Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Update 12/23/11

Lots of sweet clickies this week ...

• I had the honor or writing a guest blog for the Book Reporter, and chose to reveal a bit about Hanukkahs past and present. Take a look.

• Huge thanks to Kathy Fish, a treasured friend and extraordinarily talented writer, who invited me to submit something "wild" to Necessary Fiction, where she is the guest editor.

• Thanks to Paulita, too, for this lovely review of THE OTHER LIFE in An Accidental Blog.

• Thrilled to discover that THE OTHER LIFE was selected as one of the year's favorites over at Tina's Book Reviews.

• Shout-out to the lovely blog, Kindle Fever, for inviting me to submit an article on inspiration. You can read it here.

• Really feeling the love from Chick Lit Reviews, which said, "The Other Life by Ellen Meister was one of the most thought provoking novels I’ve read in a long time." Read the rest here.

• This one's for local friends who are looking for something to do on Superbowl Sunday that doesn't involve football. It's called Super Goal Sunday for Women, and it's the brainchild of my pal Debbi Honorof. Read more about it here.

• A couple of shout-outs to friends ... kudos to Daniel Palmer, whose new book, HELPLESS, is getting rave reviews from even the crankiest sources (you'll want to read this one for sure!) ... a deep bow to my pal Susan Henderson for introducing me to THE WRITER'S JOURNEY, a book that's helping me figure out the best way to structure my w-i-p ... fans of suspense will love NOTARY PUBLIC ENEMY by Long Island attorney Tony Iovino ...

That's about it. Have a Happy Hanukkah,  a Merry Christmas, and a joyous, healthy and prosperous New Year ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Chanuka!

I had the honor of being the guest blogger at Book Reporter today. I hope you'll check it out!

Books for Hanukkah ~ Book Reporter Blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Book Buying Guide

I'm honored to be part of a wonderful group of women authors who blog together over at the Girlfriends Book Club. These are some very talented writers, and I hope you'll consider these books when doing your holiday shopping ...


Set to release in February of 2012 and available now for pre-order, this 1840s historical relates the story of a woman whose grandparents must consider whether to stop keeping secrets and reveal the truth they’ve known—a truth that will make the difference between a life of obligation and a life of choice.Unlocking the past could open the door to a new future, but is the present worth the cost? Introduced in the novel is the custom of pla├žage, known as "left-handed marriages" among those forbidden legally to be together.

Who would like this book? Readers of historical fiction and Southern fiction.

For more information visit

SAFE HARBOR by Judith Arnold

Childhood pals Kip and Shelley spent their summers on Block Island, swimming, biking, discovering the world together. Then real life intruded, bringing tragedy and heartache. Years later, they both wind up back on Block Island. Can the island's rugged beauty and their loving friendship heal their wounds? An award-winning novel when it was first released, SAFE HARBOR is available to as a reissued e-book to a new generation of readers.

Who would like this book? SAFE HARBOR is the perfect book for lovers of romance fiction.

For more information visit

LITTLE WOMEN AND ME by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

A contemporary teen finds herself literally sucked into the Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women and discovers she must change a major plot point in order to get back out again. "...a consistently entertaining read that delivers a genuinely original heroine and frequently hilarious satire." ~ Kirkus Reviews

Who would like this book? LITTLE WOMEN AND ME will appeal to adult fans of Little Women and girls ages 12 and up.

For more information visit

THE BLUE HOUSE DOG by Deborah Blumenthal

Love heals the heart is the message of this heartwarming picture book about a boy who saves a homeless dog and vice versa. Cody had his own dog once, but his painful loss is buried deeper than the feeding dish he hides away in his closet. All that changes when he comes upon a four-footed friend needier than he is -- a sad, lost dog from a mysterious blue house and both learn to trust and love again.

Based on a true story.

Who would like this book? Dog lovers of all ages.

