Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me, 6.1 a1c! Or, How My Heart Broke

My diabetes friends know what a 6.1 a1c means, and they are already doing the a1c happy dance while the rest of you are looking around confused, like, WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?

Yes, it is my birthday today~and yes, my son had his quarterly endocrinologist appointment yesterday. The a1c measures how much glucose has been floating around in his blood vessels over the last three months. The lower the number, the better. 6.1 is very good.

This number was a surprise to me! I didn't think his a1c was going to be so hot, as we've had some issues with "sneaking" candy and not telling me... THREE TIMES in the last TWO WEEKS he has done this, with resulting blood sugars of 250-350 (normal range is 80-120). Not, not, NOT good. Consistent high blood sugars are what cause the complications~blindness, kidney failure, stroke, amputations, etc.

My son can have sweets if he would just tell me. Then he can take insulin for them, or work them into a meal plan. It's not telling me where we end up with the problems. ***SIGH*** I've been really frustrated, I've worked REALLY REALLY hard tweaking insulin doses all day long (he gets a different insulin/carb ratio with every meal, because I had observed postprandial highs or lows and logged and analyzed them and did something about it.)

It's been so tremendously frustrating, discouraging and disheartening to see these high numbers despite all my hard work at keeping tight control.

Well, after thinking long and hard, I became DETERMINED that he understand how important good control is. A friend of mine's husband died at age 39 from complications from poorly managed diabetes. His kidneys went out in his 20s and it went downhill from there. This was an excruciating experience for all involved, including their young children. And she said the one thing her husband always said to her was, my mom never told me... she never told me what could happen...

And I never want anything at all like that to happen to my son.

So... two nights ago we discussed complications for the first time.

It was the hardest discussion I have ever had in my life. Harder, even, than the birds and the bees discussion. WAY, WAY harder.

For a long time, I really resisted the idea of talking to someone that young about the complications, because they are really scary. They even scare ME.

But I did frame the discussion positively as in ~ these things won't happen to you, as long as we take good careful care of your diabetes ~ but they COULD happen if we don't watch out. So let's work really hard to keep track of your numbers, count carbs correctly, and dose correctly! Then we'll be healthy and lead a good, long, healthy life!

We did not talk for a long time, only 5-10 minutes. Still, each and every word I had to tell him broke my heart a little.

It had to be done, though; he has to hear about it sometime. I don't want him to worry his little self any more than he needs to, but I'd rather have him suffer from worry at age 8 than suffer from dialysis at 38. The end result is that he is now 100% onboard with keeping blood sugars in range. He may be a little less innocent about the reality of managing diabetes, but HE IS ONBOARD, AND THE PATIENT NEEDS TO BE ONBOARD.

This was really hard for me to do, but he seemed to take it well. Even as we were driving to the endocrinologist I was second guessing this decision. I wanted him to be innocent of all this, but there is a difference between innocence and willful ignorance.

In the end the appointment went well. The endocrinologist said this isn't uncommon for children to eat food that requires insulin and not to tell anyone. And he said it is never too early to broach the subject of complications as long as the idea is framed as an incentive and not a threat. The prime concern is the child's longterm health.

Still, I hate that my son has to grow up so fast.

HOW-EVER {deep, shaky breath-->stop all that self-pitying bullshit, Martha! slap slap slap}...THERE IS GOOD NEWS, some really great news. He will most likely be able to get an insulin pump by summer!

NO~dear, darling, sweet, nondiabetes friends, THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT A MAGICAL AND SUPERSMART COMPUTER FIGURES OUT HIS BLOOD SUGAR AND INSULIN DOSE EVERY TIME. It does not mean he gets to stop the 10 finger-pricks a day he does to test blood sugars. We still have to continue thinking like a pancreas. Ever tried it? 'Tis a challenge.

BUT, having a pump means a site change (ONE stab~yes, a hurtier stab, but ONLY ONE) every 3 days rather than 4-5 shots each and every day. It means being able to go get Baskin Robbins after school without it meaning a special additional insulin injection. Instead, he types the number of carbs into the pump and WHOOSH the pump delivers the insulin automatically through a tube that is already sitting there under his skin.

The ONLY downside it is a huge, big thing to learn. I hear that you feel like throwing the pump out the window of your car, then driving over it, backing up over it, driving over it again, etc., for at least a month. Then, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

So there's no way to make the change before summer since I'll be touring for the book for most of May. But it is just as well since insurance can take up to 12 weeks to grant you the pump. Not THE MAGIC PUMP, just the pump. But a very good device that, I hear, will restore some spontenaeity to our lives.

So, it's all good! Happy Birthday to Me, with a GREAT a1c! {BIG SMILE}

And, I hope there are MANY, MANY more like this one.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Monday Smells Like Onions Wrapped in a Newsletter

Here in Marin, the wild onions are blooming. They're absolutely beautiful and evocative! (I'd love to rip out the grass in our front yard and replace it with wild onions. Pity that my husband nixed the idea...) But they smell very, very strong! You can maybe smell them from where YOU are.

I promised you some new stuff, didn't I? Well, as of today here in Martha-Blog-Land, we have a signup sheet for my Author Newsletter! Applause, please~this represents the endeavors of one entire tech-impaired morning!

