New Year’s Resolutions – 2013

As part of my upcoming blog tour for A State of Jane, I wrote a post on Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions.  (It has yet to be posted since my tour does not begin until Wednesday, the 2nd.  Can you spell N.E.R.V.O.U.S.?) Anyway, I mentioned in my post that rather than bore readers with my own resolutions, I thought it would be more fun to share some of Jane’s.  Well, despite the fact that Jane’s resolutions are way more humorous (especially if you have read the book), I have decided to bore you with my own resolutions anyway.  Be forewarned that some of them are quite deep.  No apologies, that’s just the way I roll 🙂    

1.  Try to follow my heart even if the direction scares me.  

2.  Try to live in the moment and not worry about what it “means.”  

3.  Publish 3rd novel.  

4.  Make good dent in 4th novel (first step, start writing it). 

5.  Start appreciating being young, because compared to many people, I am still quite young, instead of fretting so much about getting old and stop paying so much attention to the media about how I’m supposed to act, look and feel at my age. I am my own person, not a number, age group or generation.  

6.   Continue to push myself physically to stay in shape but step back every so often and appreciate the shape I am in.  I probably won’t look as good in ten years and would hate to waste more of my life worrying about getting flabby later instead of appreciating being unflabby now!   

7.  Stop trying to please everyone with both my writing and in general. It’s not possible. Some people won’t like my books. Some people won’t like me. It doesn’t mean I’m not a talented writer and a wonderful person.  

8.  Don’t let anyone, either intentionally or not, make me feel not good enough or “less than.”  

9.  Appreciate what I have but don’t lose sight of what I need.  

10. Stop getting upset when people don’t behave the way I would under the same circumstances. I cannot control the behavior of other people but I can feel good knowing I might be kinder, wiser, more sensitive and stronger than them.  Other times the roles will be reversed.  

11.  Try not to feel guilty for having thoughts and feelings that I wish I didn’t have. It is what it is, I’m human. Live with it.  

12.  Read these resolutions often enough so I don’t forget!

Happy New Year one and all!  

Thoughts from the Road

As I write this post, I sit at gate C12 in Laguardia Airport waiting for my flight to board.  I am going to Chicago.  I am meeting my boyfriend there and we are staying with his sister and her husband for one night before driving to Michigan tomorrow.  While in Michigan, we will celebrate Christmas for two days.  On Saturday, his extended family is having their annual Christmas dinner (Smith Palooza) and on Sunday, we will be celebrating again with his more immediate family.  Sunday, in case you didn’t know, is also my birthday.  Although I am excited to spend Christmas with my boyfriend for the first time, I am slightly sad that my birthday will take second fiddle.  I’m getting old though so it’s not like I need to be reminded about it!  Especially since I am several years older than my boyfriend… Anyway, on Monday, I believe we will be visiting with some of my boyfriend’s friends from high school and college, although I am not certain of that.  I think we might also be running a 5K on Saturday morning.  While I am slightly afraid of running in Flint without a bullet proof vest, I have a feeling I am going to be eating a lot more than usual this week and so a run will definitely do my body good.  On Tuesday, Christmas day, we will drive back to Chicago, have dinner with my boyfriend’s sister and her husband and then we will have the next two days to explore Chicago by ourselves. I’m totally excited about that because I’ve never been to Chicago.  Unless you count the 24 hour trip I took back in 1996 when I was sent there for training on a trademark docketing system.  Since I didn’t have time to see anything besides the airport, my hotel and the training room, I don’t count it.  This time, I will truly experience Chicago.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some real Chicago deep dish pizza! I also heard that Chicago makes one hell of an Italian hot dog and Italian meat sandwich.  Yeah, I will definitely need to run while I am away… I want to see “the bean”, shop the Miracle Mile, check out some of the architecture and at least drive by Wrigley Field.  I am sad that we are visiting in the baseball off-season as I really want to see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  I am a Yankees fan but I love visiting different stadiums.  On our last night, we will be going to a Second City show. I remember from the cruise I took a couple of years ago that the Second City is a hilarious improve show and I can’t wait.  

