Idle October

I sent my latest book to three beta readers this weekend after already doing a heavy round of edits with a critique partner. There’s nothing left for me to do right now besides wait—something I’m not very good at.  I asked my beta readers to try to get the book back to me by the end of month, but if I have to wait longer, I will. Honest, thorough, constructive criticism from trusted and unbiased third parties is critical to me for crafting a tight, well-paced, engaging, and sell-able book, so my self-imposed deadline is flexible. With the book temporarily out of my hands, October is kind of open for me, and I’m not one to remain idle for too long. I’m doing a manuscript critique for a new client (learn about my editing services here), I’ll work on my next book, and I suppose I’ll relax.  What? I know. Crazy, right?

I’ve decided to say yes to all social invitations (within reason), when I often think twice to make sure I leave room for writing. I’ll reach out to friends I haven’t seen in a while. I’ll probably give online dating another try, although I truly hate how casual the exercise has become and don’t have high hopes. Does anyone know an available, intelligent, funny, kind, attractive man around 39-53 so I don’t have to join Ok Cupid or Plenty of Fish? Anyone? I didn’t think so.

On a bright note, I’ll be a featured author at Saugatuck Storyfest, a three-day celebration of writing taking place from October 12th-14th, and organized by the Westport Library and the Westport Public Schools. If you’re local and around that Sunday morning, join me at Staples High School for an author breakfast. It’s general admission with no advanced ticketing required. I’ll be joined by authors Jamie Brenner, Marilyn Simon Rothstein, Fiona Davis, Lynda Loigman Cohen and more. We’ll be discussing our writing process, what’s new in our respective genres, authors who’ve inspired us, and what we are reading now. I would love to see you there!

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That’s all for me for today, but I’m also hoping to be more active on the blog this month.

Famous last words

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Win a bundle of RomCom books!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 15+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Romantic Comedy & Chick Lit novels to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

You can win my novel  THE BOYFRIEND SWAP, plus books from authors like Melissa Baldwin and Whitney Dineen — just by following me and other great Romantic Comedy & Chick Lit authors on BookBub!

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/romcomchicklit-aug18

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Good luck and enjoy!

Weekly (er, Monthly) update

Remember that blog post I wrote a couple months back where I promised to blog much more often? Yes, that one. You’ve probably realized by now that I lied. I really tried, but time (and life) got away from me and a weekly blog post slipped through my fingers like sand from the beach vacation I haven’t taken yet this year.

You might be wondering what’s been keeping me so busy that I reneged on my promise to blog. No? Well, too bad because I’m going to tell you everything anyway! Well, maybe not everything

I spent a week in Denver in mid-July. I stayed at my oldest sister’s house for the first few days. One-on-one time with my big sis was my biggest priority and we accomplished it. As a family, we day-tripped to Red Rocks Arena. The altitude is no joke. I run approximately twenty miles a week and I was breathless after only a few steps! I went on a mini-hike with my sister and youngest niece. And my sister was shocked to learn I’d never seen the Ocean’s series, so we watched Ocean’s 11 and Oceans 12 in one sitting. A moment of silence for George Clooney. I also managed to write at least 1000 words of my new novel from her back porch while the rest of the family was at work/camp. Since I wasn’t expecting to write at all, it was a win!

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Sisters 1 and 3 at Red Rock. (There are three of us)

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Is this beautiful or what?

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A rare solo photo

After three days with the fam, I headed downtown for the Romance Writers of America Conference (RWA). It was the first time I’ve attended the conference and I was a hot ball of nerves! But I’m so glad I went! I reunited with online author friends I hadn’t seen in person in years (or ever), attended fabulous sessions on craft and marketing, and met with industry professionals, including agents and editors. One of my favorite sessions was The Writer’s Guide to Getting it All Done. Balancing my writing career with a full-time job and a personal life is a challenge, and the speaker, Sarra Cannon, provided so many amazing tips on how to prioritize tasks based on your ultimate writing goals. I’d never really visualized my dream writing career, and doing so helped me figure out what activities to focus on or toss aside depending on whether they would bring me closer to accomplishing my goal. I’m also a fan of Sarra’s young adult series, The Shadow Demons. I picked up the first one when it was free on Amazon and got so sucked in that I read the entire series!

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Dinner with my fellow authors from Chick Lit Chat

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From left to right, Kathryn Biel, Melissa Baldwin, Becky Monson, Stacey Wiedower, Kate O’Keefe, and me 🙂

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The gang from Chick Lit Chat again.