For more information visit


How far will a mother go to save her child? Ten years ago, Ruby Leander was a drifting nineteen-year-old who made a split-second decision at an Oklahoma rest stop. Fast forward nine years: Ruby and her daughter Lark live in New Mexico. Lark is a precocious, animal loving imp, and Ruby has built a family for them with a wonderful community of friends and her boyfriend of three years. Life is good. Until the day Ruby reads a magazine article about parents searching for an infant kidnapped by car-jackers. Then Ruby faces a choice no mother should have to make. A choice that will change both her and Lark's lives forever.

Who would like this book? Anyone, especially book clubs who like a good moral debate, will like this smart, haunting, and gorgeously written debut novel that propels a whip-smart plot that will keep you thinking.

For more information visit

A SUMMER IN EUROPE by Marilyn Brant

It’s not where you go, it’s what you take back with you… On her 30th birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand European tour in the company of Bea's Sudoku-and-Mahjongg Club. Gwen initially approaches her first trip abroad as if it's the homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the gorgeous bougainvillea of southern Italy, something changes. She begins to live in the moment—skipping down stone staircases in Capri, racing through the Louvre and taste-testing pastries, wine and gelato. Reveling in every new experience—especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor—Gwen discovers the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within...

Who would like this book? Romantics and lovers of travel fiction who might enjoy a grand journey of self awakening amidst the classic architecture and stunning vistas of Europe.

For more information visit


Still reeling from divorce, Trish Taylor is in the midst of salvaging the remnants of her life when she uncovers a shocking secret: her sister is alive. After years of drawing on the strength of her ancestors, Billie Cousins is shocked to discover that she was adopted. Though Trish longs to connect with her long-lost sister, Billie's feelings of betrayal are waters too deep to cross. But when both women are forced to confront their demons, they begin to realize that each may have what the other needs.

Who would like this book? This is a contemporary story between two women who discover they are sisters. Great for fans of smart, moving women's fiction. Women in interracial relationships or with mixed-race children will especially like it.

For more information visit


Aspiring food critic Hayley Snow follows the man of her dreams to Key
West, FL. Instead of landing the job of her dreams as a food critic,
she lands in the police blotter, the main suspect in her now-ex's new
girlfriend's murder.

Who would like this book? Fans of Diane Mott Davidson's cozy culinary
mysteries will enjoy this book.

For more information visit

SLIM TO NONE by Jenny Gardiner

Abbie Jennings is Manhattan's top food critic until her expanding waistline makes staying incognito at restaurants impossible. Her cover blown on Page Six of the New York Post, her editor has no choice but to bench her—and suggest she use the time off to bench-press her way back to anonymity. Abbie’s life has been built around her career, and therefore around celebrating food. Forced to drop the pounds if she wants her primo gig back, Abbie must peel back the layers of her past and confront the fears that have led to her current life.

Who would like this book? SLIM TO NONE is the perfect book for anyone who's ever gone on a diet (or believes they should).

For more information visit


A young woman who has squeezed herself into undersized relationships all her life hopes to realize her dream of living in a novel when she is invited to participate in a Jane Austen literary festival in England. She jumps at the chance to reinvent herself, imagining escape into Austen’s fictional world where bookish women are heroines. There, in the rich, promising world of Mansfield Park, Lily finds people whose longing to live in a novel equals her own. But real-life problems have a way of following you wherever you go and unless Lily can change her ways, she will share the fate of so many of Jane Austen’s characters who repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Who would like this book? MY JANE AUSTEN SUMMER is a fast-paced, romantic, and humorous book that will appeal to book lovers, especially those who can't get enough Jane Austen.

For more information visit

ALL THE NUMBERS by Judy Merrill Larsen

An arresting, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful first novel. A recently divorced mother of two boys, Ellen Banks is just learning to make her way through the uncharted territory of single parenthood when the unthinkable happens. Determined to seek justice, and to mend the deep wounds in her family, Ellen must first heal herself, finding a way out of a grief that soon turns to defiance. This is an unforgettable journey of power and emotion, poignantly depicting a woman as she reckons with her own vulnerability and finds in the wisdom of motherhood, the redemptive grace to begin again.

