Saturday, September 30, 2006

Syosset reading wrap-up

Last night I had my reading at the Borders in Syosset, and I have to admit I had a great time. I was a little disappointed by who didn't come (promises unkept), but the good outweighs the bad, because there was such a touching mix of friends old and new. A group of my current friends and neighbors came, as well some old friends from college, high school and elementary school, and even a few new faces. All together, there were about 40 attendees, which felt very intimate compared to my Book Revue event. But ... there weren't enough chairs set up and I had to ask them to bring out more, which made me feel like the reading was a smash. Anyway, I was pretty relaxed, and I think it went well.

I made my husband promise to snap some shots that I could share here, and alas every one came out blurry. (Not sure if it's him or the camera.) Here goes ...

Here I am before the reading.

Before the reading with my friend Keith and his kids.


Signing a book for Michael, who I've known since junior high.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Attention Teachers and PTA Moms!

I have exciting new promotions on my website now for both parents and teachers. Parents of school age children can enter into a drawing to win a free Basket of Books for their school library. Teachers can enter a drawing for a free audiobook CD of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, narrated by Lisa Kudrow. To enter, click here.

In other Friday news, the very talented Kay Sexton interviewed me on her wonderful blog, Writing Neuroses. Thanks, Kay!

Also, if you're one of my Long Island friends, please remember that I'll be at Borders in Syosset at 8pm tonight for a reading and signing. I hope you'll join me!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Borders event tomorrow!

If you're in or around Syosset Long Island tomorrow (Friday) at 8 pm, I hope you'll pop into the Borders on Jericho Turnpike. I'll be doing a reading and signing there. Even though I've told everyone I know about the event, I'm still nervous no one's going to show up. Most folks told me they might come, which usually means, "Leave me alone you insane, neurotic writer. I have a life, too, you know."

Anyway, if you do come, can you please laugh like crazy at all my jokes?

I'm jotting down notes now for what I'm going to talk about, trying to think of a few funny things to say. I have to do it fast, though, because I have a lot to do today. Other things on my To Do list for this sunny Thursday:

  • Clean kitchen, make beds, do laundry, etc. etc.*

  • Get in touch with my web guy about my soon-to-be launched promotions for teachers and PTA members

  • Write to my editor and agents about the cover ideas for the trade paperback version of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

  • Pack up all my kids' old shoes to send to the shoeless children of Afghanistan. If you can participate in this program, I hope you'll click here for more information.

  • Go to BJs Discount Club for supersized quantities of things we need.

  • Make various doctors' appointments for me and the kids.

  • Carpool, help kids with homework, cook dinner, etc. etc.

  • What's on your agenda?

    *(When I did a Google image search on "housewives" to get that picture on the right, nearly every image picture was of a naked housewife having something sucked. Can someone please tell me exactly when housewives became porn fodder? And if you're someone who found their way to this blog by Googling "naked housewife having something sucked," you can redeem yourself by clicking on one of the links to your right and buying my book. Just don't send me any pictures.)

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    "Dollar Daze" by Karin Gillespie

    Feels like it's been a while since I've done one of these GCC goes Hollywood blog entries. And I'm happy to come back to it with DOLLAR DAZE, the newest Southern delight from the very talented Karin Gillespie.

    Here's how Karin would pitch her book to our fictional Hollywood producer:

    Cupid swoops into Cayboo S.C. to bring love to three widows. One, Gracie Tobias, the town’s most proper resident hooks up with a doctor who turns out to be a duct doctor. The other two, Birdie and Mavis, fight over a high-school heart throb who threatens to ruin their lifelong friendship.

    These belles sound like a hoot, don't they? Here's how Karin would cast it:

    I would like Reese Witherspoon to play the youngest Bottom Dollar girl because she knows how to play Southern.

    Shirley MacLaine , Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis could play the widows. Actually this might not just be a pipe dream...

    My first book Bet Your Bottom Dollar was optioned by actor James Woods for film and he and I talked about Shirley and Meryl in the lead roles. Fingers crossed!

    Karin spoke to James Woods ... about Shirley and Meryl! Wow! Good luck, Karin. I'd love to see both of these books as movies.

    Meanwhile, you can buy DOLLAR DAZE at your local bookstore or online. For more information, visit Karin's website at

    Friday, September 22, 2006


    My parents are here. My life is a Seinfeld episode without the laugh track. This morning I overheard the following conversation between Marilyn and Gerry:

    "Where's the All Bran?"
    "I finished the All Bran."
    "I just bought a new box."
    "So it's there."
    "Wherever you put it."
    "I don't see it."
    "It has to be there."
    "Someone must have taken it."
    "No one took it."
    "So where is it?"
    "How should I know?"
    "It's not here."
    "Did you look in the--"
    "What about the--"
    "It's not in this kitchen."
    "It's wherever you put it."
    "Could I have left it in the car?"
    "You could have left it in the car."
    "Should I look in the car?"
    "Look in the car."
    Minutes later.
    "It was in the car."

