how I spent my weekend

This post will be heavy on pictures and light on text because, gosh darn it, I have a cold. It’s almost May, but Mother Nature had to throw one last winter cold at me with her crazy change of weather. Boo!

My attempt to make Emergen-C look like a tasty cocktail...

My attempt to make Emergen-C look like a tasty cocktail…

Until Friday night, my ancient television set belied my love of watching television. I blame my failure to purchase a television set that is not only befitting of the twenty-first century but also of my fondness for watching television on both being busy balancing other aspects of my life and my technophobia. I fully admit I was afraid to buy a new television set and not know how to hook it up to my cable, Roku, DVD player etc. So when my friend Julie offered not only to sell me her good as new 46” LCD HDTV but to help me set it up, I wrote her a check faster than you could say, “binge-watch.” Julie brought me the set on Friday night and we spent a couple of hours putting it together and by “we” I mean “her.” I did contribute a bottle of Prosecco and some chips…



Despite my cold, I met with a bunch of other authors for a write-in at Housing Works book store in the village on Saturday afternoon. Most of the authors are also affiliated with my publisher, Booktrope, including my very own editor. I was very excited to meet my awesome editor face-to-face for the first time. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of her this time, but we hope to make this a monthly event and I will not forget next time. In the meantime, I did take a selfie with my writing buddy, Hilary Grossman, author of the awesome memoir, Dangled Carat.



Since I wasn’t up to going out on Saturday night, I binge-watched the first season of Nashville on, you guessed it, my new tv!! I love the men on that show and they are even sexier when viewed on a quality television set 🙂

I went to bed with the highest of hopes that I would feel better today but I didn’t. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go for a run this morning. I don’t think it made me any worse although between you and me, I don’t think it made me feel any better either 😦

The most significant task I completed this weekend, besides FINALLY enrolling in online banking, was completing my self-edits of Novel Girl, the follow-up book to Blogger Girl. I know the novel needs more work, but I can’t see it clearly anymore and knew it was time to send it off to my beta readers. While I await their comments, I plan to start my next project—a prequel novella to the Blogger Girl series in which I will take Kim Long and bring her back to middle school, along with her best friend Bridget and their nemesis Hannah Marshak. I’ve never written a novella and I’ve never written young characters, but it’s a challenge I’m excited to tackle.


I hate to blog and run but I must nap now. I’m taking the day off from work tomorrow to hang with my southern soul sister Jenny who is visiting from Kentucky, and hope to have kicked this cold by then. Wish me luck!

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 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!

These television shows would make great chick lit books!

We, and by “we,” I mean my author/blogger friends and I, often discuss what books we could totally see turned into movies. I even cast all of my books as if the screenplay adoption is imminent. But I’ve never heard anyone discuss what movies/television shows they think would make really good books. Since there is a first time for everything and I like to be a trend-setter, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to those television shows I think would make really good chick lit and, in some cases, young adult books:

Veronica Mars – I watched this series when it was in first-run and I loved it. To me, it’s a cross between Nancy Drew and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Blonde, petite, and adorable, Veronica is intelligent, has a snarky personality, a wicked sense of humor, and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Her father is the former sheriff of Neptune, California and currently a private investigator. Veronica assists him on his cases and has her own clientele too—most often her fellow classmates. She also has a group of adorable male admirers and the love triangles are very well done. (Team Logan!) I would love to read a book (or series of books) with Veronica at the helm. I also think she’s a great role model for young women as she is wise beyond her years, strong-willed, not prone to peer pressure and just all around the coolest high school chick ever.

Drop Dead Diva –Aspiring model Deb dies in a car crash, but rather than stay in heaven she presses the “return” button and returns to earth just in time to inhabit the body of recently deceased Jane, a plus-sized attorney in a law firm where Deb’s ex-fiancé Grayson is a partner. Of course, Grayson has no idea that Jane is really Deb and Jane is forced to witness Grayson grieve Deb’s death and eventually move on. In my opinion, this series would make the ultimate chick lit book with a touch of paranormal. There is humor, romance, fashion, and even law-changing legal cases thrown in for good measure.

The New Girl – After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, quirky and “simply adorkable” late twenty-something Jess moves into a loft with three bachelors. Typical comedic moments ensue, along with relationship drama. Combine a cute, if not somewhat awkward and self-deprecating young woman with three handsome, single men under one roof and you have a recipe for a great chick lit book. I gave up on the television show when Jess’s quirkiness became a bit over-the-top, but I would absolutely be up for a stand-alone novel based on the television series.

