Friday, December 29, 2006

Look what I just found ...

My German cover!

Barbies? I'm assuming that's meant to be ironic. I'm also assuming the translation of the title, "When Does George Come?" is not as suggestive in German as it is in English. But what do I know.

Do you like it? I do!

In other news, click here to read a fascinating interview with Bonnie Glover, author of The Middle Sister, on Susan Henderson's LitPark. You'll love Bonnie's surprising answers as well as Susan's insightful intro.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Happy and healthy holiday to all!

And here's more holiday fun.
(Thanks to M.J. Rose for the hilarious link.)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Newsday article

In today's Newsday there's a big article about me by Denise Flaim, who's a sharp, smart and funny writer. (She has a regular Pets column in the paper and a weekly Suburban Diva radio spot on KJOY 98.3.)

I could only scan a portion of the article, but if you want to read the whole thing, the text is here.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Signed books

Lately, a few folks have asked how to get a signed copy of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to post about it.

If you're on Long Island, there are a few stores that still have signed copies in stock. They definitely have a good supply at the Borders in Syosset (516.496.3934), and could have some left at the Book Revue in Huntington (631.271.1442), Borders in Commack (631.462.0569) and at Barnes & Noble stores in Huntington Station (631.421.9886) and Manhasset (516.365.6723).

If you're not local, self-adhesive bookplates are a pretty convenient alternative. They affix easily to the front of the book and look pretty darn good (click picture for larger image). If you want one, just drop me a line at ellen (at) ellenmeister (dot) com and tell me who to make it out to and where to send it.

If you really want a personally inscribed book, drop me an email at the same address and we'll work out the postage.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pre-holiday woes, Post-holiday tale

For Chanukah, my boys asked for a new game system called Wii. Have you heard of this? Apparently, you don't use use a regular controller--the damn thing senses your body movements.

Like many parents of video-addicted kids I thought, "At last! A chance for the kids to get some exercise." However, with a $250 price tag, I was thinking that maybe they weren't really too big for the backyard swingset after all.

Then I heard that the really hot new console, the PlayStation 3, is about $600. Suddenly, the Wii was looking like a bargain.

You see how insidious this whole thing is?

So okay. I decided I would get this for both boys, and it would be their one big Chanukah gift this year. Then, of course, there was the whole issue of actually buying it.

Days before it was due to hit stores, I noticed people sleeping in tents outside Target and Circuit City. I am not kidding. People were camping out. I knew I was in trouble.

Most of these folks were lining up for the PlayStation, which was reported to be in very short supply. But I got wind that only a very limited number of Wii's was being distributed. Ugh.

Thinking it was a long shot, I showed up at Circuit City the first morning the Wii was to go on sale. Bad news. They only got 11 units and they were gone.

"But the truck is still here," the sales clerk said.

"What does that mean?"

He shrugged. "There could be another box of them."

"How long before you know?"

Another shrug.

I decided to park myself at the counter and wait. Within minutes, other people arrived looking for the Wii. I was not budging. If one unit came off that truck it was mine, goddamnit.

Sure enough, an hour later one Wii was brought up from the loading dock. I leered at the people behind me, lest anyone think they had a prayer of snatching it.

I emerged triumphant from Circuit City. Everything was falling into place. Chanukah would be saved. And if I was able to get the Wii, how hard could it be to the Nintendo DS in coral pink my daughter wanted?

Ha! The DS, a handheld current generation Gameboy, has proven to be the most elusive product of the year. In pink at least. I was calling stores every day and no one had it. Finally, with Chanukah approaching, I was forced to give up and get the darned thing in another color. But guess what? By that point, it was sold out in every color.

Then, yesterday, I hit pay dirt. Toys R Us had it in stock. Not in pink, so black would have to do. By that point I was so desperate I didn't even balk when they told me the Nintendo DS was only being sold as a "bundle." That means you're forced to buy all this extra crap you don't need with it. The cashier, who had a slight accent, asked me, "What color chair do you want?"