More on the newsletter later, but first... YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS!

Katharine Weber, the author of the wonderful books The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, has an incredible excerpt of her latest novel, Triangle (which is about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire), in yesterday's Hartford Courant. Hasn't she got the voice TOTALLY NAILED?
The fire was getting hotter and it was everywhere, on the machines and the tables and all our work was burning up and the smoke was so thick and the smell was just terrible, black from the oil and the goods and the smell was so strong, and there was also the very horrible smell of burning hair, and all those girls were pushing and pushing together. ...

I tried to get to my sister but the flames caught on my hair and I was getting burned and I had to go back so I went back to that door Mr. Kaplan had unlocked, and he was gone, there was nobody else near me now and there was nothing behind me but flames, like a wall of fire, and I went through and went up the stairs to the tenth floor and there was nobody there, they had all saved themselves already.
You couldn't BUY a narrative voice like this. It's so genuine. My hat is off to Ms. Weber, and I look forward to picking this one up (Farrar, Straus & Giroux~2006).

And as for the other thing~I've been laboring all morning figuring out what will be the best e-newsletter service to use on this blog and my site when it's launched (very soon~I've seen the beta site and I can't wait!).

I STRONGLY believe that writers ought to keep in touch with their fan base and should NEVER take them for granted! You're not just a bunch of drones putting down money for my books, you are thinking, breathing humans! (I hope so, anyway.)

So~thanks to advice from the lovely Lynn, a life coach at, I have signed on with EzEzine. I recommend it to anyone who is planning to use a newsletter for their site. (The signup sheet will look better on my site, but Blogger made it all funky. I'll mess with it more later, but my brain is a mashed potato right now.) So~DRUMROLL, PLEASE!

All the cool kids are doing it! (Even if I have to threaten them... J/K.)

Seriously~I'm very psyched about doing a newsletter. It will come about once a month and will be filled with updates on the site, tour information, gossip about my exciting life~and EACH AND EVERY ISSUE will contain BOTH a writing tip/technique AND a useful writing link. And something funny maybe, if I can think of or steal it. Doesn't that sound fun?

HERE'S THE EMBARRASSING PART~right now there are EXACTLY THREE subscribers~me, myself, and I. Well, cut me some slack~I've only had the newsletter account for oh, THREE HOURS or so. But still, we're getting a bit lonely, so please do sign on! (I'll also add a permanent link to my sidebar.)

Whew! That made me tired!

Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Hoppy

Happy Easter, everybody. I'll be back tomorrow....

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Stuck up middle finger punk fiction!

YES, I have BOWED under pressure and pulled that quote right to the front.

The gist of this post is that someone loves me! Or at least, he loves my book! Whee, excuse me... I don't think I am quite off the ceiling yet!

The scoop~Mark Farley is a bookseller and front-of-store manager at Waterstone's in Notting Hill Gate in London. He writes an interesting blog about his experiences as an author and "bookseller to the stars" (I guess a lot of movie stars visit his store... you know, it's "Notting Hill" and all...)

Anyway, Mark read an ARC of my novel and reviewed it on his site! (It's called The Bitch Goddess Notebook (Orion, May) in the UK.)

You can read the whole thing on Mark's reviews page (much of it caused me to fall down in hysterical laughter~he's a very funny writer), but here are a few highlights~
...Then a book comes along that changes everything. It sets a whole new benchmark for "sassy" women writers and runs to a completely new ballplate, knocking over pathetic female characters in its way with its passion, attitude and clarity.

...Of all the publishers who have suited and booted for this year's assault on the Summer, Orion have a secret weapon up their sleeves and have truly hit the nail on the head.

The Bitch Goddesses are not Chick-Lit.

The Bitch Goddesses are not Genre Fiction.

The Bitch Goddesses are not General Fiction, brothers and sisters, but yet in so many ways, they are all of the above.

A walking contradiction that will comfort you and make you respect the writer for what is an amazing debut....

It's storytelling that resonates some Machiavellian sense that this book will be a great modern classic in years to come, even if it means myself alone having to sell every copy..."

Oh but there's so much more...

Never has a book had me so eager to sneak forward and find out what has happened to each person. But, you can't as all the stories are beautifully intense. I read it and had to read it again straight away.

It's just so refreshing to see something come out with balls and spirit. From the very first page, I was like, "Fuck, this is good."

I really hope that this has a first class campaign behind it with some energy that the book deserves because with all the marketable dross and biographies about nobodies that came out last summer, it really stagnated the industry. If I get to see The Bitch Goddess Notebook in the window of our vast bookstore next to the next Dan Brown and Michael Palin, I will have not have lost my faith in bookselling after all, thus dying a little happier.

After I read that, I curled up in a ball and DIED WITH DELIGHT. Someone who doesn't know me and just happened to pick up the ARC in his store a whole ocean away... LIKED MY BOOK AND WANTS OTHER PEOPLE TO READ IT. It's a little surreal.

