Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved to my Jenny O'Connell Website. You can find it here.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I was supposed to blog yesterday and I had every intention to do just that. It was my birthday and I figured what better day to share a few thoughts. Well, my day sucked!! And I'm generally an optimistic and positive person, but from start (Internet was down all day, spent 30 minutes trying to fix the printer - and it wasn't even 8:00 yet) to end (my son went to his fourth grade dance and was stood up by his date) it just seemed like everything was either difficult or just went terribly wrong. So my 42nd birthday didn't herald in the next year of my life in the way I anticipated but today is another day and I thought I'd piggyback on Danielle Joseph's blog and share five things you might not know about me.

1. I truly believe I am going to win the lottery. Really. Every time I play.

2. I believe that I could eat five Burger King cheeseburgers in less than 3 minutes (a bet I have with my kids that I swear we will actually test one day soon).

3. I named my son after a volleyball player - Troy Tanner. I don't even like volleyball (it hurts my wrists) but we saw Troy Tanner play in a tournament on Chicago's North Beach and I thought it was a cool name (his name is Tanner, not Troy).

4. I do not wear the color black - I know it's classic and supposedly looks good on everyone but black is not my color. I love navy blue. Or brown. But black, not so much.

5. I am deathly afraid of snakes (so much so that when my son thought it would be funny to drape a snake over my shoulders at a neighborhood party I went freaking nuts, screamed, ripped the thing off my neck and slammed it on the ground - only to have him look at me horrified and say, "Mom, it's fake." I'm sure my neighbors still think I'm a headcase). And I am grossed out by pretty much all animals that don't have fur (including worms, frogs, fish... well, you get the picture)

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Are You Writing in 2010?

That's a question I was asked recently and the answer is... hopefully, a book! I've been a slug for over a year now. After writing 2 books in 7 months I was burnt out and took a break. But the break is over (or my agent will kill me).

I loved this question because it has forced me to do what I needed to do - come up with a way to describe the book I'm working on. So here goes:

Unlike her high school classmates, Haley doesn’t let herself look forward to graduation or make plans for the future. An unexpected diagnosis two years ago changed everything, and now without a heart transplant her illness has put her on a time clock. But then a tragic accident gives Haley what she’s been waiting for and the chance to go back to being the girl she was before, complete with friends and a boyfriend who expect her to pick up where she left off, like nothing's happened.

Only it’s not that simple. Because now Haley’s keeping a secret that threatens to turn her world upside down and keep her from ever going back to normal. And as she finds herself growing closer to the one person who poses the greatest risk to exposing the truth, Haley has to figure out if she's willing to take the risk of losing the normal life she's craved, or make a choice that will change who she is forever.

Does that make any sense? I sure hope so!!

In addition to this book, I also hope to finish a middle grade book I've been writing with my son - RYAN PICKLER: BORN TO BE RAD, about a skateboarding, cheese-fearing fourth grader who is trying anything and everything to get to see his skateboarding hero.

And that's my year ahead!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, filled with fun, love and sweet memories.

Thanks for all your emails this year, and cheers to 2010!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Am in sort of a reading rut. Have started several books but haven't fallen in love with any since I finished Sonya Sones' ONE OF THOSE HIDEOUS BOOKS WHERE THE MOTHER DIES. What a great book. I wish Sonya would write a new book every week, because I'd read them all!

She writes in verse - as in poetry. Not rhymy-rhymy poetry, I don't know what you call it (not being one terribly well-versed in poetry), but it's amazing. The woman tells an entire story in what has to be less than 20,000 words (but, wow, those 20,000 really do their job).

So now I continue to try to read a bunch of other books but none of them are doing it for me yet. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Over on the MTV Books Blog, Jennifer Echols posed the question: What DON'T you see yourself ever writing? Thought I'd repost my answer here (although in addition to this one thing, I also never see myself writing anything having to do with fantasy, vampires, angels, ghosts, special powers or historical fiction).

In the past 4 years I have read exactly 3 books with a guy as the main character. And those three books are all by the same author (John Green). Is that lame? Maybe. But here's the thing: I love reading about girls. I like when I feel like I relate to a character, that she could be my best friend or my enemy or even me.

And a guy? Well, I'll never be a guy. I can't even pretend to know what goes through a guy's head. In my book THE BOOK OF LUKE every chapter begins with a "Tip" for guys. Like Chapter Two: "Tip #3: Toenail clippers do not require hours of instruction, exceptional manual dexterity or an advanced degree. They're like scissors, but smaller. Use them." Or Chapter Twenty-five: "Tip #86: Bed head is not a hair style. Show a little effort. It can go a long way." I had so much fun coming up with those tips, I got to rehash everything about guys that I don't understand and put them down on paper. It was like therapy.

I suppose I should be open-minded enough to admit that some great male characters come from women, and some men have written great books with a girl as the main character. But that's them. Me? If I was going to try to honestly and truly get inside the head of a guy I may as well spend my time trying to get inside the head of a nuclear physicist. They'd be equally challenging. (caveat: I love, love, love writing the male characters in my books, but would never ever want them to be the main characters) So I don't think I'll ever write a book with a guy as the main character.

That said... I am currently writing a book with a boy as the main character (RYAN PICKLER: BORN TO BE RAD). But it's a middle grade book and I'm writing it with my son, who is a fourth grade boy. And I know him pretty darn well enough to write a character that is the spitting image of him (and all the gross things a 9 year old boy does). I'm loving every minute we spend coming up with crazy stuff for Ryan Pickler to do, say and react to. I love Ryan Pickler, farts and all.

But as soon as Ryan turns 14, I'm done with him.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I'm on Martha's Vineyard and that means I'm having lots of ice cream. I love ice cream. And I've even done a few stints scooping and pumping ice cream (and frozen yogurt) myself. I once worked at a place in Arizona called The Fountain of Yogurt. We had a whopping 8 fro yo flavors and a whole host of hard ice cream flavors and this stuff called Fruit Frazee, which was like pureed fruit with no sugar added (kinda like soft sorbet).

I used to make myself milkshakes and ice cream sodas and cones and cups of ice cream and fro yo with sprinkles galore. But I never went for the candy toppings like oreos and M&Ms and peanut butter cups. I'm a purist, just sprinkles. And just chocolate ice cream or fro you. Or uber chocolate like dark chocolate or milk chocolate or any other variation of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

So it's no surprise that when there is ice cream in my books (like the Fribbles in THE BOOK OF LUKE or the cones in RICH BOYS and LOCAL GIRLS) the main character always prefers chocolate. Perhaps I lack imagination, but I just can't fathom choosing anything else.

I also worked at a place called The Cultured Cow. It didn't have ice cream, just frozen yogurt (but it also had home baked cookies, which meant I could raid the refrigerator and have all the chocolate chip cookie dough I wanted). We served this amazing flavor, Ghiradelli Chocolate. So dark and rich and amazing. I loved it.

