Monday, March 31

Team Trixie

This week the at TFC the topic is all about books so I thought I'd take a trip back to the eighties. You see, when I was a kid there was nothing that divided a room quite like the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew debate. Okay, so perhaps that is a lie since most of my friends were probably too worried about how to get Simon LeBon to marry them rather than worry about fictional girl detectives, but I can promise you I gave the matter a lot of thought and ended up coming out on the side of Trixie.

I mean sure Nancy might've looked all fancy and sophisticated with that smart car of hers, but I was pretty sure Trixie could take her out in a fight. Or at least get her older brother to Brian to fiddle with the engine so it would run out of gas in the middle of nowhere (and see, this is proof positive that I'm a Trixie girl because surely Nancy wouldn't have any such nasty thoughts about anyone). The truth is that I just related to Trixie more. I didn't want to do all those chores she had every morning, but I certainly wouldn't have minded going out with Jim, trying some homemade baked beans and even solving a few crimes while living at Crabapple Farm. Especially since I grew in suburbian Australia where no treasure maps or diamond necklaces ever seemed to come into my life.

So what about everyone else? Trixie? Nancy? Or someone else entirely.

Tuesday, March 25

Books for the Teen Age (our books!)

A joint post from Melissa and Sara shall now commence:

Every year, the New York Public Library puts out a list called BOOKS FOR THE TEEN AGE. The published product is really cool and worth seeking out (they send a copy to every library in the country).

To quote the NYPL: “This list, now in its 79th year of publication, selects the best of the previous year’s publishing for teenagers, ages 12 to 18. All the titles chosen have been read and reviewed by young adult librarians and recommended for this special publication. This year's edition features spicy teen book reviews, snappy author interviews with questions submitted by teens, and of course, cover art by a local teen inspired by technology of the moment."

We are so excited that THREE members of Teen Fiction Cafe made this prestigious list:

Liza Conrad (Erica Orloff) with The Poker Diaries

Melissa Walker with Violet on the Runway

Sara Hantz with The Second Virginity of Suzy Green

Melissa even got to go to the ceremony and take pictures (you know, so you'll feel like you were there):

Crowds at the entrance--must be BOOKS FOR THE TEEN AGE!

Melissa gets cozy with the NYPL Lion!

How lucky am I (second from right) that I got to hang out with amazing authors

(l to r) Maryrose Wood, Daria Snadowsky, and Carolyn Mackler? Very.

Melissa and Sara's books were both in the "Chick Lit" category. Melissa feels so lame for not getting a photo of Erica (Liza)'s fantastic book. My bad!

Big thanks to the awesome Jack Martin and the gracious Sandra Payne for putting on a fantastic event with celebratory remarks by Robert Lipsyte, who is totally smart and knows a lot about why boys should read.

Hug more librarians!

The End.

Monday, March 24

Promo Week: Diary of a Debut Author Videos

This video promotes my upcoming Diary of a Debut Author videos. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, March 19

A page from my diary... no, really.

At the risk of total humiliation if Jeff or Garth or Jonathan ever reads this, I'm posting an actual page from my diary. Odds of them reading it: Slim to none, although I'm still in touch with Jeff, who works for Michelin in NC, and Garth, a Navy Seal.

Anyhoo... I thought I'd give a real crush moment here (well, three crushes are mentioned, actually) in honor of Crush Week at TFC. This entry is from when I was 16 years old, a junior in high school, and obviously a total spaz. Enjoy.

And no, I did not ever date any of these boys, sadly. And I didn't get into Princeton either.

But my life still rocks, so it's all good. If I peeked in your diary, what would I read?

Monday, March 17

Crush on the Bad Boy

Even though I said a different answer to Lauren's post (go down two posts) . . . my number-one crush of all time is Anthony Bourdain.
For those who don't know him, Anthony is an American chef, and an author (a really amazing writer!) and stars in a show for the Travel Channel. He's subversive, funny, a recovering drug addict (big-time drugs), and may be . . . judging by his television show . . . an alcoholic. He at least can party with the best of them.

I love Anthony for all those reasons. He's a bad boy, and with a crush, I get to fantasize about someone who would be all wrong for me "in real life."

You see, as my best friend puts it, considering the way I like to party, and the way I burn the candle at both ends, the the way I have moments of sometimes-crazy spontaneity, and given that I am a b*tch to argue with sometimes, she says she's give Anthony and I about a year.

Not that a relationship would last a year before we broke up. Oh, no! She'd give us a year before we would both be dead, because we'd bring out the worst in each other. There are some people you just know . . . are ALL WRONG for you.

I've got four kids. I have a career. Dogs. Pets. My dad is blind and needs some help--he and my mom are moving near me soon. I have this "R-word"--responsibilities. So no, someone like Anthony would be the death of me.

