Yearly Archives: 2008

Go to Compulsive Reader Message Boards to Ask Me Questions

Hi guys,
Thanks for leaving questions in the comments – but you really need to go here and leave the questions because I’ll be answering them there on the Compulsive Reader messsage boards.
I’ll be answering them all day tomorrow (Thursday) so come by and chat!
xoxo
Mel

Ask Me, Ask Me, Ask Me

Hey guys!

I did an interview with the Compulsive Reader -The Ashleys is the book of the month for February! Check it out!

Also, I will be answering reader questions posted on the Compulsive Reader site this Thursday (Feb. 28th) but you can leave questions anytime on the message boards. So go ahead and ask me anything you want! I know you have a lot of Revelations questions!

I’m waist-deep in Revelations and hoping to finish soon. I think we will be giving out chapter samplers (not full galleys because um, the whole book isn’t done yet) at BEA this year, so if you want a sneak peek you know where to find them! And perhaps I will give away some here too.

And I know there’s been a lot of interest in my hosting some kind of Masquerade Ball, which I think WOULD BE SO COOL. So we’ll see what we can do about that in January of next year.

xoxo
Mel

I’m Alive! Or Vegas, Baby

I’m alive, but barely!

What happened? Two deadlines, one big bout of flu, Vaaayyygas, and um…I gues that’s it.

Sorry for the radio silence! I missed you guys too!

I turned in some books (Ashleys books not Blue Bloods – still plugging on Revelations- the only thing I’m working on now – yippee) and then went to Vegas with old old friends. You know you’re around old friends when all you do is smoke and drink and gamble until four in the morning. I love Vegas. It’s so decadent and hardcore and only-for-adults, especially after being trapped in the nursery for over a year, it was so refreshing to just go back to being wanton and irresponsible.

Although it was really funny how NO ONE looked good the next day. In fact, everyone partied way too hard the first night and the successive nights were just… well…let’s just say me and the gang are showing our age. My God! Can I really be frigging THIRTY-SIX? That is RIDICULOUS! I demand a recount!

Of course the first night away from the child (the VERY first away from the baby ever!) I sobbed like a child myself from missing her. Then, you know what, I got over it. And it was really the best thing we’d ever done. It was like all the tension of the past year and a half melted away…just like all our chips at the roulette tables. I loooove roulette – you know, when you get in a groove, you feel like YOU ARE ONE with the wheel…LOL..18! 21! Double zero! Come in black!

I turned in two books which were SO satisfying to turn in, and then got back from Vegas, and immediately came down with the flu for a week. I think it was maybe from all the cohhhcktaillls? I still order Cosmos – something I’ve drank since I was 22. It’s kind of tacky to drink it now, which is why I like it. It’s like a floozy. I like floozies.

Something about Vegas reminded me of something I’d recently read in a book, about how lame it is when adults put in the same restraints in adulthood as they were given when they were children – it’s in Lionel Shriver’s A Perfectly Good Family, where the sister is restricted to two glasses of wine a night by her rigid younger brother who does not approve of excess. The sister, who is the narrator, says, well, what’s adulthood all about then, if we can’t have a little fun?

Anyway, radio silence will probably come back on again since I really want to power through REVELATIONS until I collapse in a heap.

And wake up in Vegas!

xoxo
Mel

My Friend Tom’s New Book!

My dear friend Tom Dolby has a new book out called THE SIXTH FORM. It’s a riveting, haunting read about two prep-school boys, their friendship, their sexuality and what happens during their fateful senior year (or “sixth form” as it’s known in boarding school). It’s an adult book, not a YA, but I think you guys will enjoy it thoroughly!

It’s always so nice when a friend has a new book out, I’m always so eager to read anything new from people I love. And I have good memories of Tom writing this book—it was during a writing vacation in Lake Tahoe while he was working on it that I got the idea for “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys.” Congrats, Tom and hurry up with the next one!

xoxo
Mel

Thank You to Andrew and Amanda, and all the Blue Bloods fans who came out!

