Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Update

Oops. Yesterday got away from me so I'm posting my update a day late ...

• This week I had lunch dates with two of my favorite Long Island literary pals, Susan Henderson and Saralee Rosenberg. The only problem with these lunches is that they're never long enough. I could talk to these women forever.

• Bah! Circuit City is closing down. It's been my go-to store for electronics for years. Rushed over there yesterday to spend $90 in gift cards and bought myself a new printer/scanner/copier, which I'd been wanting for a while. These machines are so insanely cheap I wouldn't be surprised if the manufacturers actually lose money on them just to get you addicted to their pricey ink cartridges.

• Watched In Bruges on DVD last night. Well done. So darkly funny.

• Still reading Wally Lamb's THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED. (It takes me forever to get through a big book as I have so little reading time each day ... I'm spread so damned thin.) The plot just took an unpredictable turn that unsettled me. I'm pushing myself through it, but with far less enjoyment now. Maybe that's just me. I'm a hypersensitive reader in general, and sometimes I have to put a book down when it gets too intense.

• Printed out my untitled manuscript and set it aside. It'll collect dust for a while before I go back in and edit from start to finish.

• Been toying with an idea for a new novel but so far it's not coming together. I've got my characters, their relationship, my setting, an idea for a dark reveal at the end and even a title, but no narrative yet. Just don't know what the damned story is. If it doesn't come together soon I might concede that I'm not ready to write this particular book.

• I've been hanging out at Facebook lately. If you're there, let's be friends. Click here.

• This week I finished a big website copywriting job for an electrical company that installs solar panels. Felt good to flex those muscles again ... and the $$ helps.

• Put on too much weight over the holidays and am back on a diet in earnest. I'm hungry. I'm cranky. Tread lightly ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Update

Is it really Friday again so soon? Holy Commander-in-Chief. What a fast week! Here are the highlights ...

• Thanks to my daughter, I now know how to make bullets with my keyboard, so I don't have to use asterisks anymore.  (In case you don't know, hit your NUM LOCK key and then hold ALT and hit 7 )

• Speaking of my daughter, she scored an audition with JEOPARDY! KIDS because she did so well with the online test. It's next month at a secret location. I'll let you know how it goes. She's pretty stoked.

• Big news in my writing life is that I finished the first draft of my work-in-progress. It's a huge step, but there's still a long way to go. Since I'm ahead of schedule, I have the luxury of putting it aside for a few weeks before I go back in and edit. I think it helps a lot to have this distance, so I'm glad I can swing it.

Two points of anxiety here. One is that I still don't have an approved title. This makes me a little crazy. The other issue is the epilogue, which I thought I needed, but now I'm not so sure.

• I'm reading Wally Lamb's THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED. Wonderful ... but I have to admit that if the book is not smack in front of me I can't remember the title. Is that just me?

• My favorite moment of the week? Seeing Dubya board that helicopter. Buh-bye!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Update

I've been a bad blogger. Haven't posted a Friday update in weeks. I've been too jammed to even lift my head, as I'm barreling toward the end of my work-in-progress and it's hard to take a break. The emotional zone I'm in is pretty heavy.

But ... due to financial necessity, I took on a big freelance copywriting assignment, so I've had to break my flow. And of course, that only added to my logjam.

Good new is that I've made excellent progress on the novel. I'm at 77,000 words now, and expect to finish up at around 85,000. The copywriting job is moving along well, and I have to admit there's something satisfying about getting back in the saddle.

In other news ...

*I had lunch this week with a great group of Long Island lit pals. Left-to-right in the photo are Saralee Rosenberg, yours truly, Carol Hoenig, Debbi Honorof and Brenda Janowitz.

* Speaking of Brenda Janowitz, she has an excellent article posted in Publishers Weekly today. It's all about the high concept novel, and if you're a writer, you really should check it out: What's a Novel Without a Hook?

* Right now I'm reading Robin's Slick's forthcoming book, DADDY LEFT ME ALONE WITH GOD. What a ride! I'm loving it and am thrilled she asked if I could provide a blurb. My biggest problem will be finding the words to do it justice.