Amazingly, I didn't gain a zillion pounds at either job, even though I helped myself to more ice cream and frozen yogurt than is humanly possible. I chalk that up to a fast metabolism that probably wouldn't behave the same way today.

My past ice cream scooping experience makes me a pretty picky customer, like if they don't put enough chocolate syrup in a milkshake or don't push the ice cream down into the cone so you get ice cream long after you've eaten all the stuff on top.
Luckily I get to hone my skills at home, where there is always a carton of chocolate ice cream in the freezer, a tub of sprinkles in the cabinet and always, always enough ice cream on the cone to last until the very last bite.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Friday!! If this doesn't make you laugh you're unlaughable.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Was in New York City for the day today. In Penn Station there was a sign that made me smile because I was feeling so sweaty and gross and hot and just generally disgusting. The sign said NO BATHING. It was as if they'd read my mind. Only I was thinking a nice clean shower, not the sink of the rest rooms at Penn Station.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I read 5 books on vacation - all teen books, the oldest being from 1999, the latest a print proof for a book that hasn't even come out yet.

And some I loved, some I liked and some not so much. But you know what I hated the most? Blushing. Yes, I have never read so much about "flaming cheeks," "prickling cheeks," "red burning cheeks," blah, blah. I am so sick of characters being described by their ability to blush. Honestly, I can't think of a single person who I have witnessed blush to such an extent. Yet it seems to be the physical trait of choice for teen girls who are feeling flustered/embarassed/caught off guard/attracted to someone/stupid/inept, etc.

I hereby boycott all flaming cheeks in every book I write. I don't think I've ever blushed in my life. I've never seen my best friends blush, and believe me, they've had plenty to blush about. Enough with the blushing. I shall seek new innovative ways to physically demonstrate an emotion - or not.

To think that teen girls are simply a hotbed of cheeky blood vessels is to do them a supreme injustice to their emotional range.

NOTE: I just started to read a new book, main character "flushes" twice in the first 8 pages due to embarassment - does it never end?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

So you've decided that getting updated on people's thoughts in 140 characters or less is cool?

I personally don't know about Twitter. One more thing to do, one more page of stuff to read. Result: More work!!! But I'm there.

If you want to follow me, go to

Sunday, April 12, 2009


The paperback version of EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME comes out on Tuesday, April 14. It has a new blue cover but includes the same wonderful essays from some amazing and funny writers. But you don't have to believe me, believe these reviewers:

"Fun tributes to a beloved role model."
- People Magazine

"Each writer is fearlessly honest... it's emotional reading."
- Chicago Sun-Times

"Wry pieces... make this more than a nostalgia trip."
- Entertainment Weekly

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Kay Cassidy has done the coolest thing. Today the Great Scavenger Hunt Contest went live.

The Hunt is a brand-new, super easy, totally FREE library outreach program for teen and youth librarians. The program is open to librarians in the U.S. and Canada, in public libraries and school libraries alike. It offers year-round free programming that’ll keep your readers coming back to the library for more.

Over 120 YA and middle grades authors have created a 10-question scavenger hunt (i.e. super fun trivia quiz) for one or more of their books. Scavenger hunts include questions like “What was the color of Moe’s hideous car?” or “What is Gemma’s favorite comfort food?” Every scavenger hunt also has a special note from the author to give it a personal touch.

You can find my books here - it was so hard coming up with the clues, I actually had to go back and read the books!

To participate, readers (called hunters) simply read a scavenger hunt book, complete the scavenger hunt, and turn it in to you. If they get 8 out of 10 answers correct, you get to enter them in the monthly contest. Easy, right?

Every month, Kay will choose one lucky hunter as the winner. The winning hunter will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card (good in stores or online) to use for whatever their heart desires. Even better, when you win, libraries win too… a library prize tote filled with more terrific scavenger hunt books for their library collection.

Fun, fast, simple plus free prizes. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
Learn more about how The Hunt works and join us today!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Apparently it's Barbie's 50th birthday. There are lots of different views on Barbie, that she lets girls use their imagination, that she's anatomically an improbability and bad for girls' body image, etc.

But I loved Barbie when I was young. I loved picking out her outfits and can still tell you my favorites. And, as far as I can tell, she didn't make me grow up with an irrational desire to have a breast to hip ratio of about 50:1.

So I don't listen to the naysayers. Here's why I loved Barbie:

1. She owned her own 3-story townhouse (with elevator!), which she paid for with her own money and never needed a husband or a boyfriend to live there with her.

2. She had ball gowns, a nurse's uniform, a bathing suit and a business suit. The woman could go anywhere and do anything and never lack for the right outfit to make her feel confident.

3. She owned her own hair salon (with working blow dryer!!), could fly a plane, knew how to operate a dune buggy, and wasn't afraid to hop in her camper and rough it in the wild for a few days. Talk about versatile.

4. She hung out with her cousin (Skipper, who I also liked, but didn't love) and her friends and had a blast - whether she was just floating around her pool (with real water!) or flying everyone around the globe in her airplane.

5. Sure, GI Joe was around if she wanted some companionship (I was never a fan of Ken and preferred my brother's GI Joe when Barbie needed a date), but she never ditched her friends just because GI Joe showed up in his green uniform and black boots looking for some love.

So Happy Birthday, Barbie! 

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My fellow MTV author, and blogging friend, Danielle Joseph just asked: So why do you write or what type of book do you like to read?

It's funny, I was just out with my friend and her boyfriend and he asked me the same thing. What he actually asked was, "As a writer, when you finish reading a book what do you first think back on: the writing or the story?

"I immediately answered, "The story." Then I told him about the industry's definition (if there is one) of 'literary' fiction - the lyrical writing, georgeous sentences, blah, blah.

Me, I'm a story girl. I've read so many books that were lauded as brilliant, the writing oh-so-beautiful. And you know what? Couldn't get through them.

Yes, I have a very short attention span. Little tolerance for plugging through things. Maybe that's why I'm all about the story sucking me in. It's also probably why I won't read past the second chapter if a book doesn't grab me. I have too much to do and my free time is at a premium, so reading something I love is important to me. It's akin to spending my afternoon talking to a person I find uninteresting and trying. I hate small talk. I'd find a reason to excuse myself and leave. And that's how I feel about books. Life's too short to read books I don't love.

So, back to Danielle's question: what type of books do I like to read? Ones about real people. Their flaws. Their insecurities. Their strengths. Their moments of self-revelation. And funny. I love funny books. I'm reading I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER right now and laughing my butt off. So smart, so funny. I like authors who don't take themselves, or their characters, too seriously. Who can make fun of themselves, show their warts. Their twisted thinking. I like books with characters who could be my next door neighbors, a girl behind the counter at Target, someone I pass at a tollbooth. Books that give me a glimpse into the life of someone I might otherwise not even notice, someone who has a whole story behind a simple nametag at the Burger King drive through. A book like THEN WE CAME TO THE END, wickedly funny and insightful. A book about average people at average jobs - people who are anything but average when you put them under a microscope.