One of the highlights of the conference was meeting my writing idol, Kristan Higgins. She was moderating an early (very early…) writing sprint with another one of my faves, Tawna Fenske, and I couldn’t resist having them both in the same room at the same time! After the sprint, and approximately three hundred new words later, I summoned the courage to introduce myself to Kristan. I told her she’s not only one of my favorite authors, but she inspires me to be better. It’s true. I purposely read a Kristan Higgins’ book when I need a swift kick in the butt to up the humor, conflict, and swoon-worthy moments in my own work-in-progress. She seemed genuinely touched by the comment and hugged me. Kristan Higgins HUGGED me!!!

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That’s also my author friend (and amazing RWA roommie), Stacey Wiedower!

I returned from the trip incredibly motivated and anxious to continue working on my new book. It’s a romantic comedy for fans of Sally Thorne and (you guessed it) Kristan Higgins.  Hopefully, fans of Meredith Schorr will like it, too! That’s all I’m going to say about it right now…

I’ve also been busy with the day job, but nobody wants to hear about that!

Now that I’ve caught you up, it’s time to get my butt back in the seat…of my new writing desk. Check it out!

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Until next time (hopefully next week, but no promises)

XOXO

I will never stop.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the day I lost my best friend, Alan, to cancer.

July has been hard for me since he’s been gone. The long Fourth of July weekend has become less about day drinking and fireworks than it is a reminder of the day I spent getting drunk with a friend at the Seaport blissfully ignorant to the fact that Alan was on his death bed and I’d never see or speak to him again. During this month, the anger returns (why him?), the memories are more vivid, the sadness deeper.

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There are people I can talk to freely about this—others who loved Alan, folks who have also lost someone they truly loved and “get” it, and people who simply love me and hurt when I hurt.

Still, there are others who probably don’t get it. People who change the subject each time I bring up his name, as if the fact that I still miss the man after four years means something is wrong with me. Maybe they think there is a timeline for grieving and I’ve surpassed it; that our friendship had its time and should be put to rest like he was.

I don’t think these people mean me any harm, but it’s something I simply cannot do. I will always remember Alan as someone who truly made my life better. I will recall the day he died as one of the worst days of my life. (THE worst so far, if I’m being honest.) I will forever wonder what he’d say/do/think about the things I say/do/think. I’ll never stop laughing when I think of an inside joke we shared. I’ll never stop thinking of him whenever the clock says 10:27 (his birthday).  I will forever include him in the acknowledgements of my books. I will keep changing my profile picture on his birthday and the anniversary of his death. I will cry every July 8th and October 27th and whenever I watch The Long Island Medium or the subject of Leukemia comes up. I will never EVER forget him, stop cherishing the role he had in my life, or cease finding reasons to mention him in conversation. It’s my way of keeping him alive.

If you don’t like it, my advice to you: get ear plugs.

The Paris Theater

If you’ve read my books, you’ve probably noticed that there’s at least one reference to Sex and the City in most of them. It’s not a “thing” I do or even a conscious decision. I think it’s because the majority of my heroines have been single New Yorkers. Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha are iconic single New Yorkers who experienced quite the dating life. They also exchanged some of the wittiest banter on television, in my opinion.

When my friend, Lily, asked if I wanted to see The Seagull at The Paris Theater with a couple of her friends, I initially said yes because I was impressed with the cast, including Annette Benning, Elizabeth Moss, Brian Dennehy, and Michael Zegen (from my favorite show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime). Then she reminded me that, in one episode of SATC, Carrie went to The Paris Theater and mused that “the most amazing thing about living in a city like New York is that any night of the week you can go to Paris.” After living in Manhattan for more than fifteen years, I’ve made it to many of the venues frequented in the show, by not The Paris Theater. I was in!

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So, this past weekend, four of us (Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda—kidding!) met for a quick dinner at the food court in the Plaza Hotel, followed by a trip to the Eloise store, before heading over to the theater for the movie. We sat in the first row of the balcony. It would have been very romantic if we were on a date, but we weren’t so…we just enjoyed our popcorn (or I enjoyed mine, since I was the only one incapable of sitting through a movie sans popcorn despite having just eaten a delicious gluten-free lobster roll and a bag of chips.)

