my favorite books of 2016!

It’s been a few years since I wrote my roundup of favorite books of the year, and I decided it was time to revive the tradition. I read about seventy-five books this year and enjoyed almost all of them, but I limited my favorites to twelve (one per month). My list includes books I read in 2016, but they weren’t necessarily released in 2016. For one thing, I spend so much money on my reading addiction, I often wait for books to come on sale before I purchase them to keep expenses reasonable. Additionally, my TBR includes more than a hundred books and it sometimes takes me a year to read from the time I bought. Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I present to you, my 2016 favorites list:

My Not So Perfect Life (chick lit) – Sophie Kinsella. This book won’t be published until 2017, but I was fortunate to get an ARC from Netgalley. I loved it. It was deeper than her other books, but still so funny and charming and everything you’d expect from Sophie Kinsella.

Tell me Three Things – (contemporary YA) Julie Buxbaum. I loved everything about this novel. In fact, I love everything Julie Buxbaum writes. This was another book I couldn’t put down, but didn’t want to finish.

tell-me-three-things

Bond Girl (chick lit) – Erin Duffy –Bond Girl is for 2016 what Party Girl was in 2015 – my favorite chick lit book of the year. From page one, I was drawn in and tearing through the pages like each one contained the secret of life.

Wake-up Call (chick lit) – Amy Avanzino – I am so happy to have discovered this new voice in women’s fiction. This book had all of the feels – funny, sentimental, sad, and romantic. Wake-Up Call struck the perfect balance between humor and depth and I highly recommend it

You (thriller/suspense) – Caroline Kepnes – Creepy, sexy, and Oh so good.

you

The Wedding Sisters (women’s fiction) – Jamie Brenner – The content inside the book matched the beautiful cover. I loved it! As the youngest of three girls, the idea of sharing a wedding with them both intrigued and terrified me and so I knew I was in for a treat. The book had everything: humor, sex, romance, betrayal, politics and loss to name a few.

The Summer I Became a Nerd (contemporary YA) – Leah Rae Miller – I’m a huge fan of humorous, romantic (but clean) contemporary YA where the characters act like teenagers as opposed to adults with less birthdays. This book was a perfect example.

Millie’s Fling (chick lit) – Jill Mansell – I only just discovered Jill Mansell in 2016, and I’ve now read about ten of her books.  Her dialogue is consistently brilliant—always original, quirky, and never stilted. As a reader, I love this author’s books for pure entertainment. And as a writer, I learn something new with each one that helps me with my own craft.

The Devil Wear Scrubs (chick lit) – Freida McFadden – This was a free download on Amazon, and I loved it. A fast, witty read with endearing characters. What a pleasant surprise.

the-devil-wears-scrubs

Say What You Will (contemporary YA) – Cammie McGovern – I don’t think I’ve read a book in quite a while that made me laugh almost as much as it made me cry. I chuckled on the subway and I cried on the stair climber. I felt all the feels.

50 Acts of Kindness (chick lit) – Ellyn Oaksmith – it was a refreshing change to read a book in this genre with a “different” sort of main character – Kylie would never be described as “sweet” or “naive” – she was aggressive, strong-willed, and kind of mean at first. But she was real, and her character arc was fantastic and believable.

The Balance Project (chick lit) – Susie Orman Schnall – This novel reminded me a bit of The Devil’s Wear Prada, but in a good way. And there were enough differences that kept it original. I loved the whole premise of whether it is possible to have it all, and I absolutely stand by the conclusion reached in this book.

And there you have them! Have you read these? What were your favorite books this year?

Becky Monson celebrates chick lit as the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour comes to a close!

To close out the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour, I’m so excited to have Becky Monson on my blog. Becky’s books always make me laugh and so I shouldn’t be surprised that her post below also elicited quite a few chuckles.  Don’t believe me? Read for yourself.

The Importance of Chick Lit

By Becky Monson

Call it what you want – romantic comedy, girly humor, whit lit – it’s all the same thing. I like all of those terms, but I seem to stick with Chick Lit. Hey, I’m a chick and I like literature, so it’s quite fitting. Some people don’t care for the term and feel like it’s degrading to the female species. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, a quick google search for the term defines it this way: “novels written for, about, or by young educated women.” I like that. Whether I’m actually a “young woman” is for me to know and you not to find out. I’m young at heart, and that’s all that matters.

