Updates

Hi everyone!  I’ve been falling a bit off of my weekly blog schedule due to time constraints but thankfully not by too much. 

The past week has been craaaazzy!!  First of all, do you remember when I told you that after my first mammogram, I was called back because the images were unclear?  I was understandably nervous, but was told that it was completely normal and that most women had to get additional images taken after their first mammogram.  Unfortunately, no one told me this until after I got the call back and by then it was too late because I was already freaked out!  Well, last Tuesday was my follow-up appointment.  My mom came into the city again to be with me and this time she made it on time!  Of course, it was not without issue.  She was taking the express commuter bus from her home in Rockland County and since she had never taken it before, she had no idea where the bus would drop her off.  She thought it was on 42nd and 5th and so I walked from my apartment in the 30s to 42nd and 5th to meet her even though the appointment was in Union Square (downtown for all of you non-New Yorkers).  Well, I get to 42nd and 5th and she calls and tells me to meet her on 40th and 5th. I walk to 40th and 5th only for her to call and tell me to meet her on 42nd and 5th.  Oy!  I was already anxious about the appointment and I was on the verge of losing my mind to boot!  Long story short, the bus dropped her off on 48th between 5th and 6th and she walked to 42nd and 5th where we proceeded to catch a cab to Union Square.  She was too tired to take the subway. I didn’t blame her one bit!  I have to say that I was really glad she was with me in the waiting room because we ended up chatting about other stuff and I barely had time to be nervous before I was called in.  The first thing the technician said to me is that I shouldn’t be nervous because it was completely normal to be called back after a first mammogram and that I was more than likely fine.  Terror was apparently written all over my face!  So she takes another mammogram of just my right breast (the original image taken of the left was fine) and tells me that they are pretty certain the spot they saw is just a lymph node but they want to be sure.  The spot they saw? I had no idea they saw a spot in the first place and was very glad I didn’t or else I would have been even more nervous.  After she finished, she dropped me off in another waiting room and said she’d come get me after she showed the new mammogram to the doctor.  This waiting room was pretty scary – a room full of women who were all there for the same reason.  Everyone smiled kindly to each other but no one said a word.  I wanted to keep my mom apprised of what was going on but she doesn’t text and I wasn’t going to disturb the other women by calling her.  While other women came and went, I continued to wait until the tech returned and told me that I needed yet another mammogram because the image was still not clear. For the love of God, I apparently have a very dense right breast and I’m surprised that no man has ever mentioned it to me.  Er, not insinuating that many men have seen my breasts.  Um, never mind!! By this time, I’m a pro and wasn’t even fazed by the procedure.  It doesn’t really hurt now that I know (full well) what to expect.  After looking at it, she says, “Yeah, this is surely a lymph node.  The good kind (?).  You’re most definitely good but I have to send you back to the waiting room because you might need a sonogram but you might not.”  Back to the waiting room I go and this time I wait. And wait. And wait.  I’m starting to think they forgot about me until a new technician comes in and tells me they’re ready for my sonogram.  Even though the original tech told me it was most certainly a “good” lymph node, I assumed they were still unsure since they wanted a sonogram too. So, I’m on the bed while the tech conducts the sonogram and my eyes are closed and I am silently praying that I am ok as I hold back tears.  I hear the tech say, “Are you tired or nervous?”  I respond, “I’m nervous” in a quiet, shaky voice and she says, “Oh, you’re fine!  It’s a lymph node!”  At that, I am mostly ecstatic and ready to kiss her but I’m also thinking a) Why didn’t you tell me that before? And b) why do I still need a sonogram?” but I decided it didn’t matter – I was fine.  A few minutes later, I was dressed and hugging my mom in the waiting room.  Best feeling ever!!  I assumed the “I’m healthy” feeling would last forever and make everything else seem inconsequential and it did for a while but a few days later, I managed to feel sorry for myself for one thing or another 🙂 

Last week was also the week I finished the blurb for my upcoming release, Blogger Girl!  I’m excited to share it with you but I have a tentative chat scheduled with my publisher regarding the launch and don’t want to share anything prematurely.  But, I would like to give props to my editor Gabrielle Roman for coming up with the first draft and then my amazing friend and fellow author Francine LaSala for tweaking it to almost perfection.  The only reason I say “almost” is that Francine hasn’t read the book yet and certain things needed to be changed for accuracy.  Let me tell you, writing a blurb is SO not fun but thankfully Francine seems to enjoy it because I will be requesting her assistance with every book I write for the rest of my life.  Consider yourself warned Francine!