About the movie: It was very well acted, very humorous at times, but not at all uplifting, which is fine. The books I write need happily-ever-afters, but not necessarily the films I watch. I especially enjoyed that one of the main characters was a novelist. Here is a snippet from his monologue about the “curse” of being a novelist:

Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth–I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry forever from one story to another, and can’t help myself.

Boy, could I relate!

About the theater: In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen quite a few movies in big multiplex theaters where the seats recline, but I’ll take the glamorous, old-school, single-screen theater of The Paris Theater any day of the week. And the cool spiral staircase that led from the lobby to the balcony was pretty cool too! Although I didn’t really feel like I was in Paris, I felt a special fondness for New York City, Sex and the City, and my own fabulous girlfriends.

I wish I’d had the forethought to take more pictures. But if you’re a New Yorker or just visiting and want to channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw, or simply escape the masses of the AMCs and Loews of the island, definitely check out The Plaza Theater!

 

worry wart

I had a ninety-minute full-body massage on Saturday. It was wonderful, but it took me a little while to fully relax. Until that happened (probably around the forty-five minute mark…) my mind wandered.

I thought about the lunch and drinks I’d have with my friend after the massage. I thought about the hair cut I had scheduled for the following day. I thought about my next date with a guy I’d met recently. I thought about an ex-friend who’d betrayed me. I thought about my novel in progress. I thought about the new Facebook ad I’d created for an existing book.

And then it occurred to me that with almost all of these thoughts came worry, stress, and fear. What if the menu didn’t have anything I could eat on my restricted diet? What if things didn’t go well with the guy? What if my new book wasn’t good? Why weren’t more readers buying my existing books? For as long as it took me to finally grasp mindfulness and give into the pleasurable pressure of the massage, I was as tense as senators at a U.S. congressional meeting.

Fear and worry have always been my Achilles heel. For the most part, I muddle through, but other times, it’s a small itch I scratch until it becomes a festering sore. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Occasionally, it affects how I communicate with others, and causes me to do or not do things I regret later. Over the last week, I’ve been attacked by worry from more angles than I can handle. My stomach has been in constant knots and it’s making it hard to enjoy myself in the moment.

Before he passed away, my friend Alan hated when I’d get this way, and he’d talk me off the ledge. I have another friend who is pretty awesome at it too, but the truth is, no one can “heal” me except myself. When I mentally talk myself down, it helps temporarily, but then I forget what I said to myself.

As an experiment, I decided to talk myself down in writing so I could read it again as needed. I wrote down each issue currently worrying me followed by a list of arguments against it—why I was being irrational. I also wrote down the worst-case-scenario—if what I worried about came to fruition, what was the worst thing that would happen as a result? (This helped me put it into perspective) Finally, I jotted down a logical thought process for handling it in the moment—if this happens, don’t forget about this, that, and the other thing. I found it really helped for at least one fear I was stressing over!

Everyone has different ways of dealing with their demons. I’m a constant work-in-progress. For other worry warts out there, care to share your tricks?

My thoughts on Book Club

I saw Book Club this weekend. As a writer and a voracious reader, a movie about a book club is immediately appealing to me. Throw in some of my favorite actresses, like Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda, and no additional incentive is required. That being said, I do have my own issues with aging, especially the discrepancy between how an aging woman is treated versus a man. I worried about how the women in this movie would be betrayed, and if it would trigger my own fears about aging.

 So, what did I think about the movie?

In a nutshell, I loved almost every part of it. I smiled, I laughed out loud, I choked up, I applauded, I swooned. I’m a big fan of romantic comedies with happily-ever-after endings. The fact that the couples in this movie were at least twenty years older than me had no bearing on my feelings. Here’s why.

The friendship shared by the four women was supportive, hilarious, and honest, akin to Sex and the City. They teased each other endlessly, but they had each other’s backs. The personalities were somewhat clichéd (there was the “promiscuous” one (Fonda), the “prude,” (Bergen) and the idealist (Steenburgen). There were jabs about one of the male leads needing Viagra and one of the female characters having plastic surgery. None of this bothered me because the characters were developed beyond these stereotypes. And, the truth is, many men of a certain age do take the little blue pill and many women of a certain age (and even millennials) get plastic surgery! And while erectile function was an issue for one of the couples, the other romantic story lines developed like any other romance. I’m a fan of grand gestures in romantic comedies and this movie had them in spades, and it was wonderful.