Because I believe that most people, if we spent the time to really know them, are interesting in their own little ways. It's their stories that I find interesting. Not necessarily the way an authors tells it.

And to answer Danielle's question: Why do I write?So I can spend a little time with those people. And, hopefully, have others spend a little time with them, too.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Anyone who's been on Facebook lately has seen the Random 25 Things postings. Everyone is passing it around and encouraging their friends to answer it. I've received it a few times but haven't actually written any responses. 25 seems like a lot. So I decided to post something here - only I have 15 random things. A lot more managable.

1. I have never had a cup of coffee in my life and hate anything coffee-flavored.

2. I didn't eat pasta until I was 25 years old. Never liked it.

3. I was interviewed on CNN when my first book came out. The hair and make-up people used a flat-iron on my hair and MAC Pink Poodle lip gloss on my lips. They both looked great. Immediately went out and bought a flat iron and the lip gloss.

4. I am no degrees from Kevin Bacon. I was interviewed on a NY TV morning show and Kevin was on it with his band. He was in the green room next to me. Took himself very seriously. Not a nice guy.

5. Met Dee Snider of Twisted Sister when I did a TV show in Philadelphia. A great guy. Had so much fun talking to him, even got some good Bon Jovi stories.

6. When I got married I walked down the aisle to Tesla's Love Song on acoustic guitar. You can ">listen to it here.

7. I love 80s hair bands.

8. I still have my favorite pair of Levis from college, rips, bandanas and all.

9. My husband wrote a song for me. It's fabulous. Don't know how to put it on the Internet, otherwise I'd let you listen to it. It's called Walk Around Walden because when we first started dating we took a walk around Walden Pond one day.

9. The summer after my sophomore year of high school I spent 6 weeks at the Rhode Island School of Design for a summer program. My parents thought I was artistically talented. After 2 days there I realized I wasn't. But it was an absolute blast.

10. Eleven years after I attended the RISD program my best friend from college told me the name of a girl she sat next to at work (she worked at Harper's Bazaar in NYC). Turned out it was my roommate from my summer at RISD.

11. I am a HUGE believer in the small world theory. I run into random people in random places and meet people who know people, etc.

12. I ran into my best friend from 6th, 7th and 8th grade at a bar in Chicago over 27 years after I left public school and went to private school. I hadn't seen her since 8th grade. Turns out we'd both moved to Chicago from CT and she was meeting the same group of guys I was at the bar with. See, small world.

13. I think Alanis Morissette is a brilliant, brilliant song writer. She writes what I think.

14. My dad is an actor in LA.

15. My husband and I brought friends with us on our honeymoon. Figured we had our whole lives to travel together, but taking a cool trip with friends would only get more complicated with time, so we took advantage of the opportunity.

There you go!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter Wonderland?

It feels like all it's done for weeks now is snow! I love snow, especially if it's on a weekend. Waking up to a blanket of fluffy white on a Saturday is great. And on a Sunday, too. So pretty. But come the week, I'm done. Hate how gross everything gets, how the car becomes a soggy mess inside and a sandy-coated dirt mobile outside.

It's not even February yet, but I'm dreaming of sunshine and warm weather. Am just so tired of making every trip in the car a big-coat, mittens trip. I want to open the sunroof!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy New Year!

No new year's resolution here. Every day I break about 17 promises to myself (I will not reach for that fourth piece of dark chocolate... I will go to the gym... I will organize the stack of t-shirts that is taking on a life of its own... I will not buy another item I saw on a TV infomercial...).

So why make another pledge I'll just end up breaking? Besides, that new Bender Ball I ordered off TV promises to give me the abs of a god. And it arrived today.

And tomorrow I promise I'll actually open the box and take it out.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Upside Down for Christmas

Hope you all had a great holiday. Ours was low key, just the 4 of us (and a new Wii).

Since it was just us we didn't go nuts for Christmas dinner (surprise!). Just cooked an oven stuffer roaster, the kind with the pop up button so you can't screw it up.

Only we couldn't find the button. The top of the chicken was looking delish, all golden and yummy. But no button.

Damn those Purdue people! They forgot the pop up button on our chicken!

Um, nope. Turns out we had the bird in upside down. So the button was on the bottom. So that lovely crispy top, all seasoned with butter and rosemary and salt and pepper and onions? No meat there people, just bone.

The other side? The one face down for 2 hours with not a seasoning or crispy brown to be found? That's where the meat is. And that's what we had to eat.

Figures. Turns out you can screw up an oven stuffer roaster with a pop up button after all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let It Snow!!!

Boy, the snow just keeps on coming down. It's so pretty!

I'm sitting in front of the Christmas tree reading. What great reading weather. And I have so many books to read.

And a book to write. But reading one is so much easier than writing one!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Haagen-Dazs with those Scrambled Eggs?

We were one of the homes without power due to the ice storm. That meant no heat, no water (we have a well) and basically nothing we're used to having on a daily basis. So, as Friday wore on and it looked like the power wasn't coming on any time soon, we went into Boston and checked into a hotel.

Which was lovely. And festive, being all decorated for the holidays and all.

Then we came back home on Saturday and there was light!!!

And stuff in the freezer had become slightly melted. Like the two containers of Haagen-Dazs ice cream (chocolate and vanilla).

So this morning, Sunday, when I got up I was in the mood for a milkshake. And I figured that ice cream probably went bad if you let it sit around too long after it's begun to melt.

I made myself scrambled eggs and a big glass of chocolate milkshake. Then I made a vanilla one too, and the kids had milkshakes for breakfast, too.

I've decided that we should have milkshakes for breakfast more often, because even at 9:00 in the morning, a milkshake tastes pretty damn good.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


This time it was lunch for my daughter. Grilled cheese. Not so hard, you'd think.

But once I put the bread and cheese on the stove I sat down to read my alumni magazine (an alum just donated $300 million to my business school - yowza! - can you blame me for getting distracted?).

Well, all of a sudden I heard a crackling. And I knew.

Smoke was billowing and this is the result. And boy does it smell terrible!!!

Needless to say, no grilled cheese for lunch.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Oh, I love turkey. And I love mashed potatos. And, stuffing... well, not really, I like stuffing a lot but I can't say I love it.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be eating turkey and drinking egg nog (because every day is a good day for egg nog) and finishing it off with an ice cream cake decorated to look like a turkey (because I do not love pumpkin pie). And I'll be thankful. I hope you are, too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have a saying in our house. You come to the O'Connell's for the company, not the food. Exhibit A: the photo to the left. That's grilled chicken. Of course, it's been on there for 3 hours. And we didn't end up eating it.

You see, in our house, we forget we're cooking. We start something, say a pot of rice on the stove or three chicken breasts on the grill, and then we move on to something else until either the fire alarm goes off or we smell something so rancid it could only be that day's dinner.

Once we remembered we had Pillsbury dough in the oven but hadn't actually turned the oven on. So three days later we found six uncooked crescent rolls shriveled up on a baking sheet.

