Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Sleepover

Yesterday my oldest son slept at a friend's house. And even though the mom is a friend I know and trust, I had a dream last night that my boy was taken away on the back of someone's motorcycle, and then sold for slavery. Sorry this next part is so disgusting, but when I learned what happened to him, I screamed and screamed and screamed until my mouth filled with pus.


There should be a word stronger than love for the way we feel about our kids.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Come hear me speak!

I'm not sure I have anything interesting to say, but if you want to hear my Long Island accent for yourself, you can come to the Suburban Temple in Wantagh, NY on Wednesday, November 16, where I'll be the guest speaker. Come for dinner, and see if can make it through without spilling anything on myself. It might actually be quite entertaining. I'll even do a reading from SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA, if I can find more than two consecutive pages that are clean enough to read in a synagogue. Festivities begin around 7 pm. For details, contact Glen Held at

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Progress update on both books

Today's page count: 150

I'm plugging away at my second novel, THE SMART ONE, which is due this July. I guess that might sound like a lot of time to some people, but I'm not an especially fast writer. I'm just not the type who can throw it onto the page in any old form and then go back later to fix it. Call me anal, but I have to hammer away paragraph by paragraph, editing as I go. That's not to say I don't do revisions later on, it's just that it has to feel right for me to proceed.

The other day I got kind of jammed up on one of my minor characters, and with this deadline looming, that makes me panic. I just don't have time to wrestle with these things. On the other hand, the thought of sacrificing quality for speed makes me crazy, so I forced myself to focus hard and take a couple of days to rethink this character, and I finally feel better about him. I just wasn't relating to him before--didn't get who he was. But I changed him into somebody else, and that's made all the difference. So I'm moving forward again.

Anyway, I'm on Chapter 14 now, and haven't shown anything to my agents since Chapter 6, so I hope I'm on the right track here. I'm working toward one particular scene before I send it off for their input. I should get to that pretty soon--either in this chapter or the next.

In other news, I'm close to having an approved cover for SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA. Everyone loves what the designer and illustrator did with my suggestion for using a Lichtenstein-esque visual, including me. I'm so thrilled with the cover that I wish I could show it to you today! But I think they're still experimenting with one color element. I'll post it the very second I can. In the meantime, don't forget that you can pre-order the book from today (and be the first on your block to own one!).

I also found out that they're going to need my book jacket author photo by the end of December, so I have to get right on that. Since I can't go back in time and have the picture taken ten years ago, I'll have to find a talented photographer who isn't a stickler for sharp focus.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Today I was stunned to discover that my book is available for pre-order from That's ten months ahead of the pub date! Friends, I don't even have a copyediting schedule yet. (I do, however, have a cover, so hooray! I don't think I'm allowed to post it yet, as it hasn't been officially signed off on. But check back again next week.) Anyway, if you're the type who really likes to plan ahead, feel free to order now. :)
Click here

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hilarious new television show:

The Office

I'm not going to say every TV show I like gets cancelled, but I will say every TV show I like that's this smart and funny gets cancelled. (Two great examples are Sports Night and Buffalo Bill.) So this is a totally self-serving post, as I'd love to get viewership up so this show stays on the air. Please, give this a shot. I promise there's nothing sitcom-y about it. It's completely character-driven, and zeroes in on the relationships between these hilarious, authentic, offbeat (yet recognizable) individuals. It's on NBC on Tuesday night. To see a clip, click The Office, and then click videos. The one called "Sexual Harassment" is particularly hilarious. Hell, they all are. I'm telling you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

If you're clicking over here from Richard's blog ...

I just want to go on record as saying that while Richard Lewis is a talented writer and one of the nicest guys I know, I think he's wrong for trying to publicly "out" anonymous lit agent/blogger, Miss Snark. She provides an invaluable service to the writing community, and I respect her desire to remain anonymous. I also think it does an irresponsible disservice to the agent he wrongly names.

Okay, that's all I'm going to say on the subject. My apologies to my non-writer friends for this cryptic post.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A George Clooney dream

My dreams have such obvious symbolism it's almost embarrassing. And it's been this way as long as I can remember. In fact, back in high school, a friend who thought my dream messages were blatant enough to be comic called them "Ellen's Gilligan's Island dreams."

