weekend musings

After two different people told me this week how much they enjoyed reading my blog posts, particularly the more personal ones, I knew what I had to do—write a blog post, obviously!

The weather is sort of crappy today, but it didn’t bother me because I had obligations that kept me from enjoying the outdoors anyway. After a morning excursion to the gym, I spent several hours working on my eighth novel, the third installment of my Blogger Girl series. Now I’m doing laundry while I simultaneously write this blog.

Let’s continue where we left off last time. I’m convinced that online dating is not the way to go for me. I haven’t had any desire to meet the various men who have reached out to me. The one guy I was corresponding with before my vacation to Barbados disappeared before we could set up a date. The fact that I wasn’t at all surprised or disappointed spoke volumes as to my actual interest. The truth is, I’m incapable of getting excited about someone until we meet face-to-face and until that happens, I have nothing vested.

Since I brought up Barbados, let’s change direction, shall we? I spent six days there with five of my girlfriends over Memorial Day and it was wonderful! It was my third time there because it’s a triple threat—aside from an occasional brief thunderstorm, the weather is amazing; the seafood is fresh and delicious, and the people are super friendly. Rest, relaxation, cocktails in the pool, amazing food, and time with my besties? Yes please.

18740345_10158717708840542_4508251176555982237_n

 

I didn’t want to come home, but I softened the blow by taking a few extra days off from work. I caught up on the writing I didn’t do in Barbados, met up with the president of my publishing company, Henery Press, who was in town for the Book Expo America conference, and attended a cousin’s wedding with my family. I also got home just in time to watch the newly streaming third season of Bloodline. Anyone else watching it?

Back to dating. One of my author friends wants to set me up with someone—her friend’s friend. Apparently, he was very excited to get in touch with me. I gave my friend the go-ahead and haven’t heard a peep yet—shocker. Again, nothing vested. I’m also strapped for time right now due to writing obligations so it’s best not to go out of my way to add things to my social schedule. Which brings me to deadlines!

I have until September 1st to deliver my next book to my editor. I’m heading toward the end of my first draft and gave myself a self-imposed deadline of August 1st to finish. I already sent the first two hundred pages to my beta readers to give them a head start. I’m nervous because summertime always brings more social outings and I hate to miss out on excursions with my friends. I’m already stressed out about the plans I’ve made so far. My oldest sister is also visiting from Denver in late July and my close friend from Seattle in August. I need to reserve enough time to write in between my day job and all this fun stuff. On top of that, as much as I love being social, I’m an introvert at heart who is not only very comfortable with alone time, but craves it. I need it to recharge. It’s one of the reasons I’m very selective about who I date. I have very limited free time as it is and I need to enjoy my time with him as much as and hopefully more than my “me” time. That’s my test. Most men don’t make the cut, but I’m confident he’s out there. Maybe I already know him and we just haven’t crossed the line from friends to more yet. Anything is possible!

Before I bid you adieu, heads up that I will be announcing the title of my next stand-alone romantic comedy in my next blog, shortly after July 4th. I am more excited about this new release than any of my others so far. (Although I probably always say that.) Maybe I’ll also share my pictures from the mini-break I’m taking to the vineyards in Connecticut over the holiday.

Finally, my contemporary young adult novel, Kim vs. the Mean Girl, is currently on sale for $0.99 cents. If you haven’t picked it up yet, this would be a good time to get it
cheap. It’s a great read  🙂

Advertisements

Musings of a forty-something

Until recently, I was loath to confess I was a “forty-something.” I preferred that people make their own assumptions of how old I was based on how old I looked which, I’ve been told enough to believe, is probably a decade younger than I am. Perhaps this email is an example of that “go-with-the-flow” and “I don’t-care-what-people-think” attitude those who’ve gone before me promised was one of the benefits of entering this decade.

In many respects, my life is more similar to younger women in that I am unmarried with no children. This means I can take vacations whenever I want, spend my money how I please, sleep in on the weekends or stay out all night, date anyone I want or no one at all etc. and it’s no one’s decision but my own. But while my life might resemble a twenty-somethings on the outside, below are a few issues with which I never concerned myself back then, but do now Ad Nauseum:

The impending “change of life”

In my twenties and thirties, “menopause” never entered into conversation unless we were talking about our mothers. My mother was in her fifties when she went through it, and my older sister is a couple years shy of fifty and still gets her period. Since I generally have regular cycles myself and am still closer to my thirties than my fifties, menopause was one of the few things I didn’t fret over when I turned forty. Yet, women only a year or two older (and even younger) than me talk about “the change” as if it’s going to happen next month. They throw around the phrase “perimenopause” (another word I never heard until turning forty) around the way we said “happy hour” in our twenties. Now, if my cycle is a couple of days early or my PMS worse/better than the month before, I freak out, wondering if it’s perimenopause. These same fluctuations never bothered me before.