Who would like this book? ALL THE NUMBERS is great for discussion so it's perfect for anyone in a book club or who just wants characters you'll argue with, worry about, and hope they make the right choices (and yes, I love connecting with book clubs!).

For more information visit


Two sisters whose lives seemed forever intertwined are torn apart when a magical little black dress gives each one a glimpse of an unavoidable future.

Antonia Ashton has worked hard to build a thriving career and a committed relationship, but she realizes her life has gone off track. Forced to return home to Blue Hills when her mother, Evie, suffers a massive stroke, Toni finds the old Victorian where she grew up as crammed full of secrets as it is with clutter. Now she must put her mother’s house in order—and uncover long-buried truths about Evie and her aunt, Anna, who vanished fifty years earlier on the eve of her wedding. By shedding light on the past, Toni illuminates her own mistakes and learns the most unexpected things about love, magic, and a little black dress with the power to break hearts . . . and mend them.

Who would like this book? The story of the Little Black Dress weaves together bits of history, mystery, magic, and family, so I hope it appeals to readers who love women's fiction in the vein of Kate Morton and Sarah Addison Allen.

For more information visit

THE OTHER LIFE by Ellen Meister

"A resonant story about the importance of mothers, both having one and being one ... making for a riveting tale of love and choices." - BookPage

Quinn Braverman has a perfect life, with a loving husband, an adorable son, and another baby on the way.

Quinn also has an ominous secret: she knows there's a portal to another life, one in which she made totally different life choices. But she's never been tempted to switch lives ... until a shocking turn of events pushes her to cross over, and she discovers the one person she thought she'd lost forever. Her mother.

But Quinn can't have both lives. Soon, she must decide which she really wants—the one she has ... or the other life.

Who would like this book? Anyone interested in the beautiful, heartbreaking and complicated relationships between mothers and daughters.

For more information visit

MOMFRIENDS by Ariella Papa

Momfriends is a story of three vastly different people who meet through motherhood and become friends through womanhood.

Ruth is almost at the end of her rope with her new baby when a knock on her door changes everything. Claudia's life is all about rules. Everything is going perfectly until a flirtation with colleague makes her throw out her rule book.

And Kirsten is an artist and a dreamer. What she discovers late one night confirms that her life is not everything she dreamed. Momfriends is about how people roll with lives they can’t control. And whether they choose to swim with the current or against it, it’s about the realization that everyone needs someone to throw out a life preserver once in a while.

Who would like this book? Momfriends makes the perfect gift for your best friend, the new mom in the neighborhood or the mom you'd like to invite over. It's an ebook so it's even easier to read and multi-task.

For more information visit

DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD by Saralee Rosenberg

In Mindy's yoga-obsessed, thirty-is-the-new-wife neighborhood, every day is a battle between Dunkin' Donuts, her jaws-of-life jeans, and Beth Diamond, the self-absorbed sancti-mommy next door who looks sixteen from the back. So much for sharing the chores, the stores, and the occasional mischief to rival Wisteria Lane.

It's another day, another dilemma until Beth's marriage becomes fodder on Facebook. Suddenly the Ivy League blonde needs to be “friended,” and Mindy is the last mom standing. Together they take on hormones and hunger, family feuds and fidelity, and a harrowing journey that spills the truth about an unplanned pregnancy and a seventy-year-old miracle that altered their fates forever.

Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead is a hilarious, stirring romp over fences and defenses that begs the question, what did you do to deserve living next door to a crazy woman? Sometimes it's worth finding out.

Who would like this book? DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD is perfect for anyone who loves to discover friendship in surprising places ... while laughing out loud on every page.

For more information visit


Charm, Southern sass, and suspense abound in the sixth delightful cozy mystery.” –

Super-organized Ellie thinks she’s prepared for everything when she and her family set off for an extended visit with her southern in- laws in Alabama, but the one thing she hasn’t planned for is cold-blooded murder. When the patriarch of the family passes away under suspicious circumstances, the quirky Avery family closes ranks and Ellie can't help looking for motives among the mourners.