You know, I'm not even sure if I believe it's actually going to BE a book in May. I mean~couldn't I have just dreamed the whole thing? This is what I've imagined happening to me ever since I was a little girl, and I hardly ever get what I want, even if I whine, so... how did this situation fall together? Someone wants to ~HUH~ publish my BOOK? You mean like with a cover on it? And actually PUT IT IN A STORE or even a LIBRARY?


For serious?

That's kinda how I walk around half the time.

And then to read an unsolicited review like that, well, I actually LITERALLY WENT TO MY HUSBAND and asked him to PINCH MY ARM to make sure I was really awake.

I THINK I am awake and I haven't just made this all up in my head, but I've switched from double to triple lattes in the morning. Just, you know, to make sure.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Screw the Bad News!

Amy's post on "The Bad News You Can't Use" got me thinking.

Why are we, as diabetics and parents of diabetics, continually bombarded with BAD NEWS about the disease? Is it to scare us and cow us into compliance? Because, I don't know about YOU, but we're testing our son's blood sugars 10-12 times a day~we're pretty damned compliant already. But Amy's post brought back a memory~I remember very, very clearly a thought I had when our son had his first dental appointment after diagnosis.

Summertime is our time to catch up on medical appointments, so I'd already heard from the eye doctor about the risks of diabetic retinopathy and that now he'll have to have a retinal scan every year, etc. His kidney specialist (he has a slight and invisible birth defect where he has an extra-long ureter on one side, increasing the risk of kidney infections~when we first heard about it, it didn't seem like a huge deal, but now that diabetes has entered our lives, WE REALLY HAVE TO WATCH THIS) told us about diabetic nephropathy. And THEN, after 3 lengthy appointments where we were told how diabetes had changed everything, we were sitting there in the dentist's office and I began to hear all the information about diabetes and gum disease.

And I thought, OH SHIT. But in a very resigned sort of way! Like OH MY, YET ANOTHER THING~BUT I'M NOT SURPRISED.

Anyway, I was posting over at Amy's site about how when I felt really down, it helped so much to hear about people who have lived with diabetes for such a long time. People who, in the very early days of insulin, had to sharpen their needles on stones every day~who only found out their blood sugar numbers four times a year. And I linked Amy with this great article about long term Type 1s. Please read it, everybody. Even if you don't have diabetes. It is really inspiring and optimistic, and it puts not just diabetes, but LIFE, into perspective.

Of Frogs and Boyfriends (Or Are They the Same?)

It's time again to hear from one of those snazzy, hip, and brilliant gals of The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit... Presenting an interview with Ms. E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List, a hilarious, sassy, and true-to life YA novel!

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of The Boyfriend List, and wow! I haven't had that much fun with YA fiction since Judy Blume! Don't you love books with lists, footnotes, and other nifty stuff? E's used a lot of cool stuff like that in her book, which I talk about below. But first, some buzz about her wonderful book.

Ruby Oliver is fifteen and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break -- she's had a rough ten days. In the past ten days she:
-lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
-lost her best friend (Kim)
-lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
-did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
-did something advanced with a boy (#15)
-had an argument with a boy (#14)
-drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
-got caught by her mom (ag!)
-had a panic attack (scary)
-lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
-failed a math test (she'll make it up)
-hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
-became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
-had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys' !?!)

But don't worry-- Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

SOME QUOTES on The Boyfriend List:

"Ruby's exploits are agonizingly funny as she learns there is life
outside her high school universe."
-- Girls Life

"The book is spectacular, with a well-constructed story and deep,
emotional significance."
-- Romantic Times

"Spot-on dialogue and details make this a painfully recognizable and
addictive read."
-- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The Boyfriend List" is a wonderful comic exploration of:
-the maddening (but hilarious) world of mothers and fathers,
-the gut-wrenching politics (and excitement) of multiple crushes,
-and the complications (and kinship) of friendship.
Ruby Oliver is a winning girl (even if she doesn't realize it), whom we'd all befriend in a heartbeat (as long as she doesn't have eyes on our guy). A whole lot of fun.
-- Jill Davis, author of Girls' Poker Night

My Interview with E. Lockhart

MO'C: As I was reading the novel it struck me how much the girls in tnovel reminded me of myself as a teen, or people I knew back then. It's really quite remarkable. How were you able to nail the teenaged voice like that? Do you spend a lot of time with teens~are you a teacher? Or what?

EL: It's all in my brain. My probably immature brain. I have a teenage sister, and I love her madly, but she tells me nothing.

MO'C: Although my own book isn't a YA book, the teenaged girls in the story record a lot of their lives in a notebook. When it's found, it wreaks havoc on all of them. In YOUR novel, Roo's Boyfriend List is discovered in the trash, and disaster ensues. This got me wondering ~ what is it about teenaged girls and the need to write things down, even though it may get them into trouble later? Any thoughts?

EL: I can't wait to read The Bitch Posse. I am frothing at the mouth. (Me again~well, THANKS, E.! I swear I didn't put her up to that!)

EL (ctd): Truthfully, all my teenage writing (when I was an actual teenage girl) was in the form of notes passed in class. I never kept a journal or wrote poetry. I always wrote for the entertainment of other people -- for an audience.