Oh my goodness, I totally forgot to add that I wanted to say Thank you to the gorgeous Blue Bloods fans who came out to the events!! Thank you for coming to see me, it always makes my day! Special shout out to Andrew, who asked if Schuyler was a Niphilim (yes she is since she’s half-angel) and also to The Fabulous Amanda, whom I will always think of that way, as The Fabulous Amanda, (“TFA”) who runs the Blue Bloods message boards—ooh I finally figured out the links! TFA came all the way from Boston to New Jersey and taped the event – you can see it here on YouTube and see our gorgeous cover girls and how wise-beyond-their-years they are.

Anyway, I’ll be giving the Fabulous Amanda and the Blue Bloods message boards a special first-ever exclusive sneak peek of REVELATIONS so sign up if you haven’t already! I’ll probably do it sometime this spring.

xoxo
Mel

Funnest Book Tour Ever!

Finally home and finally have two seconds to blog about the FUNNEST BOOK TOUR EVER! Omigod, did we BOND or did we BOND? If you are ever LUCKY enough to go on tour with the marvelous Rachel Cohn, the irrepressible P.G. Kain, the splendiferous Jenny Han and the fabulositon Taylor Morris, you will be VERY lucky indeed. Anyway, I still haven’t figured out how to get photos on my blog, so here’s a link to the photos PG took of the tour. Check out how cute we all are!

I was a little worried about going on tour with fellow authors. Writers are sometimes an aloof bunch, so I had no idea what to expect. I hoped everyone would be civilized at least. But everyone was SUCH a DARLING. It was gossip, gossip, gossip in our luxury van all the way to New Joisey and Conneck-ti-cut. We found out that PG and I used to frequent the same, ahem, scandalous after-hours nightclub, that Taylor had lots of embarrassing things happen to her as a child (just a tad exaggerrated for her hey-larious book CLASS FAVORITE), that Jenny’s last name is pronounced Han like Han Solo and not Han like Hand, how Rachel’s insanely awesome book Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is becoming what will be the next-JUNO with Michael Sera, nonetheless and how they got to call him “Mike” and yes, Rachel and her co-author whom she calls J.B, as in James Brown, the hardest-working man in YA, David Levithan, got to be extras in the movie, and Norah is based on Rachel’s fabbity fab English sister, and how we are all absolutely addicted to Tar-jay.

It was SOOOO nice to hang out with such lovely fellow writer-peeps. We managed to survive a death-defying ride back to Manhattan on the last day, and I think we entertained a lot of kids too. I know *I* was incredibly entertained. I really hope S&S sends us out on tour again, we had such a great time! Thank you to our tres chic sweetheart publicist Carolyn Pohmer for putting it all together.

And thank you to all the Ashley cover girls who did the Ashley event! Omigod, that was insane as well!! All the girls are SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL in real life, and I could not get over how poised, and articulate, and just all-around awesome they all were. They were all under the age of 15 and taller than me. Total gazelle models. Loved it! I will post pics from everything as soon as I can figure out how to do that.

Anyway, you must all now go buy everyone’s books—Rachel’s Gingerbread which made me laugh and sob and really really want a cafe mocha with an aching, aching heart, Taylor’s Class Favorite made me cringe, cringe, cringe and giggle, giggle, giggle with total empathy, PG Kain’s The Social Experiments of Dorie Dilts: Dumped by Popular Demand was so charming, fun and breezy I was so jealous I didn’t write it, and Jenny Han’s Shug is simply the sweeeetest book about young love I have ever read.

I’m a bit behind on all my deadlines so blogging is going to be sporadic at best from now on, but carry on without me and let me know what you all are buying! Here’s my latest: Hit the Barneys clearance sale and scored TWO Reyes dresses: one cowl-neck, cinched waist, very cool black “walking around in Soho” dress ($129 from $595), another sleeveless, striped, sailor-y springtime dress ($119 – wrongly marked down b/c it was a Spring dress but the nice salesguy gave it to me anyway from $495), TWO Vince leather jackets, one hip-length and skinny in mahogany ($279 from $700) and one black and boxy ($239 from $600). Was very happy with all my purchases as I had announced to my husband I was “over” shopping since I have “bought everything.” Alas, this is not the case.