It should be noted that just because it’s called Chick Lit doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t read it. Much to the contrary, in fact. If men invested some time into “girly” books, they might actually learn a thing or two about the female brain and might relate better. Maybe it should be required reading, actually. I may have to discuss with my local school district…

For me, reading needs to be an escape. I do not like to read “real” – I have too much “real” in my life already. I crave the easiness, the excitement, the page-turning addiction, and of course the happily-ever-after. Those qualities are what I need from a book. And, in general, the Chick Lit genre usually carries those qualities (and if not, I’ve been known to throw the book across the room, or my kindle).

These are the very same reasons I write Chick Lit. Not so much for the easiness of it, because writing a book is never easy (don’t believe me? Just try it), but for the fun, the excitement, the not-so-real. And, of course, the happily ever after.

So I say long live the Chick Lit genre. May it bring an escape of happiness and satisfaction to your “real” world.

Author Picture square

Links:

Website: http://www.beckymonson.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeckyMonson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bmonsonauthor

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Becky-Monson/e/B00DMB4HYY

I can't wait until this one hits the top of my TBR!!

I can’t wait until this one hits the top of my TBR!!

Thank you all for celebrating chick lit with me. Join me on Wednesday, January 6th when I celebrate the release of Novelista Girl! In the meantime, grab copies of How Do You Know? for FREE and Just Friends With Benefits for 99 cents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelista Girl – January 6, 2016

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.

Confessions of a Chick-Lit-Aholic. Erin Brady is my first guest author!

I’m so pleased to have author Erin Brady participate in my Celebration of Chick Lit tour as my inaugural guest author. Erin’s novel The Shopping Swap is one of my favorites and I love her writing so much that I asked her to be one of the first readers of Novelista Girl. Find out why she loves chick lit so much below. 

I have a serious confession to make and here it is: I have an uncontrollable obsession. Some even call it an addiction.  It’s like trying to ignore a craving for chocolate or fighting an insatiable need to binge watch a favorite television show (Downton Abbey anyone?) or even resisting the strong urge to shop (ever wandered aimlessly down the aisles of Target?  I know I have).

My addiction is insatiable and always leaves me wanting more.  It keeps me up late into the wee hours of the night.  I can’t sleep. I can’t stop talking about it and, even worse, I can’t stop writing about it!  And before you take a guess, no, it’s not that (get your mind out of the gutter, thank you very much).

I am addicted to chick lit!  I know, I know, I’m not the only one.  In fact, I am one of many devoted fans out there who devour chick lit books, romantic movies, tear-jerking soap operas, etc…, like I devour a pint of my favorite ice cream (mint chocolate chip).  But in my case, I can’t seem to stop (case in point: empty ice cream cartons).

I squeal with glee at pastel colored book covers, just like a teenager would when she bumps into her crush.  I light up like a firefly with anticipation when I read the first line of a chick lit book.  I do so because I know that I’m about to embark on a wonderful adventure with interesting characters and situations I can relate to and, most importantly, laugh at!

But what is it that I love most about chick lit?  Can you guess?  And no, it’s not that again!  Really, your mind does wander.   It’s the idea of “falling in love.”  I wait for the swoon worthy moment when the author introduces the leading man to her heroine and I sigh because I know what’s coming (cue the eye-roll).  They will inevitably fall in love . . . despite the obstacles, the misunderstandings, the jealous ex.  Even as they resist the tension building up between them.  Even as they ignore the sexual chemistry (yes, I am finally going there).  Even as they banter back and forth like two tennis pros in a championship match.  I know they will wind up together in the end and I’ll get my “happily ever after.”

Some people say that “chick lit is dead,” but I don’t buy it for one minute.  It’s like saying “love is dead” and who would honestly believe that?  Not me, that’s for sure!  As long as I live and breathe (much heavier when I try my hand at exercising), I will always be a sucker for an epic romance.  I, for one, would never give up on the idea of love.  Life would be so depressing if I did.  I mean, Jane Austen certainly didn’t give up on it and if anyone had a reason to do so, well, she did.   I shudder to think of a world without a Darcy and his Elizabeth!