But I do remember this cassette tape my friends and I made, drinking wine coolers one night senior year. We recorded all this cruel gossip and catty opinions of our fellow classmates, and told stories of all our exploits we worried we might someday forget.

Then we had the nerve to bury the cassette in the class "time capsule" -- and spent the next fifteen years fearing that it would be dug up at some reunion with none of us present to get hold of it and destroy it. But then it turned out that our class president forgot where the time
capsule was buried, and so it is lost forever.

I think we did something so thoughtless and potentially cruel because we could feel college and adulthood looming before us. Life as we knew it would disappear, soon. We wanted to capture ourselves as we were, somehow.

MO'C: Where did you get the idea to include footnotes, i.e., Roo's running commentary on her life?

EL: I fell in love with footnotes when I was in graduate school for English lit -- but it's also a shameless imitation of David Foster Wallace, whose essays I love dearly. At first, I hesitated to imitate him -- but then I thought: this is a natural way to convey the workings of a teenage mind, the way they go off on tangents, they way they can carry on more than one conversation at a time. My sister (14) checks her email, sends instant messages, browses the web, talks on the phone and watches Gilmore Girls -- all at once. Footnotes are like a natural extension of how her brain operates. And once I got started, writing them was highly addictive. I probably cut half of them out, for the final draft of The Boyfriend List.

MO'C: How difficult is it to market one novel while writing another? (I'm still trying to master this feat myself, so any advice is appreciated!
EL: What I am doing now: answering your questions, which is quite fun and diverting.
What I should be doing: writing the sequel.

MO'C: Can you give us any buzz about the sequel, The Boy Book? How about your standalone novel?
EL: Fly on the Wall is my next book and comes out January 2006. It's the story of a girl who literally gets transformed into a fly on the wall of the boys' locker room. And she sees everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. There's a lot of really goofy slang. I wanted the subtitle to be "how I learned the mysteries of the gherkin" -- but my publisher wasn't having it. Then comes the sequel to The Boyfriend List, which is called The Boy Book, and comes out in Fall 2006. I can tell you this: there's a lot of Noel. And Kim's on an exchange program in Tokyo, so Jackson is up to some tricks.

MOC: What has been the most exciting moment in this publication journey?
EL: Seeing the cover. I just saw the cover of Fly on the Wall three days ago, and had this rush of joy, like I had really written a book. Hurrah!

I felt that with The Boyfriend List, too. My editor at Random House actually had a collection of ceramic frogs, by pure coincidence. (Ceramic frogs feature in the novel). So that's her personal frog they photographed for the cover! Isn't it saucy?

I've also liked that people are sending their own boyfriend lists in to my blog. It has been so fun to see how witty and romantic and bitter they are -- and how many variations on the concept people come up with.

Thanks for having me on your blog! I can't wait to read your book.

MO'C: Well, thank YOU, E.!

You can buy E.'s addictive novel at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Booksense (my personal fave because by buying at Booksense, you're supporting your local independent bookseller). And check out her site, especially the Readers' Boyfriend Lists .

Monday, March 21, 2005

Evil Sites for Writers


This got me thinking about the myriad ways writers can distract themselves and make themselves insane. I was told by the good folks at Readerville that it will only get worse in the months leading up to publication, SIGH~

I thought I would do my public service for the day and highlight the most evil sites which I NEVER NEVER NEVER visit, except when I'm visiting them. And I have not linked them, because I want to protect you from their evil evilness of evil.


Google This site is not in itself evil, but it is when you keep typing your own name into the search box, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Oh~I am NOT THE MARTHA O'CONNOR who wrote "My Foster Dog Is Beautiful." I like dogs, but she ain't me. And I wish she'd get the HELL OUTTA MY WAY so I can dominate the Google listings of "Martha O'Connor"+"bitch." A little self-absorbed, are we? {Raises hand} Guilty as charged, your honor.

Amazon This site can prove very crazy-making for authors because there is a little box that probably NO ONE BUT THE AUTHOR notices that tells you how many products (not just books) are outselling your novel at the site. Once my number was in the 10,000's! HOT DAMN! 10,000 may sound like kind of a pathetic sales rank~9,999 or more products are selling better than my book?~but some friends told me it's actually pretty good for a book that isn't even published yet. But ONE TIME my sales rank was 987,982. When I saw that I decided to go back to bed for the afternoon and stare at the ceiling and feel sorry for myself. But those same friends rushed to assure me that such a listing is perfectly normal for a book that isn't even published for two months. (I have nice friends, don't I?) Even so, you can plainly see that Amazon created an Afternoon of Evil Ceiling-Staring for me.

To further illustrate my contention that Amazon is a Bastion of Evil, I know people who have even gone and BOUGHT COPIES of THEIR OWN FREAKIN' book to boost their Amazon number! Not that that would be ME or anything~(Okay, OKAY, but I only did it ONCE and it was only one copy~I was having an EXTREMELY bad 987,982-ish sort of a day.) Someone at Readerville told me there was an Explorer plug-in you could download SO THAT YOU WOULD HAVE A LITTLE WINDOW OPEN ALL THE TIME, AND IT WOULD CONTINUALLY UPDATE YOUR AMAZON NUMBER FOR YOU. Can you imagine? PURE, UNADULTERATED EVIL!