The trip has been uneventful for me so far.  Last time I travelled during the holidays, everything that could go wrong did. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say that since the plane did eventually arrive in Jamaica and I was alive and well when I got there – that’s something. But between being delayed and ultimately booted off my initial flight, spending  the night at the airport Ramada, arriving in Jamaica a day late and welcomed by torrential downpours, I was a bit tentative about traveling this time of year.    Not to jinx myself but so far, so good.  My flight is leaving at 2 and I had my car pick me up at 11:45 in case of traffic or long security lines.  There was no traffic, I checked my bag at the curb and went through security in record time and arrived at my gate at 12:30!  I’m hoping the flight leaves on time, I am not sitting next to anyone with horrid breath or body odor, there is minimal turbulence and I arrive at Ohare safe and sound.  I also hope my bag is waiting on the carousal when I get there!  My poor boyfriend is already having a rough time.  First he missed his bus to the airport and had to take a cab.  Then the flight was delayed by an hour only to be extended by several more hours.  He was supposed to arrive an hour before me but it looks like I will get there well before him.  His sister is meeting us at the airport.  Hopefully, she’ll be game for having a beer while we wait 🙂

I really need this vacation as I have been super stressed out lately.  Work has been insane!  One of my clients has some extra money in its budget for the year and so I was instructed to do some last minute, time-sensitive projects for them.  My other clients were also super busy.  I’ve also been trying so hard to keep up with the promotion of A State of Jane.  As my fellow authors can probably appreciate, I’ve been obsessed with my sales rankings on Amazon.  I had a really good week or two in late November/early December but, based on my numbers the past few days, my sales have dropped.  I am trying not to focus on it so much because we all have bad days.  I promised my boyfriend I would relax this week and not focus too much on the writing stuff.  I hope to keep that promise for his sake and mine because the stress is just ridiculous!  My third book is with a fellow author friend.  I am waiting with baited breath to get her comments. One beta reader really liked it so far and one has been suspiciously silent which, of course, has made me super paranoid.  I’m really hoping this author friend has encouraging words because I’m really proud of this book and would hate to find out that my instincts have been way off.  That would be a waste of almost a year of writing!

OK, the gate is getting crowed which leaves me to believe we will boarding soon.  Hooray!  I will be back later.

Update: First my boyfriend texted to tell me that all flights in and out of Chicago are being cancelled at 5.  His flight is still scheduled to arrive earlier than that, but who knows?  Then there was an announcement at my gate that my flight was being delayed from 2:00 to 3:10 due to weather issues in Chicago. I also hope to arrive by 5! Ugh.  It’s dejavu all over again…

 Another update:  I am happy to report that while both of our flights were delayed, neither were cancelled and we are now together in the state of Illinois. I am happily drinking my second glass of Shiraz, comfy and cozy on the couch with my boyfriend next to me.  More later! 🙂

My Favorite Books of 2012!

Last year around this time, I wrote a blog post on my favorite books of 2011.  I’ve decided to make the post an annual tradition and so I have listed below my Top 10 Books (or series) of 2012.  I read, on average, a book a week.  I am often asked how that is possible given how many other things I have going on and the answer is, I have absolutely no idea.  The only answer I can provide is that I devour books as if they are going the way of the Chilean Sea Bass – extinction.  I can’t get enough.  Given the volume of books I read this year, just because a book does not appear on my favorites list does not mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it. 

In no particular order:

Blame it on the Fame by Tracie Banister  – This sexy, drama-filled book about the high-stakes Oscar awards reminded me of the Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz novels from the late 80s and I could absolutely see it as a television mini-series like Hollywood Wives or I’ll Take Manhattan. I wish there were more of these books!

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins  – For ten days, I ate, breathed and slept Katniss, Peeta, Gale and the rest of the crew from District 12 while I read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  I was even tempted to order Groosling at a restaurant.  Sadly, it wasn’t on the menu.  I am ashamed to admit that for a brief period of time I was more concerned with the well-being of Peeta Mellark than my own flesh and blood.  My obsession with The Hunger Games paved the way for many other YA Dystopian novels onto my Kindle.  So far, although I have enjoyed a few, nothing has really compared.

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella – Ah, what can I say about Kinsella?  She knows how to create endearing and adorable lead female characters like nobody’s business and Poppy Wyatt was no exception.  This book was classic Kinsella, outlandish but hilarious and fun with a capital F.    

Haole Wood by Dee Desario – I read this book while having my hair cut and highlighted.  The combined process takes over 3 hours and while I usually feel claustrophic in the chair, I was having too much fun reading the hilarious banter between Jaswinder Park and her naked guardian angel to realize how much my butt hurt from sitting in the same spot for so long!  

Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin –Similar to the above, I read this book while trapped in a chair – this time a chair in an airplane during a 6.5 hour flight from New York to Seattle.  Again, under normal circumstances, I am miserable while flying yet despite the non-existent arm and leg room and the turbulence, I was too busy contemplating the two choices in Grace Savage ’s sexy love triangle to notice.