But crushes aren't about real life. It's why we can have crushes on vampires or all sorts of "all wrong for us" types.

So how about you? Is there a bad boy you secretly--or not-so-secretly love? And do you just KNOW it would be a disaster if you ever got together? (And oh yes, my first "blink and it's over" marriage . . . one of those.)

Clueless about crushes

One of my favorite things about crushes? Finding someone else has one on Y-O-U.

In college, I liked this guy in my women's literature class. We chatted easily we saw each other in class. Soon, we talked in the hallways and about a month into the semester, I thought, okay, I like him! But I wasn't sure if he liked me. Guys are hard to read sometimes, especially for me. I'm the clueless one around guys. It's always up to my friends to point out when someone likes me because unless a guy says, "Jess, I like you," I'm oblivious.

So, the guy and I traded phone numbers (he asked for mine!) and I thought it was because he wanted to have someone's number in the class in case he missed and needed the homework assignments. Yeah, I can hear the laughter now. :) As you may have guessed that wasn't the reason he wanted my number.

He called me a couple of times and finally asked me out. THEN I got it. Ugh. I need a near crush-radar or something!

Anyone else have this problem before? Have you ever discovered someone had a crush on you?

Sunday, March 16


Since the topic of the week is "Crushes," here's my history.

Not many people know this, simply because it doesn't come up a lot, but I went to a Hebrew day school from nursery school through the middle of fourth grade. One Friday night in first grade there was a big Sabbath celebration where I wound up spending the night with a few other kids at Danny's house. It was because of the proximity to the synagogue; religious refuse to drive on the Sabbath and while my family was not that religious, the school was, as was Danny. At some point on Friday night Danny asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course, thinking that while I hated the idea of eating gefilte fish - his mother had served that as a starter course - I loved the floor-to-ceiling mirrors in his dining room and figured I could get used to them mighty quickly. What can I say? I was a budding narcissist! Plus, Danny was the cutest boy in our class.

So yes, Dear Reader, I married him.

I was all of five years old.

We held hands on the walk to synagogue the next day.

On the walk back from synagogue, he said he wanted a divorce.

I was shocked. Had I not sung on key? Had I davened improperly? How could he leave me like that?

Too bad I didn't know then what I know now, that for religious to divorce they have to get a "get," which involves going before a rabbi and saying "I divorce you" three times.

Danny never got his get. So maybe we're still married?

Flash forward a bit:

Middle school; junior high - I can't say I really had any crushes back then, because I wound up going out with all my crushes. I know: lucky girl.

But then high school came and I developed a big crush. It was such a big crush that one time, when my object had been sick - I think he may have had his wisdom teeth out - a girlfriend and I made a cassette for him that mostly featured me telling jokes and singing Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." You'd think I was five, not fifteen. And then there was the time the same girlfriend dared me to go to his house, knock on the door and ask him to kiss me. Which I did, and he did, and I was happy the entire time.

Oh, the foolish things I have done in the service of love.

Now I am much older and if not generally wiser, I'm at least wise enough to finally get that a crush really works best as a crush when the object is completely unavailable. For that job then, the recipient of my crushtastic impulses, I nominate...

Drum roll, please!

...Jon Bon Jovi.

I was never a fan in the '80s, but now that he is 45, I think he is hot-hot-hot. (Does he not look like a male Robin Wright Penn? I love Robin Wright Penn.) And talented. (Have you heard "Wanted Dead or Alive"? I Like that song.) Oh, and charitable too! (He holds the record for largest single charitable donation made by a guest while on the Oprah Winfrey Show: $1 million.) Oh, and did I mention he is hot-hot-hot? (I've never been one for pretty boys, but the universe took so much pretty and put it in that face, it's impossible to ignore.)

So, Jon Bon Jovi, if you're reading this, just know that I'm thrilled to have you be the object of my unrequited crushdom.


Be well. Don't forget to write.

Wednesday, March 12

Don't Miss These Tips!

And now, in honor of this week's "Surviving Adolescence" theme, here are a few invaluable tips for surviving adolescence, most courtesy of my 12 year old son, currently in the throes of it, home for March break this week:

1) Do not cave in to parental pressure to cut your hair, no matter the bribe. (Note: Mom reluctantly agrees, and will even add that actually, this rule applies to any aspect of personal appearance, except for stuff like piercings, etc., if you're under a certain age, as long as you keep reasonably clean.)

2) Aim to blend, but to be different, too, e.g. be friendly to all & join school clubs, but also wear cool hats, take up fencing, and subscribe to Surfing Magazine (which def makes you 'different' if you live in Canada).

3) If your school has a pool, don't forget to bring your bathing suit on swim day, because they'll make you wear somebody else's gym shorts, which is gross enough, but you'll also have to wear your underwear under them, which means you'll be walking around in wet underwear all day!