Fifty-year-old men

In my early-mid-twenties, I had a flirtation with a thirty-year-old man and remember thinking he was so old—way too old for me. And in my late twenties, when one of my friends dated a guy who was pushing forty, we thought she was crazy. I remember thinking “no way!” when “older men” sent me emails on dating sites. Even now, my first impulse when a man of fifty approaches me is to grimace and think, “He’s too old!” I’m struggling with the realization that fifty is not too old because I’m not as young as I used to be! Part of it is that I look younger than my age while most of the available single men I’ve met of fifty look fifty (or older). It makes me feel like I’m dating my dad. (None look as good as the cute guy on the Our Time commercial or Fitz on Scandal!) But another part of it is denial that I’m actually not in my twenties or thirties anymore. Being in my forties doesn’t mean I can’t date men in their thirties, but it probably means I should at least be open to meeting a man in his early fifties, too.

Health

I used to blow off small ailments on the assumption they would pass quickly. When I told my hair stylist I had to stop for a snack on my way to my appointment because I was experiencing hypoglycemia, he urged me to check it out with a doctor because as we get older, we can’t take minor things lightly anymore. I told him I’d been experiencing occasional episodes of hypoglycemia for years so it wasn’t age. “Still,” he said. ”We’re no spring chickens anymore!” (He’s a few years older than me.) I replied defensively, “I’m not old either!” But it did strike a nerve. Between my many friends, someone is almost always experiencing some sort of health ailment. When we’re out to dinner, sharing great food and wine, the conversation will often turn to health problems and I’ll think, “There is no way we’d be having this conversation ten years ago!”

Spinsterhood

I was inspired to write my fourth novel How Do You Know? as a result of my own feelings and fears about turning forty. I wanted to show it from the perspective of a single, never-been-married woman rather than the usual married, separated, or divorced standpoint. Most people loved the book, but several commented (rather passionately) that at thirty-nine (“almost forty!”), Maggie was way too old to be having such insecurities about her relationship and should be more mature and settled. They said they didn’t know anyone who would act that way at thirty-nine (“almost forty!”). Well, despite the fact that most of my friends found me very similar in personality to Stephanie from Just Friends With Benefits, the character of Maggie was closer to me in mindset than any other character I’ve ever written and I was about her age when I wrote the book. I know I’m not supposed to take it personally, but I did feel judged for not being more settled, for wanting to find my own happy ever after, and for choosing my happiness over settling with someone because it better fit societal norms. This kind of judgment is not something I experienced in my twenties or most of my thirties. I want to believe my five nieces and nephews think I’m “cool Aunt Meri” but I do fear they think of me as their spinster aunt even though I have a great social life, including relationships with men, and I don’t own a cat. I could absolutely be in a serious relationship if I wanted it badly enough (I get offers…), but at this point in my life, I hold my happiness above all other things and unless I’m more content with the guy I’m dating than I am without him, I’d rather keep enjoying the freedom. I do hope I meet someone who fits the above criteria and I haven’t given up hope of it happening, but in the meantime, I’m okay.

I’m sure I can come up with additional subject matter that clogs my brain space now that never even entered it ten to fifteen years ago, but I don’t want to depress anyone! Rest assured, some aspects of this decade are actually better. And while I often yearn for my thirties (my favorite decade so far), I actually look better now than I did in my twenties, and am a more interesting and strong person by far.

Maybe for next time, I’ll list things I used to think about in my twenties that no longer cross my mind at all. I’m sure there are plenty and I’m not so old or far removed that I can’t remember them 🙂

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-feb-2016

Release days, free days, sale days: Oh My!

Today is a big day. Huge. COLOSSAL.

It’s the release day of my fifth novel, Novelista Girl. The standalone sequel to my fan favorite third novel, Blogger Girl.

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy.

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is The New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar.

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone.

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

NG_blog_front

But wait, there’s more:

My fourth novel How Do You Know? is FREE on Amazon. Yes free! It is currently number #23 in the entire FREE Kindle store and #1 in Women’s Humorous Fiction AND Coming of Age!!

Life doesn’t happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age is just a number.

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0.

As Maggie reenters the New York City dating jungle, suitors present themselves quickly, but who is “The One?” Is he a sexy coworker, one of many bachelors at a speed-dating event, or is he the man she already set free? How do you know? Her fun-loving friends and supportive family, including meddlesome “no-filter” Aunt Helen, eagerly share their (often unsolicited) opinions, but Maggie is determined to find her own way, even if she falls on her face—repeatedly.

9781620155875-E-Book

And finally, my bestselling debut novel, Just Friends With Benefits, is only 99 cents!