So okay. With that set-up, here's my dream from last night, which should be pretty obvious to anyone who knows the history of my selling a book with George Clooney's name in the title, and then having the rug pulled out from under me when I found out I couldn't use his name, but enjoying a happy resolution in the end with a great, new title ...

I was in a building with a friend waiting for George Clooney to show up. Clooney hadn't met me before, but knew the woman who wrote the book about him would be there, and expected me to greet him. So I rushed up to him when he entered, but my friend got in front and introduced herself first, irritating me for stealing the attention. Still, I was able to introduce myself and talk to him.

Later, I learned that someone had remodeled a bathroom in the attic over the room we were in, but hadn't yet installed a staircase. So to see it, you had to climb up this very, very long ladder and peer inside through a hole in the floor. Clooney was already up there, and I wanted to be up there, too, so I could get a peek. When George Clooney came down, I climbed all the way up the ladder. I wasn't afraid of climbing the ladder, which surprised me as it was so high, but I was wary about walking around in the room being remodeled, as the floor might not be sturdy. I didn't have to worry about it, though, because when I got to the top of the ladder, Clooney lifted it up from the bottom and rotated it so I could see the whole room, which thrilled me. But later, when I
was in the room upstairs, I found that Clooney had taken the ladder away. Fortunately, I was somehow able to get back down, and then helped some other women who were having trouble getting down.

And that's it. If you think it requires interpretation, be my guest. If not, go ahead and giggle.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Life Imitates Seinfeld

or "Why We Get Home Delivery of The Wall Street Journal"

Again and again, I find that life imitates Seinfeld. Perhaps that's the genius of the show. At any rate, I was reminded of it recently when I saw the episode where Kramer returns his fruit and is banished forever from his favorite produce market.

When we first moved to Long Island, my husband started buying his Wall Street Journal from the newsstand at our train station. The first day he picked up the 75 cent paper and handed the man a dollar, he received two dimes and a nickel change. The next day, same thing. On the third day, a woman in front of my husband paid for her paper with quarters, but still the man gave my husband two dimes and a nickel.

"Why don't you give me a quarter?" my husband asked.

"Why do you mess up my papers?" the man shot back.

"Mess up your papers?"

"You never take the top copy."

"Uh, yeah. That's true, I always take the second one."

The man wagged his finger. "A bad habit, my friend."

With three days of dimes and nickels jangling in his pocket, my husband shrugged and went on his way, thinking the guy needed to lighten up. After all, didn't everyone take the second paper?

The next day my husband decided he'd beat the newsstand man at his own game, and paid in dimes and nickels. The man just glared.

This went on for several weeks--my husband taking the second paper, the kiosk man never giving him a quarter, my husband giving him back his dimes and nickels every fourth day. The tension built until one day the kiosk man upped the ante and gave my husband his change in just nickels.

What did he hope to accomplish? Did he think my husband would call a truce at that point and start taking the top paper? No way. By this point there was principle at stake. This is America, damnit, and if someone wants to take the second paper, he does.

The man continued to give my husband nickels for the next two days. And as you probably guessed, on the fourth day my husband grabbed the second paper from the top and gave the newsstand man fifteen nickels.

The man looked down at the change in his hand, nostrils flaring. My husband smirked and walked away, but the man threw down the changed and yelled after him, "You are a bad man! You cannot buy your newspaper here anymore! You ... are ... BANNED!"

We've been getting home delivery ever since.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Why I'm not blogging much:

My horoscope tells all

No sooner do I start this blog than I realize that if I don't write a chapter a week between now and this summer, there's no way I'll make deadline on my new novel, THE SMART ONE. According to my horoscope, this is a good thing:

You will be highly creative and productive this month, especially when you are in solitude, so don't allow anyone to pull you out of your cocoon into the real world. It's your time to center yourself, because what is to come to you soon will change everything. You need to be ready - this is your month to do the deep thinking necessary to make the coming period a roaring success.

Thanks to Susan Henderson for the link to this excellent horoscope site.