Wednesday, May 28, 2008


By Maggie Marr

I'm so excited to welcome Maggie Marr to the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit! She's not only a sweetheart, but a hell of an entertaining writer. SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB is the sequel to her much-loved HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB, and if you're looking for a fun read, you've just found it. In fact, if you have a book club and want a glam alternative to the usual fare, please give this one careful consideration. I think you'll love it.

Here's the press release summary:

Maggie Marr’s first novel, Hollywood Girls Club, introduced us to four fabulous Hollywood heavyweights and best friends - Jessica, Celeste, Lydia, and Mary Anne. Now, in SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB (Crown, April 15, 2008), these high-powered women take on a new challenge-the Hollywood rumor mill. Those who fell in love with Marr’s witty writing and fast-paced plot will be eager to dive into this sequel which delves even deeper into the glamorous, treacherous Hollywood lifestyle.

Although she is one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood, Celeste is wondering how long she can maintain her success. With age creeping up and body parts sagging down, how will she maintain her “It Girl” status? Mary Anne, recently back in LA after a breakup in London, is helping to write Lydia’s latest movie called The Sexual Being. Of course, her bigger challenge will be avoiding her old flame, Holden Humphrey, who happens to be starring in it

Lydia has recently started receiving mysterious notes that seem to be hinting toward a secret she’s kept buried for years. Not only that, Jessica, uber-agent to the stars and recent new mom, has just told Lydia that somebody has gotten their hands on a very compromising DVD that Celeste made with her ex-husband—how will she protect her friend (and the top earner for her production company)? Meanwhile, publicist Kiki Dee has gotten her hands on some of these secrets and is willing to do almost anything to keep her spot at the top of the Hollywood PR machine. Will the Hollywood Girls Club discover the source of the threats? Will Celeste give in to the Hollywood machine and undergo plastic surgery? Will Mary Anne and Holden find happiness with each other? And with so much going on, will Lydia’s latest movie ever be completed?

SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB is a spot-on insider’s look at an industry where those at the top of their game must do anything to keep from being brought down.

If you're wondering how Maggie has such an insider's take on Hollywood, check out her bio:

Maggie Marr is a writer and producer for Six Mile Ridge Productions and Dahooma Productions. She began her Hollywood career as a motion picture literary agent at ICM Talent Agency in Los Angeles, where she represented writers, directors, and actors. She worked with Owen Wilson, Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, and Reese Witherspoon, and was involved in big-name projects including The Rule of Four, He's Just Not That Into You, Charlie's Angels, Austin Powers, Meet The Parents, Wedding Crashers, and Something's Gotta Give. Prior to becoming an agent, Margaret was an attorney, having received her JD from Loyola University in Chicago. She recently completed the television pilot Daughters, and is currently developing a pilot with Mandeville Productions as well as producing two films for Dahooma that begin lensing this year.

Intimidated? I am! Still, this lawyer/agent/powerhouse was a good enough sport to play along with my little GCC-Does-Hollywood game, and agreed to list her dream cast for this book.

Celeste Solange starlet: Jessica Biehl (although she’s a little too young)

Mary Anne Meyers screenplay writer: Bridget Moynihan

Lydia Albright Studio Executive: Kirstie Alley or Jada Pinkett Smith

Jessica Caulfield Fox Producer: Carla Gugino

SECRETS OF THE HOLLYWOOD GIRLS CLUB is at bookstores everywhere. If you prefer to buy online, you can visit, or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Maggie's website at

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Monkey Face

And other creepy transformations ...

Me as a monkey.

Me as a manga.

This is supposed to be a teenaged version of my features.

A Botticelli version.

This is me as a man, and this one freaks me out most of all because it's exactly what my brother looks like. (Or would look like if he wore eye makeup.)

This is the actual picture I plugged into the transformation software.

Now go do this with your own face and let me know how it turns out:

Have fun!