When a friend urges Stephanie Cohen not to put all her eggs in one bastard, the advice falls on deaf ears. Stephanie’s college crush on Craig Hille has been awakened thirteen years later as if soaked in a can of Red Bull and she is determined not to let the guy who got away once, get away twice. Stephanie, a 32-year-old paralegal from Washington, D.C., is a 70’s and 80’s television trivia buff who can recite the starting lineup of the New York Yankees and go beer for beer with the guys. And despite her failure to get married and pro-create prior to entering her thirties, she has so far managed to keep her overbearing mother from sticking her head in the oven. Just Friends with Benefits is the humorous story of Stephanie’s pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters

JFWB_widget

Three novels for only $3.98! It’s big, huge, COLOSSAL, but it will only last, well, a week! So grab your copies now!

 

Blogosphere Blogosphere Make Me a Match, Find Me a Find, Catch Me a Catch

In almost all of the chick lit/romantic comedy novels I write, there is a central romance and after some missteps, my main character gets the guy—maybe not the guy she wanted on page one, but the guy she eventually falls in love with, and the guy who is ultimately her best match. The closing scenes of my books always leave me with the warm and fuzzies, but as thrilled as I am for my protagonist, I am also a bit envious. Despite being several years older than all of my main characters, none of my boyfriends to date have been “the one.” As a result, I often wish I was a character in a romantic comedy so that I would know that my happily ever after was around the corner. I feel like Charlotte York in Sex and the City when she exclaimed, “I’ve been dating since I’m fifteen, where is he?”

I always make my main character work hard for her happily after ever. I don’t let her get the guy until she is truly ready for him. First she has to make her mistakes (as we all do), figure her shit out and make amends (read: character development). This is because I believe that the blessings in our life are most appreciated and most likely to be nurtured when they aren’t spoon fed to us— when we actually have to work for them. Using this mindset, I understand why I didn’t settle down in my twenties or even early thirties. I was nowhere near ready. I didn’t know myself; I’m not entirely certain I really liked myself; and my priorities were not conducive to a healthy relationship. In my twenties and early thirties, we had not gotten to the part of the chick lit book starring Meredith Schorr where I figured my shit out and made amends. As a result, I so get why I didn’t get the guy at that time in my life and I am okay with it. I don’t look backwards (much).

I am more self-aware than the average person and I am fully cognizant of the mistakes I made in the past, however, my character development has been extensive. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes and have come to terms with them. I have taken responsibility for my failed relationships and those that didn’t make it out of the gate, but, equally important, I have also realized that the failings weren’t always a result of something I did or did not do, or someone I was or wasn’t. I have learned to cut myself some slack and I now understand that I can’t control everything; that relationships take two; and not every mistake is on me. I truly like (love) myself now, inside and out, and at this point in the Meredith Schorr chick lit book, it is time to get the guy. It took me over 40 years, but I am ready (hallelujah!), and I want more than anything to find my other half.

But I can’t! In a city as populated as New York, it is beyond challenging to meet available, somewhat age-appropriate men who are looking to meet a woman to eventually commit to and yes, I have tried online dating (hate it) and other avenues. Add to that finding a man with whom I have chemistry and actually want to date and…well, you can hopefully understand my frustration. I get hit on by married men and much younger guys who aren’t at the same stage of their life, but most of the other men I come into contact with are already taken or, if they are single, they are more interested in instant gratification and casual sex and disinterested in having a committed relationship. I don’t fault them for it, but I want something bigger, deeper, and more fulfilling! I’m aware that serious relationships aren’t made overnight but I yearn to find someone who, like me, sees it as an end goal.

New York is too big, too fast, too loud, too impersonal, too much sometimes and it is so easy to get lost. There must be true “catches” out there who would love to meet a woman like me but I don’t know how to find him, how to get his attention and how to connect.

This is where you come in (yes YOU). I need your help. Do you know a man who meets the general criteria listed below?

Single
35-50 (generally)
Lives in tri-state (NY/NJ/CT) area preferably
Physically attractive and fit
Healthy

Funny
Intelligent
Kind
Interesting

If you (yes YOU) know someone who fits the above description (everything else comes down to chemistry) who you consider a catch, I would love to hear from you (or him). If your introduction leads to an actual date, regardless of ultimate outcome, I will name a character in my next book after you! I am not interested in serial dating and will only go out with someone if he sincerely interests me, so be selective! As anxious as I am to find the “the one”, I will never be with someone merely to avoid being alone.

If he requires more information about me, he can read my blogs or simply ask me. A Google Image search will bring up lots of pictures too.

THANK YOU!

There was a time, probably not too long ago, when I would have been way too embarrassed to put myself out there in this manner. Each man I have dated in the past few years has taught me so much about what I want, need, and deserve in a relationship, and the fact that I am comfortable asking for help is indicative of how ready I truly am! I vowed to write my own happy ending and I’m starting here. Why should my characters have all of the fun?

