Monday, May 26, 2008


I haven't gone out to the movies since CHICAGO came out a few years ago but I intend to be first in line Friday for SEX AND THE CITY.

Which, if you think about it, is pretty funny since I was single for less than 90 days in my adult (read: over 18) life.

What can I say? I love the show. I love the characters. I love the writing. Yes, it has its flaws, many of them, but it can do more with 20+ minutes than most full length movies can do with 2 hours.

You've probably heard the rumor that Big dies. Personally that wouldn't bother me a bit. I'm not crazy about his character. I'm not even all that crazy about Carrie. I find Miranda the most fascinating; her journey through the series covered the most ground. If you think about the brittle, unyielding Miranda from Season 1 versus the Miranda who bathed her husband's mother at the end of Season 6--well, no contest.

Charlotte is a close second. Her evolution from pampered Park Avenue princess to a compassionate woman was emotionally satisfying. I loved that she knew what was important for her and kept moving toward it year after year, even when it looked like she would never find her soul mate.

Samantha is okay. Strong, self-reliant, a hell of a great friend. Definitely the funniest of the four, thanks to Kim Cattrall's amazing performance. But really--do you honestly think she's going to stay with Smith? Slutty Richard was the love of her life.

And Carrie. Sorry but she lost me when she screwed around on Aidan. Yes, I understand the hows and the whys of it but to me she remained skittish and guarded through all six seasons. Not to mention incredibly self-absorbed. I don't see a future with her and Big, no matter how hard I try.

And don't get me started on Steve's infidelity. I am very upset about that. Can't we have one couple who manages to make it work? I mean, they didn't even make it to the five year mark without hitting the marital skids. I know it's crazy to be so invested in fictional characters, but I really wanted their marriage to work. I loved them together. I loved them in Brooklyn. (That's the girl from Queens in me speaking.) I loved that her orderly constricted life had been blown to hell by the unexpected.

I noticed Sean Palmer isn't listed on any of the credits. I hope that doesn't mean Stanford and Marcus broke up. And I really hope that doesn't mean something happened to Marcus.

We'll find out on Friday.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

One Word Only

This isn't as easy as it looks. Your answers can be ONE WORD only. (Very tough for a writer.) Copy, paste, and give it a try. (And I do mean you, Kali!)

1. Where is your cell phone? TABLE

2. Your significant other? KITCHEN

3. Your hair? PONYTAIL

4. Your mother? GONE

5. Your father? GONE

6. Your favorite thing? HOME

7. Your dream last night? SAD

8. Your favorite drink? TEA

9. Your dream/goal? HAPPINESS

10. The room you’re in? SERENE

11. Your ex? NONE

12. Your fear? LOSS

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? HERE

14. Where were you last night? HERE

15. What you’re not? CRUEL

16. Muffins? ENGLISH

17. One of your wish list items? ASSURANCE

18. Where you grew up? QUEENS

19. The last thing you did? DISHES

20. What are you wearing? JEANS

21. Your TV? AGING

22. Your pets? PARROTS

23. Your computer? CURSED

24. Your life? WONDERFUL

25. Your mood? SORROWFUL

26. Missing someone? YES

27. Your car? OLD

28. Something you’re not wearing? JEWELRY

29. Favorite store? PATTERNWORKS

30. Your summer? UGH

31. Like(love) someone? FRIENDS

32. Your favorite color? YELLOW

33. Last time you laughed? MORNING

34. Last time you cried? YESTERDAY

35. Who will re-post this? MYSTERY

Have fun!


Friday, May 23, 2008

First Annual Memorial Day Totebag Full of Books Contest

Welcome to my First Annual Memorial Day Totebag Full of Books Contest. (This is what happens when your next book won't be out until November but you're so in love with it that you can't wait to share!)
I know you only see two books there but I promise you the winner will also see signed copies of SHORE LIGHTS, CHANCES ARE, and whatever else jumps into the totebag before I ship it out.
Entering is easy. Just send me an email with TOTEBAG in the subject header and I'll do the rest.

One winner will be chosen on June 1st and announced right here.

Good luck!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So far, so good with this laptop. We passed our eighth month anniversary and I've encountered the Blue Screen from Hell only three times. I consider myself lucky. Vista and I had a terrible time getting acquainted but we made our peace around December and now I'm amazed to sayI wouldn't go back.

This is usually the time of year where all of my electronic equipment rolls over and plays dead. Last year I believe I lost three laptops in a six week period. (A new high for me.) The year before I took out an answering machine, telephone, television, and two laptops and I swear to you that all I did was press the start buttons.

I had a scare with my Kindle (Amazon's book reader) last week but a reset put it back where it should be.

Mostly this time of year I tread very lightly around anything that uses electricity.

I had to put my knitting aside for awhile this year (it was either write the book or knit; the book won) but now the urge to cast on something wonderful is overwhelming. I'm tempted by an Elizabeth Zimmerman blanket (good way to use up all of my Sirdar Highlander), some spiral socks (a can't-go-wrong gift idea), or maybe the Log Cabin blanket that's been calling to me for over a year. What can I say? I like to knit rectangles and squares, big high-impact items that don't require a whole lot of brain power when I'm working on a book. Hits of color and texture are just what you need when you're adrift in a sea of words.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mary: reader, knitter, and friend

My wonderful friend Mary Preisinger died a few weeks ago, just a month short of her ninety-first birthday and my world is definitely poorer for it.

Mary was my very first not-related-to-me reader. She sent me my very first fan letter back in March 1983. (You'll have to excuse the number of times I use the word "first" in this post but there's no way around it. It was a time of firsts for me.)
Let me set the stage. LOVE CHANGES was one of the launch books for Harlequin American and had come out in Reader Service but was still a few weeks from hitting the book stores. I was published . . . but not really. Somewhere out there I hoped people were reading me but if they were they were being very quiet about it.