    Fast forward to this afternoon. My father was getting ready to make his mid-afternoon snack, which comes just after his post-lunch snack, but before his pre-dinner snack. I asked him if he could wait five minutes so that I could empty the dishwasher before he occupied the kitchen. Hunger may have affected his hearing, because he ignored me and proceeded to take out a cutting board and slice a tomato on the counter directly over the dishwasher. He body blocked the dishwasher, so I had to move him aside. I positioned his elbow upwards and ducked under it to retrieve the first items. The I went back and forth as I made trips from the dishwasher to the glasses cabinet back to the dishwasher to the silverware drawer back to the dishwasher to the plate rack, etc., moving him out of the way each time. Then I said, "When you're finished eating, can you put your dishes in the dishwasher?"

    He said, "Did you empty it?"

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    I was just on the air with Dr. Joy Browne!

    I love, love, love Dr. Joy Browne. In case you don't know, she's a psychologist with a radio talk show, and her advice is so spot on and her perceptions so keen that she just knocks me out again and again. My own call was no exception.

    I called because my 8-year-old daughter has been suffering insomnia, and I've tried everything in my mommy bag of tricks, to no avail. Dr. Joy gave excellent advice about removing myself from the process of helping her sleep, because the attention I give her rewards the behavior. So, I'm to give the tools she needs to calm herself. For instance, if she wakes up during the night, she can listen to an iPod or read a book, but she cannot come into my room.

    I told Dr. Joy that during day, my daughter is the happiest, most confident kid, who loves herself, her school, her friends, her life. At night, she gets utterly anxious about not being able to put herself to sleep. Dr. Joy said, "It sounds like she tap dances her way past her anxieties during the day, and so they come out at night."

    WHOOSH! It was just a throwaway line on her part, but holy cow. It cut right through a carefully built wall of denial. I'm still reeling.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    How much would YOU pay for this writer?

    Ellen Meister
    They say everyone has their price. I thought mine was three for a dollar. I'm happy to announce I was wrong.

    The other day I was auctioned off at a fundraiser for Caumsett State Park. I understand that after spirited bidding, a Dinner with Author Ellen Meister went for $1750.

    How do you like that? George Clooney might not think I'm worth a phone call, but someone's willing to shell out the price of a stout, hard running horse for a meal with this filly. And I don't even have to take anyone for a ride.

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    Confessions of Super Mom

    by Melanie Lynne Hauser

    This is a special Girlfriends Cyber Circuit entry for me. Not just because I enjoyed this book so much, but because my connection to Melanie is unique ...

    A year ago last spring, my researcher husband came home prattling about some website I had to check out. This is nothing unusual. My husband is an information junkie and is always throwing bouquets of data at my feet. Please don't tell him, but if I'm cooking dinner or emptying the dishwasher or trying to find the honey mustard or reading over someone's homework, I don't always pay that much attention.

    He was really excited by this one, though. He told me about this book that was coming out in hardcover--like mine--and looked like a smart, funny, poignant book for suburban moms.

    "This woman is like the Midwestern version of you, honey. Really. You have to check it out."

    "Yeah, sure. Where's the salad dressing?"

    So anyway. A few busy days went by and he kept bugging me, "Did you check out that woman's site yet?"

    Finally, I did, heading straight to the link to read an excerpt. This was followed by a hurried phone call to my husband.

    "Hey! That Melanie Lynne Hauser person--she can really write!"

    "I know."

    "I mean she's good. And smart. And funny."

    "I know."

    So of course, I bought Melanie's book and read it right through and absolutely loved it. Then I started commenting on her blog, and before you knew it, we became friends. Since Melanie was about a year ahead of me in the publishing process, she was able to answer a lot of my questions, and was hugely generous with both time and information.

    Eventually, we met in person, and she was disarmingly funny and honest and a notch or two edgier than you might think. I dug her.

    So there you have my Melanie Lynne Hauser story. And now, before I tell you a little bit about her story, I want you to know that Confessions of Super Mom is now available in paperback. So you have no excuse not to buy this truly delightful novel. Here's a synopsis:

    For every harried mother who dreams of cleaning with the power of 10,000 Swiffers, putting her children into Super Time Outs with just a flick of her Merciless Gaze, and employing a little Super Eavesdropping when the occasion warrants, CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM is a must-read. Filled with romance, intrigue, humor and a colorful cast of characters, this delightful new novel introduces a superhero for the Swiffer generation.