 

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

I am my characters

People often comment on how “real” my characters are and they ask me how I create such believable heroines. I suppose it is because most of my work is grounded in reality. My characters are not me but some of their struggles, particularly with men, come from my own struggles—even if I don’t realize it until after the book is released.

Take for instance, Stephanie Cohen in Just Friends with Benefits. Stephanie is an attractive, intelligent, funny and interesting woman but she often refuses to acknowledge what is right in front of her. Rather than take things at face value, she will analyze things Ad Nauseum. And often, she will draw the conclusion that favors her own desires. In a word, she is a bit delusional. I cannot begin to tell you how much time I have wasted wondering what a guy was really thinking and making excuses for him in order to save my own ego. As a result, I was blind to some much better prospects who moved on by the time I realized how stupid I was. Lesson learned: You snooze; you lose.

In A State of Jane, Jane Frank is under the inaccurate assumption that she is in control. If she acts a certain way, looks a certain way, plays by the right “rules”, everything will fall into place. What she fails to consider is that regardless of how pretty, smart, intelligent (insert other positive attributes here), one is, a man who is only looking to get laid will not want to settle down with her.  If he’s a jerk, he will still be a jerk no matter how nice she is. If he’s just not feeling the chemistry, she can’t force it on him simply by being “better.” And a man can change his mind, flake, lose interest, be a douchebag for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with her. It doesn’t actually matter what the reason is; it is what it is. This novel was inspired by a period of time in my life when one after another, a  guys I was dating who was seemingly really into me *poof* disappeared without a word. I had no idea why and it was so frustrating because I felt like I needed an answer and that I deserved an answer. Lesson learned: Relationships are a two-way street and it’s not always my fault when things don’t work out. No sense beating myself up. Just move on!

Kim Long in my newest release, Blogger Girl, is definitely more grounded in reality than Stephanie and Jane. She’s not deluded and she’s not a Type A Control Freak. She does, however, have an insecurity complex and often wonders “why would someone like him be interested in someone like her.” I, too, struggle with feeling insecure and not good enough. Not all of the time and only in limited company, but there have been men in my life who, intentionally or not, made me feel “less than.”   Lesson learned:  most of the time, insecurity comes from within and needs to be dealt with. I try to be conscious as to how I feel in a man’s presence. Any man who deserves my time should build me up, not cut me down and if I find myself second guessing my appeal on any level, he’s probably not the one for me.

In my WIP, my main character Maggie is 39 years old and struggling with her impending 40th birthday. Although she’s been in many relationships and even lived with her last boyfriend, she has never been married. She looks young and she feels young but she is terrified that her window of opportunity to settle down has passed by right along with her twenty and thirty-something years. Successful, bright and pretty, she has no problems getting attention from men but fears that the pool of available men who are actually interested in a relationship with her is shallow. This is probably the most difficult novel I have written so far because it is very close to home. I struggle with this daily. I have also had my share of relationships but none of them resulted in marriage. I admit that much of this was my fault. I wasted my twenties and early thirties dismissing some great guys for one reason or another not realizing it was fear that was holding me back. I’ve since moved on from that but now I’m wondering if the mistakes of my past have irrevocably, excuse my language, fucked up my future. I wonder if I am being punished somehow for being a late bloomer and, well, stupid. I know that’s unlikely but to be honest, I sort of wish I was being punished. If I could repent for my “sins”, maybe I could be forgiven and things would magically work out for me.  I’m not desperate and while I want to settle down, I have no desire to settle. I figure I’ve waited this long, better to hold out for someone who makes me truly happy than settle at this point. I would so much rather be alone, spending time with my friends and family, than in the company of someone who I feel lukewarm about. But I’m lonely. I yearn to share my life with someone. There. I said it. It wasn’t that hard.Lesson learned: Not sure yet. Hopefully, by the time I finish this novel, the answer will be clear. And maybe, just maybe, I will meet someone wonderful, available and, most importantly, desirous of having a relationship with me. If you know anyone, please let me know 🙂

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

 

Happy Anniversary A State of Jane and guest blogger!

With all of the fuss over the release of my third novel Blogger Girl and the re-release of my debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits, I almost forgot all about my “middle child” A State of Jane. (I’m surprised I haven’t heard the voice of Jan Brady whining “Blogger Girl, Blogger Girl, Blogger Girl!”)  But Jane Frank need not fret as I could never forget the anniversary of the day her story was released to the world. Happy Anniversary to A State of Jane! In honor of this momentous milestone, I have a special guest blogging about the first year anniversary. Welcome Beth Bacon to my blog! I am very lucky in that my publisher, Booktrope, provides marketing support to all of its authors in the form of a Marketing Manager. Beth Bacon is my Marketing Manager and she’s fantastic. I truly think I hit the jackpot of Marketing Managers. And, really, how many other Marketing Managers would agree to guest post on their author’s blogs? So, without further ado, I will hand this over to Beth:

Cheers!