Progress is also being made with respect to the book cover and I would like to give additional props to my fabulous cover artist Loretta Matson.  She designed the cover for A State of Jane which I loved and I am 100% confident that she will knock it out of the park with the Blogger Girl cover as well.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of what she’s working on but not the cover in its entirety.  I can’t wait!

I have some exciting news to share about my first book, Just Friends with Benefits, only I can’t share it yet.  Psych! 

That’s pretty much it for me.  I had a long but fun-filled weekend.  Saw Man of Steel on Friday night.  Damn Henry Cavill makes a hot Super Man.  He’d make a hot mailman and any other “man” too.  I could not believe the resemblance between Henry and Christopher Reeve.  Wow.  I watched the Yankees beat the Rays on Saturday afternoon and I came back with a killer farmer’s tan because silly me forgot to bring sunblock and our seats were out in the sun.  Did I mention it was over 90 degrees outside?  And have you ever been to a baseball game?  They’re long!  So, yeah, I look kind of stupid with my unbalanced tan but at least I had a good time and the Yankees won.  Yesterday, I went to a boozy brunch with my friends, if you consider 3pm “brunch” which apparently we do!  Brunch ended at 10pm thanks to my stupid suggestion to go get another drink afterwards.  I really didn’t need another drink.  You live and learn.  Or you don’t live and learn.  In some respects, I am definitely one who learns from her mistakes but not when it comes to overdoing it at boozy brunches. 

I need to get ready to watch The Bachelorette followed by Under The Dome and before that, I need to do my ab exercises and make dinner so I will end this now.  I hope everyone had a terrific Monday and has a wonderful week ahead.

 

overbooked

The overwhelming theme of my week is “overbooked.”  I am overbooked in almost every possible way right now and not in a good way, like “I’ve been asked out by so many gorgeous guys, I can’t find enough days in the week to accommodate them.”  And not, “I have so many book signings and appearances on talk shows like Ellen and The View and the requests keep coming faster than I can book my first class flights.”  Those kinds of overbookings, I would cherish! 

Work – My day job is so busy right now that I had to have a meeting with my boss regarding my backlog and how long it would take me to get to it.  I am confident enough to state publicly that anyone who has ever worked with me in my trademark paralegal capacity knows that I am always on top of things.  I work very efficiently and am consistently one step ahead.  Lately, however, assignments have been coming at me faster than I can get to them.  The attorneys with whom I work usually do not require things on an urgent basis and so I have been trying to deal with stuff on a priority basis but even stuff that is not “time-sensitive” cannot sit unfinished indefinitely. A little backlog is actually a good thing because on slow days, I always have something to do.  I cannot remember my last “slow day.”  Currently, I have emails that I reviewed, determined as low priority and marked as “un-read” to be dealt with at a later date crowding my email inbox and causing that annoying “Your mailbox is almost full” warning.  We also assumed responsibility for a new client a few months ago and I have twenty boxes of files to go through and this is on top of my long list of deadlines and work that is generated from clients and attorneys on a daily basis.  I’m doing the best I can, but there were a few times over the past week when I wanted to run to the bathroom and cry. I haven’t done that since I was in my early twenties and a newbie at juggling so many assignments at a time.   My workload is officially “overbooked.”

Plans – I’m a social person and I love to make plans with my friends for evenings and weekends.  At the same time, I require a certain amount of downtime and don’t like to go out every single night.  I couldn’t afford to anyway.  Most importantly, I’m a writer if I’m ever going to make a dent in my fourth novel, continue to promote A State of Jane and Just Friends with Benefits and work on launch plans for Blogger Girl, I need to make the time when I am not working as a trademark paralegal.  Because of this, I often book my plans in advance.  At this time, I can’t really afford to be spontaneous since for the next three weeks, I already have plans booked for several times a week. In that same vain, my friends and I are suckers for all of those deals offered by such vendors as Amazon Local, Blackboard Eats, Thrillest, Bloomspot etc.  I currently have three unused deals that will expire in the next couple of months, along with several more that my friends purchased.  I’m not complaining about having a fun life, don’t get me wrong.  But damn, it’s exhausting sometimes and I wish some of my friends weren’t so cool – it would be so much easier to ditch them if they were lame!  (On a somewhat related note, to those friends who I owe emails, Jenny, Elke, I mean you, I’m sorry!  I’ll get to it.  At some point.)  My social life is seriously overbooked and I just don’t have enough time for all of those gorgeous guys who are asking me out on dates.

