer clothes and jewelry while they were rich that they’re able to float the family on e-Bay sales for many years. She and Christian break up but they remain friends and take each other to prom in high school (still as friends, with maybe a few benefits, but nothing serious.) Lauren goes to Harvard, becomes the head of the Lampoon and moves to Hollywood after college, and works on one television sitcom after another. She and Ashley Spencer remain friends, and whenever Ashley is in LA, Lauren meets up with her at the Beverly Hills Hotel where they order too many cocktails and Ashley flirts shamelessly with the model-waiters. After several failed relationships and one failed engagement, Lauren meets the man of her dreams, a fellow writer on her TV show and they get married in Santa Barbara. They have one child and two homes.

And that’s how it all ends up for our girls!

Hope you enjoyed it!


New Writing Rules

The minute I turned in Misguided Angel, I had TWO more books due. Thankfully they were in pretty good shape for deadline, so instead of panicking or collapsing, I took a few days off and just went back into it. But after STRUGGLING with Misguided Angel for the better part of a year, I figured I would finish Bloody Valentine and Witches of East End in a different way.

You see, it was a miserable several months getting Misguided Angel in shape. I stopped exercising. I stopped taking my kid on a Mommy Day (which is just her and me, no nanny, usually a playdate or two with some fun Mommy friends). I stopped shopping. I stopped READING. I stopped doing ANYTHING but AGONIZING over my novel. And you know what happened? I got stuck, I got frustrated, it was the worst experience writing a book I’ve ever had. I thought, if I just concentrate on the book, it will GO FASTER. But of course, it didn’t and I just got stressed and miserable. Misguided Angel is an awesome book, I’m so proud of it and my editors and agent think it’s the best one yet. But god it was hard to get there.

So this time, I decided I would not do that. I would make my deadlines, but I would take the time to live my life as well. I would work out every other day. I would have quality time with the kid. I would set aside time to read, vege out, do whatever I wanted. And you know what? It makes writing SO MUCH EASIER. I actually get my work done FASTER. Today I wrote three thousand words before breakfast. I’m so much happier and the work is flying.

Stress is an odd thing, if you don’t manage it, it takes over your life. After writing more than twenty books you would think I would know that but I have to re-learn it every time.

Happy weekend everyone!


It’s an honor to be nominated!

Hey guys,

I’m going to be in Toronto September 25th for the Indigo Chapters Teen Read Awards Night. That’s right! The good folks up north have nominated THE VAN ALEN LEGACY in BEST TEEN SERIES. They’re giving away prizes EVERY DAY and you can vote as many times as you like – every day until September 25th in fact.

Now, don’t fail me! I’ve run two successful class presidential campaigns (and two unsuccessful ones – but I always seem to forget those). And my wonderful publisher is already sending me to Toronto win or lose. But it would be nice to win. Or not, I mean, I could always pull a Kanye, right? 😉


Having a Life

Thank you to everyone who sent kind emails and your own stories of loss. Thank you for sharing and for making me feel so much better. You guys are just awesome.

I feel much better today, mostly because my books are just too much fun to write! Misguided Angel for some reason was really difficult to write, but in the end it was exactly what I wanted it to be. It’s funny because I had the story for the book for SO LONG in my head and in the end it’s exactly like the story I originally conceived and yet it was so hard to get there. (Deadlines flew by. Whoosh! With no finished book.) One of the things that is so wonderful about being a writer is a sense of accomplishment once it is done. Priceless.

I’m working on Bloody Valentine, which is heartbreaking and insanely awesome at the same time. You guys are gonna lurve it because I am so obsessed with it, seriously, I wake up and think Schuyler, Jack, Oliver and Mimi are all real people. It’s weird to remember that they are characters that I made up. They seem very real to me. But as Meg Cabot says, You can love your books but don’t looooove your books. It always surprises me that I get my books done because there is so much REAL LIFE to live—raising a child, being a wife, running a household, keeping in contact with friends, having a LIFE. Books are not a life. I love what I do, but it’s not good to be so one-sided.

Today I made my word count and I’m off to have lunch with a dear friend I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m all dressed up because it’s lunch in Beverly Hills and when in Rome… 😉 I’m looking forward to gabbing and shopping and then going off to Disneyland with my family with our brand-spanking new VIP!!!! PASS!!!! from my wonderful publisher.