No, as far as I’m concerned, I’m still and always will be, a believer.  In fact, love is the main reason I became a chick lit writer and I wear that badge proudly; out in the open for everyone to see!

So yes, I have an addiction (craving, urge, need), but it’s one I don’t intend to give up anytime soon!  I’m embracing it.  In fact, I think I’ll organize a parade in honor of it.  Maybe, even try for a national holiday.  Imagine, a whole day off curled up with my books. There’s a nice thought.

So next time anyone tells me I’m addicted to chick lit, I will smile with smug satisfaction and say thank you!  It’s the best compliment anyone can give me!

Now, where’s my box of chocolate, the new Downton Abbey episode, that link to the sample shoe sale, and the latest Sophie Kinsella book?

Meredith: Wear that chick lit-author badge with pride, sister!

ShoppingSwap_EbookProof2

 

Biography:

 

Erin Brady is a self-confessed romantic comedy addict who hopes to never find a cure. She spends countless hours re-reading Pride and Prejudice and admits to never getting tired of Darcy’s britches. She loves watching rom-com movies because, when it comes down to it, she can’t get enough of the “girl meets boy and falls in love” stories. Most importantly, she loves to laugh and finds humor in everything from washing dishes to singing karaoke off key!

 

Ms. Brady writes chick lit novels and enjoys every minute of it. All of her novels follow the lives of women who, mindfully or not, end up pursuing their dreams while making mistakes and learning to laugh (and fall in love) along the way. Erin admits that her inspiration for her characters often comes from her own circle of friends, despite her friends’ protests otherwise.

 

Currently, Erin Brady has published five novels: And The Winner Is, Shopping Swap, Holiday Gig, One Last Blind Date and The Twelve-Step Plan.

 

www.erinbradyauthor.com

amazon.com/author/erinbrady

 

 

 

 

 

NOVELISTA GIRL – January 6, 2016:

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.

Public Speaking – Gah!

I like having my voice heard when I speak. It bothers me when I feel ignored or when the company I keep pay half-assed attention to what I’m saying while looking over my shoulders at what is going on behind me or taking what they think are furtive glances at their phones. I enjoy holding a captive audience of one or two or three, whether on a date or out with friends—when it is my turn to speak, of course, as a balance of give and take makes for the best conversations.

I’m not opposed to speaking. I’m quite skilled at it, in fact. I don’t, however, enjoy public speaking—as in getting up in front of a crowd of people. At All.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that at the age of thirteen, I stood on a stage in front of upwards of fifty people and, not only spoke, but sang. Not only did I sing, but it was in Hebrew!! I totally did it for the gifts and the party, but still…If asked to do that today, no way. No effin’ way!! Even that day, I vividly recall my sisters and me unable to contain our laughter when called upon to lead the congregation in “Adon Olam.” I suppose we were cute in our own way, but I doubt it was what the rabbi, cantor, or my mother had in mind.

In order to graduate high school with a Regents diploma, I had to take a semester of Public Speaking. The class consisted of giving a series of oral reports on various topics in front of the classroom. The only ones I remember are “pet peeves” (mine was people who make too much noise when they eat); interview (we were paired with another classmate to role-play the interview process); and a demonstration. For my demonstration, I taught the class how to carve a pumpkin. Only my hands shook so badly, my friend Eric had to do the actual carving. A nervous girl should not be armed with a knife…I received an A- in the class. The writing was consistently spot-on, but my performance left something to be desired. Specifically, the teacher complained that I spoke too quickly. I was trying to get it over with!

But the most memorable public speaking experience for me was in ninth grade when we had to describe some aspect of geography in 3D. I don’t remember much about my actual report, except that I *attempted* to create a globe out of clay. I stood in front of the class and read my oral report. At the end, relieved to have it behind me, I asked the class the required question, “Any questions?” One hand flew up—Dante Golio. With a straight face, Dante said, “Can you repeat that?” apparently referring to the speed with which I spoke. The entire class, including my teacher Mr. Sherman, broke out into hysterics. Mortified and feeling betrayed by my teacher, I ran out of the class and directly to the girls’ bathroom where I sobbed. I’ve never fully recovered.