"Excuse me?" I said.

"What color chair do you want?"


"Yes. It comes in blue and pink."

"I'm sorry," I said. "I'm not understanding you. It sounded like you said, 'What color chair do you want.'"

"I did. It comes with a chair."

"The videogame comes with a chair. Like a chair that you sit on?"

I was utterly confused. And I felt bad for the cashier, whose accent really wasn't that thick after all. I was the thick one. Apparently there's a chair you plug your game system into and ... something happens. Like you go into another dimension or something. I'm not exactly clear on this.

Anyway, the kids went berserk when they opened their gifts last night, so I guess all is well. And meanwhile, I leave you a poem I wrote a few years ago, which appeared in Light Magazine:

“The Raving”
A Mother's Chilling Post-Holiday Tale

By Ellen Meister

Once upon an evening dreary, while I toiled, weak and weary
Over many a desperate dirty dishrag and forgotten chore,
While I leaned down limply lugging toys from off the carpet rugging
Suddenly there came a tugging, tugging at the skirt I wore.
"'Tis some little kid," I muttered, smoothing out the skirt I wore,
"Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
Action dolls not yet dismembered lay across the playroom floor.
Each new toy was still unbroken, yet the child still was pokin'
And the only word there spoken was the whining more, "S'more.
"This he whispered then his sister murmured back the word, "S'more."
Only this they did implore.

Then the silly, sad, incessant clangor of the season's presents
Chilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now to still the beating of my heart I stood repeating,
"Darling children, I am pleading, let's return some to the store--
Darling children, I'm entreating, let us give some to the poor."
Still they said, "We want s'more."

"You still want more?" I blurted feeling slightly dizzy, my head reeling,
"Get thee back into the playroom where your playthings line the floor!
Go before I need to yank you! Go before I want to spank you!
Leave my kitchen and I'll thank you not to ask for any more.
Take thy sighs from out my sight and thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the child, "I want more."

And the child, so demanding, still is standing, still is standing
Near a portion of my pantry just beside the kitchen door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
Sights of toys and trinkets gleaming on the shelves of every store.
Unaffected with respect to his demands for even more,
Quoth I, the mother, "Never more!"

Last but not least, if you're in the New York area, check out Newsday tomorrow (Sunday). There's supposed to be a pretty cool article about a certain minivan-driving suburban PTA mom who also happens to be an author.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Amazing John Edward

I wish I had more time to blog about this, because last night's event was spectacular. Alas, I've got about 10 phone calls to make, 20 emails to return, 40 pounds of laundry to fold, several dinners to cook and THE PHONE DOES NOT STOP RINGING.

Anyway, we didn't hear from my mother-in-law or my friend Fern, but it was an extraordinary experience. I had always assumed that John Edward's TV show, Crossing Over, only showed his very best readings, but every single one he did last night was astoundingly accurate and detailed. It. blew. my. mind. If you ever get a chance to see this guy, do it.

In addition to being so accurate, he's also incredibly funny and sarcastic and entertaining. And of course, the show is also poignant because there are so many people who are dealing with grief.

One very tiny example of the kind of thing that happened over and over throughout the show ...

Before he began, John explained that if he's doing a reading of one person, he'll likely get information that pertains to people sitting near that person, only he doesn't necessarily know the information is for someone else. So he was talking to a woman and kept saying over and over again that he's getting a message from a woman who passed about the number three, but "one is different--three, but one is different." He said it could possibly be three siblings and one is different in some way, possibly gender or something else. Then he named the departed woman and three people in back of the person he was speaking to stood. They said that was their departed mother. John asked, "Does 'three but one is different' mean something to you?" One of the women got so hysterical she couldn't speak, but finally said she was given up for adoption at a year old and only just found her brother and sister a few months ago. The brother and sister were raised by the biological mother--she was the only one who had been given up. Flipped out, huh?

I could give you so many more examples, but this one stayed with me because it was so emotional.