4) Keep your room clean, and do your homework. The parental tantrums that result are simply not worth it. (Okay, this one's from me, not the 12 year old.)

5) Don't worry about not being in with the most popular group--these kids are usually mean. Blend with the second or third tier. You'll be just as happy. (Also from me, but the boy agrees.)

6) Finally, have friends who are boys and girls. Don't worry about the other stuff--lots of time for that. (The boy has tons 'o friends who are girls. Yay. But yeah, I was the one who suggested this one.)

7) Don't sweat the small stuff. (Universal rule of life.) Small stuff includes things like being told your fly is undone by the person you have a crush on.

There. Done. Follow these rules and I (almost) guarantee a happy adolescence.

On a complete other note, if you're an author who read my January post on the 'Reading Capital of the World' and would like to send books to miracle worker Terri Nalls in Tifton, Georgia, you can send them to:

Terri Nalls
Charles Spencer Elementary
Tifton, GA

Please enclose a note for Terri specifying what age group your books are aimed at. If they're for elementary school-aged readers, they will stay at the school; books for older kids will go into the reading room, used often in the summertime.

(Back story for those who didn't read the post: Tifton had an appalling illiteracy rate until Terri, an elementary school teacher, introduced a whole bunch 'o innovative programs and got the whole town so excited about reading, they set a world record for the number of people reading aloud at the same time!)

Happy almost Spring, everybody! And good luck surviving that adolescence thing.

Love Bev (still digging out from a very snowy winter here in the great white north...)

Tuesday, March 11

Looking back, I can’t believe that adolescence didn’t kill me. No, I wasn’t that reckless, (except for a few times) but I'm amazed I didn’t die of embarrassment. I can’t even count how many times the hot flame of humiliation washed over me, along with a scorching blaze of shame. I’m sitting here turning red just thinking of which of these demoralizing events to share.

I could tell about the time I put my shirt on inside out and wore it that way for two classes till someone told me. I tried to bluff my way out of it, “Oh, it’s supposed to be like that.” Until the person pointed out the tag.

Or I could regale you with the tale of trying to bluff my way through a book I hadn’t read and had no desire to read, until it became apparent (by the teacher’s incessant questions) that I hadn’t read paragraph one.

But I think I’ll tell story of: Teri and the Bra.

This took place in early adolescence and I had just recently begun wearing bras. I hated them with a passion. It was a weird day because our middle school canceled a class so the Phys Ed people could check us all for scoliosis. I was in the locker room, talking and joking with my friends while we changed out of our regular shirts and into our PE shirts. We had to forgo bras so they could check the curvature of our spines and I was happy to ditch mine. We finished changing and walked out to get into line. The boy’s line was on one side of the gym and the girl’s line was on the other. We were almost to the front of the line when one of my friends, (not so much, eh?) lifted my shirt and grabbed the strap of the bra which I had mistakenly left dangling around my waist. “AHHH! WHAT”S THIS?” she screamed, snapping the bra strap. Of course, everyone turned to look and I rushed out of the gym amidst humiliated anguish. The worst part? The gym teacher came in and made me go back out there to have my stupid spine checked.

Now that, my friends is killing mortification. Only not so much, because a few days went by and everyone forgot about it. I survived. There are parts of growing up that are fantastic. Other parts not so much. What is your most humiliating teen moment? I shared mine. It’s only fair that you share one too!

Sunday, March 9

Confessions of an Ex-High Schooler: No Prom Date

When I was a teen, I hated it when older people said, "Honey, don't worry that prom is in two days and no one's asked you." Like they knew how it felt. But now that I'm, yes, an older person, I realize that a lot of advice given to me turned out to be true. One of my favorite sayings of my mom's is, "Is it really going to matter in a week? A month? A year? Ten years?" Usually, there's a big, fat "NO" in there somewhere. And guess what? It doesn't matter that I wasn't asked to my prom. I still have loads of amazing high school memories.

What helped me the most in surviving my teen years are genuine friends (not the ones who glom onto me when it's convenient), family, staying true to myself, and chocolate. Interestingly enough, these are the things that help me survive my adulthood as well!

If you're a teen, what helps you get through those not-so-happy times? And if you're an "older person," how'd you get through sad times when you were a teenager?

Friday, March 7

Idiosyncrasies rock......

Reading Melissa's post about lucky charms got me thinking. How many of us engage in rituals, or enjoy certain things that might be perceived as weird by outsiders?

So, in the interests of preserving the myth that I'm perfectly normal, I thought I'd share some of mine. In return..... I expect you to share some of yours:

1. I'm in love with my dishwasher.... not the casing, rather what it does to my dishes. I get very excited when it's time to put the powder in and press the start button. And opening it when everything is clean and sparkly, will make my day!!!