Books – I remember when I bought one, maybe two, books at a time and was able to read them immediately.  Those days are long gone!  I have so many friends who are talented authors and I want to support them by buying, reading and reviewing their books.  I’m not friends with Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Helen Fielding or Lauren Weisberger but I can’t resist buying their books when they come out.  And then there are the sales.  As if $2.99 wasn’t cheap enough, I subscribe to both Book Bub and Ereader News Daily and barely a day goes by when I am not compelled to purchase a discounted book.  I mean, when a book that sounds good is only 99 cents or even free, how can I not buy it?  I have 49 unread books on my Kindle.  49 books!!  How does that happen?  I think I might need an intervention.  So, yeah, my TBR pile is so overbooked, it might bury me!

What about you?  Are you overbooked like me?  Feel free to share.  Unless you are overbooked with dates with gorgeous men.  That, you can keep to yourself! Show off… 

Book Buzz 2013 – oh what a night!

I am exhausted! I am writing this during my lunch hour on Monday afternoon after a long, four-day weekend which, for once, actually felt long!  It started last Wednesday evening, the night before Book Buzz 2013, the author mix and mingle I organized along with seven other authors in New York City. 

Pre-Buzzing – After work on Wednesday, I was at Starbucks, writing my 4th novel (it’s already 20 pages!) when I received an email from my friend and fellow author, Francine LaSala.  She asked what I was up to as Jen Tucker, another friend and fellow author, had arrived from her hometown of Indiana and had checked into her hotel in NYC for Book Buzz and the Book Expo America Conference (BEA”) which had commenced that day at the Jacob Javits Center.  They were going to get a drink and asked if I wanted to join.  After years of tweeting, “Facebooking” and corresponding via email, I had met Francine face-to-face for the first time a few weeks earlier while we were planning Book Buzz.  I had never met Jen although we, too, were already “virtual” friends.  I headed over to Jen’s hotel both excited and a little nervous to meet in person.  The second I got there, I already felt like I had known these women for years which I basically had.  Francine made a joke about peeing in Jen’s hotel bathroom and jumping onto her bed within about five minutes of meeting her. I basically did the same thing because we were just that comfortable.  We decided to go out for a drink and I felt like such a “local” as I led the others to the closest strip of bars.  After entering and leaving one bar at once when it was just too loud, we found a sports bar more suitable for conversation and got a table in the back. We talked about everything – writing, reading, diet and exercise habits, sports, the upcoming event etc. and had lots of laughs over a drink, but Jen had been traveling, Francine had spent all afternoon at BEA and I had worked all day.  We were tired and decided to call it an early night since Book Buzz was the following evening.

The Wall of Balls

The Wall of Balls

Sam – I woke up on Thursday morning totally excited about the event but also completely stoked because author Samantha Stroh Bailey (“Sam”) would be arriving that morning from her hometown in Toronto and we had plans to meet up for brunch.  Francine was awesome enough to pick Sam up from the airport and then they were going to drop by my apartment.  I have been emailing Sam almost daily for almost a year and I couldn’t wait to actually meet her in person.  Like Francine and Jen, Sam did not disappoint.  She is as witty and down-to-Earth offline as she is online and within a few seconds, I once again forgot that we had just met.  After heading over to Stone Creek Bar & Lounge where the event was being held to drop off our books and swag, Francine had to run to the conference but Sam had time to have lunch with me. It was so great to chat with her without a computer between us but, alas she had an appointment at the Kobo table at the conference and so I put her in a cab and headed back to my apartment to get ready for the party.  I even got my hair blown out for the occasion!  A place called Dry Bar that specializes solely in blow outs opened across the street from my apartment and I had been dying for an excuse to get my hair done there.  I couldn’t think of a better occasion than Book Buzz 2013!   

Almost time – All dressed up, I waited for a cab to take me to Sam’s hotel for a pre-event drink.  No cabs came.  Correction, many cabs drove by, but they were either occupied or off duty.  After ten minutes of waiting on the street corner worrying that I was going to sweat through my dress (it was HOT), I met a couple also waiting for a cab.  When I told them I was headed to my author party, they offered to help me find a cab first.  After another ten minutes of waiting in vain for a yellow cab, we finally hailed down a gypsy cab and the three of us decided to take it together.  The couple would not accept my money and simply wished me congratulations on the party and to have a great time.  If you two are reading this, THANK YOU.  I finally made it to Sam’s hotel, got in the elevator and pressed the button for the Penthouse (Sam is fancy like that…), and nothing happened.  Oops, no one told me I needed a key for the elevator!  Take two, I finally made it up to Sam’s hotel room where we exchanged compliments “You look great!”, “No, YOU look great!”, “WE look great.”  And we did.  Time for the party.