Publisher’s Weekly called it “winning” and described it this way: “A rumor of hidden money, secret letters from a famous recluse, a fire, a threatening message, and a crazed gunman add to the cozy mischief.”

Who would like this book? Fans of mysteries and southern fiction will enjoy Mimosas, Mischief, and Murder.

For more information visit


As a college student in Athens, Georgia, Mia Wells meets Flynn, an enigmatic stranger who pushes every boundary she knows. Their relationship is intense, passionate and, for Mia, life-changing, making it all the more painful when he vanishes. After finding the wherewithal to move on with her life and pursue her goals, Mia eventually marries. Twelve years later, Flynn mysteriously resurfaces, gravely injured. Mia is terrified that he will die, awestruck at the prospect of his survival. Flynn’s return ignites a powerful tale, a story that is greater than honor or friendship or the passing of time. More than a romance, this 2011 Penguin release was recently named Best First Book in the NJRWA Golden Leaf contest.

Who would like this book? BEAUTIFUL DISASTER is women’s fiction with a heavy thread of romance, making it the perfect book for readers who like relationship fiction that includes a thought provoking love story.

For more information visit

LOVE IN TRANSLATION by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

After receiving a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysteries, Celeste Duncan, 33, is off to Japan to search for a long, lost relative who could hold the key to the identity of the father she never knew. There she stumbles head first down the rabbit hole into a weird, wonderful world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Not knowing Japanese, Celeste finds a friend in her English-speaking homestay brother, Takuya, and comes to depend on him for help. As they cross the country following a trail after Celeste's family, she discovers she's developing "more-than-sisterly" feelings for him. But with a nosy homestay mother scheming to reunite Takuya with his old girlfriend, and her search growing dimmer, will Celeste find what she’s looking for in Japan?

Who would like this book? Love in Translation will appeal to armchair travelers who love a good love story!

For more information visit:

Most of the these books are available at your favorite bookstore. To buy online, visit the author's page for ordering links.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday Update 12/9/11

THE OTHER LIFE is now officially available in paperback, and I'm in full blog tour swing. That means there are lots of chances to win a free copy of the book. But before I post those links, some exciting news. Yesterday, to my surprise, NPR included the book in their list of The Week's Outstanding Softcover Releases. Very cool!

And now some links ...

Giveaways and guest blogs:
Girlfriends Book Club blog - Where I announce the paperback release and give away a signed copy
Bermuda Onion Weblog - Read my guest post on branding and enter the giveaway
Peeking Between the Pages - Running both a guest blog on inspiration and a giveaway
Luxury Reading - They ran both a guest post on the how I conceived THE OTHER LIFE and a giveaway
The Jolly Blogger - Where I discuss Book Club Magic
So Many Precious Books, So Little Time - Lots of chances to enter a giveaway

New reviews:
Crystal Book Reviews
"The Other Life is riveting reading and finely written. It deserves a wide audience for its tense, complex, and yes, painful but beautiful world!" read more
Romancing the Book
"If you are looking for a book that is going to pull at your heartstrings and make you think about life, this is the book for you." read more

Special thanks to:
 Bea's Book Nook for announcing my program to thank book club members, Savvy Verse  & Wit for doing the same on Facebook, Lauren Baratz-Logsted for including THE OTHER LIFE in her list of Favorite Books (Read) in 2011, Bibliophibian for the mini-review, Adam Curry for retweeting our BigAppShow interviewDebbi Honorof for inviting me to speak at the Hofstra Writers' Salon, Book Doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry for inviting me to be a panelist at Pitchapalooza, and all the Facebook, Twitter and CafeMom friends who shared my stories this week!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I'm celebrating!

Today is the paperback release date of THE OTHER LIFE! I'm celebrating over at the Girlfriends Book Club blog ... and giving away a free copy.

You're invited! Click here and join the celebration.

  THE OTHER LIFE is available at your favorite chain or independent bookstore. 
To buy online visit any cyber bookseller, including:
Amazon • Barnes & Noble •  Books-A-Million • Indie Bound • Powells 

Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday Update: 2 Free Events & more

First, I'm thrilled to announce that THE OTHER LIFE is a nominee for this Best of Women's Fiction poll. Feel free to click in and rate your favorites!

