Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Update

Ever have a week where you felt like you spent every hour of the day running in place? This was one of those. Not much to report ...

• Excited to receive my new little Samsung NC-10 netbook, but I can't get it access my wireless internet at home. Spent an hour on the phone with D-Link tech support yesterday to no avail. I'll probably spend another hour today. Do I have time for this nonsense? No!

• Today I addressed a big, smart group of retired professionals from the Molloy Institute of Life Long Learning in Rockville Centre, Long Island. My favorite part of these appearances is the question and answer period at end, and this group was especially dynamic. Big shout-out to Marie and Sal Barry for inviting me to speak.

• Got one sick kid today, sorry to say. Feel better, Ethan!

• Getting more and more excited about this new book idea I'm working on. I'm practically feeling hypergraphic over it. Wish I could carve out more time to work.

• Went to my daugther's 5th grade concert this week. Kudos to the band, the orchestra and the chorus. You kids were awesome! And of course, a standing O for the incredible music teachers in our district.

• Attention New Yorkers: tomorrow night there's a special event sponsored by the folks who published the six-word memior book, NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING. I'll be among the writers reading their six words. Hope you can join us! Click here for more info.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Late Friday Update

Pretty damned late to be posting a Friday update, especially on a holiday weekend. (I can already hear this blog entry echoing through the empty chambers of cyberspace.) But my morning was jammed with a meeting at the high school and my annual mammo (clear for another year! yay!), so this is the first moment I've had. Here goes ...

• Last Saturday I drove out to East Hampton to hear a terrific group of authors on a panel, and shlepped my daughter along with me. Got to hear Andrew Gross, Susan Isaacs, Hope McIntyre, Vincent Lardo and Elizabeth Zevlin. What a stellar lineup! That's me with Andrew Gross in the picture. And yes, he's really that cute. Thanks to Emma for snapping the pic.

• Speaking of Andrew Gross, I bought his new book, DON'T LOOK TWICE, and just started reading it today. This is my first introduction to his work and wow, am I impressed. The story is a heart-thumping page turner, which I expected. What took me by surprise is the quality of the writing. Woosh! This guy knows how to get it done. I'm highly recommending this one.

• Had a great time on Wednesday traveling into Manhattan with my homey, Saralee Rosenberg, to hear an Elinor Lipman reading. It's no secret that I'm a huge Elinor fan, but even if I wasn't, it would be a treat to hear her read. She's so entertaining! Couple weeks ago I raved her new book, THE FAMILY MAN. Brilliant and funny. Read it!

• Two important birthdays in the family last week--my dad (80!) and my sis. Happy birthday, you two! If you have a few minutes and want to read a wonderful little piece of history at, click here and scroll down to see "MY VJ DAY" by Gerard Meister.

• Had a great little epiphany on the new novel this week. Still very far from having a proposal (in case my agent is reading this), but it's starting to heat up.

• Stay tuned for more news on the title of my book that's in production. Today I came up with an idea I love, but I can't let the cat out of the bag as I haven't even pitched it to my peripatetic editor yet.

• Had a blast doing an interview over at Brenda Janowitz's blog this week. If you haven't clicked in yet, I hope you'll check out it now. And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of THE SMART ONE.

• Barbecue on the agenda for Sunday. Pray for good weather ...

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interview and Book Giveaway!

I hope you'll pop over to author Brenda Janowitz's blog today and leave a comment. She posted an interview with me and is giving away a free signed copy of THE SMART ONE.

Click here.


P.S. You can read more about Brenda's books here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Update

• On Monday I did an appearance at the Jericho Public Library. I think it went well, despite the light turnout. Kisses to those who were there. You asked great questions and I had blast. Hope you did, too.

• My definition of utopia is when all medical tests are as Star Trek as the one for bone density. I mean, how cool is that? No disrobing, no pain, no bodily invasions.

• My middle one got clobbered by fever this week, poor kid. Better today, though. Now we wait and watch to see if anyone else in the family catches it.

• Really looking forward to the interview and book giveaway on Brenda Janowitz's blog next week!

• Speaking of interviews, Saralee Rosenberg and I did a fun one yesterday. Via an online chat, we interviewed each other on the topic of inspiration. It will appear in the July issue of Electica Magazine.

• Looking forward to attending an event at the BookHampton Mystery Festival this Sunday. Looks like lots of great panel discussions going on all weekend, but I'm shooting for the Sunday morning one in East Hampton called "So Charming, So Dead: Social Satire and Murder," with authors SUSAN ISAACS, VINCENT LARDO, ANDREW GROSS, HOPE McINTYRE, and ELIZABETH ZELVIN.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday mini-update

Busy busy day and not much to report anyway. Career-wise it's been a slow week. I'm still waiting anxiously for a pub date on my untitled novel, and haven't made much progress on the one I hope will follow.