I write all of this to tell you that on the evening of Thursday, February 12th, I will be doing my first reading at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset (Long Island), along with fellow Booktrope authors Hilary Grossman and Jennifer Gracen. I’ve done my share of book signings and author-related cocktail parties, but this is my virgin “reading” and, yes, I’m quite nervous about it. Excited for sure, but anxious. What if I read too quickly? It’s always been my cross to bear. What if I suddenly lose my ability to read at all and the words just blur into strange characters on the page before me? What I trip on my way to the podium? These questions and more will be answered in a little over a fortnight, along with a three-four page monologue of How Do You Know?.

I will be sure to report back, but if you’re in the area, please stop by to support me (or take pleasure in my discomfort).

BarnesandNoblepicture

Why haven’t I blogged? Mystery solved.

My goal is to write a blog a week. I’m not so strict that I need to post a blog every seven days, but I like to have one blog posted for every Sunday-Saturday week. Although I don’t usually have difficulty sticking to this schedule, when I visited my blog earlier today, I saw that my last post was September 22nd—sixteen days ago. I pride myself for taking responsibility for my shortcomings and so I am not going to simply write a new blog and hope no one noticed how long it’s been since my last one. I am going to own my absence on meredithschorr.com and try to get to the bottom of this failing so that it doesn’t happen again. The best way to do this, in my inexperienced opinion, is to retrace my steps. What have I been doing over the last sixteen days to explain my failure to blog?

I’ve been busy working on the final details of my fourth novel, to be released in early December. Much of my time has been spent going over the cover art with my book manager and my cover artist, making final edits on the manuscript, sending it to my proofreader, and generally daydreaming about the release and how it’s going to be best-seller, skyrocket me to fame and fortune, and be made into a blockbuster movie.

When I haven’t been finalizing details of my fourth novel, I’ve been writing my fifth novel—the second book in the Blogger Girl series. The book is currently eighty-four pages and I aim to write at least one hundred by the time the fourth novel comes out. With almost two months to go, this goal seems to be within reach.

I’ve been enjoying the return of some of my favorite television shows, like Parenthood, The Black List, Castle, and The Mindy Project and forming an addiction to some new ones, like Forever and How to Get Away With Murder. I’m starting to give up on a few old favorites, like Revenge, looking forward to the return of The Following and Grimm and continuing to catch up on Orange is the New Black and The Good Wife.

I’ve been fearing, experiencing, and recovering from oral surgery to remove a blister on my cheek and busy with pre-op screening and other related doctor’s appointments. The surgery was yesterday and although my mouth is sore, I’m glad it is over. I have one last follow up appointment with my doctor on Monday and after that, I’m hoping for a nice long break from doctors, at least until 2015!

My day job has been crazy busy and I spend most of my day trying to stay one step ahead of my supervising attorney and clients so I do not get buried in work!

I’ve continued to miss my friend Alan who passed away and who is on my mind almost constantly.

Reading. I’ve read several books over the past week, including This is Where I Leave You (started out great, but I gave up after I was overcome with desire to strangle the main character), The Publicist One and Two (both fun, fast reads), Exactly Where They’d Fall (interesting and not what I expected) and The Infinite Sea (sequel to The Fifth Wave and pretty awesome).

Visiting family – I spent most of last weekend with my family to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. It’s difficult to write on an empty stomach and so I used the two hour bus ride in both directions to read.

So there you have it.  I couldn’t find the time to write a blog post because I was too busy with all of the above. I hope you’ll forgive me and I will try not to let it happen again 🙂

See you next week. Hopefully!

counting my blessings

I’ve been very unhappy lately and it’s been over a month—five weeks and two days exactly—since I’ve been able to experience true joy. Probably longer than that if I’m being honest. If you follow my blog, you’re aware that my boss of almost twenty years, who was also one of my dearest friends in the entire world, lost his battle with cancer last month. People keep asking if I’m “okay” and depending on your definition of “okay,” the answer is “yes.” I’m functioning. I get out of bed every day, work out, go to work, indulge in some social interaction, read, write, etc., but despite the outer appearance of hanging in there, I’m merely going through the motions. My friend’s death weighs on my mind almost constantly and I miss his presence in my life more than I can convey in writing. Throughout our years of friendship, whenever I would express unhappiness or dissatisfaction with my life to my friend, he would acknowledge my feelings, but urge me not to lose sight of the wonderful things I had in my life despite not having other things I desired. With his advice in mind, I have decided to dedicate my blog post to listing the wonderful things I have in my life even in the midst of my sadness and the gaping hole his death has left in my heart. I hope by putting these blessings down on paper, I will be in a better position to appreciate my life as I currently know it.