I'm also happy to announce that my superstar agents have sold Romanian right to THE OTHER LIFE!

And now, two great events coming up for Long Island area writers:

Saturday, 12/ 3, 2 pm
BOOK REVUE, Huntington
Here's chance to pitch your book to a panel of publishing experts, including book doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, as well as yours truly. Even if you don't want to pitch, come and watch, because it's very informative ... and a blast!

Hofstra Writer's Salon
Monday, 12/5, 7 pm
Hofstra University, Brower Hall, Room 101
I'm thrilled and honored to be speaking at Hofstra about navigating the road to publication. This is also the official kick-off event for the paperback release of THE OTHER LIFE. (If you plan to attend, please try to RSVP, as they're trying to get an idea of how many are coming, and there could be a last minute room change. RSVP to or call 516-463-7200.)

In other news, two bloggers are giving away copies of THE OTHER LIFE. Check it out:

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Luxury Reading

Have a great weekend. Hope to see you soon ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Big news for book clubs!

"Powerful, moving and emotional ... a great read for book clubs." 

Would you liked to be thanked in the Acknowledgments section of my next book?

I'm thrilled that so many readers are choosing THE OTHER LIFE for their book clubs. And what better way to thank people than to, well, thank them.

So I will publicly thank book club readers by name in the acknowledgments section of my next published book! All you have to do is click here and fill out the guestbook form. That's it!

Thanks! Happy reading ...


To learn more about THE OTHER LIFE, click here • To hear me answer questions about it on NPR, click here for the podcast.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Keep Your Reader Engaged

A few suggestions on how to hold your reader's attention ....

• As Alfred Hitchcock said, shoot for suspense, not surprise.

• Remember that there should be at least some amount of tension on every page. If your character is drinking coffee and navel gazing, your reader may be tempted to turn on the TV.

• Don't follow your character's every waking moment. Allow lapses in time. (Don't over-think this. The simplest way to show time passing is usually best. The next day ... Later that afternoon ...  On Friday ... etc.)

• Use active verbs. "The protesters stormed the capital" is far stronger than "The protesters were storming the capital." Death to gerunds!

• Avoid too much info dump/backstory all at once  ...especially in the opening.

• Have your character behave badly/do the wrong thing.

• Consider condensing the time period of your story. Stories that take place over a few days/weeks/months tend to be more suspenseful than those that span years. (Nothing wrong with sagas, but it's easier to build tension if there's a ticking clock.)

•Your main character should have an inner journey as well as an outer one.

Hope you're enjoying these tips! To learn more about me or my books, visit my website,

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Dashes

We all love using dashes in our prose, so here are tips on using the right kind.

To begin, here are the three types of dashes:
The hyphen: -
The en-dash: –
The em-dash: —

The hyphen is used to connect words.  Ex: mother-in-law.

The en-dash is used to indicate a range of numbers.
Ex: My finished manuscript will be 75,000 – 80,000 words.

The em-dash, according to Strunk and White, is used to "set off an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary." It is "stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than a parentheses."
Ex: My Sunday writing class—taught by a copywriter-turned-novelist—is full of useful info.

How to type dashes

En-dashes and em-dashes are both typed by using two hyphens. However, your PC will automatically turn your hyphens into an en-dash when you leave a space before and after.
When you type: My finished manuscript will be 75,000 -- 80,000 words.
Your computer changes it to: My finished manuscript will be 75,000 – 80,00 words.

When indicating an em-dash, leave no space before and after the double-hyphen.
When you type : My Sunday writing class--taught by a copywriter-turned-novelist--is full of useful info.
Your computer changes it to: My Sunday writing class—taught by a copywriter-turned-novelist—is full of useful info.

Note that you can also insert an em-dash by holding your alt key and pressing 0151 on your numeric keypad.
For an en-dash, hold alt and press 0150. 

Hope you're enjoying these tips!