Cheers!

The 1-Year Anniversary… What does it mean?

Happy birthday, Jane.  It’s the one-year anniversary of the publication of A State Of Jane. The first copies started rolling out of Amazon warehouses in mid-September 2012. The chick-lit world has never been the same.

One year. What does a year mean? The marker can trigger a celebration or act as a kick in the pants—Crap! A year has gone by already?

That’s the way Jane feels at the opening of A State of Jane. She’s been single for one year. The anniversary is like a wake up call. BRING! Time to get a life.

Granted Jane is the one who wanted the break up. But in the twelve long, dry months after that, Jane hasn’t dated a single Tom, Dick, or Harry. Crossing the one-year threshold jolts her into action. She needs to find a guy. The guy. The one. And fast. Especially because her ex is now happily engaged—to someone… nice.

What is it about the one-year milestone that spurs Jane to get off her butt and start dating like a her pants are on fire? What is it about the calendar circling around onto itself that makes one day different from the day before? Why do we mark anniversaries at all? And why, why do we feel so excited to celebrate the date that the book A State of Jane was launched into the world?

Okay, hold on, wait. This is not a philosophy blog. This is a chick lit blog. Forget I went there.

Instead—LET’S PARTY! A STATE OF JANE IS ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!

WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?

How do I decide?

•  Skinny blue jeans and white t-shirt like Kim on the cover of Blogger Girl?

•  An A-line dress cinched at waist with pumps like Stephanie in Just Friends With Benefits?

•  A V-neck cashmere sweater, black jeans and boots like Jane in A State of Jane?

WHAT AM I GOING TO DRINK?

So many tasty cocktails.

•  A skinny flute of Prosecco like Kim in Blogger Girl?

•  A dirty Martini like Hannah in Blogger Girl?

•  Wheat beer like Stephanie in Just Friends with Benefits?

•  A nice glass of white wine like Jane in A State of Jane?

WHERE SHOULD WE GO TO CELEBRATE?

Lots of places to check out.

•  Vero Wine Bar, Banc Cafe, The Hurricane Club, or Ryan’s Daughter like in Blogger Girl?

•  The Round Robin Bar, the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, or the Rhino Bar & Pumphouse like in Just Friends with Benefits?

•  Whisky River, Hillstone, or the Lex Bar like in A State of Jane?

HOW LATE AM I GOING TO STAY OUT?

Not too late. I’m gonna’ get home early, curl up in bed, and re-read A State of Jane.

9781935961697-cvr_Createspace.indd

back-to-school essentials!

The main character in my new release, Blogger Girl, is twenty-eight, however, with her ten year high school reunion looming and a request to review her high school nemesis’ book waiting in her email inbox, she’s been thinking a lot more about her high school days than she probably should. Promoting the book so much over the past few weeks got me thinking about my days in school as well, especially in light of the Labor Day Weekend. When I was younger, the first day of school was always the Wednesday after Labor Day and so this day always makes me think of the first day of school and a new start of sorts. I used to approach the first day of school with a mixture of excitement and anxiety: I wondered who would be in my classes, if my teachers would be nice, if I would make new friends and still get along with my old ones and if I would have a boyfriend. Although I knew even back then that much of this was out of my control, I always tried to prepare as best as I could for a good year. My mom would take me to get all of my school supplies, like a new backpack, notebooks for each of my classes, pens and pencils etc. She’d also take me clothes shopping. My mom and stepdad could not afford to buy me a new wardrobe each year but I would always get a few new outfits in the latest fashion to mix with the clothes from the year before. I would study magazines like Seventeen, Mademoiselle and Sassy to see what was in style and I would spend hours contemplating what to wear on the first day. For instance, should I wear my favorite new outfit right away or should I wear something “summery” if it was still warm out? I would agonize as if my entire year would be decided based on what I wore the first day.

All of my school photos!

All of my school photos!

I don’t go to school anymore but I still think of coming back to work after the long Labor Day Weekend as a new beginning. Like a high school girl preparing for her new year of school, I also prepare for a new beginning at work and in life in general. These are some of the things I do:

  1. Hair – I got my hair cut last week – just a trim of the length and the layers. Although I am not due for highlights for another six weeks or so, my stylist also applied a layer of toner to my hair to keep the color from getting brassy from so much time in the sun.
  2. New clothes – Ok, I haven’t actually done any clothes shopping lately but I have begun to compile my coupons from Macy’s, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor etc. I am just not ready to start buying colder weather clothes when I’m still wearing shorts, tank tops and sandals on the weekends. Besides, I’m not really sure what is in fashion. I don’t pay too much attention to trends and basically wear clothes I like that flatter my figure. I assume if the dresses, skirts etc. are on the hangers at popular stores, they must be somewhat fashionable. But I’m not a label whore with the exception of bags. I will admit to fantasizing about the Christian Louboutin shoes worn by the main character in Blogger Girl and if the book does well, I might treat myself to them at some point but probably not. While purchasing a pair would not leave me homeless, I’m not sure my desire for the shoes would outweigh the guilt I would feel for spending that much money on a pair of shoes that are probably incredibly uncomfortable.
  3. Exercise – I have a very good workout ethic and always have. I run between six and ten miles four to five times a week; I take a weekly spin class and I do the stair climber. I’ve never enjoyed lifting weights. I have never wanted to be extremely sculpted and would prefer to be soft and feminine but not flabby but I know that soft can quickly turn to flab if I am not careful. Because of that and because I know it is important to keep my bones strong as I get older, I added a twice weekly strength training plan to my workout several months ago but I have been slacking. The days that I skip my workout tend to be the days I planned to lift weights. Or if it is beautiful out, I skip the weight lifting to go for an extra run. With the new beginning, I am going to try hard to stick to the weight training!
  4. Mean Girls – Back in high school, I faced more than my share of mean girls. My history with mean girls actually dates back to Elementary School and continues through Junior High. I didn’t really come into contact with any mean girls in High School although some of my friends weren’t actually all that nice. I am a much stronger person now than I was back then and definitely do not have the patience for bitches and so I do not bother with anyone I see as potentially “mean” –I do not socialize with anyone I would categorize as mean and thankfully all of my colleagues are nice people. However, there is definitely a mean-spirited person haunting me and some of my author friends on Amazon and Goodreads. There is a member of Goodreads who has left a two star rating on almost all of our book pages on Goodreads. Now, I do not expect everyone to love my books and I have come to terms with my negative ratings (for the most part). I will never please everyone. However, this person’s profile is private so we cannot see anything about her. All we know from her profile is that she has left over 19,000 ratings (not a single written review) and her average rating is 1.98 stars. She bombed Blogger Girl with a two star rating practically the first day it was published which struck me as odd since she didn’t have much time to actually read it. And she had also rated A State of Jane and Just Friends with Benefits two stars. If she hates my writing so much, why read all of my books? Because she didn’t! Seriously, the likelihood that she read and hated 19,000 books would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic. I have a feeling this is the same person who has marked most of my positive reviews on Amazon as “unhelpful” and my handful of negative reviews as “helpful.” Obviously, I cannot make this person stop being a complete wench so instead I will focus on the fact that nothing she does can take away from the enjoyment others will experience from reading my books and hopefully I will get enough positive reviews that no one will even notice her stupid 2 star rating or care if my negative reviews are marked helpful. She cannot control my success as a writer so I will continue to do what I am doing. And hopefully, she will get some therapy because God knows she needs it.
  5. Organization – In school, I was infamous for my messy notebooks. There were always papers falling out of my binders and nothing was ever organized. A classmate actually took one of my binders home with her one weekend because she couldn’t take how messy it was. Flash forward twenty years and I am equally disorganized in the office. My desk is a complete mess. I know where everything is but anyone else trying to locate something might get buried under the loose papers which occupy my office space. My apartment, while clean, is usually untidy as well. I live in 500 square feet and there just is not enough room to put everything away without accruing clutter. Well, I took several hours yesterday and tidied up my apartment. I am going to try to keep up with it to avoid things getting out of hand. Wish me luck!
  6. Boys (men) I am currently single and so of course I would like to meet someone I like as “more than friend” who feels the same way about me and who is intelligent, funny, nice, attractive and, of course, available. I did have a date a couple of weeks ago and it was the first date I actually looked forward to since ending my last relationship earlier this year. I had met the guy before but this was our first “date.” It went well, or so I thought. He was nice, cute, interesting and we spent several hours talking and laughing. I was pretty certain he was into me especially when he asked if he could walk me home at the end of the date but he hasn’t called me again. Although the date was good, it was not a slam dunk. We met at 7:30 and by the time I went inside my apartment, it was past midnight. Never during our time together did my date ask if I was hungry or wanted something to eat. Had I known the date would go so long, I might have mentioned something to him but I did not want to presume we would spend that much time together and figured if we just had a drink, I could eat when I got home. About half-way through the date, around 9pm, my stomach was literally growling and when he went to the bathroom, I dipped my hand in the snack bowl the bartender had brought over to avoid biting my hand. I probably should have brought up dinner at that point but I didn’t. I had been up since 6:30, went to the gym, worked all day and then met him straight from work with only a yogurt for breakfast and a salad for lunch as my fuel. As much as I enjoyed talking to him, and I did, I was exhausted from an entire day of work and no food. While I drank two glasses of wine, it was over the course of four hours so instead of getting tipsy, I felt tired and dehydrated. He nursed his one drink and it took all the self-control I could muster not to gulp mine for some sustenance. Despite the hunger pains and the cotton mouth, I knew I wanted to see this guy again. He was cute, interesting and had a very “soothing” quality to him which relaxed me, but it was getting late, I had work the next day, had to pack for a weekend getaway and, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I was starving. When we finally left the bar, my date offered to walk me home. On the one hand, I was excited because I figured that meant he liked me and wanted to spend a bit more time with me and kiss me goodnight. On the other hand, I was starving and thought to myself, “would he think I was weird if I asked him to walk me to the pizza place?” I decided I was too embarrassed to stop for pizza and I led him straight back to my apartment where we continued to talk and laugh and talk and laugh and talk. Each time one conversation ended, another started and I just wanted him to say “I definitely want to do this again” and kiss me so that I could go home, eat something, pack and go to bed. But he did neither of those things. We both said we had a great time and it was on the tip of my tongue to say “I would like to do this again” but I couldn’t do it. I am not opposed to being the aggressive one when the situation calls for it and my ex will attest to the fact that if I hadn’t said to him “are you going to kiss me already?” the night we met, we probably would not have dated for the next year and a half. However, I couldn’t bring myself to do that this time. I was too tired and too hungry and just wanted my date to take the reins, adjust his balls and be the man. So, after hemming and hawing outside of my building for close to a half hour, I finally walked inside without a kiss or the promise of another date. I toyed with reaching out to him but I decided against it. If a guy likes me enough, he will do the asking. (And mom, if you are reading, this is my final answer and, no, I don’t want to talk about it!) If the guy in question is reading this, my message to you is that if you ask, I DO want to go out with you again. Just make sure you feed me (I promise not to order mutton…) and kiss me goodnight next time! Of course, it is entirely possible that the guy only went out with me in the hopes of getting laid and expected an offer to walk me home would come with an invitation to come inside. I didn’t get that vibe but I’m not all that good at reading men these days so who knows? In any event, I don’t roll that way. I like to get to know someone in a less rushed way. There would have to be an intense physical attraction/connection for me to take a guy home on a first date. God, why are men so presumptuous these days?  Hmm, maybe because women are so easy. Thanks to my female sisters for being sluts. *sarcasm” Shrugging off the negativity NOW. With new beginnings comes new hope that I will meet another man I’d like to date soon. 🙂