Friends – Alan was extremely special to me (still is), but he is not my only close, loyal friend. My friends have always been there, but they have really stepped up in my time of need. They check up on me without being overbearing. They are patient with my mood swings. They attempt to distract me while acknowledging how difficult it will be. My friends who have also experienced true and devastating loss have shared their stories and reassured me that my feelings are normal. My friends who live farther away have invited me to come visit them and have offered to come to me. With their words and actions, they have made it clear I have friends in this world. I’m positive Alan knows he can never be replaced, but I’m sure it gives him peace knowing I have so many other wonderful friends looking out for me. I thank my friends from the bottom of my heart.

Family – My closest family members know how much I valued my relationship with Alan and they’ve been completely supportive during this difficult time. I fear that I will grieve too long and eventually frustrate my family, but my mother has assured me she’s there for me every step of the way. My brother in New Mexico checks up on me regularly and I know it pains him to think of me so sad. He told me so. My sister Marjorie picks up the phone each and every time I call unless she’s at school and if she can’t get talk, she sends me a text to let me know when she’ll be around. She’s been a rock to me this past year. From the day I called her crying when Alan received his diagnosis to the day his wife told us his organs were failing and he might not make it, my sister listened on the other end of the phone while I cried hysterically. She apologized for being powerless to make the situation better, but just being there for me was a comfort. I get to see her three weekends in a row which hasn’t happened since we lived under the same roof over twenty years ago. I am grateful for something to look forward to.

Writing – Writing has been my most powerful distraction from pain. When I get lost in my writing, I’m able to put my own problems to the side at least temporarily. Most of the fleeting moments of happiness I’ve had over the past month have been due to the act of writing, the success of my existing novels, and the anticipation of publishing my fourth book later this year. I’m busy with my book manager and cover artist working on the cover, my editor has completed her first round of edits, and I’m genuinely excited about and grateful for this aspect of my life.

Good books –Besides writing, another true distraction for me is reading. I read on average a book and a half a week. I have no idea how I manage to do that. Okay, I lied. I read whenever I have a few minutes of free time, including while blow drying my hair, riding the subway, and eating my lunch. Sometimes I get so engrossed in a book, when I pull my head out of my Kindle, it takes a moment to remember my sadness. I’ve read the following amazing books in the past few weeks: Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann, Spin by Catherine McKenzie, Killing Ruby Rose by Jessie Humphries and Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison and they were all five star reads.

Job – Many people use going to work as a distraction from dealing with their personal problems.  Unfortunately, my friend’s death threw my world off-kilter both personally and professionally. My grief follows me to work each and every day since Alan was my boss for eighteen years and at three different law firms. Aside from the last year when he was sick, we saw each other five days a week (not including vacations) and ate lunch together almost daily. Walking into work each morning knowing he’s never coming back is so hard and I often have difficulty catching my breath. I have broken down at my desk on multiple occasions. It took me a week to be able to walk past his office. This doesn’t sound like much of a blessing, but bear with me. As challenging as it is to proceed as if it is business as usual when it’s far from it, I’m blessed to work with some great people who understand my pain and are dealing with their own feelings of loss. For the most part, people at work have expressed their sympathy but have also given me room to breathe. My clients have been kind as well and often check up on me. I’ve taken to eating lunch in Alan’s office which now provides me with some comfort and makes me feel closer to him. And of course, there is the obvious: I make a good living, I have comprehensive health insurance and a 401K plan. People tend to take these things for granted, but I’m thankful for a steady paycheck.