Oh and what did I wear on tour? WELL. Let me tell you. I bought these awesome knee-length Loeffler Randall boots from Nordstrom a while back and have been ITCHING to wear them, ($500 from $700) in the softest black suede, with my six-year-old Rock and Republic jeans (tight-tight-tight and a gift from the designer who is a big fan of my first novel Cat’s Meow) tucked into them, with my black cashmere turtleneck Ports sweater ($700) under my this-season military Balenciaga jacket ($2500). And of course, my trusty Mongolian scarf that my husband bought me a looong time ago. And I think he paid $150 for it back then. Then on Day 2 it was black cashmere Diane Von Furstenberg turtleneck mini-dress ($400) over golden-brown Frye tall boots ($250) and my decades-old Helmut Lang cream funnel-neck coat (I think I bought it for $800 from $2000), cashmere and mink ear-flap hat (J. Crew and $120) and extra-long cream Club Monaco scarf ($40 from $100) that always gets me compliments—especially if I do this same combo of cream-colored coat, hat and extra-long scarf all together. Did a kind of black and white thing on Day 2 there. Then on Day 3 it was my new Thread Social turtleneck dress with the buttons all along the side ($600), Christian Louboutin round-toe spike-heel booties ($900) and my new bought-just-for-this-tour Mayle fur and tweed jacket with like a two-foot fur trim on the bottom that was fab ($500 from $900).

I had bought SPANX to wear underneath everything, which was great—so slimming! Except kind of felt like I was being squeezed by a King Cobra the whole day. Hmmm. The $38 Spanx tights are worth it I think, I bought the “Tarjay” line of Spanx—Assets—to wear for one of the events and I got like, A RASH from all the squeezing! For an extra $26 I’ll take the no-rash effect, thanks.

It was heaven being back in New York, except I was so exhausted all the time, because of course when I would get back from the tour events Mike and I would flee the hotel room and go get dinner at like, midnight. We hit Momofuku Noodle Bar (awesome although since we are from L.A. and have great ramen here, didn’t quite knock us out as much as we thought it would), as well as Bobo (faaaabulously snobby and “secret” restaurant—no name on door, you have to buzz to get in, think fab retro-speakeasy-meets-Louis-Quinze elegance inside), Bar Stuzzichini with our gang, our best friends—four gay couples who are our closest friends and whom we vacation with all the time—we’re going to Vegas in a few weeks!—Mike and I are the token straight couple and we are proud to be that—you know how it’s so awesome to be with your best friends because it’s just all teasing and, not to be so cheesy, laughter? With us it’s all SCREECHING and WILD RUMPUSING once we even set EYES on each other.

Screeching and wild rumpusing was how the book tour was too, come to think of it.

Sigh. Now I really miss my friends and those fellow writerinos.

Anyway, back to work!

xoxo
Mel

Don’t look a Gifting Suite in the Mouth

I realized I never blogged about the insane Celeb-Baby-Gifting-Fest I went to the other day. First off, it was fabulous!! So many good things, and lots of stuff I’ll be writing about in the future. (Products that is!) Who were the celebs? Seriously the gifting was so insane the celebs took a back seat! But here’s who was there that I saw: Bridget Moynahan! Looking fabulous but also a little out of it and maybe a little pissed off? Does she always look a little pissed off these days? But then, wouldn’t you be if your boyfriend of four years leaves you when you are pregnant for Gisele??? I was standing in line behind Bridget at the check-in and EVERYONE behind the desk was making a HUGE fuss—lots of security guys talking into their walkie talkies and going “Bridget is HERE! You are not READY!” Hilarious.