Off topic, here's a birthday shoutout to my friend, Maryanne Stahl. If you haven't read her books, please do yourself a favor and click here. You deserve to buy yourself a nice Christmas present, don't you?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Talking to dead people

Tonight my s-i-l and I will go see John Edward at the former Westbury Music Fair. He's the Crossing Over guy who talks to dead people. Go ahead and think this is totally nutty, but I've seen this guy and his comments are specific enough to be totally convincing. I'm hoping to hear from either my mother-in-law or my friend Fern. Of course, they'd have to compete with all the hundreds of other ghosts in the room, but these are two people who really like to be heard, so who knows.

Now for some news from among the living ...

  • Huge congrats to my good friend Robin Slick who was nominated as having one of the 10 best blogs of 2006. If you don't think that's a big deal consider this: there were nearly 4,500 entries. Yowza! Well done, Rob! You deserve it.

  • The always fascinating Kay Sexton blogged about the bookplate I sent her. You can read it here. If you want a signed bookplate of your own, drop me an email at and I'll be happy to send one along.

  • Lately I've reached out to some very, very famous people to see if someone might agree to look at my next book, The Smart One, for a possible endorsement blurb. I think I'll have more luck contacting dead people.

  • Speaking of being ignored by famous people, still no bouquet of roses from George Clooney to thank me for sending him a signed book and putting him on the map.

  • Other people of note I sent a signed book to but never heard back from include radio host Joan Hamburg and her daughter Lizzie. I'm a fan of Joan's show and thought she and Lizzie might like the book, so I mailed it to them care of the radio station. Wish I had a way of finding out if they even got the books. I also sent one to anonymous literary agent/blogger/George Clooney fan Miss Snark, via the agent she is rumored to be. Said agent wrote back to assure me she was not Miss Snark, but would forward the book. Alas, not a word from Miss Snark, and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA doesn't show up in her Library Thing catalog. Since I like these people I'm going to assume they're not being rude, but either never got the books.

  • Just so you don't think I'm a relentless whiner, I'll tell you that there's at least one famous person who did write back to thank me for sending her a signed book--radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne. She sent the most gracious note and I was thrilled. I think she's the bomb.

  • Friday, December 01, 2006

    Mom! Mom! Robert DeNiro's on the phone!

    "... and he's calling on behalf of Hillary Clinton!"

    I wonder how many households had similar conversations in the weeks leading up to the last election.

    Naturally, I thought it was adorable that my son actually thought Robert DeNiro was calling me. He just assumed my status as an author had landed me so close to celebritydom that such a thing was possible.

    A savvy person such as myself would never make such a mistake.

    So yesterday, when the phone rang and the caller ID window showed a cellphone number in Los Angeles, I bolted for the phone with studied nonchalance. Alas, I was too late. The caller had hung up before I could get to it.

    I tried to shrug it off, but the creepy, disquieting voice in my head began to whisper: it's-george-it's-george-it's-george...

    I ignored it and paced the room. Who on earth could that have been?


    It couldn't have been George Clooney ... could it? I mean, sure I included my phone number along with the autographed book I sent him, but he wouldn't just pick up the phone and call, would he? No. No way.


    Of course, I had recently sent an email to David Letterman's mailbag, implying that I was solely responsible for George Clooney's fame. Included in the message was my phone number and the request that he nudge Clooney to call and thank me.

    Was it possible the email wasn't deleted unread by some CBS intern? Could this really be the phone call?


    "Call the number!" said one of my online friends. "I'm dying of curiosity here."

    "It's probably just a wrong number," I insisted. ... it's-george-it's-george-it's-george... "Besides, what would I say?"


    "Stop!" I argued with the voice. "The call came in an hour ago. I can't hit callback now. It'll look stupid."


    "No. It's dopey. It's uncool. I should let him call back. And anyway, I'm sure it's just a wrong number. Or maybe one of my Los Angeles cousins. No way it's George."


    I picked up the phone. I pressed the Caller ID button. I hesitated.


