Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Update

I didn't have time to post an update last week, which is just as well. Not too much going on, but here's the latest ...

  • Had a pretty splendid barbecue last weekend in honor of the kids' camp friends and their parents. I'm so impressed with Usdan and the people it attracts (except for this guy, but that's another story)

  • Speaking of Usdan, my daughter was in a fabulous production of Once Upon a Mattress this week. Kudos to all involved for putting on such a great show. And congrats to my little bunny on her wonderful solo.

  • I've been spending a lot of time writing and rewriting these past few weeks. One particular challenge was writing song lyrics for a teenage boy character in the 1970s. I thought my head might explode.

  • My husband gave a great presentation on solar energy the other night. It's something we should all consider for our homes. For more info, click here.

  • Been having a lot of fun watching my 14-year-old figure out the Rubik's Cube. I have no brain for this kind of 3-dimensional puzzle, so it really impresses the hell out of me.

  • One unpleasant event this week--some dickless criminals broke into my minivan in the middle of the night and ransacked it, looking for a GPS that wasn't there. I keep it in the house now, because the last time I left it in the car the buggers got it. I told the local police they should keep my driveway under surveillance if they want to catch these guys. (I'm assuming criminals don't read by blog. If they do, at least I have some satisfaction in calling them dickless, which they are.)
  • Thursday, July 23, 2009


    By Carleen Brice

    I'm so excited to be blogging about Carleen Brice's new novel, CHILDREN OF THE WATERS, because it's exactly the kind of book I love. Read the press release summary and you'll see why:

    Brice’s compelling, eagerly anticipated new novel CHILDREN OF THE WATERS strikes deep emotional chords and poses the intriguing question: Can two strangers become sisters?

    Trish Taylor’s white ancestry never got in the way of her love for her black ex-husband, or their mixed race son, Will. But when Trish’s marriage ends, she returns to her family’s Denver, Colorado home to find a sense of identity and connect to her past.

    What she finds there shocks her to the very core: her mother and newborn sister were not killed in a car crash as she was told. In fact, her baby sister, Billie Cousins, is now a grown woman; her grandparents had put her up for adoption, unwilling to raise the child of a black man. Billie, who had no idea she was adopted, wants nothing to do with Trish until a tragedy in Billie’s own family forces her to lean on her surprisingly supportive and sympathetic sister. Together they unravel the age-old layers of secrets and resentments and navigate a path toward love, healing, and true reconciliation.

    This book has everything that appeals to me ... and I can't wait to read it. Meanwhile, Carleen was good enough to answer some of my interview questions, so here goes ...

    How would you describe the genre of CHILDREN OF THE WATERS, and what pulled you toward it?

    Upmarket women’s fiction--on the cusp between literary and commercial. I write it cause I like to read it.

    Me, too, Carleen.

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

    I have a couple: 1 is Fletcher who’s a senior citizen pop dealer and sells to other seniors—for obvious reasons! Another is Zenobia Bailey-Cousins, who’s the mother of one of my protagonists. She’s really together and accomplished and I sort of wish she was my mother.

    What do you love most about CHILDREN OF THE WATERS?

    I love that it covers so many different subjects (race, family, identity) and gets in things like ancestor reverence too. I like when books introduce you to new worlds and new ways of being. I also love that readers are laughing at parts and crying at other parts.

    Is there a story behind the title?

    There is a story. It’s based on “mizuko kuyo” ceremonies in Japan, which honor children who don’t make it out of the womb either because of abortion or miscarriage. The concept is that life is on a continuum and I like the idea that even after we are born, we are always somewhere on that continuum—always in a state of becoming.

    The cover is beautiful. Did you have any input on it, and are you happy with the finished product?

    I had some input. I sent pictures that I liked and talked with my editor about what we hoped to show. And I suggested making the galoshes on the cover yellow for a little pop of color. I’m quite happy with the cover.

    Thanks, Carleen! I hope it flies off the shelves for you.

    To buy CHILDREN OF THE WATERS, visit your local chain or independent bookstore. To buy online, visit,, or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Carleen's website at

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Friday Update

    Here's the latest ...

    • Tomorrow (Saturday), I'll be at the Long Island Film Expo, along with authors Debra Markowitz and Saralee Rosenberg, signing books and saying hello. The event goes from 2-6 (if we can hold out). It's at the Bellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Avenue - Side entrance, Bellmore, NY, Phone: (516) 783-3199. Click here for more info.

    • The big excitement last weekend was a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ. Hell of a drive, but we had a blast.

    • I'm back to work on the new novel, and think I might finally be getting my mojo back. Stay tuned.

    • Still no title or pub date on book three. Am I getting frustrated and paranoid? Yes I am.

    • Had lunch this week with Bonnie Glover, a brilliant author who's been a cyber pal for several years now. Bonnie's smart, funny and down-to-earth ... loved hanging out with her! Please check out her latest book, GOING DOWN SOUTH, which earned her a nomination for the NAACP image award.

    • AWESOME night out last night at The Breakers in Bayville with my old high school buddies. Great food, cool sounds, excellent company. Thanks for putting it all together, Roch!

    • Last week I had a bit of serendipity. I was in the midst of making plans to take a trip to Rye, NY to scope out a location for my work-in-progress, when I heard from an old college pal who had moved away, but was in that area and wanted to meet for lunch.