Television – I’m a huge fan of the small screen and I am blessed that despite the limited first-run shows currently on the air, I can curl on my couch and binge-watch my new favorite show, The Good Wife, on Amazon Prime. I also can watch back-to-back sappy original movies on The Hallmark Channel. Finally, I’ve recently rediscovered The Long Island Medium on TLC. I’ve always believed that our spirits live on even after death, but now more than ever. Watching The Long Island Medium reinforces my belief that Alan’s energy is still out there and that he can hear me when I talk to him. I know not everyone shares my thoughts on the afterlife and everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but I’ve heard too many stories from credible individuals as well as had my own experiences and I will not be swayed. If it brings me peace of mind and doesn’t hurt anyone, why not?

Spin class – I’ve been running since I was in grammar school and until recently it was one of my favorite activities and certainly my exercise of choice. Since Alan passed away, running has becoming painful because it brings all of my thoughts and feelings to the surface and I wind up breaking down in tears. Spinning, on the other hand, takes so much concentration that I can’t follow the class and focus on my despair at the same time. Since I don’t want to be the only one in the saddle when everyone else is in third position, I choose paying attention to the instructor. As a result, I get a great workout without crying. Here’s to that!

Text messages – I am unbelievably grateful to have saved all of the text messages Alan and I exchanged. Although I only allow myself to read them every couple of weeks, each time I go through a month of texts, it’s like traveling back in time. I can laugh at his jokes, read his advice, and marvel at the amazingly sharp, witty, and easy banter we shared. It’s truly priceless. Unfortunately, I only have messages since October, 2013, after he was already diagnosed with cancer, but his sense of humor was always present.

Memories – Above all else, I am grateful for my memories of Alan and for eighteen years of having the best, most loyal boss in the entire world. I used to say that no job was one hundred percent stable but mine was as close as you could possibly get because Alan always had my back. More valuable to me than that, however, is the friendship we built together over the course of close to two decades. It was a marathon, not a sprint, but when we reached the finish line, neither of us had any doubts of where we stood in the other’s heart. I carry no guilt about the things I said/did not say to Alan and there is nothing Alan could have told me before he died that he didn’t already tell me with words and show me with actions at least a hundred times. For that, I am truly blessed.

And there you have it. Tonight before I go to bed and more than likely shed a few tears over missing my dear friend, I will also count my blessings of which there are many.

My Trip to Toronto Part II

Welcome to Part II of my trip to Toronto

When we left off, the BookBuzz Toronto event had come to a conclusion. *Tear* In this post, I will recap my experiences from the following day.

I failed to mention in my earlier post that while getting a pedicure for my trip, my phone charger accidentally fell into the water. (If you have to ask how that happened, you obviously do not know me very well.) I didn’t realize that the charger was defective until after I arrived in Toronto and I was freaking out about traveling without access to my phone. Kaley was kind enough to meet me before brunch and escort me to the Toronto Eaton Centre mall where I could purchase a new phone charger. It was nice to have a few minutes alone with Kaley to get to know her better. While walking through the mall, I kept expecting to run into someone I knew. And then I remembered how unlikely that was since I was in another country…

torontocity

Although not everyone was around the following day, the majority of us (me, Sam, Kaley, Cat, Samantha, Lydia Laceby and Heather Wardell) agreed to meet for lunch at Senator Restaurant, a diner in the heart of the city. I was committed to drinking a Caesar, the Canadian version of the Bloody Mary, and was very relieved the restaurant was serving alcohol. I was the only one to partake in a boozy beverage but, like I said, I was determined. It was delicious. Nice and spicy, just the way I like it.

senator

Caesar

After brunch, we visited the World’s Biggest Bookstore, walked up and down the Toronto streets, stopped for tea, and then for lunch and a drink before heading back to the hotel to pick up our suitcases. Throughout the afternoon, we discussed our common obsession: reading and books in general. Spending the afternoon with women who share my love of reading was priceless. And since almost everyone was an author, we were able to discuss reviews, the writing/publishing process, sales etc. without anyone feeling left out or rolling her eyes in boredom. My local friends are amazing and I would not give them up for anything in the world but spending the afternoon with women who totally get that very important aspect of my life was incredibly special.

tea

Saying goodbye to my new friends who weren’t really “new” was painful because I knew it would be a long time before we met face-to-face again. I was so happy for some extra time with my friend Sam who actually walked with me from the Eaton Centre in the heart of Toronto downtown to the airport at the waterfront. I’m sure most of you are unfamiliar with Toronto, so I’ll just say it was a long walk and leave it at that! As much as I did not want to leave, I was also afraid of missing my flight but Sam and I agreed that in Toronto traffic, taking a cab would probably take me longer than walking and so we walked. And talked.