    I typed in a 1 before the area code. I held my breath.


    I hit talk.

    It rang.

    Someone answered.

    A chirpy female voice. "Hello! Thank you for calling Planned Parenthood! Please hold for one our representatives!"

    A charity? A charity was so duplicitous they would fool my Caller ID by disguising themselves behind a Los Angeles cellphone number?

    The motherfudgers.

    I slammed down the phone.

    Hey, I understand that it's hard to raise funds for a Pro-Choice organization in George Bush's America, and I've supported them in the past (which is why they call me relentlessly), but I am DONE with Planned Parenthood. Done. I'll never answer one of their calls again. Never. Even if they have someone as famous as Robert DeNiro call me. Even if ...


    Oh, never mind.

    Thursday, November 30, 2006


    Today I'm thrilled to be doing a GCC does Hollywood blog entry for the beautiful and talented Kyra Davis, whose critically-acclaimed new book, So Much For My Happy Ending, is in stores now.

    If Kyra got an opportunity to meet with a bigshot movie producer, here's how she'd pitch the book:

    So Much for My Happy Ending is about April, a young fashionista who marries the charming Tad Showers in hopes of attaining a normal family life. She soon discovers that Tad is suffering from an untreated (and initially undiagnosed) bipolar disorder. Now April must deal with her husband’s unraveling while simultaneously finding her own strength.

    And here's how she'd cast it:

    April could be played by Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible 3 and Crash). She has the right look (April is biracial) and she has proven that right amount of spunk to be able to pull off this tragicomic role. (Editor's note: I just saw Crash for the first time and loved this actress.)

    Tad’s tougher. He could be played by Matthew McConaughey I suppose because Mathew seems like the cute boy next store so no one would be expecting him to have a major dark side.

    So Much for My Happy Ending is in stores now, and available from online booksellers such as For more information, visit Kyra's website at

    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Finally saw that Entertainment Weekly review

    It wasn't easy, but I finally got my hands on a copy of that issue of EW that has a review of the audiobook edition of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. My favorite quote:

    "Kudrow pulls off a comic tour de force .... Raunchy, absurd and entertaining in the extreme." A-

    Not only that, but check out the company we were in. The other audiobooks reviewed in Jennifer Reese's article were Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, narrated by Wiliam Hurt (B+), Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, narrated by Hope Davis (A-), Wendy Wasserstein's Elements of Style, narrated by Cynthia Nixon (B+), Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, narrated by Sissy Spacek (A-), and Dennis Lehane's Coronado, narrated by Stanley Tucci (B-).

    Free bookplates for the holiday season

    My publisher recently sent me a fresh stack of pretty bookplates, and so I've decided to send them out for free without the normal SASE requirement.

    So if you want some--for yourself or for people on your holiday list--just drop me an email at Let me know who to make them out to and where to send them. The bookplates are self-adhesive and affix right to the inside of the book, so it's an easy way to give someone a personally inscribed copy of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA.

    Of course, I don't have an endless supply, so if you're interested, please contact me as soon as you can.

    Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA is available in stores and from all online booksellers, including

    Sunday, November 26, 2006

    A- from Entertainment Weekly!

    I got an interesting email from my cousin Max Weiss, the film critic, yesterday. She was writing to congratulate me on the Entertainment Weekly review of the Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA audiobook. This was news to me. Of course, I ran out to buy the magazine, but couldn't find the issue (it's the one with Gwen Stefani on the cover). Fortunately, Max was kind enough to read it to me over the phone. I'm thrilled to say it was an overwhelmingly positive review, earning an A- from the tough critics at EW, who give out an awful lot of Bs and Cs and even Ds. Another huge thanks to Lisa Kudrow for doing such an amazing job!

    Listen to an audio sample here.

    Buy the unabridged CD edition from Amazon here.

    Buy the unabridged MP3-CD edition from Amazon here.

    Buy from

    In other weekend news, the hardcover edition of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA got a swell review from The reviewer, Keris Stainton, called the book "funny, compelling and well-written."