 As I watched the film, it occurred to me that the women could have been any age and have almost the same conversations. In nearly every group of friends, there’s someone who is afraid of getting hurt, not happy with her body, holding a grudge against a family member etc. Women of all ages commiserate over bottles of wine and seek guidance on what to wear on a special occasion. I liked that these women were portrayed as vulnerable despite being old enough to qualify for Medicare. With each decade of my life, I become less obsessed with what others think of me, but at the heart of it, I’m still made of flesh and blood and can’t imagine a time when I won’t seek some sort of reassurance/validation/advice from friends, even over things some might consider frivolous or immature.

 The female characters were successful women. One was a Federal judge, another owned a hotel, and another was a well-known chef. Yet they still craved romance and attention from the opposite sex. What’s so wrong with that? I’m tired of watching television and movies where it’s the woman who loses interest in sex and not the man. Or the divorced man or widower gets right back in the dating scene, usually with a younger woman, and the divorced woman (or widow) focuses only on her career or her children. Why can’t she have both? I don’t think women lose their power because they want romantic love. I haven’t read many of the reviews, but I’m sure there are some who think the movie is anti-feminist because it focuses on women needing a man. I didn’t get that vibe at all. All four women had proven that they were completely capable of taking care of themselves. Admitting that they wanted sexual companionship and romantic love doesn’t change that.

 I had small issues with the film, for instance, I wished Keaton’s character had more of a spine a little earlier with respect to her children, but I walked out of the theater with a smile on my face and the warm and fuzzies in my belly.

Fun facts: One of Candace Bergen’s online dates played her love interest in the last season of Sex and the City. My friend also pointed out that Don Johnson, one of the male leads, is the real father of Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele in the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey, the book they’re reading.

Come on, get happy

Back in the olden days, like 2015, I wrote a blog post almost every week. Then my life—my publishing life—became too chaotic to maintain that frequency. I was busy writing, editing, promoting, and releasing—wash, rinse, and repeat times seven—and blogging took a back seat.

For the first time in a while, I don’t have any writing deadlines, aside from the ones I self-impose. I’m busy writing my ninth book, but for now, that’s all I’m doing with it. I miss blogging, and so I’m focused on doing it more often—much more often. Not so frequently that you’ll see my name show up in your feeds and groan, “Not her again,” but enough that when a new post is sent to your email, you won’t think, “Meredith Schorr?” Who the bleep is Meredith Schorr?

Today, I wanted to talk happiness and what it means to be happy. I have many hopes and dreams, some of which will come true and others that won’t, but all I truly want is to be happy——not ten years from now, but today and in this moment. So, what makes me happy?

Feeling loved, whether in a romantic, platonic, maternal, or other type of way. I’m at my best when I’m with someone who 100% adores, accepts, and appreciates me for who I am. (Or at least 95%.)

Loving others. There are many people in this world who have filled my heart with loving feelings. Individuals for whom I wish so much good fortune, and whose needs I’d easily and eagerly put ahead of my own. The ability to love others is something we often take for granted, but we shouldn’t.

Waking up in the morning (or going to sleep at night) with something to look forward to.

Waking up in the morning (or going to sleep at night) with nothing to dread or stress over.

Looking in the mirror and feeling pretty. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my reflection and I appear tired and frumpy, my hair frizzy from a rainy day or high percentage of humidity. Maybe I’m sporting a PMS zit on my forehead or my jeans do nothing for my butt. Sometimes, however (and not only when I’ve been drinking), my skin is glowing, my hair is smooth, my smile is bright, my legs are slim and toned, and I look…wait for it…happy!

Writing, especially when the ideas (and words) are flowing.

Catching up with a really good friend face-to-face.

Laughing because something is undeniably hilarious.

Hugging my mom.

When my nieces and nephews refer to me as, “Aunt Meri.”

Great reviews of my novels, or when someone gives a shout-out of one (or all) of my books on social media.

A sweaty workout complete with inspiring and uplifting music

When my late best friend, Alan, visits me in my dreams (he does!) or otherwise sends me signs that he’s still with me.

When my stomach feels almost as normal as it did before I was inflicted with IBS last summer.

Feeling understood, reassured, and validated. Perhaps we’re not supposed to seek these things from outside sources, but I do, and it makes me happy when someone listens to what I say, hears me, says she understands, and agrees with me. (I’m looking at you the most, Sammy!)

Going to bed on Friday night knowing I don’t have work the next day.

I could go on, and that, too, makes me happy. But what about you? What makes you happy on a daily basis? Whatever it is, I wish you oodles of it!

