Monthly Archives: August 2007

One Down, One Million To Go? LOL!


That is the sound of finishing the final draft of JEALOUS?, the second book in THE ASHLEYS series. It is so weird to be done with book #2 before you all have even had a chance to read book #1! I’m soooo excited for the launch of THE ASHLEYS, coming to a bookstore near you in January, I’m told. JEALOUS? drops in April. How fun is that question mark at the end?? LOL.

I’m so sorry we still haven’t mailed out the prizes. They are sitting on my couch in my office right now but we will mail them this week as long as you have sent your address to my office email.

It’s been a very stressful summer as we continue to give our baby physical therapy to correct her head tilt and Mike and I try to meet our deadlines at the same time. She’s going to be one year old in a few months! It’s so crazy! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since she was born! I still remember the pain of those first few months. And I STILL don’t have highlights in my hair! ARGH!

In other exciting news, I’ve figured out what is going to happen in Blue Bloods 3: REVELATIONS. I know, I know. I’ve kind of known for a while what I thought was going to happen, but last week the whole thing finally clicked and I thought, voila! It’s really really juicy. The sad part is that I still don’t quite know what’s going to happen in ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD: THE STRIP. I thought I did, but now I think I’ve changed my mind. It’s very annoying when that happens. But I do know there’s going to be a lot of Johnny Silver in it. I’ve also started writing the outline for the third book in the ASHLEYS series,  THIRTEEN CANDLES: IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL FREAK IF I WANT TO. Which I think comes out next October.

I know, a lot of books. Lately I’ve noticed a lot of my friendly and frenemy acquaintances have been giving me a lot of grief for the amount of books I have written or are coming out. You know, little jokes like "Melissa will be publishing her thousandth book this summer!" Or "We don’t have room in our shelves for all your books!" Or "You write faster than I read!"

I don’t mind the jibes. I guess I do have a lot of books in me. And I have ideas for TONS more. I mean, the other day I got an idea for a new YA series that I am DYING to write but I can’t yet because I still have all these books under contract, and my god, SOCIAL LIFE hasn’t been started yet. But I really really want to start writing it. And I just did a proposal for a little-kids book which made me think of ANOTHER little kids picture book idea. And I have an editor waiting for a proposal for a non-fiction style book that I am JONESING to get started on as well. Plus, I have an adult novel that’s fully outlined that I can’t even start yet, plus another one in synopsis form that I would love to write at some point. Sigh.

You know, there was a time in my career when I couldn’t get published for the life of me. All my proposals went unsold, I have three unpublished novels in my hard drive, and god knows how many unanswered pitches to various magazines before I finally hit it. So now that people actually want to publish my writing, I’m just so grateful.

Of course I go through writers’ block. I sometimes just sit and stare at the computer screen for god knows how long. But I fight it–you have to–and I start to write gibberish. From the gibberish sentences form. I have no trouble writing outlines. I love writing outlines. But fleshing it out is another story. I hate writing first drafts. I much prefer the revision process, when everything–click, click, click, comes together.

Besides, the biggest revenge is to publish even more books, right? LOL.

What I have also been doing is planning our vacations. This is my favorite thing to do next to writing my books. Because the minute I finish a book I HAVE to get away to relax. My life is work-work-work-work and BIG RELAX.  I think we’re going to drive down to the St. Regis Monarch Beach. It looks fantastic! And Guiliani Depandi and Bill Ranzic were just vacationing down there! Hey, me and the C-listers! That’s how we roll. LOL.

I’m hoping to get to St. Tropez this spring as well, so I can finally start writing SOCIAL LIFE. Everyone says to just take the baby along with us. I have several friends who know the scene there very well, and I can’t wait to start yacht-hopping!

Why do all the good things in life start with Saint? St. Regis. St. Tropez. St. Barth’s. Yummm.

Hoping everyone is having a scahhhn-dahlous summer!


The Envelope Please…

First of all, you are ALL winners. If your name is not here, you still get a goodie-bag – filled with fabulous ELF beauty products!! My assistant will be sending you an email to ask for your address so we can mail you your goodie-bags. Yay!

I was really blown away by how creative everyone was!! It was just so exciting! And we do have some very special winners…

The winner of the TWEETY bag, with the designer sweatshirt, Haviana flipflops, rhinestone tanktop, lipgloss and compact (a $300 value) is… AMANDA!  Amanda created a new site devoted to Blue Bloods which has everything you want to know about all the characters, the story, the mythology. It’s insane. Amanda also runs the Blue Bloods forums (which she created and started on her own) and she almost got run over by a lady in a motorized wheelchair when she met me at BEA. Amanda, congratulations!!! The website is still under construction but I am just blown away by the level of detail and effort she put into the project. Yay, Amanda!