* My writer friends have been so industrious lately it's inspiring. I'm happy to share with you a link to another terrific article--this one by the very funny and talented Debra Borden. Read it and weep, laugh, etc: Generations: In the Gym ...

* I'm happy to announce I've been invited to speak at the Newburyport Literary Festival, April 24-25. It's a wonderful event with such literary stars as Andre Dubus III, Anita Shreve, Julia Alverez, Elinor Lipman, Richard Bausch, Peter Orner, Lewis Turco, Anne Easter Smith, David Crouse, Junot Diaz and more. If you're in the Newburyport/Boston/Eastern Mass. area I hope you can come!

* One more thing I really want you to click into. It's an interview Donna George Storey did with my pal Susan DiPlacido. Here's a little sample to whet your appetite:

DGS: What draws you to Las Vegas? Do you have any recommendations for a first-time visitor to get beyond the tourist traps to get an authentic “Vegas Experience”?

SD: I'm a shallow person, and, some would say, a degenerate gambler and a bit of a drunk. So, Vegas is a good fit. Read more ...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


By Brenda Janowitz

This is kind of neat. I've been in touch with Brenda Janowitz by email for a couple of years now, and next week we're finally getting to meet in person when we have lunch with Long Island Woman book columnist Debbi Honorof, and authors Carol Hoenig, Saralee Rosenberg and Vivian Swift. I like to think of us as Long Island's first female literati club. (Susan Isaacs, play your cards right and we might invite you next time.)

Anyway, I was thrilled when Brenda recently joined the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, as I knew it meant I would get to interview her about her funny and engaging new book, JACK WITH A TWIST, the follow-up to her very popular SCOT ON THE ROCKS.

Brenda is as charming as she is talented. Check it out ....

How would you describe the genre of JACK WITH A TWIST, and what pulled you toward it?

My latest is a romantic comedy.
I’ve always been a writer. In fact, that’s the reason why I became a lawyer in the first place—trying to find a career where I could write full time. But I’ve always had a real love for fiction, and I’d find myself practicing law and thinking about these fictional stories that I wanted to write. When I was invited to my ex-boyfriend’s wedding, my life slowly but surely began to resemble some of my favorite chick lit novels, and I said to myself, ‘I’ve just gotta start writing this stuff down…’

An you tell my readers about the genesis of the idea for JACK WITH A TWIST?

When I finished SCOT ON THE ROCKS, I just knew that Brooke’s story had to continue! Since both she and Jack are lawyers, I thought it would be so much fun to pit them against each other in the courtroom… all while planning their fairy-tale wedding. Thus the idea for JACK WITH A TWIST was born!

Do you have a favorite character in this book? If so, why?

I had a lot of fun writing Brooke’s mom. She drives Brooke completely crazy, but ultimately, always wants what’s best for our protagonist. I had so much fun having Brooke’s mom drink too much champagne and embarrass Brooke at every phase of the wedding planning.

And before my mother gets up in arms, no, Brooke’s mom is not based on my mom! (Although she does like a nice glass of champagne just as much as the next gal….)

Do you pay attention to book reviews? If so, has there been any particular review that made your heart do a little dance?

Marian Keyes offered to give me a blurb for JACK WITH A TWIST. When Marian Keyes emailed me to tell me that she loved it, I pretty much fell over in my chair. As far as I’m concerned, Marian Keyes is a goddess—she inspired me to follow my dream to write a book—and to hear that she actually enjoyed something that I wrote was such a major thrill!

What are you reading now?

I read whenever I can! I recently finished TIME OF MY LIFE by Allison Winn Scotch, which I loved, as well as THE DIVORCE PARTY by Laura Dave, which was heartbreakingly beautiful. Right now, I’m reading PRACTICAL MAGIC by Alice Hoffman. Every time I pick up an Alice Hoffman novel, I know I’m in for a huge treat and this book is no exception!

Thanks so much, Brenda! Look forward to seeing you next week.

You can buy JACK WITH A TWIST at your local chain or independent bookstore. To buy online, visit,, or any cyber retailer. For more information, visit Brenda's website at