BlogPulse This site is a newly discovered evil distraction! You can type in your name and find out who's blogging about you lately! In my case~that would be~well, that would be ME.

StatCounter Ohmigosh this one's addictive. How many visitors have I had today? Where did they come from? How many times have they been back? How long did they stay at my site? What Google searches did they use? I've gotten several for "pink rainboot" and even one for "sea cucumber poop" but the "shaved cloistered mommies" one still has me stumped. And kind of freaked out. Hey you there, reading this entry. Was that YOU?

Email Program Big news, folks! Guess what I finally figured out? Pushing the CHECK EMAIL button actually does NOT make email come! I'm completely serious! And do you know what else? You can actually LEAVE THE HOUSE~AND THE EMAIL PROGRAM WILL RECEIVE THE MESSAGES FOR YOU, AND THEY WILL ALL BE THERE WHEN YOU RETURN! Amazing, I know!

Okay, I have done my Good Citizen Duty for the morning. Now there's nothing to do but throw in another load of laundry, jump into the car, and FLEE THIS PLACE OF DISTRACTIONS. Just as soon as I check my email.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

A Balm in Gilead~

Marilynne Robinson has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Gilead.

Well-deserved. Her first novel in twenty-four years, and an incredibly moving piece of work. I strongly recommend that you all go out and buy it.

Zags Star with Type 1 Diabetes

Damnitall, the ONE YEAR I don't get a NCAA pool together (I'm usually a COUGH COUGH *bookie* COUGH COUGH this time of year~SHHHH) and something really exciting comes up!

Adam Morrison, sophomore player for #3 seeded Gonzaga, has Type 1 Diabetes.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Coach Mark Few called a timeout in the first half of Gonzaga's first-round NCAA tournament game against Winthrop. The Zags were struggling and he was mad. Adam Morrison listened to Few yelling out changes as he checked his blood sugar level. It was high, so the sophomore lifted his jersey and stuck a needle filled with insulin into his stomach. The horn blew, signaling the teams back into action.

"That kid is as tough as tough is," Few said Friday. "He bounces right back out on the floor, bangs in a couple jumpers and moves on."...

"He is an unbelievable inspiration and role model for all the kids out there that have been diagnosed with this," Few said. "You don't have to shut down your life. You can participate in any sports you want or do anything you want to do. Hopefully, that's the message that is getting out."

Morrison's disease affects his teammates and the coaching staff. He misses portions of every practice to check his blood sugar so he doesn't go into shock. Depending on the level, he may sit down and rest.

That didn't go over well at first with the other players.

"Guys are sweating, fighting, scratching and clawing and Adam is over there chomping on an energy bar and drinking some apple juice," Few said. "You can see where your teammates can get a little frustrated, but they have been unbelievably supportive of him. They became educated on it as we all have been, myself included."

OOOH, sports pool or no, I think I've got my team this year.

Friday, March 18, 2005

In The Good Old Bad Old Days

I blogged here (and thanks for the reply, Lori!) about a friend of mine whose son recently had a diabetic seizure. ANOTHER friend of mine's son had a diabetic seizure this week, too. Several of us got to talking and someone told us that "in the old days"~this was before the days of insulin pumps and relatively stable long-acting insulins such as Lantus~kids would have 4 or more seizures... EACH NIGHT.


My God, can you imagine what that was like for the parents? For the KIDS?

Well, it put things in perspective at least. Seizures are certainly less common among diabetics these days~though they do happen, of course, as my two friends' experiences show. Given the choice, I'd do away with this disease altogether~but barring that, I'm just so glad for all the advances that have been made in recent years.

My son's decided he wants to be a pediatric endocrinologist when he grows up. His friends want to be football players and rock stars, but he is determined to help other kids with diabetes. "And if they cure diabetes before I'm a grown-up, Mom," he said, wiping the shiny red droplet from his finger onto a tissue as he watched the Freestyle meter count up the glucose numbers, "I'm going to be a hematologist. Because I'm not afraid of blood. Not at all."

Someone Else To Reject You

Hey, there's a new editor at that magazine, you know, that ONE? That one where they always well, always sort of REJECT YOU? That one that's so superdeduper prestigious that ODORS of GLAMOUR and ELEGANCE simply WAFT from its pages when you open it up? That one that is so difficult to get into that you've often been convinced it's really a FICTIONAL ENTITY? That one you dream about seeing your name in every night, even though you haven't, well, haven't exactly READ it or anything since, well, since college?

Not that those things are true of ME or anything. {insert smiley thing here}

Truth be told, I actually haven't actually submitted fiction other than my novel ANYWHERE for about eight years, when the twins were born. Hmm, do you sense a pattern? Anyway, that's MY excuse for not having my name crop up in The Paris Review lately. What's yours?

BUT, new editor, new blood, new hope?

I dunno. I kinda don't think this new editor, Philip Gourevich, is going to change the tone of The Paris Review very much. Read about him yourself and decide....

For most of us, I think the big change will be with the rejection slips~now they'll say something like, "WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT TOMORROW YOUR STORY WILL BE KILLED ALONG WITH YOUR MORALE."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


It seems lately all this diabetes stuff has been thrown my way and not much writing/publishing stuff. There must be a reason!