(With apologies to Mac users, I have to idea how any of this works for you. Sorry! I'm a PC gal.)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Character Names

A quick Do and Don't for fiction writers ...

Give your characters similar names, as this can confuse the reader. In fact, try to avoid using the same first initial for any characters within the same gender.

Also avoid default names. If your story has a little boy, don't call him Timmy, Tommy, Billy, Bobby or Jimmy. This kind of obvious choice takes the reader out of story because it feels so written.

Use various sources for names ... your Facebook friends list, the phone book, obituaries—anything is fair game.

A lot of writers refer to baby name websites for ideas. My personal favorite is this one, which lets you see the 100 most popular boy and girl names for any particular year, from the 1880s through the present. It's a great resource for historically accurate inspiration.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

News: THE OTHER LIFE in paperback!

I'm thrilled to announce that on December 6, THE OTHER LIFE comes out in trade paperback with a whole new look! I'm excited, because the new cover and lower price will draw a fresh set of readers ... including book clubs.

I'm also thrilled that it will be in stores in time for the holidays!

I want to send you a free bookmark!*
To celebrate the new release, I'm sending free signed bookmarks to the first 100 people who pre-order the paperback and forward the e-receipt to me at this email address. (Don't worry--your credit card number doesn't show on the receipt.)

Whether you're buying THE OTHER LIFE for yourself or someone else, you'll have both the book and the bookmark well before the holidays.

You can pre-order right now from any online bookseller, including:
Powells  •  Target  •  Walmart  

Watch the video
THE OTHER LIFE is about a woman who has the ability to slip between her life as a wife and mother, and the life she would have lived if she had made other choices. To learn more, you can listen to the NPR interview, visit my website  ... or watch the book trailer.

THE OTHER LIFE by Ellen Meister from Ellen Meister on Vimeo.

My darling son made that video for me and I hope it convinced you to buy the book. It was a labor of love for both of us! Thanks so much ... and I look forward to sending you a bookmark!

*U.S. residents only

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Beware of Infodump

Make sure you don't bog down your first chapter with backstory. Engage the reader with your character first, and work in the backstory in later. Just be sure you don't dump all the info at once. Find relevant places to insert it so that the reader barely notices.

Have a good writing day!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Kind to be Cruel

If you want to be kind to your book, you have to be cruel to your characters. By that I mean don't over-protect your creations, no matter how much you love them. Do let bad things happen to them; your characters need to make mistakes, behave badly and get in trouble.

Your poor characters will suffer, and perhaps your readers will, too ... but they'll turn the page. And what's more important than that?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Defining the Goal

What does your main character want?

If you can answer this question, you've got the central issue that will drive the narrative arc of your story. Now throw obstacles in his or her way, and voila--instant novel!

Okay, that may be a little facile, but you get the point. Figuring out what your protagonist wants draws the reader in and steers the plot.

Happy writing ...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Writing Tip of the Day: Show and Tell

"Show don't tell" is probably the most common writing advice people get, but it's often misunderstood. It does not mean "avoid exposition at all cost." Storytelling requires a certain amount of exposition. So relax on that front. And whatever you do, don't cram your exposition into the dialogue.

"Show don't tell" simply means that you need to let the reader experience what the character is going through. So instead of writing, "Craig was angry at Mabel," show us his anger through dialogue or action. Make him roll his eyes at her, or respond sarcastically when she asks if he picked up his jacket from the cleaners, or storm out the door because she didn't put enough ice in his drink. Your writing will be more vivid and effective.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And the winner of the Ann Curry's Loss is Your Gain giveaway is ...

Huge thanks to all who participated in my Ann Curry's Loss is Your Gain giveaway. I loved reading each of the entries and appreciate the kind thoughts and good wishes. You were all so generous.

Alas, I can only choose one winner, and I did so using a random number generator. The prize of Ann Curry's signed copy of THE OTHER LIFE goes to ...

Rae Rae!

Congrats, hon! Send me your mailing address and I'll get the book right out to you. Hope you like it!

And Ann Curry? Your loss, baby ...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Want to win a Dorothy Parker t-shirt?