So there you have it – my “back -to-school” list. What is on your list?

To my single sisters

Jane Frank, the main character in my novel A State of Jane is ready to fall in love again after terminating her only long-term relationship. Although Jane Frank and Meredith Schorr (me…) do not have much in common, we both did battle with the New York City dating jungle at one time or another and we both tried many different ways to meet “the one.”

Since A State of Jane deals at least in part with Jane’s journeys in dating, I was asked by Julie from Julie’s Chick Lit to write a post for her blog on 6 ways to go Man-Hunting and I have shared the link with you below. With the exception of matchmaking, I have tried everything in my post with varying degrees of success (and enjoyment). I tried to be as objective as possible…:

http://julieschicklit.com/2013/03/27/meredith-schorrs-6-best-places-to-go-man-hunting/

Love is in the air – Valentine’s Day Q & A with Jane Frank

VDayPromoArtFinal

Love is in the air and since it must be celebrated, the price of A State of Jane has been lowered to only 99 cents until Sunday, February 17th.  Get it while it’s cheap(er)!  If you’re already downloaded it (and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope you enjoyed it), I’m excited to announce that eight of my favorite authors have also lowered the price of one of their ebooks to 99 cents!  I’ve read most of these books and they are fabulous.  See below for buy links to these fun and flirty romantic comedies. 

These other authors and I thought it would be fun to ask a character from our featured novel to answer some personal questions about her love (or lust) life.  I asked Jane Frank, the main character from A State of Jane if she would participate and after some blackmail (I threatened to tell everyone about her infamous strip tease) and some bribery (I promised to consider writing a second novel with her in the starring role), she agreed. 

Meredith:  Are you currently in a relationship?  If so, tell us a little bit about your significant other. And if not… what are you looking for in a romantic partner?

Jane:  I am not currently in a relationship and this is the first time since I was 16 that I’ve been single.  It’s been a year since Bob and I broke up though, so I am ready to fall in love again!  I’m really not that picky.  He needs to be intelligent, hopefully with an advanced degree.  He should be taller than me by at least four inches and preferably two years older.  He must be a non-smoker with a full head of hair, preferably dark, and he can’t be a vegetarian because that would be a waste of my stellar cooking skills.  Finally, he should be generous with good manners.   And physically fit. Other than that, I’m completely open. I’m not really picky; just selective.

Meredith:  Wow, your flexibility is astounding.  *rolls eyes*.  So, how old were you when you had your first kiss – and can you share what you remember about it?