She was pretty much the only big star that I saw. Here are some little stars: Harry from Sex and the City! Remember the bald guy who was Charlotte’s husband? Well he was there with his family, cute wife, cute baby. They got TONS of stuff. (You know all the gifting suites are according to your fame rank, right? The more famous you are, the more you get. Well, since there weren’t that many celebs, Harry (I don’t know his real name) got tons of stuff. In fact, they needed a hotel cart and a bellboy to haul away the loot. And they packed it all into his tiny little Prius. That’s Hollywood for you. Their poor baby was squished in the backseat with all the free stuff!

Another star: The little kid from Pushing Daisies! I don’t watch this show so I was just wondering why everyone was kissing up to some ten year old boy. Another star: Gary from Boston Legal! He plays the transsexual black receptionist on the show and is hilarious. Gary is a co-parent at my daughter’s preschool and has a great sense of humor about all this. I’m pleased to report he had so much stuff (even more than Harry from Sex and the City) and when he saw mine and my sister’s loot (considerably less than the celebs but a decent haul for a journo and her sis!) and wondered why we didn’t partake of everything, we told him “Gary! We don’t have the right wristband!” And he laughed and offered his. The celebs got a red wristband and their own minder who walked them through all the suites and made sure they got everything. Everyone else has to fend for themselves.

Gifting suites are kind of…well, they make some people feel bad because of the “ranking”. It’s VERY naked. It’s like the rank calls I write about in The Ashleys. If you’re famous, you get more stuff. If you’re press, you also get a lot of stuff. If you’re just a plus-one, well, they hand you a box of plastic sunglasses and that’s it. Some of my friends hate going to gifting suites. They think it’s a measure of your self-worth. (Even your publication is ranked!) But really: it’s all about marketing. They give to the celebs because then they can say, So-and-So was HERE, and now owns one of my stuff. It’s free publicity for them. So it’s not really a gift although it looks like it. It’s just PR, which is just business, and something you can’t take personally.

I don’t take anything personally…I just enjoy getting free stuff!

Tomorrow I am traveling to New York and I hope if you are in the tri-state area or somewhere nearby you will come see me! Check on the Events link to see where I’ll be.

xoxo
Mel

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Hey guys,
Getting tons of email about some of the same stuff so I thought I would address them here…also, I’m SO SORRY but it really is taking a LONG time to respond to your emails. I’m afraid if I just respond to emails I won’t be able to write books and hang out with my family anymore. But I do READ them all, and I do mean to respond…just please understand if it takes a long time to get to you. I heart you all!

FAQ: When is the new Blue Bloods novel, REVELATIONS, coming out?

Blue Bloods III: REVELATIONS is coming out December 23, 2008! I know it’s a long way away, but I’m still writing this book, and I’m trying to finish up so we make this publication date! Even if I finish the book very soon, it takes a whole long year of editing, proofreading and marketing and promotion to make sure we make the December date. I know, I’m sorry, but this is the way the book industry works. Believe me, the fact that I’m still writing it and it’s to be published in December already means that we’re cutting it really close.

FAQ: Will there be more Blue Bloods books? How many books will there be in the series?

Yes! There will be tons more! I plan to do three trilogies, two “going forward” from Blue Bloods and a prequel trilogy about Michael and Gabrielle and what happened to them. So there will be nine books in all, but three satisfying three-book arcs so that major points of the story are revealed and the story picks up in a totally different place for trilogy #2 (books 4-6). Books 7-9 will most likely be the “prequel” trilogy.  Or it might be the other way around. We’ll see.

FAQ: Will there be a Blue Bloods movie? Or TV show? And can I be in it?

RIght now the rights have been optioned, so hopefully the Blue Bloods will come to the big or small screen at some point. But with the writer’s strike, who knows what will happen. I continue to be optimistic and patient, which are two attributes you need to have if you work with Hollywood. I have no say in anything whatsoever castingwise, but if there ever is an open call for auditions I will let you all know.

FAQ: Will there be more Au Pairs books? Are you writing a fifth Au Pairs novel?