To celebrate my 10,000th follower on the Dorothy Parker Facebook page I'm giving away this great t-shirt:

Click here for details. (If you haven't yet "liked" the page, you'll have to do that before you enter.)

Tomorrow I'll announce the winner of THE OTHER LIFE with Ann Curry 's signature.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ann Curry's Loss is Your Gain!

A few months ago I tried sending Ann Curry a signed copy of THE OTHER LIFE, because I thought she'd enjoy it. Alas, it never got to her as the NBC mailroom returned the package unopened. I tried again, but those heartless gatekeepers still refused delivery.

So now, after spending the money on postage twice, I'm left with a $25 hardcover book inscribed to Ann Curry.

I won't try again, so if Ann Curry wants a copy of THE OTHER LIFE she's just going to have to buy one.* Meanwhile, her loss is your gain, as I'm giving this one away in a random drawing to someone who responds in the comments section below with an answer to the following question:

Why should Ann Curry read THE OTHER LIFE?

 Every response counts as an entry and multiple responses are welcome. Offer ends midnight October 10. U.S. residents only. Good luck!

*Who am I kidding? If Ann Curry wants a copy of the book, all she has to do is contact my publicist, who would be thrilled to book me on The Today Show. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011


A very short play

ME: It's not that I don't want the Yankees to win. It's just that I'd like the Red Sox to win, too.


ME: I have a lot of friends who are Red Sox fans.


ME: It means so much to them, you see.


ME: I guess I'm not what you'd call a true fan.

MIKE: Honey, you're the opposite of a fan.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Also at my t-shirt store ...

An original poem! (Well, using Dorothy Parker's "Resume" as a template. Consider it an homage.)

Click here to order. You can customize it for any style or color.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why you don't have to worry about someone stealing your work

One of the most common questions I get from aspiring authors pertains to protecting their work from plagiarism. I can't speak for screenwriting, but in the publishing world it's a misplaced worry.

As a writer, you simply have to take a leap of faith that no one wants to steal your work. It just doesn't happen. Agents and editors are not sitting at their desks, rubbing their hands together as they await their next victim. Nor are other writers trolling the Internet looking for ideas to steal. I mean sure, you can probably find a few examples to prove me wrong. But you can also find examples of people choking to death on water. The point is that the odds are so astronomically low that they don't merit concern.

The sad truth behind this is that it is so difficult to make any money from writing that there's no incentive for theft. We all believe in our work, and cling to the hope that we have the next million dollar idea. But realistically, why would someone risk plagiarizing, only to have to spend a year researching and queryng agents, rewriting the letter again and again as it gets rejected? And that's not even considering how many months of rewrites will follow before there's even a slim chance at publication and an even slimmer chance of making any real money at it.

And one final point. As the author, you automatically own the copyright to your work and have legal protection. So try to relax and not let these fears get in your way.

Instead, worry about the real things ...  Are you creating believable characters your readers will care about? Are your storylines fresh and exciting?  Are your sentences exquisite and evocative? Is there enough coffee, vodka, or red wine in the house to get you through the week? (Water, as you know, can kill you.)

Now get back to work ...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fresh Hell!

The news today is that I have created a store for wearable Dorothy Parker quotes! Note that each is customizable, so you can choose whatever quote you like and put it on a shirt of any style or color. Click here to check out all the products.

Hope you like these! I had a lot of fun with it.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Friday, September 09, 2011

Big App Show!

As promised (threatened?) I'm still on hiatus from posting Friday updates, but I did want to share this with you. A few months ago I was interviewed via Skype by Adam Curry (yes, that Adam Curry) about THE OTHER LIFE. The interview is now available for viewing on your smartphone. If you have an iPhone, iPad or Droid, simply go to the app store and download The Big App Show, which is free. Pretty easy to find my interview from there.

It's a cool app in any case, as it lets you preview other apps before buying them.

Meanwhile, the interview is also posted online. So if you want to watch it on your computer, click here.