    Birdie Lee is an average hard-working single mother of two teenagers, PTA lackey, and mild-mannered grocery clerk at the local Marvel Fine Foods and Beverages. One morning, while getting ready for work, Birdie is sidetracked by a stubborn Stain of Unusual Origin on her bathroom floor. Unable to let the stain get the best of her, she tries to annihilate it with every household product she can find--to no avail. Angry, hot, light-headed (and forgetting to turn on the exhaust fan), she makes one final desperate attempt to eradicate this vile, dastardly stain: she loads her Swiffer Wet Jet with every household cleanser she owns, aims, and fires ...

    And passes out, overcome by the fumes. After regaining consciousness (and reminding herself to scrub the bottom of the toilet since from her perspective-- flat on her back--it was looking a little dingy), Birdie realizes something's amiss. Her ears begin to buzz and her senses are aquiver. Eventually, aided by Martin, her geeky thirteen-year-old son and trusty sidekick, Birdie understands that she now possesses extraordinary powers--superpowers, to be exact. Birdie soon learns, however, that, to quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility and she finds herself struggling to balance a new onslaught of challenges, both at home and in her community. While trying to keep her distant 15-year-old daughter's heart from being broken (something not even a superhero can do), and dealing with her smug ex-husband and his over-achieving new wife, she must manage her job, PTA responsibilities and a budding romance--all the while trying to rescue her beloved town of Astro Park from an evil force that threatens its children.

    So forget those chores--pick up CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM and relish in a much-deserved escape. This charming novel will keep readers glued to the page as they cheer for Super Mom to root out injustice and surrender herself to love. Readers everywhere will find themselves in its pages and rejoice in finding a book that celebrates their overlooked everyday acts of heroism.

    Doesn't that sound ... filmic? Here's some great news--Hollywood thinks so, too! In fact, they've optioned this book with plans to turn it into a movie. I think they have a winner on their hands.

    Here's what the critics think:

    "Like its title character, this debut novel has a secret's unexpectedly poignant and packs an emotional punch despite the cheery veneer... at the heart of this story is a narrative about a lonely, wronged woman who just wants to do right by her children and stand up to an uncontrollable world. Hauser slips in soliloquies on motherhood and womanhood that, though brief, are moving, showing us Birdie Lee's heart and in that, the wishes and dreams of super moms everywhere. "- Publishers Weekly

    "This silly but fun twist on the superhero tale comes packaged with a socially responsible message about consumerism, but it doesn't get in the way of the high jinks."--Booklist

    "From the book's very first page you find yourself grinning...never has there been a more loveable, down-to-earth superhero...with wit, humor and some age-old motherly advice, this book gives the reader a true-to-life hero, helping every mom find the Super Mom inside!"

    "Looking for something TOTALLY different than all the rest of the books on the shelves? This is the perfect escape using romance, laugh out loud moments, and super powers that every woman would secretly admit to wanting!"-- Madison McGraw,

    I hope you'll buy this book. It's available in paperback at your favorite bookstore. You can order online, too, of course. For more information, visit Melanie's website,

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    Weekend Odds and Ends

  • If you happen to be at the Syosset Long Island Street Fair this weekend, stop by the Borders booth and say hello. I'll be there from noon to one, signing copies of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA.

  • I'll be doing a more formal reading/signing at the Syosset Borders on Friday, September 29 at 8pm. Hope you can make it!

  • On Monday I'll be blogging about Melanie Lynne Hauser, the GCC author who brought me into the group. I'll have lots of wonderful things to say about Melanie and her writing.

  • I haven't yet heard from George Clooney, which means you still have a chance to win this contest.

  • My friend Robin Slick has a wonderful essay online called The Night I Met Neil Gaiman and Confirmed I am a Dork. Read it--Robin is a hoot.

  • Speaking of Robin, I owe her a big thanks for risking arrest by snapping this picture inside a Barnes & Noble:

  • The new issue of SmokeLong Quarterly looks like a great read.

  • The Edifice Wrecked First Annual 666 Flash Contest is underway. I hope you'll enter!

  • I'm in the middle of reading (and loving) Which Brings Me to You by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott. For me, it's an odd reading experience because I never lose consciousness of the fact that I'm in the hands of two authors. But I'm digging it. In fact, everything I've read these past few weeks has been terrific. I just finished Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson, which was stunning. Before that I read Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Are you getting the impression that it takes me forever to get through my reading pile?) I was a little prejudiced going into Prep, as Curtis Sittenfeld had written what I thought was an unfair assault on Melissa Bank some months back. But she won me over. (I still think there was more spite to her Melissa Bank review than objective criticism.) I also fell madly in love with Alice Hoffman lately, having read Turtle Moon and The Ice Queen back to back.