If you've been reading this blog you know I've been going crazy trying to come up with a title, and have been leaning toward The Broken Wall. But after having lunch with the very smart, talented and helpful Susan Henderson yesterday, I've changed my mind, and am now gunning for The Parting. Not even sure it's on my editor's short list, so we'll see how that flies.

Oh, allergies! Such misery this time of year, no? So much fluid in my head I have tinnitus. Wish I could believe it meant people were talking about me ...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Insert title here

I'm working on an idea for a new book. Right now, I'm still figuring out the characters and the plot, as well as the relationships and the settings. Safe to say I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I have one thing. A kickass title.

I'm calling it The Cousins' Club. ( Though I'm not sure if I need the apostrophe. Does the club belong to the cousins, or is it more like a club of cousins? I'm thinking of examples like The Authors Guild, no apostrophe.)

I'm telling you this for the irony, as the book that's in production now—the one I spent three years thinking about and twelve months writing—is still without a title. The final manuscript has been approved by my editor and will likely have a pub date next spring. But we don't know what to call it.

It's been impossible to find the right peg for this plot. Here's the description that appeared in the trades:

Pitched as "Jodi Picoult meets THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE," the new novel tells the story of a suburban mom expecting her second child who discovers that she might be able to slip through a portal to the life she would have had if she never got married. When a routine sonogram reveals unexpected problems, her grief lures her to escape to the life that might have been—in which she discovers that she's stayed with her neurotic ex-boyfriend, and that her mother, who committed suicide several years before, is very much alive.

For about a year I was calling it The Fissure, because the portal my protag slips through appears as a fissure in her basement wall. Likewise, the problem with her baby is a fissure in her skull. But I never liked the title. I'm afraid that people going into a bookstore and asking for it by name would be sent to the field and stream section. Also, it's not a pretty word. Sounds like something ugly that can happen to your rectum.

Then I started calling it The Silver Line, a more descriptive way to say the same thing. I think it's a pretty title, and memorable, but I worry that it sounds like the name of a train.

My agents rejected both titles outright, and pitched it to editors first as The Opening and then as If Only. No one liked the former, and the latter gets mixed reviews.

My editor changed it back to The Silver Line when she reported the deal to the trades. I later came up with The Parting, which my agents love but my editor is lukewarm on. I'm a little torn on that one. I like it for the emotional resonance, but can't get past how hard it is to say out loud and be clearly understood. Try it. Suggest that as a title to someone and see if they think you're saying The Party.

I came up with several hundred alternatives, and pitched the best of the bunch to my agents. They didn't like any of them. But one stuck with me—The Broken Wall. I like this one because the wall in question is both the literal wall in my character's basement, as well as the metaphysical wall between her two worlds. Also, I think it's memorable, and sticks well to the concept.

But I kept going, and four-hundred pages of notes later I came up with The Other Life, which I really liked, as it refers to my protag's two lives as well as the life of her baby. My agents and editor liked it, too. But after living with it a few weeks I started to think it was just too vanilla. And my agents said it's really not as good as The Parting.

So I pitched The Broken Wall to my editor, because I still really liked it. She did, too, but it wasn't a Eureka that's it! moment. It's just another in the list of titles she's considering, and I wouldn't be surprised if the cover of the book has one that we haven't even thought of yet.

If you want to make suggestions, I'm all ears. But don't be offended if I don't like it. Remember that I've been making lists of possible titles for an entire year, so this is a very tough nut. I've even spent hours searching stock images for ideas. Still, if you're keen to give it a shot, keep in mind that it has to sound serious because the book is kind of dark and highly emotional. It should suggest something about the premise without sounding sci fi or paranormal. And it has to be memorable.

And of course, when we make the final decision I'll be sure to post it here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Returning to the scene of the crime ...

Next Monday I'm doing a book talk in the Long Island town that inspired the macabre crime in THE SMART ONE. Hope you can join me!

Copies of THE SMART ONE will be available for purchase and signing.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Update

• I spent most of this week catching up on emails and errands I put off last week, when I was prepping for my trip to Newburyport, so not too much to report.

• Sending love and healing wishes to Debbi Honorof. Glad you're home, Deb ... hope you're feeling better day by day.

• Cool lunch on Tuesday with some of my LI lit pals. We're conspiring to launch an exciting joint project. Stay tuned for details.

• Adam in the bottom 3? Huh??? Why do I smell an AI conspiracy to ratchet up next week's call volume?

• After months of not losing an ounce I finally gave up and starting eating carbs again. Guess what? I lost two pounds Go figure. At any rate, it lifted my mood.

• Started weight training this week, but only did it once so it had no impact on above mentioned weight loss. Anyway, I know it's going to be weeks if not months before I see any difference, so it'll be a real exercise in patience for me. (Pun intended)

• For once I'm reading a new book--Elinor Lipman's THE FAMILY MAN. It's amazing--so funny and tender and elegantly written. She truly lets the characters tell the whole story, primarily through dialogue. There's so much between the lines, and not a spare word. Too bad Woody Allen only makes movies from his own stories, because these hilarious and authentic characters would serve his audience so well.