Obviously we're not big foodies in our house. And obviously we prefer things that work best unheated and that can be consumed immediately. Just ask our cat, who has become so used to the fire alarm going off she's begun to think it's actually the kitchen timer.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's really starting to get cold out, and that means only one thing.... time to put flannel sheets on the bed! I LOVE flannel sheets. Don't know how anyone sleeps without them in the winter.

I remember when I was younger I got an electric blanket for Christmas (I've always been someone who's cold). There were wires in the blanket, people! Real live wires attached to a control and a plug into the wall. Oddly, the thought of being wired to an electrical outlet didn't faze me. I just loved being all warm and snuggly (although waking up after several hours of the blanket being on 10 was like being a blueberry muffin baking all night).

No electric blanket now. I've got flannel.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy (early) Holiday!

I am a HUGE fan of the holiday season. I had my Christmas cards ordered, addressed and ready to go in August. I've already finished drinking a gallon of egg nog and it's not even November yet (was so excited to see it in the grocery store, I think everyone around me in the dairy aisle heard my elated gasp). This weekend I was burning a candle with an aptly named scent Christmas Cookie. And this weekend when I stepped into two different stores and saw trees lit up and stocking and ornaments it was all I could do to keep from buying a 20 foot blow up snowman and planting him on my still-green front lawn.

So even though I hate that it's dark outside way too early and the heat is pumping through the house with no regard for the price of oil, I can almost bear it because I know in a few weeks I'll be singing holiday songs at the top of my voice while downing my sixth gallon of egg nog.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So Many Books, So Little Time!!

My appetite for books has officially exceeded my ability to digest them! I just keep buying and buying and now I don't know how I'll ever find the time to read them all. The thing is, I've actually started reading a couple so now I'm in a bind - I hate reading more than one book at once, would rather just plow through one and move onto the other. Here's what I have in my "To read" pile:

- TOWN HOUSE by Tish Cohen (started reading, LOVE it)
- LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green (started reading, not loving as much as I loved his AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES - but I'm not that far into it yet)
- SAVVY by Ingrid Law
- MATRIMONY by Joshua Henkin (have read like the first five pages then forced myself to stop)
- I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER by Larry Doyle (am dying to read this)
- NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAY LIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- INSIDE OUT GIRL by Tish Cohen
- HOW TO TALK TO A WIDOWER by Jonathan Tropper (my agent pointed out that Jonathan has written two books with titles eerily similar to my teen books - THE BOOK OF JOE and PLAN B - which isn't just eerily similar, it's the same!!!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I love New York City. Just spent the weekend there with my bestest friends from college, just us girls hanging around, shopping and eating and drinking. And laughing. I swear, my throat hurt from laughing so much. We all find one another infinitely amusing, even though other people would probably find us infinitely stupid.

When I was in the city my friend Kari and I went to the village to see my friend and fellow writer Alison Pace. I blurbed Alison's first book what feels like years ago (it was actually probably 5 or 6 or 7 years ago). I loved the book (IF ANDY WARHOL HAD A GIRLFRIEND). And then I was lucky enough to meet Alison, have her contribute to EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, and hang out with her when I get to the city. This time I also got to meet her dog, Carlie, who is quite charming.

That's the three of us. Carlie wasn't into posing and looks a tad blurry, but you can still see how cute she is.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Win Great Books!

To help celebrate the release of author Kelly Parra's new book, INVISIBLE TOUCH, 26 authors of varied genres will share their secrets (or their characters') all through the month of October (1 - 31) on the Secret Fates blog (, the blog in Kelly's novel INVISIBLE TOUCH, and the authors will be giving away books!
On each day, Monday through Saturday, one author's secret will be revealed. Those who comment on the post will be entered to win a giveaway, and winners for that week will be announced on Sunday.

You can win a copy of one of my Island Summer books today! Check it out and check out the video at
Everyone's invited--it's going to be a month full of secrets and giveaways!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


This week's Entertainment Weekly has an essay by Diablo Cody (who wrote the screenplay for Juno) praising Judy Blume. Judy Blume turned 70 recently and Diablo looks at a Judy Blume "renaissance" that seems to be taking place. She mentions EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME in the essay, and myself and the other essay contributors thought that was pretty cool.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Sadly, I received an email today from one Ms. Sara Miller, a nationalised Briton by birth and a business merchant based in the United Kingdom. She has been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer and only has a few months to live. But lest I feel a tear come on, there is something positive coming out of this - she's chosen me, of all people, to receive $20,500,000 for safe keeping!!!!! Yep, that's 20 million dollars. And to think I don't even know her!

For some reason I've been getting tons of these generous offers:

- Mrs. Rita Wings has a client interested in pursuing a business arrangement with me which will yield me 5% of his fortune for doing absolutely nothing!!!!

- Quanzhou Machinery & Autoparts Co., Ltd., located in Xiamen city, Fujian Province of China, has decided that my "area of specialization or occupation" make me ideally suited to receive 10% commission for receiving funds on their behalf as their agent.

- Minister Jin Renqing also wants me to recieve money on his behalf - and I don't even have to be his agent!!! Take that Quanzhou Machinery & Autoparts Co., Ltd.

- Mrs Maria Elena Fernandez from the Philippines urgently awaits my response. She is also sick (just like our poor British Sara Miller), and wants to give me $7 million she has concealed in a trunk box.

Mrs. Fernandez obviously doesn't realize the offer I have on the table from Sara Miller - and Sara won't even make me hunt down a smelly old trunk to retrieve it!

And, finally, I just heard word from Mr. Patrick Chan that he has a very profitable business proposal of ($30,000,000.00) and just wants me to send him an email to his Yahoo account and we can go over the details.

Well, $30 million. I think Mr. Chan has extended the best offer of the day.

What's all this talk about financial collapse? Banking ruin? Investment peril? I've got people forking it over left and right over here. Beats a 401k anyday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Got my haircut the other day and even though I asked for "just a little trim" the person took off a lot. OK, maybe not a lot, but it sure doesn't feel like "just a little trim!" The thing is, it's actually nice. Such a cliche, but it looks and feels so much healthier. So maybe it wasn't such a bad thing, even if I feel like it will take me forever to get it back to where it was.

The whole thing made me think of other times I walked into a hair salon expecting one thing and walked out with another.

After college I had what my husband refers to as "blunt bangs." He acts like I walked into the salon and said, "Please cut my bangs in a straight line across my forehead...and make them as short as possible if you could." NO! I did not. Still, he loves making fun of me and has made me promise to never sport blunt bangs again.

A few years ago I was sitting in the waiting area of a salon flipping through one of those books with style suggstions. A totally adorable short cut caught my eye. I mean really short, like boy short. I decided it was time to cut it all off. Here's an author picture of me a little while after that, when it was starting to grow in a bit. I loved having short hair, it was so much fun.
Then, of course, I decided to grow it long again.