Here (On the Otherside) by Denise Grover Swank – I might not have read this book had I not enjoyed The Hunger Games so much and if it had not been written by Denise Grover Swank, the author of one of my 2011 favorites, Twenty-eight and a Half Wishes.  I find the idea of an alternate dimension to be so fascinating and I loved the characters in this book.  My enjoyment of this book also led to my present addiction to the television show Fringe! The sequel, There is supposedly coming out this month. I’m waiting!    

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey – This book was definitely chicklit at its finest.  It was hilarious, touching and basically un-put-downable.  The characters were so well fleshed out, I felt like I knew them.

The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service by Beth Kendrick – I would recommend this funny chicklit novel to any dog lover.  The personalities of the dogs in this novel were better fleshed out than most secondary human characters in books.  Canines aside, the relationships between the main character and her parents also felt very real.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve actually read this book twice since April.  I LOVED everything about this book. I loved the characters, the storyline, the relationships, the ending.  Everything.  The main character Lincoln was incredibly endearing as were the two main female characters Beth and Jennifer.  I loved being a fly on the wall reading their email exchanges.  I’m 100% certain I will read this book again.      

Thank you for Flying Air Zoe by Erik Atwell – I loved this laugh-out-loud story about Zoe Tisdale as she reunites with her best friends from high school in an attempt to put her band back together.  It was refreshing to read a book that stepped outside of the usual stereotypes of women turning 40.  Not everyone gets their shit together or hits all of the standard milestones at the same time.  This book featured four fun, quirky attractive, intelligent women who are old enough to know better and young enough to do it anyway.  Kind of like me 🙂 

Honorable mentions also go to Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie, Fashioning a Romance by Libby Mercer, Daydreamer by Brea Brown and Build a Man by Talli Roland.

The books of 2013 have some big shoes to fill but my Kindle is ready and waiting!  Bring it on!

8 Holiday Questions for 8 Authors!

8 Questions for 8 Authors

I am so honored to be one of 8 authors participating in this holiday blog hop.  Since this is the last post in the hop, I hope you’re still reading!!

1.  What is your best (or worst) holiday memory?

I am Jewish and so my typical Christmas day consists of seeing a movie with my parents and going out for Japanese food – Hibachi.  As my birthday is December 23rd, Christmas is also the day I celebrate my birthday with my folks.  I have two older sisters and 5 nieces and nephews but this day is just me and parents.  I cherish this day every year because on this day, I am not a grown woman with a job and responsibilities, I am the youngest child who has the undivided attention of her parents.  (This often means I have to answer, or more likely avoid, my mother’s prying questions into the details of my relationship but at least they pay for my popcorn!) This year, I will be spending Christmas in Michigan with my boyfriend’s family but since I cherish him too, I am sure it will be a special day and I look forward to making a new holiday memory.  As long as he doesn’t forget to wish me a happy birthday! 

2.  Favorite holiday beverage?

After walking the crowded streets of New York City on a frigid winter day, I love to sit by a window in a cozy bar with a cup of hot mulled wine.   My German friend calls it “Gluvine.”

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3.    What would you add to a snowman to personalize it?

As an avid fan of baseball with a loyal allegiance to the New York Yankees, I miss my boys during the off months.  I would personalize my snowman New York Yankees style with a Yankees branded scarf, hat and banner

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4.    What are three things you can’t survive the holidays without?

My iPod because, less face it, all of the radio stations play all Christmas music ALL OF THE TIME and quite frankly, it’s annoying. 

My credit card because, damn the holiday season sure is expensive!

 My family – this year will be different because, as stated above, I am spending the holidays as well as my birthday with my boyfriend’s family.  Hopefully they will treat me right! 

5.    Santa – sexy or let’s just be friends?

“Santa, it’s not that I’m not attracted to you but I am already seeing someone.  Can we just be friends?  Really close friends who get each other super awesome gifts for the holidays?”   

6.    Favorite holiday song, album or movie?

Whenever I am asked to choose one, I always cheat.  Today will be no exception.  My favorite holiday song(s) are Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland version) and I don’t want a lot for Christmas (I love the version in Love, Actually)  Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song is pretty cool too!  Favorite Christmas movies are Meet me in St. Louis, Love, Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life.