2. I LOVE patterns in numbers or words. My bank operates this online banking security system whereby it asks for a set of 3 numbers/letters from a card it issues before you can proceed to your account details (is that clear??). So... imagine my excitement when I get three numbers or three letters and not a mix. Or if the letters or numbers go in sequence (actually that's never happened, but I'm holding out for it).

3. I am so into writing lists, that I will write something on my list after I have done it, just for the pleasure of crossing it off. I write my lists in black and cross off in red.... pure heaven!!!

And I think I'll leave it here, in case you really do think I've lost it......

Okay... over to you.... I want the good stuff!!!

Violet by Design Winner!

Real quick, and by random number generator, the winner of Violet by Design is.... Hope!

Head over to and email me your address, Hope.

Thanks to everyone who entered--I will be using all your tricks and wishing for good book karma!


I'm So LOST!

OK, while we're waiting anxiously to see who the wins the copy of VIOLET BY DESIGN, I'm going to use my Anything Goes entry to rave about one of my favorite shows on television.

Anyone else completely captivated by LOST this season?

much to love, I hardly know where to begin, but I have to tell you, last week's episode, with Desmond bouncing back and forth
between the past and present was amazing! And in the end, when he and Pen were finally connected on the phone... OMG!

"I love you, Penny. I've always loved you. I'm so sorry. I love you."
"I love you, too."
"I don't know where I am."
"I'll find you, Des."
"I won't give up."
"I promise."
"I promise."

Oh! I promise, too! I promise I'll be tuned in every week to find out what happens next!

Who's on that boat that we never expected to see again?

Who's the other Oceanic Six?

Does Kate have Claire's Aaron?

When do we get to see Hurley again?

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 4

Release day musings: Win a copy of Violet by Design

Today, my second book ever, Violet by Design, is officially in stores. I'm psyched! I'm also feeling reflective, so here's a little of that today, on this Anything Goes week at TFC.

“In a weak moment, I have written a book.” –Margaret Michell

This has to be one of my all-time favorite quotes. I even have a magnet with these words on it, along with a photo of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, on my refrigerator. (I want that haircut and her dress. Total girl crush.)

There is no denying that MM was a total rock star. The woman broke her ankle and was stuck in bed, so she wrote GONE WITH THE WIND, people! If I had a broken ankle, I could probably manage a few whiny blog entries, but this heroine churned out one of the most influential tomes of the last century, and then spoke about it as if it was just an afterthought, something silly to pass the time!

When I traveled to Atlanta last year (I was there to go to a prom dress fashion market while I was editing the prom issue of Seventeen—seriously), I had to take a break from tulle and taffeta to visit Miss Margaret’s former apartment. Just outside her door, there is a wooden banister with a lion’s head on the end. Apparently, writers have been rubbing this banister for years in hopes that it will bring them luck in their writerly pursuits.

You can bet I rubbed that lion’s head till it shone like the top of the Chrysler Building!

I wonder if writers are a special kind of superstitious, or if we all find ways to hedge our bets and ask fate to help us out when we really, really want something.

Anyone else got a good luck trick they’d like to share? With a new book out, I could use it!

Post your good luck ideas below, and I'll choose one person at random to win a signed copy of Violet by Design. I also reserve the right to try your tricks for myself!

Sunday, March 2

Welcome to Liverpool

This week at Teen Fiction Cafe the topic is anything goes so I thought I'd take the chance to talk about Liverpool in the UK where I lived for five years and is a place that I passionately love (though not the weather).

A lot of people mistakenly call people from Liverpool, Liverpudlians which is a big no-no and I definitely don't advise you to say this to their face. The correct term for someone from Liverpool is a Scouser, and of course the most famous Scousers are those four lads that rocked the world, The Beatles. There's not a lot about them that I can say that hasn't been said, but they are still a huge part of Liverpool culture and not only can you go to the new Cavern and also see where the old Cavern once stood, but you can even go and see Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane!

The other thing Liverpool is famous for is football. There are two premiership clubs in the city - Liverpool and Everton and to put it into perspective, Bill Shankley who was a legendary manager for Liverpool Football Club once said something along the lines of: football isn't just a case of life and death, it's a lot more important than that. And in Liverpool this is completely true. Scousers take their football very seriously, which is fine by me since I support the best club in the world (come on you mighty Reds).

This year Liverpool is the European Capital Culture, which while a lot of people laugh about since Liverpool hasn't always been known for it's culture, this title is completely fitting, since it is full of historic building, was once one of the biggest ports in Europe and is filled with the best folk in the world. So there you go, that's Liverpool in a nutshell. If you haven't been there before, I urge you to try and make the trip and if you have been there, I'd love to know what you think.