The winner of a fabulous purple leather VIA SPIGA handbag (a $230 value) from my fashion closet is CASEY! Casey did a fashion show and dressed up as each of the characters in The Au Pairs and Blue Bloods with clothes and accessories from her closet. I loved the fashion show and adored all the outfits! Yay, Casey! I hope you like your new handbag!

The winner of a fabulous suede CLUB MONACO handbag (a $120 value) from my fashion closet is ABBY! Abby created a fabulous collage of all my book covers and I’m such a fan of collages and hers was very colorful, creative and fun! Yay, Abby! I hope you like your new handbag!

Thanks for playing everyone! I really enjoyed all the art, banners and trailers you all created! Enjoy the beauty products!


Contest Results Soon, I promise

Thanks to everyone who entered the GOODIE-BAG giveaway!!! We got so many fabulous entries, and because of my well-stocked beauty closet you are all winners!!!

I will announce some special winners very soon! I’ve really enjoyed watching/looking at everything you’ve done–you all rock!

It’s been a hectic end-of-summer, trying-to-get-all-the-books written week here, will post more soon. It looks like I’ll be taking my yearly summer vacation in October once again. Sigh!

In any case…have you all decided on your fall wardrobes yet?? LA doesn’t really have "fall" but who cares! I’m planning mine as we speak!


The Seventh-Grade Social Scene, Standing in the Sun, and other Memories of Manila

So right now I’m revising THE ASHLEYS #2: JEALOUS which, I think is just SO much fun and something you will really enjoy reading especially if you like the Au Pairs, even if it is about seventh-graders.

Because, hello, wasn’t seventh-grade like, soooo TRAUMATIC AND AWESOME AND MEMORABLE??? My seventh grade certainly was. For me it was the year I got asked to dance by the CUTEST seventh-grade boy in Manila. Sadly his name escapes me…it was something really boring, like Ray something…Ray… Tiongson? Or Cal Tiongson? Cal Tuazon? I have completely forgotten.

He was so cute that my BFF in seventh-grade DUMPED me because she thought she would be more popular if she wasn’t friends with me and instead befriended all the lame-ass popular bi-atches in our year. You see, in seventh-grade, I was not very cool.

Yes, people. It happens.

I was a big bookworm, and even nerdier, my so-called BFF and I called ourselves "booksnakes" because we thought this would make us sound cooler. It didn’t.

Anyway, Annali, as we’ll call her since it is her real name, and I bonded over everything–our love of The Outsiders, V.C. Andrews, Judy Blume, and we were co-editors of the Yearbook and Newspaper Clubs.

Then, high school beckoned. We didn’t have eighth-grade in Manila, just seventh and then you went straight to high school. In Manila, you can go to the SAME school from pre-kindergarten all the way to senior year in college. Weird, huh? And when you go from seventh-grade to high school, the administration asked us to write down the names of three friends that we wanted to make sure we would be placed in the same high-school class with, it’s not like in America where you go from class to class in different classrooms and everyone mixes. (And did I mention it’s an all-girls school. The only good co-ed school in Manila is the International School and everyone thinks they are really weird because they don’t wear uniforms and you have to go to school with–gasp!–Americans!)

In Manila, you get placed into "sections" and you just stay in the same classroom and different teachers come to teach all the different subjects. I guess it’s like grammar school here. So in high school, there are like eight different sections of 40 girls each, and to make sure you get placed with your friends, you have to write down the three people you want to be in the same section with.

Phew! That’s a long explanation isn’t it? More interesting facts about going to school in the Philippines: Discipline involved standing out in the sun (it’s notoriously hot there). If a class got rowdy, we all had to stand outside in the sun for like, half an hour or something. It would get so hot! Imagine it, having to stand at attention in the sun! When you are in second grade! The boys’ schools were even worse–you had to KNEEL in the sun! It was a form of torture, I tell you.

My cousin, who had grown up in Canada, went home with her family to Manila for one year, and when she was in high school, her class got punished and they all had to stand in the sun, and she ALMOST DIED. She has asthma and the 100-degree heat caused her to have a seizure. Terrible. She’s fine and she’s back in Canada now, where no one stands in the sun for punishment.