In conclusion, my trip was 99% successful. The missing 1% accounts for my failure to come home with autographs from the cast of Degrassi High! I guess that means I will have to come back…

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Distractions

I’d like to preface this blog by telling everyone how much I love my mother and dispelling any notions you might have, based on some of my previous posts, that she’s anything short of amazing.  She gave birth to me.  Kidding!  Well, she did give birth to me.  (Or at least that’s the story she stuck with all of those times my older sisters said I was adopted.)   Anyway, I often comment on my mother’s unflagging interest in my love life but I know it’s only because she loves me.  She’s no more/less annoying than any other Jewish mother and she’s also a strong, loyal, loving, witty, business savvy and beautiful woman in her own right.  So please take my blogs with a grain of salt where she’s concerned.

Ok, Mommy?  I hope you feel better now.  MUAH!

The topic of this blog is distraction: things that prevent you from accomplishing what you set out to accomplish.  I’ve read so many articles from writers urging other writers and aspiring writers to set aside time each and every day to write.  I’m telling you right now that I do not set aside time each and every day to write.  Sometimes I feel guilty about it.  Sometimes I even panic that I’m losing my writing mojo.  But mostly I don’t fret because I know when I’m not writing, my life is full of other activities that combined, make me a well-rounded and happy person.

Currently, I devote at least one night and a few lunch hours a week to write.  I’m writing this from my Wednesday evening writer’s group which I only skip if something special comes along.  (And happy hour with my friends is not special enough, no offense to my fun-loving friends.)  I also write on the rare occasions I take public transportation, when waiting for a manicure/pedicure, hair cut etc., on line at the grocery store and basically any other time I have a few minutes to spare.  I write either short snippets of whatever novel I’m working on or a blog.  Lately though, I’ve been distracted – by other people’s books.

 Ever since I received a Kindle as a birthday present, I’ve been addicted to downloading and reading books.  I feel like such a traitor to the physical book but I freakin love reading on a Kindle!  I love how light weight it is.  I love that I don’t need a bookmark to hold my place.  (Mostly because I usually neglect to use a bookmark and wind up folding over the page.) I love that I can turn the page with the slight tap of my finger.  I love that I can’t skip ahead and read the end.  I love seeing my progress in percentages rather than page numbers and I love that I can read a page or two while waiting on line at the ATM and feel like I actually accomplished something.  I love my Kindle!  I love it so much that rather than my usual two books a month, I am averaging a book a week.  (Not sure my credit card loves it that much.) And I’m obsessed with deciding what book I’ll read next since it’s delivered to my device instantly and I don’t have to wait for it to ship or go to the store and stand in line.

It’s so easy to buy and read books on a Kindle, but I’m afraid I’m turning into an addict.  And I don’t buy the .99 cent or even the $2.99 ebooks.  I carefully choose the books I want to purchase through reviews and word of mouth and don’t pay much attention to the cost.  As a result, I’ve spent up to $11 on a few of them. And if that’s not enough, the books I’ve read of late have been so engaging that I find myself wanting to read every chance I get.  Two of the books I’ve read recently were just SO good – Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanan and Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee.  I started the latter on Monday and I’m already 87% completed.  And I’ve worked full days and I had plans after work each night so you might wonder how I managed to read almost an entire book when I was clearly busy doing other things.  The answer is I’ve been reading while eating my lunch; I’ve been reading while waiting on line to buy my lunch; and I’ve been reading while waiting my turn at the beauty salon. I’ve been reading every moment I should have been writing and when, before my addiction to the Kindle, I would have been writing. 

Yes, I confess.,  I’ve been reading other people’s novels when I should be writing my own.  I think I need an intervention.  And I plan to call upon my family and closest friends to help me detox.

As soon as I finish the last 13% of Save as Draft.  And download Beth Kendrick’s Second Time Around.