    So we hooked up, and she was kind enough come along for the ride. First we visited the site for my book, and then took the short drive across the border into Greenwich, CT, to visit Diane's Books, a truly outstanding indie. Author Andrew Gross had alerted me to the store when they promoted THE SMART ONE in their newsletter. Not only that, but he actually called to let them know I was coming. Is he an angel or what? (Andrew's latest, DON'T LOOK TWICE, was recently nominated for Thriller of Year. As far as I'm concerned, he earns the first place prize for Kindest Author.)

    Mega shout-out to Diane's Books. I got such a warm welcome there, and was so impressed with the store and the owner, Diane Garrett. If you're in that area, I hope you'll stop in ... maybe even buy a signed copy of THE SMART ONE. While you're there, pick up one of Andrew's breathless page-turners.

    Have a great weekend ...

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    What bugs me (and what doesn't)

    Today, TV comedy writer Ken Levine blogs about the strangers who pitch sitcom ideas everywhere he goes (it even happened while he was planning his grandmother's funeral). This happens to novelists, too, though the conversation usually goes something like this ...

    BUSTER: So you write novels, huh? You should follow me around for a few days. Boy, I've got stories to tell.

    ME: I'll bet you do. Now about those insects on the back porch--do you think they could be termites?

    BUSTER: You know what you should do?

    ME: Insecticide? Terminix?

    BUSTER: You should go on Oprah.

    The conversation usually goes downhill from there, with Buster pitching an idea that's not really an idea at all. I end the conversation by telling him he could hire someone to write his story, though it's pretty expensive. This is met by stunned silence, as Buster simply can't believe I'm not chomping at the golden opportunity to spend the next two years of my life writing his book and thus sharing in the riches of the magnificent, sure-fire bestseller he's presenting.

    I'll admit I'm not terribly bothered by this conversation. Everyone believes they have a book inside them, and if they only had a little more time or a little more skill they'd be sitting on Oprah's couch telling their story to the world.

    On the other hand, people who think they can write a book without having any skill at all--or worse, without ever having read one--make me want to reach for the fly swatter.

    Thursday, July 09, 2009


    By Samantha Wilde

    Samantha Wilde is a funny and fabulous new writer, and a welcome addition to the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit. Blogging out her debut novel, THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME, is especially exciting for me because I got to read an advance copy for a blurb, and I LOVED it.

    Here's what I said:

    "She had me at perineum! THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME is the funniest novel I've read in a long, long time. What a treat! Mothers everywhere deserve this book.”

    Samantha was good enough to answers some questions for me, so here goes ...

    Can y
    ou tell my readers a little bit about THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME?

    Joy McGuire, a seemingly normal person with a seemingly normal marriage, has a baby, after which point, nothing is normal again. Not her breasts or her belly or her heart or her marriage. It’s a hilarious, rueful, laugh-out-loud post partum tale about the grueling work of the first nine months of the first baby when change is an urgent necessity that you wish you could run away from.

    What was the inspiration for the book?

    I started it when my son was about nine months out of some desperate creative drive. I wrote during his nap times. Twice a day, one hour each time

    Do you remember the moment you for the idea? How and when did that happen?

    It evolved organically. The whole thing came out of me. Kind of like a baby. And then it became its own thing. Kind of a like a kid.

    Is your main character, Joy, based on you?

    She isn’t me, thank God. I’m not nearly as funny. Besides, she had romance in the first nine months post partum. I did not.

    Do you read novels while you're writing? How does that affect you?

    I’m always reading, but I actually haven’t read much in the same genre as my book (chick lit, yummy mummy stuff). In fact, I prefer when writing not to read similar novels. I’d hate to think of borrowing so directly. Since I read fiction and non, I’m always into something, and often it has no similarities with the sort of thing I write.

    Do you remember when you typed "The End?" What happened next?

    I probably cried. Or one of my children did.

    Ha! Thanks so much, Sam!

    You can buy THIS LITTLE MOMMY STAYED HOME at your favorite chain or independent bookstore. To purchase online, visit,, or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Samantha's blog at

    Friday, July 03, 2009

    Friday Update

    Here's what's happening ...

    • Just found out The Smart One is featured in Woman's Day online as a summer pick. Click here and then scroll through. I'm right after Rita Rudner.

    • On Monday, I did a really special outdoor event on Long Island. It was the Summer Gazebo Reading Series run by Tony Iovino. My pal Debbi Honorof moderated, and did a great job of keeping it lively as she introduced Brenda Janowitz, Saralee Rosenberg, Carol Hoenig and yours truly. To read more about it, check out Saralee's blog.

    • After the reading a few of us went out for a bite at the worst diner on Long Island. Good company made up for the bad food.

    • Better food? Cheesecake Factory! The family went on Tuesday to celebrate my husband's birthday. What a pig out!

    • My two younger kids started day camp this week and I don't think I've ever seen them happier. They go to a camp that specializes in fine and performing arts, and it's a magical place.

    • I discovered that the good thing about planting your flowers in June instead of May when you're supposed to is that everything is on sale. And now it's all done, finally ... the garden will look nice in a few weeks.

    • Best wishes for a safe, happy Fourth of July!