Friday, May 09, 2008

1000 Librarians

Being a writer is a crazy roller coaster of highs and lows, from the I-can't-believe-I'm-living-my-dream days to the I-totally-suck-and-will-never-sell-another-book days.

Yesterday was one of the high days. Maybe the highest so far. I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Long Island Library Association's annual conference. I loved having the opportunity to address such a large crowd at such a prestigious event. Best of all, this was an audience of 1000 dedicated book lovers. What more could an author ask for?

This is not to say I wasn't nervous before the event, but I gave myself the pep talk I've been mastering these past two years. That is, I reminded myself that this is part of my dream, and letting nerves get the better of me would be squandering valuable currency indeed. So I decided to just have fun with it ... and I did.

I opened with a couple of quick jokes, and then spoke about the genesis of both Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA and The Smart One, with an emphasis on why I chose to set the books on Long Island. Then I did a Q&A with the audience, and of course such an educated group had astute questions. I loved it!

Audience at keynote address

Afterward, the feedback I got was hugely gratifying. Also, I was surprised to learn that last year's keynote speaker was Susan Isaacs. I always seem to follow in her footsteps without knowing it. But more on that another time.

Huge thanks to Tracy Van Dyne and all the folks at the Long Island Library Association for inviting me. And a shout-out to librarians in Nassau County, Suffolk County and everywhere. You are my heroes.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Welcome to Family Fun Night

My 10-year-old daughter recently announced that we should institute something called Family Fun Night, which means that one night a week a particular member of the family gets to decide what we all do together for fun.

Tonight was my middle son's night to choose. He picked our local ice cream parlor, one of those places that mixes toppings into the ice cream for you. So off we went, and ... the store was gone. Vanished. Another business was in its place.

Sometimes living in a densely populated place like Long Island has its advantages, though, as there was a similar ice cream parlor just a few miles away. So we drove over and ... also out of business.

Not to be deterred, we drove to yet another mix-in-the-toppings ice cream parlor. If you've already guessed that this one was closed, too, you're one step ahead of me.

At this point, we could have gone to Carvel or Baskin Robbins, but the boy wanted Friendly's, which this grinch of a mother had been refusing to do, despite the catchy jingle, because the service was so notoriously awful a couple decades ago. On this night I relented, hoping that the management had learned a thing or two over the last twenty years.

So okay, the service was pretty decent. Until the end of the meal, my only complaint was the volume of the place. Conversation during our Family Fun Night went something like this:

"Should I have the double scoop ice cream cone or the make-your-own sundae?"


"Should I have the double scoop ice cream cone or the make-your-own sundae?"


"I think she wants to know where the bathroom is."




Toward the end of the meal, my 16-year-old excused himself for the bathroom, and I was feeling pretty pleased overall. We'd only had to wait a few minutes for a table, the goodies were yummy and, best of all, we were leaving. Peace and quiet awaited me.

When my son got back from the restroom, he looked at the completely cleared table and I saw panic in his eyes. Immediately, I knew what had happened.

"My God, you put your retainer in a napkin, didn't you?"

That he heard.

We ran to the back and asked to look through the trash, but were told that customers were not allowed in that area. They'd look through it, they promised, but it could take a while.

It was getting late, and tables around us were clearing. As human bodies left the crowded restaurant, the place got colder and colder. I heard one young boy say to his mom, "We have to leave."

"Why?" she asked.

"I'm as cold as snow!"

Pretty soon, my whole family was as cold as snow. Still, we waited.

After more time passed, the waitress came out and told us to leave our phone number so we could go home. "We'll call you if we find it."

"No!" my husband said. "We're staying."

Alas, I knew he was right. If we left, they'd have no incentive to look. We were staying put, holding onto our check.

Another half an hour passed. My children were turning blue. At last the manager came out and kindly explained that they had looked through all the bus baskets and hadn't found it. We were crestfallen.

"There is one thing I can do," he said.

"What's that?"

"I can let you take home the garbage."