7.    It’s midnight New Year’s Eve – you can kiss any celebrity, living or dead. Who’s it going to be?

Bradley Cooper – I want to run my hands through his messy longish hair and plant a juicy kiss on his luscious lips.  Then I want him to flash me his dazzling white tooth smile and tell me it was the best kiss he ever had 🙂

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Don’t we look cute together?

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8.    What is your worst/funniest holiday travel tale?

One year my friend and I decided to take a holiday to Jamaica the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  Both of us are pretty anal about being on time and so for our early flight, we arrived at the airport before security even opened.  First to arrive at our gate, we breathed a sigh of relief until we were told that the airline overbooked the flight and they were looking for people to volunteer to give up their tickets and fly out the following day.  My friend and I had already pre-paid our all-inclusive vacation and there was no way we were voluntarily missing a full day but it seemed no one else was willing either.  Then we were told that due to an impending snow-storm, there would be a delay in departure time.  We were told to go get food and that they would announce over the loud speaker if there were any developments in departure time.  My friend and I went to get food and when we returned to the gate (less than 30 minutes later), we were told that the flight had already departed.  In case you missed that last sentence, THE FLIGHT HAD ALREADY DEPARTED. Without us.  Since we were told to go get food and no announcement had been made asking all passengers to return to the gate, we were sufficiently pissed off.  I was cursing and throwing a fit, of course.  But there was nothing we could do about it.  We were given tickets for a flight the following morning and shuttled to the Ramada at the airport.  The hotel room and dinner were paid by the airline and we were also given a voucher for a free domestic flight.  Since our trip was supposed to be 7 days and nights, we decided that losing one day wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, especially since we got that free voucher for another flight.  Unfortunately, neither of us had packed any clothes in our carry-on and had no clean underwear for the next day.  The hotel store had underwear but only Hanes Men’s briefs.  What’s a girl with no clean panties to do?  Wear Hane’s Men’s briefs of course!  Without any further complications, we arrived safely in Jamaica and enjoyed one day of sunshine and 5 days of torrential downpours.  And then on the return trip, I left my passport in the cab that drove me home from the airport.  Along with all of the souvenirs I bought.  And my voucher for a free domestic flight. 

Vacation: Epic fail!

If you haven’t had a chance to read my fellow author’s answers, you can find them here!

Jane Frank’s Top 10 Dating Tips

After breaking up with her first and only boyfriend of nine-years, Jane Frank enthusiastically dove into the NYC dating pool with very little experience under her belt.  To say Jane got her ass kicked by NYC eligible bachelors would be a huge understatement and while I cannot tell you if she eventually met the man of her dreams and lived happily ever after without spoiling the book, I can tell you that she learned quite a few lessons.  Although sometimes a bit spoiled and a bit self-absorbed, Jane is at heart a very generous soul and so she has decided to share some of her dating lessons with you:

Dating Tip 1:

If you want to seduce your man with a scintillating strip tease, don’t do it while wearing tights.  First of all, tights are not a sexy look and second of all, it is almost impossible to remove them gracefully and you can hurt yourself.

Dating Tip 2:

If a guy ends his date early with some lame excuse like having to drive his roommate to the airport, he’s probably lying.  Especially if this happens mere minutes after telling him you are not ready to go “all the way.”

Dating Tip 3:

Just because a guy is nice to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to date you.  Don’t read into things.  If a guy is truly interested, he will eventually ask you out directly. You might need to show blatant interest but he will eventually take the bait, assuming he has any balls.

Dating Tip 4:

If you are a girly girl, don’t date a man who is addicted to sports unless you are truly interested in learning more about the games.  Otherwise, the conversations can be very boring indeed.  Trust me on this one! 

Dating Tip 5:

If your date takes you to a bar and is overwhelmingly friendly with the pretty female bartender, run.

Dating Tip 6:

Even ugly guys in this Godforsaken city already have girlfriends!  Don’t make assumptions that just because you are pretty and he is gross, he will fall all over himself to date you. 

Dating Tip 7:

Don’t take an apology at face value.  Actions speak louder than words.

Dating Tip 8:

Sometimes it happens when you least expect it.  Not necessarily to you, mind you, but to someone!

Dating Tip 9:

Some players, (male and female) do settle down eventually.  It might be excruciatingly painful to take advice from those hypocritical know-it-alls who have “been there, done that” but try to suck it up because you might learn something.

Dating Tip 10:

When you have a one-night-stand in someone else’s apartment, try not to leave intimate clothing items behind.  Embarrassing!

And there you have them.  Read them.  Live them. Happy Dating 🙂