    Now, is it my imagination, or do my cousin Max the film critic and Keris Stainton the book critic look like they were separated at birth?

    Sunday, November 19, 2006


    How perfectly apt to be devoting my latest GCC goes Hollywood blog entry to a book called MORE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET by Lola Douglas. It follows Lola's popular TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET, and here's how she'd pitch it to our fictional producer:

    Just when Morgan Carter was falling in love with the simple life she'd built in Fort Wayne, Indiana, her identity as an infamous starlet was exposed. Now her mom wants her back in L.A., but Hollywood holds deep, dark secrets Morgan has yet to confront ...

    And here's how Lola would cast it:

    Believe it or not, I think about this all of the time. I've always thought that Hayden Panettiere would make a good Morgan--with a dye job, of course.

    Allison Mack could play Morgan's Indiana best friend Emily Whitmarsh, and Jon Foster could play Em's twin brother (and Morgan's love interest) Eli Whitmarsh.

    Kallie Flynn Childress would be awesome as Morgan's nemesis Debbie Ackerman.

    Oh! And Sophia Bush could totally be Marissa Dahl, Morgan's Hollywood best friend.

    Once again, one of my Girlfriends Cyber Circuit colleagues manages to make me feel prehistoric by assembling a cast I've never heard of, despite the fact that they're all probably hugely popular. At any rate, I'm sure they'd make a great movie of this delectable book, which even the finicky Kirkus Reviews was charmed by. You can buy MORE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET online or at your favorite bookstore. For more information, visit Lola's website at

    Saturday, November 18, 2006

    Be still my heart

    Borders to donate net profits from the sale of O.J.'s book to victims of domestic violence. Read story here.

    Happy Birthday to ... me

    Today is my birthday. I'm not usually that into presents, but this year I already got two really cool ones--a digital camera from Mike and an interview conducted by someone very special over at Sue Henderson's LitPark.

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Holiday Special

    Signed books, free shipping and handling!

    Want a signed copy of "Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA" for your or someone on your holiday list?

    Want more than one?

    Act now and save! (Can you tell I used to write brochures?) I'm offering a holiday special for a limited time. Send me two or more copies of the book (or have Amazon ship them directly to me), and I'll not only sign them with personal inscriptions, but pay the postage to send them back to you. In many cases, I can even ship books directly to your recipients. For details, drop me a line at

    George Clooney is the sexiest man alive

    Well, duh.

    In case you haven't heard the news, People Magazine just released their 2006 Sexiest Man Alive issue, and George Clooney has won the honor for the second time.

    I wish the media would sit up and take notice that I WROTE A WHOLE FREAKING BOOK ABOUT GEORGE CLOONEY BEING THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE.

    But you know what I wish even more than that? I wish that George Clooney would call to thank me for the personally inscribed copy of "Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA" I sent him. Maybe even this Saturday, November 18 ... my birthday. (Note to George: Lisa K. has my phone number.)

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Can you guess what year I got married?

    Today is my wedding anniversary. Based on the styles in this picture, can you guess what year I got married?

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Failed experiment

    I tried a new template for this blog and thought it looked so cool, but alas it only worked in Internet Explorer and not in Firefox, so I'm back to this, though I changed the background color. I couldn't look at that tan anymore.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Bleed by Laurie Stolarz

    Today's GCC-does-Hollywood reins are handed over to the beloved YA author, Laurie Stolarz, who would pitch her newest blockbuster to a producer like this:

    Over the course of a day, the lives of ten teens will intersect in unexpected ways. Among them are Nicole, whose decision to betray her best friend will shock everyone; Kelly, who meets the convicted felon she’s been writing to for years; and Maria, whose definition of a true friend is someone who will cut her.

    And here's how Laurie would cast the book if it was made into a movie:

    Wow, that’s a tough one. I get asked that question a lot about the Blue is for Nightmares series and I almost always picture Eliza Dushku for Stacey Brown, mostly because of her edge and seeming ability to kick butt.