A friend told be about this offer~I have one of these magnets on my car. They are really nice, withstand the weather well, and help spread awareness of this chronic, lifethreatening disease that affects millions, including my 8-year-old son.

You can get one for free, by filling out the Diabetes Freedom Pledge here.

In the pledge, you need to promise to help someone to manage their diabetes for one year, or if it is your own diabetes, to be committed to managing it well yourself. If you are in the media or an educator, you simply need to commit to raising awareness of this disease.

Personally, I wish I had known more about the signs and symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes before my son was diagnosed. Then he wouldn't have gotten so sick (near coma at diagnosis).

There is a very nice list of symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis and impending diabetic coma here. Actually, everyone should review them, because it only takes a moment, and it could happen to someone you know. DKA looks like a lot of innocuous things, but if untreated, it is deadly. I am so dumb I did not know you can die from untreated Type 1 Diabetes. My son would have been dead in a matter of a day or so, had we not taken him in to the ER.

This offer is sponsored by TheraSense, which makes meters for Type 1s and Type 2s, and Glucerna, which makes meal replacement drinks for Type 2s.

Now if somebody would just cure this damned disease, we'd be all set.

Advocacy Costs You Nothing

Except maybe a moment of your time. This one isn't controversial at all, no matter how you feel about embryonic stem cell research, etc. And it's an opportunity to make a real difference, just by picking up the phone.

From the NIH website: "Founded in 1887, the National Institutes of Health today is one of the world's foremost medical research centers, and the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States. The NIH, comprising 27 separate Institutes and Centers, is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Simply described, the goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by: conducting research in its own laboratories; supporting the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helping in the training of research investigators; and fostering communication of medical and health sciences information."

So, please call your Senators and ask them to support Senator Arlen Specter's Amendment to the NIH budget.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: JDRF Government Relations
To: JDRF Advocates
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 21:46:35 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: JDRF Washington Report Vol. 8, No. 7 - Action Required
JDRF Washington Report
Vol. 8, No. 7
March 15, 2005



We have just learned that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) plans to introduce an amendment to add $1.5 billion to the National Institutes of Health budget tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9:30 am. Please call your U.S. Senators and urge them to vote in favor of this budget amendment!

We know that you are already contacting your Senators to urge them to cosponsor Senators Specter (R-PA) and Harkin's (D-IA) bill to expand embryonic stem cell research. This NIH funding amendment is a separate but equally important issue.

Use the following website to get the phone numbers for your Senators

Talking Points:
*** Note: When you call, ask for the health aide, and if the aide is not there, leave a detailed voicemail for him/her. Try to avoid leaving a message with the front desk:
· As a constituent, I am calling to urge Senator _____ to support Senator Specter's budget amendment to increase NIH funding by $1.5 billion.
· Explain your personal connection to juvenile diabetes.
· The current proposed budget would fund approximately 402 less grants in Fiscal Year 2006 than were funded in Fiscal Year 2005. It would also result in cuts in grant size, which will reduce the number of young scientists working towards disease treatments and cures.
· Senator Specter's amendment is paid for through a reduction in administrative expenses.
· With diabetes alone costing the U.S. about $132 billion annually, medical research is worthy of a continued strong federal investment. I urge the Senator to support Senator Specter's amendment.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Girlfriend in Theory Only

Woo-hoo, another brush with fame and fortune!

My Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit buddy Alison Pace was featured in a story in yesterday's Washington Post for a VERY innovative idea she had for book publicity!

She dressed the heroine of her novel, If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend, in Theory pants for her first chapter... and then SENT THE CHAPTER TO THE MARKETING PEOPLE OVER AT THEORY.

The Theory folks went NUTS and financed book parties for Alison all over the country.

Wow! I am totally blown away. If Andy Warhol had a girlfriend, it would be Alison Pace, because she's funny, beautiful... and SMART.

I know such brilliant people. I hope some of it rubs off.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Oh So Cute~

Look at this guy~it's a monkey who wears an insulin pump! His name is Pumpernickel.

My son wants one so badly. We never got a Rufus The Diabetic Bear when he was diagnosed and now Rufus is being discontinued. :( What do we do with our Rufus books, then?

But this little monkey is so adorable. My son loves monkeys, and this would be the perfect little guy to have as he transitions to the pump, this summer sometime.

You can buy Pumpernickel at 50/50 Pharmacy; half the proceeds go to diabetes research. He's on our list!

Am I Back?

We'll see how long this pic stays up here before Blogger consumes it again. Though I'm a bit disappointed not to be Grace Kelly anymore...

I will be scarce again this weekend, because I'm hosting A BIG ACTING PARTY with HILARY DUFF CONTESTS and SINGING COMPETITIONS and FASHION SHOWS and CHEERLEADING DANCE EXTRAVAGANZAS! Then after that, I'm going to open up a nice, icy bottle of Korbel. Cuz I'm gonna need it and what's the good of being a pop star if you can't enjoy your champagne?

Thursday, March 10, 2005


My friend's 5-year-old had a diabetic seizure this morning. He wears an insulin pump and has had D for a few years now.