When I was little I had a doll with very long blonde hair. She also had a wheel on her back, and you could turn the wheel clockwise and make her hair shorter, or just pull it out to make it longer. I wish I could do that. Even if it might be difficult to get shirts to fit over the wheel

Monday, September 08, 2008

We have a black cat named Midnight (although for some reason we call her Missy Bebe instead). She found us 7 years ago, showing up at our door, and we took her in. We all agree it was the best thing we ever did.

This weekend we went to the Tuft's Cummings School of Veterinary School of Medicine's open house. It's very cool. We got to walk through the small animal hospital and the large animal hospital. We saw x-rays of a dog who had eaten a very large knife (they'd been using it to cut a birthday cake and the dog decided he wanted some), xrays of animals with broken bones that needed to be screwed together, and even watched a live ultrasound of a dog. We saw horses who were neglected and how they were nursed back to health and other animals who had live saving treatment (even turtles and rats). It was awesome.

My daughter loves animals (she's asked to guest blog here about how bad puppy mills are, which she'll do sometime soon) so she enjoyed looking at cancer cells and how they're treated. Even if you're not an animal lover, though, you couldn't leave not wanting to save every homeless animal out there.

So if you have any pets take a minute to hug and snuggle them and give them love. I know that we came home and smothered Missy Bebe with kisses (then my daughter gave her a dental exam because healthy teeth are important, even in a cat).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Amazing Feats...and Just Plain Gross

There are days when I have no idea that the Olympics are going on and others where I find myself watching some random event at 11:00 at night. Like synchronized high diving. Crazy stuff. They're up and down so fast I can't tell what the heck they're doing. The commentator is able to pick apart every little thing, though, like a lack of pointed toes or a splash that's "too big."

Really? A splash that's too big? They're diving into water and the goal is not to have a splash. Really.

Then I happened to catch something that wasn't an Olympic event but no less amazing - if completely gross. I watched a guy who was blindfolded lick a CD with his tongue and then tell the audience what CD it was - both the artist/band and the title of the album! He did this five times. It was disgusting and totally fascinating at the same time. He actually licked the CD, rubbing his tongue all over it, and then declared, "It's X by Y." How do you figure out that you're capable of doing that without just randomly licking a bunch of CDs. I can't imagine anyone is too psyched to share this guy's CD collection.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I hate running. So I figured one way to get my feet moving would be to sign up for a 5K and force myself to train. And make a rocking play list for my iPod. And bring my friend along for support.

My friend Vangie, her boyfriend Scott, and I ran the Chilmark Road Race on Saturday and had a blast. Even though we missed our ferry over and didn't get to the Vineyard as early as we had wanted on Friday, come Saturday morning we were ready to go. We got to the starting line and I pushed the play button on my iPod - but the wrong song came on! All my careful planning and pacing down the tubes! Turned out even though it was the wrong song it was a good start to the race, not too slow, not too fast. The weather was amazing, sunny and not too warm - until it came to a long stretch by a beautiful farm pasture with cows grazing. It was all bright sun and the last mile to go. I kept trying to think of the cows and not the sun or the sweat dripping off me. If they could stand out in the hot sun all day I could certainly run a little further! In any case, we were all happy with our time and celebrated by heading to the beach and spending the afternoon with our toes in the sand. Already we can't wait for next year's race!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Trashionista just published a review of EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME. And it was so nice I wanted to share. Read on...

I know I've been going on about Judy Blume a lot lately, but if you'd read this book, you would be too. It's a collection of essays by “acclaimed women writers” including friends of Trashi, Meg Cabot, Megan Crane, and Shanna Swendson along with Megan McCafferty, Alison Pace, Laura Ruby, Diana Peterfreund and more. In fact, it's possibly the best line-up of writers I've ever seen in any collection (apart from the one I'm in, obviously!).

And that quality is reflected in the essays. I don't think I could choose between them, since I loved them all. Every single one. The writers write about various Blume books from Forever (of course) to Wifey, via Superfudge, Are You There, God? and Summer Sisters. The essays are honest, funny, sometimes painful and constantly reiterate how incredible and influential Judy Blume really is.

It not only made me want to go and buy all of Blume's books, it made me want to buy all the books by each of the writers included (and that's a lot of books). Even if you've never read a Judy Blume book, I'm confident you'll still enjoy this book. Highly recommended.
Rating: 5/5

Friday, July 25, 2008


Cosmo Girl is featuring LOCAL GIRLS in its Best Beach Reads list. You can read more about it on the Cosmo Girl site.
In other news, there were two more winners of Island Summer t-shirts this week, bringing the total to 8. I'll be heading to Martha's Vineyard next week, where I'll be interviewed on Plum TV Friday morning and have an event at Edgartown Books on Friday afternoon. If you're on the island, come on by and say hi! I'll be giving away t-shirts, and any leftover shirts will come home with me and be given away.
I wish everyone who entered the contest could have a shirt, so if there are any left over after the event, they'll be given to some more winners. So if you haven't won a t-shirt, there's still hope!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There are some things I came to late in life, things I either didn't like growing up or things I thought I wouldn't like. For instance, I never had whole wheat bread until I went to college - was a white bread girl. I never put cheese on my sandwiches either, now I love cheese on my sandwiches. And until two years ago I'd never had guacamole. It just looked so green and gross, how could it be good? Well, I started making my own and let me tell you, I make the best guac ever! And I could eat it every day, all day.

So usually when I'm writing my books I think about what my characters like to eat and what they don't like to eat. Actually, in RICH BOYS, Jesse picks apart her food into little pieces before eating it. My best friend in high school used to do this with sandwiches and it fascinated me. She still does it. So that's where Jesse gets it from. And you know what? I don't think she outgrows it either. Some things you never outgrow. Like prefering your chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, like Kendra in LOCAL GIRLS.

My mom actually just called me to say that she was reading the book and totally recognized my favorite ice cream order - chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Which I had yesterday. Like I said, some things you never outgrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I just love this. It totally makes me laugh.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Behind the Pages of RICH BOYS, and another winner!!

First of all, thanks to everyone who's entered the contest and written to me about the books. I'm glad you're enjoying them. Now, on to business - another winner! This week's winner of an Island Summer t-shirt is Kelly. Congrats!

Also, over on the Simon Says Website they'll be giving away t-shirts as well. As soon as I have the exact url and the contest begins, I'll pass it along. And Girls Life magazine just gave away a bunch of books - so much free stuff!

OK, RICH BOYS. Last fall I was driving on the highway and came upon a line of cars by the side of the road. As I got closer I also noticed a group of people, all clustered just off the road on the grass. I'll never forget what I saw as I passed, the image was so unexpected. And eerie. The people were gathered around a makeshift cross around which they were placing all sorts of items - flowers, sneakers, pictures, a basketball.

I've seen them before, these sort of memorials by the side of the road, commemorating someone whose life was lost in that very spot. I've never known anyone who's participated in this sort of memorial for someone they've lost, but whenever I see one it makes me pause imagining that right there before me is where someone tragically lost their life.