    But for Nicole and Kelly…? Maybe Sarah Drew as Nicole (the girl-next-door type of character, one who’s also somewhat shy and awkward) and Amanda Seyfried as Kelly (the pretty and popular girl, who also has a hidden dark side).

    I have to tell you, I've spent some time at the YA shelves in the bookstore, and I always see young readers picking up Laurie's books. They eat them with a spoon. So if you're thinking holiday gifts about now, please consider checking out Bleed and other books by Laurie Stolarz (including the new boxed set of her Blue is for Nightmares series). They're online and at bookstores everywhere. For more information, visit Laurie's website at


    Saturday, November 04, 2006


    As promised, I'm blogging about my dinner last night.

    Just to backtrack a bit, I was part of a prize package auctioned off at a fundraiser for Caumsett State Park. The item was "Dinner with the Author," and the meal was generously donated by a divine, 4-star restaurant in Huntington, Long Island called Jonathan's Ristorante.

    In my previous post I had passed along misinformation about the number of diners, as it was actually dinner for seven (three couples plus me), which was wonderful, because it was cozy enough to actually chat. I got incredibly lucky because the couple who placed the winning bid, Mr. and Mrs. L., were so lovely and gracious, and so were their friends. In fact, the whole gang was a hoot to spend an evening with, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, though next time I'd love to have my husband there.

    Speaking of my husband, here's a funny thing. The couples were all strangers to me, but as it turns out, Mr. L. knows my husband from business! It was pretty freaky to discover this.

    So okay. Now onto the food, which was, to use a quintessentially Long Island phrase, to die for.

    I have to say that the restauranteur was generous to the point of indulgence, and I appreciated every minute of it. It was a four course gourmet meal, with a different wine served to compliment each course. Holy moly. Last time I had a meal like that it was at the sybaritic Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.

    To start, we were served a prosciutto appetizer I don't quite have the culinary vocabulary to describe. So "yum" will have to suffice. That was followed by a wild mix mushroom risotto with truffle oil. I'm weak in the knees just thinking about it. It was one of the most delicious things I ever ate. The main course was braised lamb shank with Barolo sauce, served with potato puree and french string beans. The lamb was tender and tasty and perfectly fatty. I did not need a knife for this buttery meat, and I wish I could give you a taste right now! Dessert was a vanilla custard drizzled with strawberry sauce and served with assorted berries. Heavenly.

    My only regret is that I drove myself there, so I couldn't fully indulge in all the extraordinary wines. I enjoyed them so much I wanted to guzzle every glass, but kept myself to a few sips of each. I have no idea how I managed this restraint!

    Anyway, if the Caumsett people want to auction me off again next year, I'm in. Meanwhile, I'll definitely be going back to Jonathan's before then.

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    The Last Supper?

    A few weeks ago at a charity auction to benefit Caumsett State Park, a woman bid $1750 for her and her friends to have dinner with me. Tonight is the night. I wouldn't be tense about it except that I just found out that it's six couples and me, which makes it a rather, er, reverent number of diners. (Do the math.) I just can't help wondering what they have in mind for me after the meal ...

    Seriously, I don't expect to be crucified, and am, in fact, looking to meeting these folks and enjoying an amazing meal. If all goes well, I'll be back tomorrow to pimp the restaurant and fill in the details.

    Not much else to report this week. I've been hard at work revising The Smart One and doing my normal running in place to keep up with the kids (especially hard when they're buzzed on Halloween candy). A bright spot is that the lovely Kathryn Koromilas, who's doing a very cool 5-minute-interview feature on her blog, was kind enough to include me. You can read it here.

    FYI, I added some links to my blog this week, so check out what's new. And if you feel like you or someone you know is missing from the lists, drop me a line. Thanks!