You have to know how Family Fun Night ended, don't you? In the backyard with flashlights and rubber gloves, looking through the biggest, smelliest, wettest, goopiest, most disgusting pile of garbage imaginable. I don't think my sinuses will ever be completely clear of the smell. It wasn't even something we could do at a safe arm's distance. The retainer in question is two small pieces of clear plastic, kind of like those Invisalign Braces. That meant that every soggy napkin and hamburger bun had to be squeezed and inspected.

The conversation went something like this:




"I'm going to throw up."


"This is gross."

"Why does it smell so bad?"

"I have to vomit."

"No you don't!"

And then, after about forty minutes ...

"I found it!!!!!!!"

Yup, we actually found the retainer. A Family Fun Night miracle!

Now we have to think of something just as spectacular for next week. Anybody have a cesspool that needs a good scrubbing?

Friday, May 02, 2008


By Sara Rosett

Today I'm happy to blog about GCC author extraordinaire, Sara Rosett. She's a wonderful writer and a great sport who agreed to have a little fun with my GCC-Does-Hollywood blog program.

The latest in Sara's much-loved Mom Zone Mysteries is GETTING AWAY IS DEADLY, and here's how she'd pitch it to our fictional movie producer:

Air Force wife and professional organizer Ellie Avery goes to Washington, D.C., expecting some r&r while her pilot husband attends classes—but it’s Ellie who gets a deadly lesson when this getaway turns out to be murder.

Sara doesn't necessarily visualize actors portraying her characters, but she gave it a go ...

Ellie: Sandra Bullock—she’d be able to pull off the seriousness and the humor.

Mitch (Ellie’s husband): Val Kilmer—loved him in The Saint

Livvy (Ellie’s daughter): don’t know any actor this young—Livvy’s only 20 months old! (Editor's note: May I suggest ... my niece?)

Abby (Ellie’s best friend): Kelly Ripa has the right blend of enthusiasm and the tendency to say exactly what’s on her mind, but Abby’s more of a full figured gal with dark, curly hair.

Summer (Ellie’s cousin who gets involved in a murder investigation): Emma Roberts is a little young, but I think she could be the flighty college student who changes majors as quickly as some girls change their shoes.

Vicki Archer: After seeing Laura Linney in The Nanny Diaries, I know she could play this calculating, career-focused lobbyist. (Editor's note: I'm pretty sure Laura Linney could play just about anything.)

Jay MacInally: Since Jay is a Korean veteran turned consultant, I’d want someone like Jerry Orbach. He had the worn, fatherly personality that personifies Jay. (Editor's note: LOVED Jerry Orbach! In his stead, may I suggest William H. Macy?)

If all this fun doesn't convince you that this a book worth reading (or buying for someone for Mother's Day), please check out this amazing review from Publishers Weekly:

In Rosett's sparkling third Mom Zone mystery (after 2007's Staying Home Is a Killer), air force wife Ellie Avery tags along with her husband, Mitch, while he's attending a FROT (Foreign Reciprocity Officer Training) class in Washington, D.C. Ellie is ready for some tourist R & R, but while on a sightseeing trip with other air force wives she sees someone who looks like her sister-in-law, Summer Avery, push a man off the Metro platform. The victim turns out to be Jorge Dominguez, a sinister gardener who happens to have been stalking Summer, making her a prime suspect in his murder. Vickie Archer, who runs the Women's Advancement Center where Summer works, also knew Jorge. When, at Summer's suggestion, Ellie redoes the Archer daughter's messy bedroom for Mom Magazine, Ellie finds a major clue and becomes a moving target for the real killer. Rosett skillfully interweaves a subplot about a Korean war veteran recovering his memory and provides practical travel tips from Ellie's organizational Web site, Everything in Its Place. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

To buy GETTING AWAY IS DEADLY, visit your favorite chain or independent bookstore. To purchase online, visit, Barnes& or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Sara's website at