The Mindy Project – The series follows thirty-something obstetrician/gynecologist Mindy as she tries to balance her personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small medical practice in New York City. This series, in my opinion, embodies all that is beloved in chick lit—a multi-faceted main female character who, although professionally successful, struggles to get her personal life in order; hilarious dating disasters; an enigmatic and sexy hero who is always just slightly out of reach; well fleshed out secondary characters; and a seemingly revolving door of possible love interests to keep things interesting. I am addicted to watching this show on the small screen, but would love to read it on my Kindle too!

I certainly enjoy other television shows, but I don’t necessarily think they would transfer as well into a novel as well as the aforementioned. For example, I think a character-driven show would make for a better chick lit book than a plot-driven series where the story changes every week without much character development. I also limited my choices to those categorized as comedy, since humor is a key element in chick lit, and romance, since chick lit lovers in general love a happily ever after.

How do you feel about my choices? What television shows would you like to see made into books?

I heart television!

I have an unwavering devotion to the medium of television. Over the past couple of weeks, my regular television shows were on a winter hiatus and sadly, the Lifetime and Hallmark Channels ceased broadcasting their corny-yet-I-can’t-get-enough-of-them holiday movies. I’m not a fan of repeats unless they are for shows no longer on the air – I can watch repeats of Beverly Hills 90210 and Felicity from dusk to dawn – and there was no way I was going to forgo watching television until my favorite shows returned. So, what did I do? Fortunately, I own a Roku device which allows me to watch shows on Hulu Plus on my television set. Hulu Plus has episodes of so many shows that are no longer on the air. Without Hulu Plus, I never would have discovered one of my favorite shows of seasons past – Fringe. I love Walter Bishop, and his son Peter was kind of a hottie! I am also fascinated by the idea of an alternate dimension. This time around, I chose Lost since I never got into it when it was originally aired. After the first episode, I became undeniably hooked and am now already halfway through the third season. I even dreamed about Sawyer last night but, unfortunately, it was not one of those types of dreams 😦 I am dying to find out more about “The Others” and “The Dharma Initiative” and whether “Freckles” will end up with Sawyer or Jack.

Since many of the current shows are airing first run episodes again and others will start soon, I will have to limit my time watching Lost at least for a while, but rest assured, I will absolutely watch the entire series at some point. In the meantime, these are some of the current shows I am most excited to get back to:

The Following – I do not believe for a second that Joe Carroll is dead. I’m just really glad they didn’t kill off Mike the way they did Deb. Word to the wise: do not eat while watching this show. It is graphically violent but very addictive!

Revenge – I can’t believe the producers resorted to giving Emily amnesia. They should change the name of the show to Revenge of All of My Children at General Hospital since amnesia is a total soap opera cop-out! But I love it!

The Black List – It’s so obvious that Elizabeth is Red’s daughter but I like their relationship. And I have a huge crush on Elizabeth’s husband and hope he’s not actually a bad guy.

Downton Abbey – I mourned the death of Matthew, but I still anticipate Sunday nights with a fervor. Lady Edith is my favorite.

Parenthood – Every episode of this show moves me. Currently, I am concerned that Julia and Joel won’t be able to work things out. I also hope Drew loses that douche bag “friend with benefits” Natalie – hate her!

How I Met Your Mother – This season is really pissing me off but I’ve already invested so many years in it and I must see how it concludes. I’m hoping it won’t end with Ted simply meeting “the mother” since we’ve known who she is all season. I want to watch them fall in love.

Grimm – I like the chemistry between the characters more than anything else. It reminds me of the “Scooby Gang” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Another show to avoid watching while eating. Really gross!

Criminal Minds – This show is SICK and, once again, if you watch while eating, you might get sick too. But…I am riveted to my television screen.

The Mindy Project – Hilarious. I totally want Mindy and Danny to hook up already but the show would probably jump the shark if they did. The only thing that bothers me about this show is how easily Mindy meets guys in New York City who turn out to be “boyfriends” – completely unrealistic look at dating in NYC. But, again, hilarious. By far my favorite sitcom.

Castle – Nathan Fillion. ‘Nuff said.

Other shows I enjoy and watch when I’m around but don’t necessarily keep up with are:

The Goldbergs

The Millers

Marvel’s Agents of Shield

The Big Bang Theory

Law & Order: SVU

And, of course, there is the train wreck known as The Bachelor. I will admit that I skipped the first episode as the show only gets enjoyable to me when the competition really gets going. I also think I might be outgrowing it. If I hear another twenty-four year old talk about how she’s been looking for her soul mate her “entire life”, I might have to reach inside my television screen and kick her in the gut. I’d like to see a thirty/forty-something version that I might actually be able to take seriously, but I think that would defeat the purpose of the show. Oh, well.