Anyway, back to the sorting. After we wrote down our three friends, Annali told me that instead of
writing my name down, as well as two other dorks we knew, she had written down
the names of the three most popular girls in our class. I was aghast!
And then she proceeded to hand me  an eleven-page letter,
double-sided, on yellow lined legal paper, exactly WHY she hated
everything about me and why she wanted to be one of the cool kids. The gist of the letter was: I would never be cool. High school was all about being cool. Good-bye.

People, this basically destroyed me in seventh-grade. I was so
looking forward to starting high school with my FRIEND. And here was my
BFF in the whole world telling me that she wanted NOTHING to do with me
and that she would never get a chance to hang out with BOYS if she hung
out with me.

Can you imagine???

Anyway, this happened right before graduation. And my ace in the
hole was a childhood friend of mine, Ram San Angelo, a very cool guy
whose dad was best friends with my dad in college, and me and Ram had been friends
since we were toddlers and Ram was like, the second cutest boy in
seventh-grade in Manila, next to the Cal Tuazon guy, but I didn’t have
a crush on him because hello, he was like, practically my BROTHER.
(Okay, so maybe I had a teeny crush on him when we were like, eight
years old, but that was ancient history by the time I was twelve!)

And Ram-even better, was a big soccer star, and very popular,
and because we were friends, invited me to the first-ever seventh-grade boy-girl party in Forbes
Park thrown by his class and he and his friend Cal, the cutest boy,
PICKED ME UP and drove me to the party, and at the party, Cal only
danced with ME!


The dork! The booksnake! The nerdy girl!

HA! It still remains one of the biggest triumphs in my life.

The funny thing was, Annali wasn’t even invited to the party. She
didn’t know my friend Ram, and she didn’t know any of the other girls who
were invited.

She had to hear about how I danced with Cal at the party from the gossip grapevine.

And you know, I didn’t even care about being popular when I was in
seventh-grade. It just seemed too alien. I liked being alone. I
liked to read. And Ram always invited me to parties, because we were
childhood friends, and sometimes some other girls tried to befriend me
because of this, which I thought was just silly. I would never befriend
anyone just to get close to a boy! Duh!

Besides, I had tons of good friends who were boys. Ram and I had
founded the BFO – the Best Friends Organization when we were in third
grade with a bunch of other kids–all of our parents had been at
college together–and if he was popular now, and I was nerdy, it didn’t
matter. We were still BFOs.

BFOs before Hos.


So that’s what seventh-grade was like for me…And I really wish I
could remember what that cute boy’s name was. I’m sure Ram would know,
I should email him.

Another funny thing–I didn’t even think the cutest boy was all that
cute. He was way too pretty for me. And the fact that all the
seventh-grade girls in my class thought he was the bomb only diminished his
appeal because for the most part I thought they were all idiots.



Hey, all!

There is still time to enter the GOODIE BAG CONTEST GIVEAWAY! Email your artwork, website, quiz, whatever that is inspired by any of my books to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by this Friday!
The entries have all been so great!! And I have tons of goodie-bag goodies to give away. Remember, I used to be a fashion and beauty editor!

I have been reading a book called FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES by Min Jin Lee. It is a fantastic book about being an Asian (in this case Korean) immigrant and having hard-working immigrant parents who send you off to elite colleges and then graduating from these colleges where it seems, everyone has a trustfund or is related to the Rockefellers (or Mick Jagger) or whose mother hung out with Jack Kerouac back in the day, and your parents ran a dry-cleaning business (or in my case a Sears employees cafeteria) and you are exposed to all these people who think nothing of flying to the Caribbean for the weekend or spending a thousand dollars on a sweater from Bergdorf in one afternoon, and somehow you  have to be able to be friends with them without completely hating yourself.

Anyway, I could relate so much to the book, especially since the character graduated from Princeton in 1993 (I was Columbia ’93) and all her friends are Ivy League business school i-bankers (that’s investment bankers) and she doesn’t want to go to Law School (I didn’t either! I almost went–good immigrant girls are supposed to be lawyers or doctors) and she spends way too much money on clothes and staying at the Carlyle. (YUM!)

My parents were nothing like the parents depicted in the book, however. My parents are the funniest people I know, and they were always really supportive of my writing career. They didn’t even worry when I told them I didn’t want to go to law school. They always told me to do what I loved to do, and the money would follow.