She had checked his blood sugars at 2 am and he was in the mid-200s~she corrected him down to 200, as she would normally do in those circumstances. At 5:30 she heard a horrible, strangled scream from his room. When she rushed in he was seizing and jerking from side to side, unable to speak. Luckily, he was able to swallow so she didn't have to give the glucogon injection. After some juice he was OK (the same could not be said for my friend).

That scares me so much. She had CHECKED at 2 am. She corrected as she was supposed to. Why did this happen? The other weird thing is, he was at 58 or something like that~her son's been MUCH lower (as has mine) without seizing or passing out.

I still have chills about this one. Because she did EVERYTHING right. What if her boy hadn't screamed?

A Word About The Photo

I just can't get to my real one right now and I got tired of looking at that BIG BLANK SPACE on the sidebar.

I kinda like how Grace looks there; she may stay awhile! Besides, as my daughter WARNED me, "It's not SAFE to post your photo on the Internet. DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO DONNA TARTT?!?!??"

How the hell does she know who Donna Tartt is? The gal is only 8. She hasn't cracked THE SECRET HISTORY just yet.

And, erm, what DID happen to Donna Tartt because she posted her photo on the Internet? I'm intrigued!


Um, no.

"Someone stole her rice and punched her in the nose."

Sheesh, posting photos on the Internet IS dangerous!

Anyway Princess Grace is stayin' here for awhile, until I can locate my real author photo, which Blogger seems to have eaten.

Anne Rice's Battle with the D Monster

I had NO IDEA Anne Rice had Type 1 Diabetes. She was diagnosed near coma in 1998.

Anne's written a wonderful article for The New York Times here. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Q&A with a Bestselling Author

That's right, I now know a bestselling author! Johanna Edwards is the author of The Next Big Thing and her book is on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list... NATIONWIDE! The Next Big Thing is a novel about internet love, plus-size heroines, and reality TV.

"A fresh, funny treat for anyone with a weakness for dishy desserts or reality TV." -New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner

Read more about The Next Big Thing here, or order it from your local independent at Booksense, at or at Barnes and Noble.

I caught up with Johanna on The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit.

MOC: How did you get the idea to write a novel about a reality show?
JE: I’m a big, big fan of reality shows (ducks head in shame) and I loved the idea of using one in a book. I think they’re so ridiculous and so melodramatic and I figured that gave me a lot of material to work with. Truthfully, I had the idea for a reality show called “From Fat to Fabulous” and I wrote a book around it.

MOC: Your press release says you sold the book based on just a few chapters! This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which says to query only after you have a finished book. Would you recommend this tactic for other authors?
JE: I would definitely NOT recommend doing this. I sent out query letters before my book was finished and I really could have shot myself in the foot. I’m fortunate because I was able to pull the book together in a very short time frame. I wrote the ending very quickly, which is why the book ending up selling on a partial manuscript. (My agent wanted me to rework the last couple of chapters and, since it was right before Christmas, she felt we had to move quickly. So she decided to shop the unfinished manuscript and synopsis. I rewrote the final chapters after I had a publishing deal.)

MOC: What has been the most rewarding thing about the publishing process so far? The most frustrating thing?
JE: The most rewarding thing is just knowing that my book is out there in the world. It’s an incredibly surreal feeling to walk through a bookstore and see your novel on display. There are no words to describe it. The most frustrating thing is the pace of publishing. You sell a book and then it’s nearly a year and a half before it hits shelves. It felt, at times, as though my life was in a holding pattern waiting for this book to come out.

MOC: What kinds of things are you doing to promote the book? Do you find it hard to focus on marketing while you are trying to get the next novel done?
JE: It’s very hard to focus on marketing while working on the second book. I’m pretty introverted by nature, so I really hate having to get out their and sell myself and my book. But it’s a very necessary part of the process. I’ve worked every local and national angle I can think of, and I’ve hired an outside publicist to complement the work my in-house publicist (who is just fabulous, btw) is doing.

MOC: Do you plan to continue writing about the same character?
JE: I have a two-book deal with Berkley and my second book is a stand alone. My publisher was initially interested in a sequel, but I didn’t want to write one. For about a year and half now I’ve said I’d never revisit the characters from The Next Big Thing. I felt like their story was finished. All of that changed a few weeks ago, when I was struck with a killer idea for a sequel. So stay tuned…there may be one in the works, yet!

MOC: What is your next novel about?
JE: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Just kidding! Seriously, though, my publisher has asked me to keep it under wraps until further notice. I’m not even allowed to reveal the title.

MOC: What advice would you have for aspiring authors?
JE: Don’t be intimidated by the process. I know the odds are very daunting, but I truly do believe the cream rises to the top. If you believe in yourself and believe in your work, I think you’ll eventually find publication.

There you have it, some words of wisdom from a bestselling author. Thank you so much, Johanna!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

R.I.P. Dell Desktop

Hi, drive-by posting here so y'all don't think I FORGOT ABOUT YOU...

I seem to have KILLED my computer by installing digital camera software on it. Everything was fine until the Frozen Hourglass of Doom appeared. I am posting from my husband's computer for now.