What about you? What are you favorite television shows?

pop culture in novels

Fact:  I am somewhat of a television junkie. 

I can make a television reference to almost any real-life situation.  For instance, I’m headed out to Seattle soon and told a friend I was going to hunt down McDreamy and McSteamy (from the television series, Grey’s Anatomy).  If I sneeze in front of my sister, Marjorie, I’ll fake concern that the sniffles mean I’ll probably need to get my tonsils out like Cindy Brady on The Brady Bunch.  If I leave my comfort zone of making a tuna fish sandwich and heating up soup for dinner and attempt something more sophisticated, I might compare myself to Jack Tripper when he prepared his coq a vin at Jack’s Bistro.  (A Three’s Company reference for those of you not in “the know.”) 

I also have a sick photographic memory when it comes to television.  Marjorie once randomly asked me who played the mom in Mr. Belvedere.  I immediately answered “Ilene Graff.”  I just pictured the theme song in my head and her name came to me.  If friends are playing Trivial Pursuit (or more often a drinking game requiring knowledge of pop culture), they’ll often send me a text asking something along the lines of: “Remember that show with that guy who used to be on Mary Tyler Moore and had two daughters and there was some really stupid guy that used to hang out with them?”  And I’ll respond within minutes, “Too Close for Comfort.  The stupid guy always wore a striped rugby shirt and his name was Monroe.”  And they’ll text back “I KNEW you’d remember!”

My love of television dates back to when I was practically a baby.  I remember watching episodes of That Girl with my Nanny Tessie and Poppy Charles on afternoons I didn’t have kindergarten.  And I used to act out scenes from Eight is Enough and the Facts of Life with Marjorie and my childhood friend, Ronni. (Marjorie always got first choice of what character she wanted to be, but we were just happy she wanted to play with us.)  While my older sisters watched Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley with my mom in her room, I would watch it from the hallway.  If my mom had to cross her bedroom to use the bathroom, my sisters would warn me to run back to my room so I wouldn’t get caught being up past my bedtime.  I used to love watching The Love Boat and Fantasy Island while babysitting on Saturday nights.  My sister and I were obsessed with Degrassi Junior High and used to watch it while eating bagels on Sunday mornings.  I rushed home from school on weekdays to watch General Hospital at 3 and Oprah Winfrey at 4.  And my college roommates and I never headed to the bar on Wednesday nights until Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place were over.  And we’d drool over Kyle Chandler in Homefront.  Some of my favorite old shows through the years (in no particular order) included Who’s the Boss, Growing Pains (loved Kirk Cameron.  LOVED), Beverly Hills 90210, Knots Landing, ER, Will & Grace, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Felicity, Ally McBeal (the first season at least), Party of Five, My So Called Life and, of course, Seinfeld and Friends.

While writing my first novel, Just Friends With Benefits, I inserted a lot of my own characteristics into the main character of Stephanie.  So it wasn’t a surprise to friends and family members who read the book that, like me, Stephanie was somewhat of a television junkie and made many pop culture references.  She met a guy reading a book written by Marcia Brady for peat’s sake!  Throughout the book, there are references to The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company, The Love Boat, Saved by the Bell and 90210 among others.  I really enjoyed including these pop culture references because a) as indicated above, I’m a television junkie and b) I think it added another dimension to Stephanie’s personality.  Additionally, for people on or about my age, the references were probably familiar and brought back memories to the reader.  I know that I love reading books that bring me back to a different, yet familiar, time and place.  And I received many positive comments regarding the fun pop culture references.

On the flip side, the pop culture references likely went over the heads of those readers significantly younger or older than me and I know that if I read a book chock full of references that meant nothing to me, I’d probably feel a bit left out and maybe put off.  Furthermore, 40 years from now, most of those references will go over EVERYONE’s head.  While I never imagined my book to be a “classic”, I’d like my children, grandchildren and great nieces and nephews to read Mommy’s/Grandma’s/Great Aunt Meri’s first novel someday and, in hindsight, wish I hadn’t included quite so many pop culture references from the 1970s, 80s and 90s that will be considered ancient by then.  

It is not rare to see multiple pop culture references in light women’s fiction novels like Just Friends With Benefits.  And my second novel contains them as well, only not nearly as much.  The main reason I didn’t include as many in novel #2 is because the book is also written in the first person and since the main character is not a television junkie/trivia queen, it wouldn’t have made as much sense for her to compare everything to a television show.  Although I didn’t give it much thought when writing my second novel, now that I have more experience as a writer, I think I will include even less pop culture references in my third.  But I’m curious what you all think?  Do you enjoy pop culture references in the novels you read?  Do you get annoyed when you don’t “get” them?