After seeing that scene on the highway it stayed with me, and that's why Winnie and Jay have a similar experience when they come upon a roadside memorial. It's eerie and tragic and yet somehow hopeful at the same time, hopeful that someone will continue to be remembered as they were long after they're gone, a way to celebrate their life and what they loved. And it just seemed that Winnie and Jay would have that experience together given what they're both going through.

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I belong to a group of authors who blog known as the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit (started by Karin Gillespie, who manages to keep us all in check and blogging, I have no idea how). Anyway, I'm touring this week for LG and RB and had to answer a bunch of questions for the group. Each author has different questions she asks. I decided to post some of the answers to a few here:

From Karin Gillespie: Q: What’s the backstory behind your latest novel? A: I’ve gone to Martha’s Vineyard every summer for the past ten years. I love the place and everything about it, from waiting to get on the ferry for the ride over to the smell of the grocery store. My agent had been asking me if I had any ideas for a series, and I didn’t. Until I did. I wanted to write about the Vineyard, but from the perspective of the different people who are there during the summer. The place swells with summer visitors and the locals have their lives disrupted for three months. So I decided to write a series that takes place on the island but each book is a story unto itself told by a single character. The first book, LOCAL GIRLS, is about Kendra, and the second, RICH BOYS, is about Winnie. Winnie is just introduced in passing in LOCAL GIRLS, via her sister who works with Kendra. So each book is new and different and can stand alone, but the Vineyard provides a familiar stage for them.

From Sara Hantz: Q:What inspired the plot for your book? A: The books take place on Martha’s Vineyard, so first and foremost summer was the greatest inspiration. I’ve always felt like summer is a time when anything can happen, it’s all about possibility. LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS have very different plots, but they’re both about the possibilities, opportunities and changes summer brings.

From Laurie Stolarz:
Q: What's your favorite fast food?
A: cheeseburger with no mustard from Burger King (I swear, I could four of these in five minutes flat)

From Melissa Walker:
Q: What parts of you can we see in your books / characters?
A: Actually, Kendra (in LOCAL GIRLS) and Winnie (in RICH BOYS) do share my favorite ice cream!! We all prefer chocolate with sprinkles. There is a lot of me in my characters, even some similar experiences. The thing is, when it’s happening to Kendra or Winnie I get to choose how it turns out!

From Elizabeth Lenhard:
Q: What do you love about _______ (the main characters in your books)?A: In LOCAL GIRLS, I love Kendra because she’s fiercely loyal to her best friend but still ends up hurting her.In RICH BOYS, I love Winnie because she can’t stand to see the people around her unhappy and wants to fix everything – even if she can’t.

From Stephanie Kuehnert:
Q: While music is my muse, I know other writers find their muse in theater, sports, art, the great outdoors, etc. What is your main muse?A: Bad experiences. I think back on ex-boyfriends, dumb things I did, dumb things my friends did. I have a great memory for horrifying stuff.

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We have another winner this week! Kristina W. has won an Island Summer t-shirt!

LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS is out in stores and available on-line - finally! I received an email from Edgartown Books on Martha's Vineyard (where I'm doing an event in July). The books are right out on the front counter, I wish I had a picture. I think it would be cool to see the books actually for sale on the island. Besides, I love Edgartown Books and doing events there.

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Behind the Pages of RICH BOYS: #2

Kendra and Henry go on the Edgartown ghost tour in LOCAL GIRLS, but in RICH BOYS something from the tour comes up again. This time it just so happens that Jay's house is next door to one of the stops on tour - and it really exists. And so do the gravestones in the front yard. But there are no ghosts in either story, unless you count the mystery of Mona's father's identity in LOCAL GIRLS and Winnie's unanswered questions about Jay's dark side in RICH BOYS.

In RICH BOYS, Winnie's best friend Jessie is a tennis star (well, star may be an exageration, but she's really, really good). And so, to train for the upcoming season Jessie decides to run the Chilmark Road Race with her boyfriend, Nash. I've never run the race through Chilmark, but it's supposed to be very hilly and quite grueling. But this year I decided to change that, so my best friend and I will be on the island August 9th to run the 5k, just like Jessie. Although I may end up wishing I was more like Winnie, waiting at the finish line with a cup of Gatorade instead.

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along
.4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Behind the Pages of RICH BOYS...and First Contest Winner!!

I decided that I'd give away the first Island Summer t-shirt this week to the reader who has forwarded the most emails so far. So (drum roll please...) this week's winner is Kaitlyn G. Congratulations, Kaitlyn!!

I thought it was time to talk about RICH BOYS. In the book Winnie works at the Oceanview Inn, which overlooks South Beach. While there isn't an Oceanview Inn in that spot in real life, there is a resort near by that inspired what became the Oceanview. And it's just as beautiful. But I've never stayed at the resort, just eaten dinner in its beautiful restaurant.

Winnie works at the daycamp for guests' kids, which she thinks is a pretty simple, uncomplicated job. Needless to say, her summer becomes more complicated than she ever imagines when she takes on an afternoon job babysitting for the Barclay family. But that's for next time, when I'll talk about the dead body in the Barclay's neighbor's yard. And yes, there really is a body there in real life (see, that ghost tour really came in handy).

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Behind the Pages of LOCAL GIRLS: #3

Ghosts. Not a big fan. I remember in fourth grade our librarian was reading us "real" ghost stories and everyone was loving them - I sat there with my hands over my ears. I just never liked the idea of being haunted by dead people.

But in LOCAL GIRLS there are ghosts. Or at least a ghost tour. Last summer I went on the Edgartown ghost tour and loved it, loved hearing about the sightings in old homes, who was haunting what in a place that has such a rich history. So I decided that Kendra and Henry would tag along on the tour, too. Of course, something happens on the tour that scares Kendra way more than a hazy image of a dead person, and it sets off a series of events that gets Kendra into a situation that she can't quite figure how to get out of.

So, yes, there really is a ghost tour of Edgartown. And that's why it's in the book. But I didn't include any ghosts, because the land of the living is dramatic enough.

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Behind the Pages of Local Girls: #2

When I write a book I know maybe 20% of what exactly is going to happen - pretty much just the beginning, the end and some pivotal things in the middle. The rest I make up as I go depending upon where the story seems to take itself.

In LOCAL GIRLS breakfast plays a pretty important role. I hate breakfast. I'm a lunch girl (which is odd, considering Kendra turns down a job at her family's deli and chooses to serve breakfast at a bed& breakfast instead). In any case, sunshine muffins ended up playing a pretty big role in this story. And there really is such a thing as sunshine muffins - my friend Krista used to make them for my kids and gave me the recipe.

Sad thing is, I'm not so much of a cooking person. But I still have the recipe and I highly recommend them. They're SO good and perfect for a summer morning! Here it is:

Sunshine Muffins
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 ounces crushed pineapple
1/3 cup oil
Mix dry ingredients and zest. Combine egg, milk, juice, pineapple and oil. Add to dry ingredients. Fill muffin cups with batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden. Do not overmix, toughens muffins (and nobody likes a tough muffin). Enjoy!

Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. It's so easy:
1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Behind the Pages of LOCAL GIRLS

LOCAL GIRLS begins with a skunk. A dead one. And there's a reason for that.

Whenever I smell skunk it reminds me of summer. Growing up in Connecticut there were plenty of skunks. In fact, I was sprayed by one. One night during the summer I was running around to the back of my boyfriend's house and startled a garbage-hunting skunk rattling around in some garbage cans.I scared the skunk.

The skunk sprayed me. I smelled like skunk. Badly.

When I got home later that night I removed my skunk-smelling clothes and put them out on the porch (knowing my mom would kill me if I put them in the house). The next morning when I woke up she said, "I think a skunk died under the porch." I had to tell her that it wasn't a skunk. It was me.

I love the smell of skunk because it reminds me of summer. And that's why LOCAL GIRLS begins with Kendra smelling a skunk and loving the smell as well. Kinda gross, maybe. Something that will always remind me of warm nights and hanging out with friends, absolutely.

Enter the Island Summer series contest and win a t-shirt. Read below to learn how.

1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Contest Begins!!
Win a LOCAL GIRLS/RICH BOYS t-shirt that is so cool for summer. How do I know? I have a box of them in my office.It's so easy:

1. email me at and put "contest" in the subject line
2. I will email you back (see I said it was easy)
3. When you receive my email forward it to as many friends as you want, but make sure you cc: me. This way I'll know that you passed it along.
4. As soon as I receive the email you've forwarded, you're entered!Want to have even more chances to win?
5. Have your friends forward the email on to their friends, but make sure you have them cc: me so you get credit (you'll be entered each time and they'll also be entered in the contest).

So, basically, email me, I'll email you back, you forward the email to your friends and the chain begins!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Here I thought I was the only one giving stuff away for free! Turns out GIRLS LIFE magazine is giving away copies of LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS in the month of June. All you have to do is register at - look for the Give Away of the Day box and click enter.

But isn't a t-shirt infinitely cooler?

They arrived in the mail today and look so much more amazing than I anticipated! The covers of the books are quite colorful and bright (like summer itself). So I was afraid the covers might come out a little too vivid on the shirts. But instead they're a little faded looking, like a worn, comfy t-shirt should be. They're perfect. The contest starts tomorrow. So check my blog at and enter to get a t-shirt for yourself (and maybe your friends, too!).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The count down has begun. Three more days until the annual girls sailing trip along the Florida Keys. Have packed the sailing gloves (those lines are rough and rope burn isn't fun). The hat (the sun is quite hot). The rain jacket (last year we hit a wicked storm, was a ton of fun sailing with the wind whipping the rain at us). And the iPod speakers (a little mood music at night when we anchor the boat and cook ourselves a meal...and crack a frosty drink).

Am so excited!

Monday, May 26, 2008


We've had the most gorgeous weekend! Lots of sitting outside in the sun and relaxing. Yesterday my best friend's daughter brought me over TWILIGHT. I bought her ECLIPSE for Christmas and she loved it. Now it was her turn to turn me on to Stephanie Meyer's books.

So today I cracked open its very hefty spine and started reading. I'm usually a fan of books about regular people, just normal every day girls living their normal every day lives and all the drama that comes along with it. I've never really enjoyed fantasy or mystery or the like. Wasn't sure what I'd think of a book with vampires. But so far I'm really enjoying Bella. And Edward.

And luckily, every time I get antsy to know an answer before I get to it in the story, I just ask Lauren and she fills me in. I have so many questions! So far she's willing to answer every question I have instead of telling me to just keep reading.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Well, with the three day weekend coming up it almost feels like the official start of summer. It's even supposed to be warm and sunny (even if I'm wearing a sweatshirt right now because it feels way colder than it should for being the end of May). In any case, I'm heading to the Floriday Keys in one week for our annual girls' sailing trip. Can't wait!
And then when I get back I'm going to be running a very cool contest for the launch of LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS. Check it out on my Jenny O'Connell blog. The contest will begin June 6 and go until the offical release date (which is June 24).

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Shanna Swendson and I share an agent, a book (EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW...), a love of red high heels, and now anticipation for the latest in her Katie Chandler series. Only now Katie is leaving the Big Apple and heading to Texas (Shanna's home state), but, as always, magic follows. Here's a little more about Shanna's latest book, DON'T HEX WITH TEXAS.

Katie Chandler has fled fast-paced Manhattan and returned home to a simpler life, working at her family’s feed-and-seed store in Cobb, Texas. In a painfully selfless gesture, Katie left the sexy wizard Owen Palmer to battle his demons in the magical realm—after all, she just seemed to attract evil, which only made Owen’s job a lot harder. But now, it seems, trouble has followed her home. Despite the fact that Merlin, Katie’s former boss at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has assured her that Cobb is free of enchantment, magically speaking, Katie begins to notice curious phenomena.

Cobb is being plagued by a series of unexplainable petty crimes and other devilish mischief, and after her experiences in Manhattan, Katie knows “unauthorized magic” when she sees it. As this new dark magic strikes deep in the heart of Texas, Owen reappears (literally) to investigate. Now Katie’s friends and family must show the bad guys why it’s bad luck to hex with Texas, while Katie and Owen combine their strengths like never before to uncover a sinister plot before evil takes root in the Lone Star State.

Shanna's contemporary urban fantasy novels have enchanted fans of romance, chick lit and fantasy alike. DON’T HEX WITH TEXAS—and don’t miss what Booklist calls “one of the best romantic-fantasy series being written today”!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I've never played match maker. Never set anyone up on a blind date or even met someone and thought, "I've got the perfect friend for you." But last summer my husband and I had a party and we decided to invite two friends of ours. They drove to our house from the city, meeting for the first time when Matt picked Jennifer up at her apartment. Well, they ended up hitting it off. And this weekend they bought their first place together and moved in. And last night Matt proposed to Jennifer and she accepted (as if there was any doubt). It hasn't even been a year since they first laid eyes on each other (the party was in July) and yet so much has happened! And they're crazy happy. And my husband and I sort of feel responsible, although if you'd asked me back then, when Jennifer was swimming in the pool with mascara dripping down her cheeks and wine dribbled on the front of her shirt, if they'd end up getting married, I'd have said the odds were not in their favor. But I would have been wrong. So we're hanging up our match making hat, because there's no way we could top that.

Monday, April 21, 2008


This is how I spent last week (those are actually my toes). Vacation was wonderful, read four books (loved one, liked two, stopped reading one because I just didn't get into it). The one I loved was by Jill Davis, who wrote GIRLS POKER NIGHT. I couldn't wait for her second book to come out, and it took a long time for that to happen. But Davis didn't disappoint, and I flew through ASK AGAIN LATER. I just love her writing, so crisp and spare to the point, she's brilliant. The thing is, after I finished AAL I started another book that had a ton of hype around it. But with all the hype I just didn't get into it. And, after reading Davis' book imagine my surprise to find out that the hyped book, which just came out, had practically the same story line as AAL - even though AAL came out at least a year ago. The main character even had the same name (Emily)!!!! Both characters were attorneys, both had mothers with cancer, both were estranged from their fathers, both were commitment-phobes, both lived in New York - it was unreal! But as far as quality of story telling and writing, there was no comparison. Davis won hands down.