  • If you're a writer and you're not reading Miss Snark's blog, you're missing a lot of very valuable lessons on the publishing biz. Even though I'm not in the market for an agent, I still learn something from her every day.

  • I've almost finished listening to Lisa Kudrow's narration of the audiobook version of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. Man, she is good. I'm awed and humbled. Here's a sample.

  • I'm getting a disturbing number of blog hits from people Googling the phrase "penisland."

  • I just went to the first PTA meeting of the new school year, which was a little stressful, as it was the first time I got to see everyone since my book came out. Before the release, there was a buzz in the community, as people assumed I modelled the book on real people or events. I think most of my community now understands that the book is fiction, and I was greeted warmly by moms and teachers alike. The administration is another story. Talk about icy. Yikes. I'm not paranoid, but I have the feeling that there was some kind of memo sent around telling everyone to stay a certain distance away from me and my book. I guess they're afraid of being associated with the sex and scandal. Such silliness.
  • Thursday, September 14, 2006

    New online review

    There's a new review of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA in Per Contra, a literary ezine.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006


    In a few weeks I'll be launching a special promotion to teachers that includes a drawing for a free audiobook CD of SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA (narrated by Lisa Kudrow). If you're a teacher and would like to be included--or if you know a teacher who would like to be included--just drop me a line at ellen (at) ellenmeister (dot) com, and tell me what email address I should send the promo to.

    Also, I'm eager to include endorsements from actual teachers. So if you're a current or former teacher of grades K-12 who read the book and enjoyed it enough to want to blurb it, can you send me a sentence or two that I can quote? I won't include last names. Just send your quote, along with your first name and last initial, the grade you teach (or most recently taught) and your state of residence. Also, if you want a signed bookplate, send me your mailing address and I'll send one right out. Again, my email is ellen (at) ellenmeister (dot) com. Thanks!

    (Click here for blog homepage.)

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    My first radio interview

    I was recently interviewed by Stephen Valentino of SYR Radio, and it will be broadcast tomorrow, Saturday, at 3 pm Pacific (6 pm Eastern), on cable stations coast-to-coast. To see if your local cable network carries CRN Digital Talk Radio, click here.

    Meanwhile, the interview is available online. So if want to give a listen, click below for the MP3 downloads (the interview is in two segments).
    Segment One
    Segment Two

    Stephen was terrific--very animated, enthusiastic and professional. He made sure to repeat the name of my book several times and give out my website on both segments. And what a voice! In addition to being a radio host he's an opera singer, and you can really hear all that training. We won't talk about how tinny and nasal I sound compared to him. But I think I did okay. I did, however, have one major brain fart. In segment two I said that I got the idea for the book in 2004. 2004? What was I thinking! I started writing the book in 2000. Oh well. I guess there are worse mistakes. Certainly, it's not going to keep anyone from buying the book, right? The next time I do an interview, though, I'll try not to have a cerebral hemorrhage in the middle of it.

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    What could they possibly sell at PENISLAND.COM?

    To find the answer to that and other questions, click here.

    To read an excerpt of the novel Publishers Weekly called "hilarious and poignant" and Library Journal called "heartbreakingly funny," click here.

    For a summary, click here.

    To order your very own copy, click here.

    In other url news (and trust me, this has no relation to penisland), my good friend Susan Henderson has a wondeful new website at If you haven't checked it out, you should. Sue is smart, talented, funny and always fascinating. She's also one of the most generous writers I know. You'll want to add this one to your blog subscriptions.

    Speaking of writers, I always love hearing what Tess Gerritsen has to say about the publishing business, and this interview is no exception.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    PALE IMMORTAL By Anne Frasier

    Friends! Today, instead of the usual ersatz Hollywood treatment, Girlfriends Cyber Circuit author Anne Frasier gets her very own movie. It's a promotional video for her new novel, PALE IMMORTAL, and it's amazing. Check it out ...

    To learn more about this new novel from award-winning, bestselling author Anne Frasier, visit her website at

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    THE SMART ONE crashes into the Sea of Excellence!


    Today I finished the revisions on my second novel, The Smart One. I choose to think it's a good sign that this happened on the same day that a European spacecraft called The Smart-One was intentionally crash-landed into a section of the moon called "The Sea of Excellence."

    Read the story.


    If you write flash fiction, I hope you'll consider submitting to The First Annual 666 Flash Contest over at the newly relaunched and diabolical-as-ever edificeWrecked. There will be 6 winners, and your entry must include 6 specific words and a $6 entry fee. For details, click here.

    The contest will be judged by yours truly, but please ... do not send me your entry or you'll risk being disqualified. It's blind judging, which means that the sons and daughters of Satan over at eW will be sending me the 10 finalist flashes with no identifying information.

    Good luck and have fun!