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Great gift for teachers

    I'm getting ready to launch a new webpage promoting "Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA" as a great gift for teachers by offering free personalized bookplates, which I'll inscribe to the teacher. They'll look something like this:

    Happy to say I've been getting wonderful endorsement quotes from teachers, which I plan on using in the promotion. Here's a sampling:

    "Funnier and more touching than I ever could have imagined. Any teacher who's ever wondered about those PTA moms will love this book!" -- Lisa P., 3rd Grade Teacher, NY

    "Masterful, brilliant and what a great movie this would make! It made me yearn for such a group of friends to be surrounded by, each so complex and fully human." -- Randall B., High School English Teacher, PA

    "'Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA' is smart, laugh-out-loud fun. Who knew the PTA could be this exciting?" -- Lauran S., Continuing Ed Teacher, VA

    "Get the book, slip between the cover and have the time of your life. This is a seriously funny, engaging, endearing read." -- Mary A., Art Teacher, NY

    If you'd like one of these teacher bookplates, just send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and tell me the name of the teacher, the name of the family the book is from, and whether you'd like inscription A, B or C:

    Inscription A:
    To (Name),
    A teacher the (Family name)s admire.
    Best wishes,
    Ellen Meister

    Inscription B
    To (Name),
    Who gets an A+ from the (Family name)s!
    Best wishes,
    Ellen Meister

    Inscription C
    To (Name),
    With warmest wishes,
    Ellen Meister

    Send the SASE and info to:
    Ellen Meister
    P.O. Box 52
    Hicksville, NY 11802-0052

    Of course, the bookplate offer isn't limited to teacher gifts. If you'd like one for yourself or anyone on your list, send me an SASE and I'll get it right out to you. Remember, though, that I won't be sending you an actual book. You'll have to do that part yourself. It's available at most bookstores, and online.

    Sunday, October 29, 2006


    I've been tagged by Lisa McMann, who says I have to list 5 interesting or unique things about me. Are you ready for this? Here's goes ...

    1. Remember Son o' Sam, a.k.a. David Berserkowitz, the mass murderer who went around shooting people in the head in the late seventies? He's my cousin.
    Seriously. His mama, Pearl, was my grandmother's first cousin. (Now don't go telling me you see a family resemblance--he was adopted.)

    2. Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) and his wife Allison once had me at their house in London for dinner.

    3. At one point in my freelance career I wrote every issue of WorldPass, Pan Am's frequent flyer newsletter. They were my favorite clients, and some of the smartest people I ever worked with. When flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, a part of each of them died. I'm pretty sure of that.

    4. I was once barricaded in an office because a crazed gunman was loose in the building. When someone banged on the door we were afraid to open it, but we did. It was the SWAT team.

    5. My grandfather made the original orange neon Radio City Music Hall signs.

    And now ... I tag Richard Lewis!

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Donuts and other holes in the universe

    I'm posting this from my local library because my cable Internet service, Optonline, went down in a rainstorm last night and is still offline. It's more than 12 hours since I've had service. And because my phone and television also come through their cable line, I don't have those either.

    I've called them four times, racking up insane amounts of minutes on my cellphone as they keep putting me on hold. But they can't tell me when service will be restored. Anyway, I wanted to blog about it so that when people Google Optonline or Optimum Voice or Cablevision, they get this message warning them about how crappy the service is.

    On another topic, have you seen the Dunkin' Donuts commercial where people put air quotes around the word "coffee" every time they say it? The tagline is something about Dunkin' Donuts coffee being air quote free. Does anyone understand this? I think they're trying to say their coffee is better than the competition's, but what does it have to do with air quotes? Is it supposed to mean that Starbucks sells fake coffee, i.e. "coffee" and not coffee? I'm not a fan of the dark roasts they use, but it's surely real coffee.

    Am I being stupid? Does anyone get this commercial? Are they purposely being idiotic so people will blog about it and give them free publicity?

    Perhaps I should consider myself lucky cable is down ...

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    Stupendous Barnes and Noble appearance!

    Sarcastic? Moi?