I hope you'll want to check it out, because Adam is a stellar interviewer. He's smart, earnest, down-to-earth and asks great questions. Also, he really likes my book!

Have a great weekend ...

Saturday, September 03, 2011

According to Dorothy Parker ...

"Brevity is the soul of lingerie."

This Shakespeare-inspired quote is from a photo caption Dorothy Parker wrote when she was working at Vogue in 1915.

For daily quotes from Dorothy Parker, follow her on Facebook.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Buying batteries and battening down the hatches. Stay safe, friends ...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

According to Dorothy Parker ...

''Hollywood money isn't money. It's congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are.'' 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Parker!

The great wit/writer/critic/poet/humorist would be 118 today.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker.

For daily Dorothy Parker quotes on Facebook, click here. To follow her on Twitter, click here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2½ minute radio interview

Here's an interview with me that aired on CBS Boston radio. Give a listen!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Temporary hiatus

I won't be doing my Friday updates for a while. Hope to be back soon.

Be well ...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What's your book about?

It's one of the most dreaded questions for writers. And if you ever had trouble answering it, please see my post today over the Girlfriends Book Club blog, 8 Questions to Help You Develop Your Hook.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Update 7/29/11

A rainy Friday, which I guess our poor lawns need here on Long Island. After that scorching heat wave last week the place looks like it's been set on fire. Here's the latest ...

• Finished my revisions on FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER  and sent it off to my editor. That feels SO good. I'm excited to share this book with readers!

• Now I'm ready to get back to work on my next book, which I've been keeping very hush-hush about. Even my agent doesn't know what I'm working on. Guess I should tell her, right? Lol.

• Mysterious. According to, THE OTHER LIFE had a major uptick in Canadian sales early this week. I can't find any media coverage online that might account for this, so I suppose it got a broadcast mention somewhere.

• What a great night! Got together with the Long Island Book Sisters at Saralee Rosenberg's house. Others in attendance: Susannah Greenberg, Susan Henderson, Carol Hoenig, Debbi Honorof, Debbie Markowitz, Alix Strauss and  Vivian Swift. Sending love to Brenda Janowitz, who was very missed!!

• The Open House for Writers on Monday night at Hofstra was a smashing success. It was a chance for students to meet the writing instructors and register for fall classes. These are Continuing Ed classes, and great for anyone who writes. The class I'll be teaching is called HOW TO TURN YOUR BIG IDEA INTO A FINISHED NOVEL, and it will be offered on Sunday mornings in the fall. For more info on that and other classes, click here.

• Another power outage yesterday. If you really want to see a middle-aged Jewish woman lose her sh*t, turn off her lights, computer and air conditioning in the middle of the day when her car is in the shop.

I wish there was some way I could get a divorce from LIPA, but where would I go? Who would take me in? I'm dependent upon the abusive bastard and he well knows it.

Ah, well. Have a good weekend. Stay cool and dry ...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Update 7/22/11

Here's the latest ...

• Last night I took my oldest, youngest and two other kids to see the Harry Potter movie. (The middle one saw it opening weekend with friends.) Crazy hectic day, picking one round of kids up at camp, then another, then rushing to the theater for tickets, then off to a pizza joint and then finally to the movie. I enjoyed it, and the kids, of course, were wild for it.

When it was over, Emma wept, saying it's the end of her childhood. And I guess in a way it is.

• Huge shout-out to Tony Iovino for another great Summer Gazebo Reading event! Thanks, too, to all the wonderful folks who showed up despite the crummy weather.

• Speaking of weather, my car thermometer read 109 today. Seriously. 109. Felt it, too.

• A couple of nice shout-outs from Lisa Kudrow, who was on a press junket for the hilarious and brilliant Web Therapy, which is now on Showtime. Here's the mention in Parade, and here's the NPR piece.

• You can follow Lisa on Twitter. Also fun--follow her alter ego, Dr. Fiona Wallice.

• THE OTHER LIFE is still in the running for Book of the Year from the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association. If you'd care to vote, please click here.

• Simply heartbroken over Borders ...

Stay cool, my darlings.