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Postcards from Grief

The other day I thought to myself, “Am I ever going to be happy again?” It was a strange thing to think… especially as I am not an unhappy person, one of my oldest friends told me when we first met that I struck her as incredibly cheerful in a very old-fashioned, almost apple-cheeked, 19th-century way, that I was “merry”—something you never think of as person as being anymore. I thought that was a good word to describe me, as I am a lot like my dad and my dad was very… well, merry. He had this liveliness about him. He was such a happy person and yet his favorite motto was “I’d rather be miserable in wealth.” He liked nice hotels, Pop.

Since my dad passed away seven months ago, while the immediate shock and intense sorrow has faded a bit, I find that there is a gloom that has settled over me somewhat, that I am not quite the person I used to be before it happened. Nothing like this has ever happened to me or my family before. Sure, my parents lost their fortune and we had to move to the US, but it’s only money. Really. I learned that very early in life, I grew up thinking three-month vacations to Europe was the norm. When that ended, it was a huge shock but it wasn’t as bad—not even in the same league—as this. Losing someone you love..I never really understood what that meant. What loss means. Absence. Missing. It amazes me sometimes: here are my dad’s books, here is my dad’s library card. There is the couch he used to sit on when he would come over. He used to drive my car when I drove him to chemo. It’s like he’s everywhere but nowhere. Even the word ‘grief’ looks like grief, doesn’t it? The way it fits together, with that g and that f, it already looks so sad. Grief is a good word to describe grief. It’s a sadness that stings, that is somewhat unexpected. What is that saying? Grief is another country.

Sometimes I forget why I am sad, I just notice that I am not as happy as I used to be. Not as merry maybe. Definitely a little blue around the edges. A little melancholy. I know that no matter what, for the rest of my life, the feeling of missing will never go away. And that this loss will only compound as the years go by and we all slouch towards the inevitable.

Will I ever be happy again? I hope so. My dad certainly was. He lost a brother when he was 18, his mom when he was 25, his dad when he was 33. Both his sisters died of cancer in their late 50s, early 60s. (My dad died at 60.) And yet he was the happiest person I knew. He told us to survive his loss and to carry on. He even joked about it. When friends would call and ask how he was during that last hard year, he’d always say, “Buhay pa!” (“Still alive!”)

Nice things that happened when my dad died. The flower storm. The cards. The cards with checks, from Filipino friends. My mom cried as she opened those—she had forgotten that in the Filipino culture, it was a custom to send money when someone died. That the community shares your loss. And sends money to help offset funeral costs. It’s an immigrant thing.

We buried my dad in a cemetery. The American way, it seems now, is to cremate and scatter. I grew up going to the graves of my grandparents every weekend. In the Philippines when someone dies you wear a black pin for a year to show everyone you are in mourning. It seems so casual to me, to scatter ashes. But where would you visit? Where would you go when you feel sad? Or the urn in the living room. Really? Just…there? Remains? By the fireplace?

Some days it is easier to forget, and then some days it is not.


Keys to the Repository TRAILER!!!

We taped this video a year ago while I was at BEA! And now here it is. Lots of fun sneaks at what is in the book!


The big library book giveaway, and KEYS to the Kingdom!

The big book giveaway!

I have many many copies of my many many books. Too many for me to keep. If you are a librarian and would like copies of my books for your library, email my assistant at melissadlcoffice at gmail dot com with your library’s address and we will send you books. Subject line: LIBRARY BOOK GIVE AWAY! Simple as that. This giveaway is to libraries only. So if you would like your library to have copies of my books, please ask them to email us and we will send them books.

Right now we have tons of advance copies of KEYS TO THE REPOSITORY. If you would like a copy, please email your name and snail-mail address to melissadlcoffice at gmail dot com with the subject line KEYS TO THE KINGDOM. Oh yeah! I’ll put all the names in one of our fabulous Ittala bowls and my daughter will pick TEN lucky winners. Contest is open to international readers. (Why not?) But I do have one caveat, last time when we did a book giveaway, some of you guys were in college and you didn’t pick up your book and it kept getting sent back to us and my assistant kept trying to send it back to you and it just got frustrating. So if you are in college, we will only send it to your HOME ADDRESS. Oh college kids. I remember what THAT was like. “Package? What package? What time is that party again?” The contest it open until JUNE 11TH 12 MIDNIGHT PST. We will send books out the next week so you get them before publication (June 29th). But remember! You need to put in your snail-mail address. And your home address. (NO PO Boxes. NO College mailboxes.) Have I nagged enough? 🙂 GOOD LUCK ALL!!!