The Event – After walking to the event (still couldn’t find a cab), we finally made it to Stone Creek Bar & Lounge where we were greeted by authors Lucie Simone and Eileen Goudge.  I had participated in several promotions with Lucie and read her books and was very excited to meet her.  And Eileen Goudge, well, who wouldn’t be excited to meet a New York Times best-selling author, especially one as kind and open as Eileen?  They were both beautiful and charming and I am happy to report that while I did not get to spend too much time with them during the event, we got to know each other better later in the weekend.  Cari Kamm arrived next, looking absolutely stunning.  I had met her once before when we were planning the event and since she’s local, I hope to hang out with her again.  Anyone who attended Book Buzz can thank Cari for the Pink Stiletto cocktail as she was responsible for getting us the liquor sponsor from Shpilka Vodka.  Jen Tucker had trouble getting a cab but made it shortly thereafter and then came Heather Thurmeier.  I had an opportunity to chat with Heather later in the evening and after getting to know her better cannot wait to start reading her Bachelor-inspired novel, Falling for You, which is newly downloaded on my Kindle!   Last but not least was blogger, Julie Valerie who worked her tail off during the event.  While the rest of us mixed and mingled, Julie stood watch by our books and handled all of our sales.  She also promoted the hell out of the event ahead of time.  I was very excited to meet Julie.  Not only does she crack me up with her tweets on a daily basis, but she is so supportive of the chick lit genre, writing book reviews and organizing blog hops, and I wanted to express my gratitude in person for everything she has done. 

With Heather Thurmeier

With Heather Thurmeier

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Now that everyone was in the house, it was time to party and we sure did!  The turnout surpassed my expectations and I had so much fun mingling with readers, bloggers, other authors and industry people alike.  I had several friends attend and I am so thankful for their support and hope they had a great time as well and maybe discovered a few more authors. Although I obviously hoped to sell books, I was more excited to simply connect with our guests.  Everyone was so friendly and engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed my role as one of the co-hosts as I made my rounds through the bar.  One of our co-sponsors, Diversion Books, was generous enough to buy several platters of appetizers but I was too busy chatting to eat anything.  I must confess that I was nervous about meeting so many people and concerned that I would be shy but for several reasons, that did not happen.  I can probably blame some of it on the Pink Stiletto cocktail that I drowned before the guests arrived.  Also, I felt very pretty in my new dress and high heeled shoes, especially with my hair professionally blown out with loose curls!  Additionally, it was just so easy to converse with our friendly and enthusiastic guests and my bubbly co-hosts.  Finally, although I have two published novels and one in contract, that night I truly felt like a “real” author for the first time.   Perhaps it was seeing paperback copies of my books on display and spying several people actually purchase them.  Maybe it was the continuously running slide show that Francine’s husband created with photos of all eight authors, our book covers and blurbs from reviews.  Whatever the reason, I felt like it was my night to shine and I wasn’t going to waste it feeling shy or bashful.  I savored every moment.  Before I knew it, people were saying their goodbyes, many of them with our books in their oversized handbags. After speaking to several guest authors, I also left with a list of books to download on Amazon.  After the event officially ended, a few of the authors went home with promises to keep in touch and do it again the following year but several of us stuck around for a bit – partially because we were too tired to motivate to leave!  With achy feet (and cuts on my toes from my new shoes), I collapsed on a couch in a corner of the bar, along with Sam, Francine, Jen and Julie and we exchanged stories about our evenings and continued getting to know each other.  I can’t remember what we talked about anymore but I definitely remember laughing – a lot!!  I was not, however, laughing as I walked home with swollen feet and a huge bag of books later but it was so worth it!

This awesome woman bought all of our books!

This awesome woman bought all of our books!

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

The best part – I got to see most of the authors the following night for dinner at Eileen Goudge’s apartment!  And after that further unforgettable bonding experience, I got to have brunch with Sam and Lucie on Saturday morning and attend BEA with Sam that afternoon.  (Thank you Francine for lending me your identity for the day!) And finally, I had one last dinner with Sam and my friend Hilda on Saturday night.  Over drinks at the bar, we became friendly with the bartender who promised to buy our books and even write reviews on Amazon – not bad for a night out!  As tired and anxious as I was for my head to hit the pillow on Saturday night, it was bitter sweet because the weekend had truly come to an end.  The weekend we had been planning tirelessly for months was really over. 

Then again, that was Book Buzz 2013.  Now we can look forward to Book Buzz 2014! Who’s in?