Happy book birthday to Bridal Girl!

I’m so happy to announce the release of BRIDAL GIRL today!

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BRIDAL GIRL is my eighth novel and although it’s the third in my Blogger Girl series, it can also stand alone. I am legitimately in love with this book and think it’s my funniest yet. I’m so attached to the characters after writing four novels about them, they feel like family and in some ways, they are. Only, unlike my real family, they do exactly as I tell them to—most of the time.

If you didn’t pre-order it, you can download it or order it in paperback or hard cover here.

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The book will be out in audio on May 8th.

Until the end of the month, you can also get BLOGGER GIRL (Book 1), NOVELISTA GIRL (Book 2), and KIM VS. THE MEAN GIRL (the contemporary young adult prequel to the series) for just 99 cents each! (I would read in this order: Blogger Girl, Novelista Girl, Kim vs. the Mean Girl, Bridal Girl.)

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Sassy book blogger-turned-author, Kim Long, thought her life couldn’t get any pinker when she received a two-book publishing deal and a marriage proposal in the same night. 

If only she could drown out the conflicting opinions of her overzealous bridal party.

If only everyone would adore her first book—or she’d take Nicholas’s advice and stop reading reviews.

If only Nicholas’s past would remain there rather than threaten their future.

The pressure is on and the clock is ticking. Will Kim ever write “The End” on her sophomore novel? And, will she and Nicholas make it down the aisle to say those two precious words: “I do?”

Put on your reading glasses, fill your champagne flute and prepare to laugh with (and sometimes at) Kim as she rewrites her happy ending until it’s worthy of five pink champagne flutes.

Early reviews:

“All her books seem effortless. Like she magically conjured something amazing out of thin air each time.” Melissa Amster

“A fantastically fun laugh out loud chicklit. Romance and chicklit fans will absolutely love this. It’s fantastic.” Karen Whittard

“Bridal Girl will not only leave you happy, but leave you wanting more of Nicholas and Kim’s love story…. so much more!!” Suzanne Fine

“Meredith has a flair for chick lit that is just unparalleled. Her blend of quirky characters, romance, and comedy is magic. Every. Single. Time.” Rebecca Moore

Giveaway – Amazon Fire 8

AMAZON FIRE GIVEAWAY – 4/16-4/20

Hi everyone!

I wanted to tell you about the giveaway I’m hosting on my Facebook author page to celebrate the release of BRIDAL GIRL on April 24th.

Beginning Monday, April 16th, I will post a question on my author page relating to weddings. A different question will be asked every weekday through Friday, April 20th.

Every answer on the post will count as an entry to win an Amazon Fire HD8 with Alexa.

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Answering a question every day will give you five chances to win!

AN EXTRA ENTRY WILL BE GRANTED TO ANYONE WHO PURCHASES ANY BOOK IN THE BLOGGER GIRL SERIES AND MESSAGES ME THEIR RECEIPT. THIS INCLUDES PRE-ORDERING BRIDAL GIRL OR NEW PURCHASES OF BLOGGER GIRL (CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $.99) OR NOVELISTA GIRL. (THESE MUST BE RECENT PURCHASES OF THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE SERIES! IF YOU ALREADY OWNED THEM, PRE-ORDER BRIDAL GIRL FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY.)

The contest will be closed to entries at 11:59 PST on Sunday, April 22nd and the winners will be announced on Monday, April 23rd.

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Good luck!

Sassy book blogger-turned-author, Kim Long, thought her life couldn’t get any pinker when she received a two-book publishing deal and a marriage proposal in the same night.

If only she could drown out the conflicting opinions of her overzealous bridal party. If only everyone would adore her first book—or she’d take Nicholas’s advice and stop reading reviews.  If only Nicholas’s past would remain there rather than threaten their future.

The pressure is on and the clock is ticking. Will Kim ever write “The End” on her sophomore novel? And, will she and Nicholas make it down the aisle to say those two precious words: “I do?” Put on your reading glasses, fill your champagne flute and prepare to laugh with (and sometimes at) Kim as she rewrites her happy ending until it’s worthy of five pink champagne flutes.  

“All her books seem effortless. Like she magically conjured something amazing out of thin air each time.”

“A fantastically fun laugh out loud chicklit. Romance and chicklit fans will absolutely love this. It’s fantastic.”

“Kim made us all hope for her, cry with her and cheer with her! Loved every minute of it!”