Sadly no. I am not writing an Au Pairs book at the moment. I’m so glad you enjoyed that series, I really enjoyed writing it! But right now I’m really happy with where all the characters ended up, and I want them to enjoy their happy ending for a while.  Also, I’m writing a HOT new series that’s a lot like Au Pairs called SOCIAL LIFE. The first book comes out Summer 2009, and it’s going to be SO much fun: lots of social-climbing, boy drama, over-shopping, friend-bonding and all the stuff you love and I love to write about.

FAQ: Will there be an Au Pairs movie?

Hopefully! It’s been bought by Warner Brothers and Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and the wonderful lady who brought you The O.C. and the Gossip Girl television show is writing the script. So hopefully it will happen! Patient optimism!

FAQ: In the Ashleys, you write about “rank calls” where girls call boys they like and ask the boys to rank them from 1-10 in categories like looks, smarts and personality. This sounds hella fun! I’m throwing a sleepover and I want to know how to do a rank call. Can you tell me?

Warning this is a VERY silly game that is NOT to be taken seriously! 🙂 Okay. First of all, you have to get all your BFFs together. Then you have to have the school phone directory or know the boy’s phone numbers. Before the sleepover, you have to tell the boys you are having a sleepover. The way this works is, the boys KNOW you are having a sleepover and they are EXPECTING the rank call. That way when you call, the boy is home, and takes the call, and everyone has a lot of fun. Okay. Now everyone is gathered around. You dial the boy’s number. You have a sheet of paper in front of you—with ten attributes. It can be any ten, and I don’t remember all ten. But here’s what I do remember: body, hair, face, personality, intelligence, laugh, sense of humor, smile, clothes, car. I know, CAR??? Well. We were thirteen. We were shallow. Okay. So this is a totally shallow game. You don’t have to play! It sometimes results in bad feelings and hurt feelings and also, do you guys really want to know what the boys think about you? Yes. I know. I did too. Sigh. Anyway, the boy gives a number from 1-10 on all ten attributes. Then you total it up. That’s it. You can call a lot of boys. What happened when I was playing this game was that the boys would have THEIR own sleepover too, so you could pass the phone around to all the boys and all the boys could rank all the girls. You know what would be REALLY fun? Turn the tables on the boys and rank THEM. See how much they like it!

Okay. Maybe I should not have told you how to do this. But you asked!

Off to the Baby Celebrity Event!

One of the fun things of my life is I get invited to these celebrity gifting suites! And this one is a good one: it’s for celebrity babies! Oh yeah, we’re hanging out with the A-List of the Sippy Cup Set today. I was thinking of blowing this off because of looooming deadlines, but last night I felt pretty good about where I left The Ashleys #3: Birthday Vicious, I think I’ll be able to get that book done over the weekend, so I think I’m entitled to a little celeb gawking today, don’t you?

Will be back with the full report!

xoxo
Mel

Twilight of the Books

I was reading the New Yorker the other day and read this article about the “Twilight of Books” and how because of television, less and less people are reading, and this is of course a bad thing, not just for writers like myself 🙂 but for society and democracy as a whole. Anyway, apparently if you read the news, you are more likely to remember differing opinions and come to your own independent conclusion whereas if you merely watch the news, all information just kind of seeps out of your brain and leaves you a zombie.

Now I am not anti-TV at all. There are three very large flat-screen TVs in my home and my brother bought my dad a new 50-inch 1080-res flatscreen for Christmas, which overjoyed my dad so much that he declared that “only one of his children loves him.” Ha! So, you know I love me some television—it’s in my blood. And my husband’s parents are so pro-TV that they get really annoyed when any of their children meekly suggests that maybe watching TV is not good for their kids. (Mike and I are wrestling with this right now: unfortunately, Mattie LOVES the TV. We put Sesame Street on when she wakes up because it means we get to sleep in a little longer. But now our electronic babysitter is biting us in the ass. Whenever Mattie sees any of the TVs in our home, she immediately picks up the remote and demands to see “Melmo!”)