    Attendance was, as I had predicted, sparse. Hard to believe it's even more difficult to get people to show up for readings than it is to get them to buy books, but it is. Anyway, for the few people who were there, I think it was fine. I did a talk about the saga of my title and then a reading. Except for a guy in the back with such high blood pressure he looked as if he was concentrating on keeping the top of his head from blowing off, the tiny crowd was responsive and laughed at all the right places.

    Anyway, I'm not going to have an all-out moratorium on appearances, but no more weeknight bookstore events. Kaput.

    In other news, Lisa Kudrow's audiobook narration got another rave, this time from a top Amazon reviewer. Click here to see Gail Cooke's review.

    Now, if Amazon didn't HIDE the most sought-after edition of the audiobook, people might actually buy it.

    Yes, Amazon hides that edition. Lord knows I don't want to bite that hand that feeds me. After all, Amazon does a GREAT job of selling the hardcover. (Thank you, Amazon! I worship your massive and sublime virtual glory!) But the regular edition of the CD is kept out of view.

    Here's the thing. There are many versions of the audiobook:
    Audiobook on CD, regular edition
    Audiobook on CD, library edition
    Audiobook on CD, Mp3 edition
    Audiobook on CD, abridged edition
    Audiobook on cassette

    The most popular, of course, is the first one. It's also the one you can't freaking find on Amazon, unless you click through a precise and complicated maze. If you don't believe me, click here, and you'll see a box that lists a whole bunch of editions, but not the REGULAR CD EDITION (the one that sells for $61.27 is the library edition, even though it doesn't say that). But aha ... there a place you can click to see all 5 editions and formats. Guess what? IT'S NOT THERE EITHER!

    It is, in fact here. I'd explain how I found that, but your head might explode. Anyway, according to my industry sources, Amazon is not being wily and trying to get you to shell out for the more expensive library edition--they're just screwed up. It's maddening. Hard enough to sell a product when it's right there on display. But try getting people to buy something that's hidden in the storeroom behind a wall-to-wall barrier. Sheesh.

    But you know what's easy to find? The paperback edition, which doesn't come out until August 2007.

    That sound you hear is my head smashing against the wall.

    Okay, I'm better now. No more whining.

    Happy Birthday Myfanwy Collins!!!!!!!

    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Join me tonight!

    7:30 pm
    Barnes & Noble - Huntington Station
    380 Walk Whitman Road (Route 110)

    I'll be talking about my book, doing a short reading and signing books. I'd love to see you there!

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    The Boy Book by E. Lockhart

    It feels like forever since I've done one of these Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Goes Hollywood blogs. Nice to get back to it with one of the most popular authors in our group, E. Lockhart, who writes delectable Y.A. books that fans go insane over.

    Her newest is THE BOY BOOK, which is a sequel to the beloved THE BOYFRIEND LIST. If E. had the opportunity to pitch it to a Hollywood producer, here's what she'd say:

    Teenage girl, social butterfly turned social leper after the ignominious demise of her first major love relationship. She looks over the secret notebook she and her ex-friends wrote about how to deal with the opposite sex, and tries to follow its advice while flirting with the guy who dumped her, a guy who wants her, and guy she isn't supposed to want.

    And here's how she'd cast it:

    Well, all these actors are TOO OLD to play teenagers -- and everyone important in both The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book is about 16 years old. But they're the best I can do ...

    Roo, my heroine, is smart, neurotic, and prone to footnotes. Zoey Deschanel.

    Noel, her friend-boy maybe boy-friend, a punk-rock prep school kid who's got a quiet way with words: Lukas Haas. (Did you see him in Brick? amazing)

    Jackson, the no-good ex who's still kinda good: James Spader.

    Angelo, with whom there are kissing adventures: Adrian Grenier.

    If my daughter was a smidge older, I'd run out and buy her all of E. Lockhart's books! I KNOW she's going to love them. If you know a tween or teen girl who loves to read, you really should check these out. THE BOY BOOK is in stores now. For more information, visit E. Lockhart's website at