Jane: I was actually 15 which, as my older sister reminded me often, is kind of old, but I was shy around boys and my boobs hadn’t come in yet so boys didn’t pay much attention to me.  I was at my friend Melanie’s birthday party and the cooler kids were playing spin the bottle.  My closest friends didn’t want to play because you had to French kiss but I was determined that the saying “16 and never been kissed” would not apply to me so I played.  I had my first three kisses in the same night.  I can’t remember the first one because I was so nervous.  It was like an out of body experience.  The second one was gross because the guy was like a lizard. He was all tongue!  But the third kiss, Ryan Branson, was heavenly.  He must have felt the same way because we made out at every party for the rest of the school year.  We even got to second base.   He never spoke to me in school though.  These douchebags start early!  

Meredith: Kissing 3 boys in the same night.  Even as a teenager, you were all about the extremes,  Jane Frank!  Moving on, describe your ideal evening.

Jane: If you asked me a few months ago, I would have probably said something about a fancy dinner but now all that really matters to me is being completely comfortable in a guy’s company and confident that he likes me for who I am and not just to get in my pants.  On the flipside, there’s nothing wrong with a guy only wanting me for sex as long as he is up front about it and not pretending to be smitten with me. “Oh, Jane, I love your curves!”, “Oh Jane, you are so sweet and romantic.  I’ve never met anyone like you before.”  “Oh Jane, we have all the time in the world.”  Please.

Meredith: Oh, dear. I didn’t mean to touch on such a sensitive subject.  Let’s skip to the next question.  What food gets you in the mood?

Jane: Good question!  People think that oysters are the best aphrodisiacs but I think they’re gross.  Chocolate and licorice.  If at all possible, chocolate covered licorice.  I know it sounds kind of crazy but I experimented once with some melted chocolate and black licorice and, oh my, Bob and I must have had sex like five times that night.  Word to the wise, stay away from rack of lamb.  Trust me on that one.

Meredith: Consider me duly warned!  Can you tell us about your worst date ever?

Jane: Oh, Meredith.  Where do I begin?  I’ve had so many bad dates lately!  Well, some of them seemed like good dates while they were happening but later, after some thought and well, lots of tears, I realized the dates kind of sucked!  There was the embarrassing strip tease for one.  Can we skip to the next question please?

Meredith.  Of course.  No worries.  Okay, how about this one.  What’s the best romantic gift you ever received – and the best one you ever gave?    

Jane: One year, I bought Bob courtside seats to a Knicks game.  He was so excited!  Especially since they were playing the Packers, one of their bigger rivals!

Meredith: You mean the Pacers? 

Jane:  Pacers, yeah. Isn’t that what I said?  My favorite gift was the year Bob bought us tickets to a James Beard Foundation dinner.  Some of my favorite chefs were in the house, like Tom Colicchio, Danny Meyer, Charlie Palmer, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  Charlie Palmer made the best Poached Mediterranean Sea Bass I’ve ever had.  Heavenly.  I tried to recreate the recipe but it didn’t work. 

Meredith: You’re making me so hungry!  Okay, last question. How far will you go on a first date?  And how many dates do you need to go on before you knock boots?

Jane: Honestly, I’m so done with rules.  Rules Schmules!   The so-called “third date rule”?  Total bullshit.  A guy is just as likely to dump you if you sleep with him after five dates as he is after one.  I’m so sick of playing these stupid games.  Done. 

Meredith: Nicely said, Jane. Yes, we are done!  Thanks so much for being so open and honest with me.  I will get on the sequel as soon as I can!

You can read the other Q&As here:

http://www.catlavoie.com/blog/
http://samanthastrohbailey.blogspot.ca/
http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/
http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/
http://samanthamarch.com/blog/
http://luciesimone.blogspot.com/
http://clippingsintheshed.wordpress.com/
http://www.chicklitbee.com/

And before you go, check out all of the books in our Valentine’s Day Promotion below – Amazon buy-links  included for ease of convenience!

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr – Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! http://www.amazon.com/A-State-of-Jane-ebook/dp/B009CDVZ64

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey – Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lucas-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister – Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself?  http://www.amazon.com/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSalaJilted bride Amy’s down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she’d ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog? http://www.amazon.com/Rita-Hayworths-Shoes-ebook/dp/B007ZHVB1I/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie – When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-the-Rules-ebook/dp/B008UZYPLW

The Green Ticket by Samantha March – College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges? http://www.amazon.com/The-Green-Ticket-ebook/dp/B00AI02BO0

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer – Disgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she’s hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly, but this could mean disaster for Maya – a woman with an explosive past and far too many secrets.http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Maya-ebook/dp/B00AN7CCV0

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano – When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart? http://www.amazon.com/True-Love-Way-ebook/dp/B007VA4AZI

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone – Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing. http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Perfect-ebook/dp/B0093H0326