But you know—the pleasures of watching and the pleasures of reading are such different things. I LOVE books, in such a personal, intimate way, whereas I merely enjoy television. I don’t love the shows. They don’t inspire that kind of feeling, that kind of passion. The article had a great quote from Proust that I’m going to quote now because I love it so much:

To read “is to receive a communication with another way of thinking, all the while remaining alone, that is, while continuing to enjoy the intellectual power that one has in solitude and that conversation dissipates immediately.”

I love that—“intellectual power that conversation DISSIPATES immediately.” I mean, in person, I am not even a fourth as articulate as I am in print. Mostly I giggle and smile a lot and act a bit goofy. My husband, also, is very quiet in person. But he’s pretty much the smartest guy I know. (Hey girls: marry the funniest and the smartest guy you know NOT the cutest. The cute ones are usually pretty dumb. I mean: I thought Zac Efron was gorgeous but now he just looks kind of dim-witted to me. Especially wearing his long bangs in a ponytail and drinking a Jamba like he was in Us Weekly. Although you know, come to think of it, if you saw me schlepping out of the Jamba with a large frosty drink wearing my Uggs and my hair in a ponytail and my Marc Jacobs aviators, you’d probably think I was stoopit too. So you know, we can’t judge. Anyway, If you’re lucky you’ll get smart and cute and funny. And any guy can be cute. You don’t need conventionally cute. I think ugly and interesting and funny is so much better. My friends were always in despair of my taste. They thought the guys I liked were so ugly. Although I did marry a good-looking dude. Well, like I said, sometimes you get lucky.) 

Anyway, when I told Mike about this article, he brought up a lot of points about how maybe TV-watching is not the end of the world and no one can really predict how things will go and it’s never as bad as it seems. Mike tends to always question things he reads with a healthy skepticism, while I slavishly believe everything I read. He always reminds me of this, as in, “Why do you believe everything you read in magazines when you used to WRITE for them and you KNOW how manipulative and fake all the stories are.”

It’s true. I would put together BEST HAIR PRODUCT pages and on the instruction of my editor, put in a cheapo one and an expensive advertiser one, because that was the mag’s policy. And yet, whenever I flip through the beauty pages, I still rip out their BEST HAIR PRODUCT pages and go buy what they recommend. Even if I know how they chose it. I can’t help myself. Also, there are a lot of very SERIOUS beauty editors out there—who really test the products and decide why something is worth writing about. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them. I just loved all the free loot!

Well. Back to the quote and reading. What I liked about that quote is that it also tells us WHY it is that books inspire so much passion—or in the case of bad reviews and disgruntled readers—so much hatred and anger. Because it is a “COMMUNICATION with ANOTHER way of thinking.” So if you disagree with the point-of-view of a novel or a book, you virulently HATE it. Whereas if you agree with it, you find an affection for it that is very deep.

Anyway, I just thought that was a really interesting article, because it really summed up why reading is important and how reading doesn’t just spark the imagination but INSPIRES people to better themselves and have better lives. It simply amazes me that I have the life that I have now. Not because my parents didn’t expect it—we were always expected to succeed—but because I have the life that I alone wanted and dreamed of—the life of a writer.

One thing that I always feel gratified by is the amount of mail I get from teens who say they never liked to read before, until they found my books. Reading is a PLEASURE. I got hooked on reading because of popular authors and their racy, steamy books…like Judith Krantz’s “I’ll Take Manhattan!” (I still remember the scene where the heroine is tapped down by the airport police going through the metal detector and she snaps her black underwear at them. It just stuck in my mind because I grew up in a very conservative environment and the black underwear thing seemed so deliciously racy and naughty and spelled adult freedom. When I was out of the house and in college the first thing I did was buy black underwear. Does it have the same resonance now? With the porn-star t-shirts and thongs for seven-year-olds?) 

Back to the Blue Bloods and the Ashleys! And sorry if people thought the sneak-peek was cruel. It wasn’t meant to be!

xoxo
Mel