The book got me thinking, because in the story, the father comes from this wealthy Korean family who loses their estate in the war, and my family lost our fortune during the Philippine economic bust of the eighties, (my dad wasn’t just an investment banker–he owned his own investment bank) and how hard it is to be so humbled in your own lifetime, and that a lot of Americans would never really know this kind of loss, or struggle. My parents always said they moved to America because what happened to them there could never happen here since the American economy is stable.

So I tried to picture it–these fat cat Beverly Hills princesses depicted in My Super Sweet Sixteen, what if suddenly they lost it all and had to move to a different country? Would they be able to survive? Hmmm….

What saved us, I think, is my parents’ ability to retain a sense of humor about everything bad that happened. Like the other day, my dad found a letter my sister sent to him more than ten years ago when she was at Yale, about how he had to send the school another check to cover tuition since the first check he sent bounced. And my sister had written "BOING!!!" to illustrate how the check had bounced. And my dad just laughed so hard to read it. BOING!!! And the letter was on Garfield stationery no less, which I think, adds to the hilarity of it all.

Of course, it’s easy to laugh now because everyone is doing well. But I also remember laughing back then too.

Anyway, my only small complaint about the book is that the dialog does not feel very real to me. Like who uses "preternaturally" in conversation??? But it is a small point and I am enjoying the book nonetheless.


Those Vain LA Boys…

Last night Mike and I went to the opening of MOSS, this fabu design store in New York that just opened in El-Ay. We ate a quick dinner at Mozza, the new Mario Batali restaurant that just opened up in our culinarily-deficient city. (The food in L.A. is soooo lame. People really don’t eat the fattening foods here that us New Yorkers do. It’s all too light and grilled and vegan. Even I, who abhorred vegan food before am now eating it. Sigh. When in Rome…)

Anyway, it was really fun to get out and see people. It was a very architect-and-designer crowd, not at all the usual tanned starlet crowd–it was very pale, very European, very interesting-eyeglasses. Not too many blondes either. And lots of precocious little kids in trendy little sweaters and pigtails and Crocs. We wished we’d brought our baby! But we were also glad she was safely asleep at home with her nanny.

Random thoughts of the past couple of days…Isn’t Zac Efron SUCH a cutie?? If they ever get the AU PAIRS movie off the ground, he’s the PERFECT Ryan Perry. Even his hair is right!

I was at the gym the other day and there was this crowd of young, good-looking guys working out in front of me, none of whom could have been older than like, 22, and they were all in their b-boy shorts and stretching and trying to look all "tough" and then they all got on treadmills next to each other and started working out. They must have been models or actors, it was HILARIOUS how vain they all looked. Their artfully messy haircuts were the $300 salon kind. It was a very Entourage moment.

It’s a happy day, I got copies of the Polish and French Sun-Kissed in the mail today, and first pass proofs for THE ASHLEYS and the book really looks so cute!

Right now I’m working on revising The Ashleys: JEALOUS, and working on first drafts of THE STRIP, the sequel to ANGELS ON SUNSET BOULEVARD, and REVELATIONS, the third book in the BLUE BLOODS series.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Getting It Off My Chest

Oh my god. I miss my boobs. Not that I had any before–and those are the ones I miss. The small ones. You know what breastfeeding does to your boobs? It makes them grow. But not in a good way. AT ALL. The worst is that I look AWFUL in my clothes. Clothes, I have come to realize, are designed for those with small chests (that was me!!!!) and nothing looks good with big boobs.

Not that mine are even big!!! They are just bigger, and there lies the problem.  I wear trapeze dresses and I look fat. I wear my tiny little Marni tops and they just look ridiculous. I am really upset. I want my boobs to go DOWN. Go back to their former pre-mommy size. PLEASE! Of course, I’m still breastfeeding and apparently once you stop you don’t get your old boobs back. No, you get some kind of weird tube-sock thing where they just HANG. Yoiks!!

I’m hoping it won’t be that bad. Even then, I’d rather have flat-tire boobs than the ones I have now.

Why does everyone want big boobs? That’s all you hear–the stars get them pumped, and even I used to have boob-envy. But no more. Now I know better.

Fashion and boobs don’t go together. And it’s not like I’m going to stop shopping anytime soon!

Do boys like bigger boobs? Is it because boys are boobs? LOL. All I know is I dress for other women. Like at the Tweety party, Karen wore Zac Posen and carried a fabu Celestina clutch and she said "I wore it for you." And I wore Marni and my Lanvin bag and she said, "Oooh! I know you wore this for me!" Only women can appreciate fashion. Men? Not so much.