We were living in North Babylon on Long Island at the time and every morning I would drop my husband off at the LIRR station in Babylon then stop by the post office at Sunset City (a strip mall on Deer Park Avenue with, among other delights, a video store and the wonderful Italian Food World) and check my PO box for mail. I don't really know what I was expecting but I was a brand new author and hope truly springs eternal. So can you imagine my absolute shock when I unlocked the box that morning in late March of '83 and found one small letter waiting for me!
It was from Mary Preisinger who was living in West Islip at the time, written in bright green ink, and her words made me cry. "I loved your book," she wrote. "Reading it took me back to the time when my husband was still alive and we would drive out to Montauk and walk the beach. Thank you for giving me back those memories."

I'm telling you winning the Pulitzer Prize (For romance? Not likely!) or hitting the New York Times could not have made me happier than that one small letter did. My words had touched a stranger's heart! It was the most amazing, wonderful, powerful, exhilarating experience of my life.

Now here's where it gets a wee bit weird. I turned into a stalker. Not in a bad way (don't all stalkers say that?) but West Islip was just one town over and I was really, really thrilled about my fan letter so I ran home, looked Mary's phone number up in the directory and called her. I know I should be embarrassed but I'm not. I didn't know a thing about author etiquette back then. I definitely didn't have a clue about how to be cool. I just did what my heart told me to do and thank God! That impulsive phone call resulted in a twenty-five year friendship that enriched my life in ways I can't begin to count. She knitted some gorgeous afghans for me. I fumbled my way through shawls and lap robes for her.

Mary and I talked like old friends. She invited me to visit her one day for lunch and I did. Over the years we shared books and laughter, secrets and tears. I moved to central NJ. She moved to Salem, Massachusetts, then back to Long Island and then finally to Ohio. But we never lost touch. Not for a minute.

I'm sitting here by the front window, watching the rain. I have a cup of tea on the table next to me and Mary's pale celery green, soft yellow, and ivory afghan draped across my shoulders like a hug.
She's there in every stitch and always will be.

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Reading Binge

Did I mention I cut my hand back in January? Did I mention that I was slicing eggplant for eggplant parmigiana and somehow mistook the side of my left hand for a big purple vegetable? (Or is eggplant a fruit. I can never remember.) Anyway that one stupid, stupid accident brought my knitting mania to a screeching halt and threw me into major withdrawal.

(For more of my knitting adventures, please visit Romancing the Yarn.)

Anyway with my knitting temporarily on hold, I found myself reaching for my Kindle and diving back into reading in a big way. Very big way. For the last few months I've been devouring books like they were M&Ms. Popping one after another into my hungry brain and loving every second of it in a way I haven't in longer than I am willing to admit.

Biographies, memoirs. how-to, yes a bunch of knitting books (if you can't knit, you might as well read about it and drool over the pretty pictures), reread all of Jan Karon's Father Tim/Mitfords, Robert B. Parker's Sunny Randalls (I still say she's Spenser with ovaries and better hair), Tamar Myers' different series.

If you remember, back in December I had a few complaints about the Kindle. I wanted to love it but couldn't quite move beyond a state of mild affection. Well, I still have the same complaints (what genius [said with great sarcasm] came up with that stupid arrangement of page-turning buttons?) (probably the same one who opted not to include backlighting) but I am now officially in love. I'm not quite sure when it happened but I couldn't live without my Kindle. Okay, so the add-on light is a pain in the butt but that's a small price to pay for the absolute delight of carrying a library around in my bag.

I think I told you that I have a serious addiction to celebrity bios. Good, bad, super-bad. I don't care. I'll read them. And tell you all about it.


Admission: I wasn't a ONE DAY AT A TIME fan and I wasn't a Valerie Bertinelli fan. Her all-American cheerful TV persona left me cold. So I didn't approach this book expecting to automatically love it. I approached it because I love to peek behind the curtain of celebrity even if what they choose to show us has been run past a half dozen PR types and vetted by lawyers.

So I was very surprised to find myself turning the pages wondering what was going to happen next when, to be honest, I pretty much already knew. (I read the supermarket magazines you're not supposed to admit you read. I mean, the girl married Eddie Van Halen. That has to mean something, right?) Bertinelli chronicles her mis-steps with almost relentless precision. Every fall from grace, both minor and major, merits ink. Lots of ink. She's surprisingly self-effacing, direct, engaging, brutally honest. (At least it seems that way.)

The reader in me loved the confessional tone. The writer in me enjoyed the style. The human being in me wondered if full disclosure was really necessary. We seem to be living in a world of glass walls and loudspeakers. Full disclosure makes sense if you're running for office, but I wonder why we find it necessary from our celebrities too.

I know I aid and abet in my own way, but even I have to wonder if we really need a reality show starring Lindsay Lohan's mother?

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

While I Was Gone

The thing about prolonged silences is that they usually seem much more mysterious than they really are.

I was going to tell you that I had been plucked off the streets of central NJ by the captain of an alien spaceship and whisked off to the rings of Saturn where I participated in a marketing research survey for an advertising company interested in tapping into the earthling consumer base but I figured you probably wouldn't buy it.

See that book cover? That's what I've been up to. It took longer than I expected and took me to places I never thought I'd go but I finally reached the end a few weeks ago and am now feeling my way through chapter one of the sequel. The unnamed sequel. Right now I'm calling it CASTING SPELLS 2 which, all things considered, is a pretty crappy title. Let's hope I come up with something better soon!
CASTING SPELLS will be on the stands around Halloween and I'll be posting an excerpt on my website in June so please stick around.
More tomorrow.
Why are you looking at me like that? Don't you trust me?
Just wait. I promise I'll make it up to you.

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