Festival Fun!


Okay. There it is. I have to start every blog with that since I still get so many emails and comments about this. Yes there is a sequel! I am writing it now and it ROCKS! I will share the first chapter as soon as it’s ready in its fact-checked and copy-edited perfection.

The Southwest Florida Book Festival was a blast!! Thank you so much to everyone who came out! I think the Blue Bloods fans are the CUTEST ever and their MOMS were so cool too! Mike and I met lots of moms who were eagerly anticipating the sequel as much as their daughters (and some sons!) And hellooo to all the super-cute ASHLEYS fans who came out too!

JEALOUS? – the second book in the ASHLEYS series is out March 25! I think Amazon and B&N are shipping them out now and I hear they are trickling into stores.

JEALOUS? is my favorite book in the series so far—there’s SO MUCH that happens – including a notorious “Seven” party and a reality show called “Pre-Teen Queen”. Everytime I re-read JEALOUS? I cackle, which is a good sign.

At the book festival, we met Joe Hill, who is the very cool and very handsome and bearded son of Stephen King. We were tres tres excited to meet him, especially since Mike and I were HUGE Stephen King fans growing up. One of the reasons why we are married to each other is that we both love THE STAND, so much that we had read the SPECIAL EDITION, extra 200 pages version! We met Stephen King once at a New York book festival, and Joe was just like him—very laconic, a great storyteller, just very comfortable in their own skin and able to command an audience. We bought his books HEART-SHAPED BOX and TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY GHOSTS and Mike is almost done with HSB so I’m eager to grab it as soon as it’s done. Mike says the book is GREAT. I can’t wait!

We also met Lisa Lutz, awesome author of THE SPELLMAN FILES. Lisa was kind enough to give us a ride to the Author Dinner when we missed the shuttle from the hotel. The shuttle was supposed to leave at 6:30 but when we got down to the lobby it was 6:29 and it was GONE. Grrr. Anyway, I read Lisa’s book on the plane ride back to LA and it is HILARIOUS. I am going to go get the sequel THE CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS right now.

The big keynote speaker was STUART WOODS, who writes crime thrillers, (my dad is a big Stuart Woods fan), and he was this white-haired, blazer-wearing dapper gent who just LOOKED like he wrote crime thrillers. He was very funny and told a story about how he wanted to call his new novel “HARD-WORKING BITCH” and even got it in the contract. But finally, all his publishers wore him down, until the head of HarperCollins told him ok, you can call it that, but you won’t get the promotion you’re used to. Stuart said he “folded like a fan” (LOL!) and the book was titled ORCHID BEACH, which meant he then had to come up with all things orchid for the next titles in the series, which was a huge pain.

There were not a lot of YA authors in attendance, in fact I think I was the only one.

While most of the authors we met were fun, genial and the kind of people you would want to have a drink with, there were SOME authors who shall remain UNNAMED who were NOT. I did meet some OLD AND CRANKY BIYATCHES. Whooo! Don’t go near those gals! One of them, in the shuttle back from the festival, was practically SNARLING when the nice young manga people talked about how hard it was to get publisher support—they had a big launch for their first title and then not so much for the second and third. I sympathized. It’s hard at the beginning of one’s career to get a lot of ballast. But OLDANDCRANKYBIYOTCH said “Huh! I never waited for publishers to do anything, I did it all myself!” And while we ALL agree one must be a self-promoter, it just seemed like such a nasty comment to make, since the young manga authors were very hard-working and did a lot for themselves too, they were just saying it would be nice if they had more corporate help. I’m sure OLD AND CRANKY thinks all her NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SUCCESS didn’t come from a MAJOR push from her publisher – co-op buys, advertising, etc. No, SHE DID IT ALL HERSELF. Ugh!

I should point out this author thinks of herself as LITERARY. Which is probably why she’s such an unpleasant person.

Oh I’m sure there are a lot of very nice literary types I’d like to have a Cosmo with*, but I hardly ever meet any.

Instead, all the genre (YA, horror, crime, chicklit, etc) writers ROCK and all the sniffy uptight MY BOOK WAS INSPIRED BY THE STORY BEHIND VAN GOGH’S SUNFLOWERS OR WHATEVER HIGH-FALUTING TWADDLE THEY’RE PUBLISHING NOW people can all just take the short bus to Nowhere.

Anyway, even apart from that (and I like getting good stuff to gossip about so it was actually a perverse thrill to have met Old and Cranky), the festival was FABULOUS! Thanks again to Karen Sloan and everyone at the festival for inviting me!

And now I must go back to my regularly scheduled writing day.

*My favorite “literary” authors are Kate Christensen and Cheryl Mendelson. Go get THE GREAT MAN and ANYTHING FOR JANE immediately!