On the flight back to Boston I happened to sit down next to a man who noticed the book I was reading (Elinor Lipman's ISABEL'S BED) and asked if I liked it. I told him that I'd already read it ten years ago and wanted to read it again. We chatted briefly about the book and I thought, "Nobody cares that much about what anyone's reading - except a writer." Then I saw the manuscript he placed on his tray. And we started talking and it turned out he was a writer. It was Robin Cook. Now, I've never read any Robin Cook, although I'd have at least 20 books to choose from. But last summer our friend was on the Vineyard with us and he was telling me I had to read Robin Cook (our friend is a doctor and so is Robin). We talked practically the entire way back to Boston and so, sadly, Robin didn't get much editing done on his page proofs - which are due to his editor this week. Turns out the main character in his latest book is named Jennifer. I told him that one of the main characters in RICH BOYS goes to Wesleyan, Robin's alma mater. He has a house on the Vineyard and I told him that I have an event there the last week in July for the launch of the Island Summer series. We're hoping to hook up this summer. So enjoyed talking with Robin and listening to his stories, what a really nice guy.

All in all, the perfect end to a perfect vacaction. I couldn't have written a better ending myself.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Five years ago I was sent a manuscript to read to see if I would like it enough to write a blurb (you know, those quotes on the back/front of a book recommending it). I took the manuscript on vacation with me and read it on a deserted beach for two days straight. I loved it. Every time I think of that book I remember laying in the sand looking at the blue ocean and thinking, "This is the perfect place and a perfect vacation read." That book was Megan Crane's debut, ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE.

Since then I've gotten to know Megan, blurbed another of her books (FRENEMIES), and asked her to contribute to one of mine (EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW...). Megan's editor sent me her latest book to read for a potential blurb, but it was during writing hell when I was attempting to write LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS and I didn't have a single moment to spare reading the manuscript of anyone else. So I didn't get to read the book.

Well, now NAMES MY SISTERS CALL ME is out. And it just so happens I am leaving for another trip to a desserted island and will be bringing a ton of reading material to enjoy on the beach. So it looks like once again Megan's book will be associated with the blue Caribbean sea and solitude. And I'm sure I'll love it as much as I've loved her other books. Here's a little about it:

Perfectly poised for wedding season and beach reading, Names My Sisters Call Me is the story of a newly engaged woman who uses her engagement party as a way to reconcile her estranged sisters - much to her chagrin.
Courtney, Norah, and Raine Cassel are about as different as three sisters can get. Norah, the oldest, is a typical Type A obsessive who believes there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Six years later she has not forgiven Raine, the middle sister, for ruining her wedding day. Raine is Norah's opposite - a wild, follow-your-bliss hippie chick who flees to California after the wedding fiasco. The only thing the two sisters have in common is their ability to drive Courtney, their youngest sister, crazy.

When Courtney's longtime boyfriend proposes, she decides it's finally time to call a family truce and bring the three sisters together. After all, they're all grown-ups now, right? But it turns out that family ghosts aren't easily vanquished, and neither are first loves. Reconnecting the sisters also means reexamining every choice Courtney has made in the past six years, right down to the man she's about to marry.

Whether you have suffered the angst of sibling rivalry or been one of the lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) few who just watched from afar, Names My Sisters Call Me is a book that anyone with a sister, a sibling, or even a friend can appreciate.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How I've been spending my free time since finishing RICH BOYS - creating the trailer for An Island Summer series.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I think eBooks are pretty cool, and what's even cooler is getting 20% off! Diesel eBooks is offering a special 20% discount on some of my books if you click here and enter the special promotional code OCO20c84.

What could be better with tax day right around the corner than saving 20% on books?

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Once again I'm reminded that, hands down, the best thing about being a writer is getting to hang out with some of the funnest, funniest people around - other writers. We had so much fun at Friday night's event in Nutley. Great food, great company and just an all around great time. Megan and Alison are so funny. Unfortunately, the weather was so rainy and the traffic so bad our dinner plans had to be scrapped. Luckily, the event was catered and delicious. And when Megan pulled out her Judy Blume diary from almost 30 years ago, I almost couldn't believe it. I wish we all had a reason to get together more often.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Looking for a little fun this Friday night? Live in NJ or the NYC area? Then come join me, Megan McCafferty and Alison Pace as the Friends of the Nutley Public Library host their annual tea on Friday, March 7 at 7pm. We'll be talking about EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME and our experiences as writers and readers.

The event begins at 7pm with Champagne, followed by high tea provided by The Petit Cafe. Guests will be treated to scones, quiche, other treats and a selection of exquisite teas. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing by the authors.

Seating is limited to 15 tables of four for tea. Tickets are $40 for the evening and available at the Nutley Public Library. For information please call Gioya at 973-667-0405 x. 2636.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Question. There's some debate over the subtitle of my Martha's Vineyard series. So I wanted to know what you think. Which of these subtitles do you like better?

LOCAL GIRLS: A Martha's Vineyard Novel

LOCAL GIRLS: An Island Summer Novel

LOCAL GIRLS: A Barefoot Summer Novel

Other (all suggestions are welcome, appreciated and up for discussion).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It's done! RICH BOYS is officially in my editor's hands, revisions and all. Here's some math around the completion of the book:
20,000 - words added to the book since Friday.
154 - days until LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS come out
36 - hours spent at my laptop on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
10 - number of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies consumed Saturday night(I had the mix in the cabinet and decided to take a brief break to add a little water, an egg,and pop them into the oven).
7 - number of weeks to write and revise RICH BOYS.
3 - number of migrane pills taken in the past three days.
1 - email from editor asking if she'd get the revised manuscript on time.
0 - number of words left to write!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Saturday, February 16, 2008


Let's talk meatloaf. No, not THAT Meatloaf. The other kind.

My friend Jennifer has always had a fantasy about creating a place where meatloaf lovers can come together and celebrate the greatness that is a little chopped meat tossed with spices and a pinch of something special (my something special is Worcestershire sauce and Romano cheese). So Jennifer decided to create just a place with her Meetloaferie blog. Check it out, she'll have opinion pieces, favorite recipes and fascinating meatloaf facts to share. In fact, I'm so inspired it's what we'll be having for dinner tomorrow night with some mashed potatos, which, in my opinion, is the perfect sidedish. Yum.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Here's a picture from yesterday's event at Macy's. That's me, Annette Blair and Hank Phillippi Ryan. We had a great time, even if the weather was wet and rainy. Lucikly people were still willing to brave the puddles and come out to see us. Thanks!
And happy valentine's day to everyone!


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