I am going to spend the rest of the morning and possibly the afternoon trying to resuscitate the Dell. The partial draft of my new novel is on there, AND I STOOPIDLY HAVE NOT BACKED IT UP ANYWHERE.

So, say a few prayers for my computer. I really need it. I might even go down to the church and get some HOLY WATER to sprinkle on it.

In other news I am just about bursting with a VERY WONDERFUL THING I get to be involved with. Not to be coy, but I'll say more about it when I have more details and when it is closer to the time that THE VERY WONDERFUL THING is happening. It's not book related or money related or any of that solipsistic stuff (OF WHICH I HAVE KNOWN TO BE GUILTY~DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW CUTE THAT LITTLE MOLE NEXT TO MY BELLY-BUTTON IS?)

But seriously, it is just a very wonderful thing that is going to help a lot of people, and I GET TO BE A PART OF IT, and I am SO HAPPY and SO HONORED that I get to be a part of it, and I am going to work as hard as I can to make it even more wonderful.

Monday, March 07, 2005

My Photo's Gone Missing

But no fear, I'm on the case.

Diabetes Camp!

"Since Leonard F.C. Wendt, MD opened the doors of the first diabetes camp in Michigan in 1925, the concept of specialized residential and day camps for children with diabetes has become widespread throughout the U.S. and many other parts of the world. It is estimated that worldwide camps serve 15,000–20,000 campers with diabetes each summer."~ADA Position Paper on Diabetes Camps

We weren't able to do a camp last year. Our son was diagnosed fairly late in the summer and by the time we able to do things like, oh, THINK COHERENTLY again, summer was just about over. But he really wants to do diabetes camp this summer! I hear diabetes camp is great. EVERYONE there, including the counselors, has diabetes. Everyone tests their blood sugars and has snacks or turns down their basals on their pump before hikes. There are family camps and camps just for the children.

Here is a wonderful link which lists camps throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

This Might Be Our FINAL CHANCE...

Please read this blog entry, even if you are not a regular visitor to my blog.

Attached is an extremely important letter from Bernie Siegel at The Genetics Policy Institute. There is a very important UN vote coming on Tuesday which could ban therapeutic cloning--a key part of stem cell study. Therapeutic cloning would NOT create another living being, which the VAST, VAST majority of scientists oppose, including The Genetics Policy Institute, The California Research and Cures Coalition, and The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.

Stem cell research could bring an end to many diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes but also including AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's, autism, Parkinson's, spinal cord injury and many others. (If you would like to learn more about the FACTS on therapeutic cloning, please visit the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.)

PLEASE join me, many of my friends and fellow parents of children with diabetes, and the best and brightest scientists, advocates, and researchers on the planet, by taking part in this important campaign. Let's not say no to the promise of stem cell research. Let's not be swayed by a few extremists who paint sci-fi scenarios and present them as facts. Let's say YES to cures for diseases, and please, PLEASE act by faxing and emailing our opinions as Bernie suggests below.



The United Nations will vote on the declaration on human cloning on Tuesday, March 8, 2005. The foes of nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning) research are looking to increase their plurality and thus create a propaganda victory. The countries supporting stem cell research have appealed to the scientific and patient community to send fax letters in support of stem cell research.

Our job: mobilize as many or more letters and deprive our opponents of creating the illusion of victory. What is at stake is a perception of momentum against NT that could hurt our efforts in states and in the U.S. Senate this year.

At a minimum, please cut and paste the letter below and send it , AS A WORD ATTACHMENT, to the fax bank we have set up with the CRCC to Matt Jordan at mjordan{AT} Your letter will be faxed to 138 key missions. Take the opportunity to do this, and by all means, personalize the message.

If you are a scientist, take the time this weekend to make a powerful statement for freedom of scientific research. If you are a patient, let the UN missions know how important SCNT is to your future. This might be our final opportunity to influence the UN. This fax letter campaign is historic and unprecedented in the annals of UN lobbying. Our campaign has poured more than 24,000 fax letters to key UN missions since November.

All letters should be emailed to mjordan{AT} no later than Monday.

The UN missions supporting this research have asked that every scientist, bioethicist, scholar, patient and supporter of stem cell research to participate in this campaign. The Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research and the California Research and Cures Coalition are full partners in this effort.

Thank you for your continued support.



Bernard Siegel
Executive Director
Genetics Policy Institute
11924 Forest Hill Blvd. Suite 22
Wellington, Florida 33414


March 7, 2004

U.N. General Assembly
U.N. Headquarters
Conference Building
New York, NY 10017

To the Members of the U.N. General Assembly:

We strongly urge that the United Nations not adopt any declaration that could be construed as calling for a ban on therapeutic cloning. Such a declaration would risk inhibiting freedom of scientific research and the development of potential cures. Let us not destroy the hope for treatments for the millions of adults and children who live with intense suffering and face premature death.

We write on behalf of patients, advocates, caregivers, academic institutions, scientists and researchers to express our strong concern that the United Nations will adopt a declaration on human cloning that will fail to clearly distinguish the difference between unethical reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer), a form of stem cell research, which could lead to the understanding, treatment, and cure of medical conditions impacting millions of persons worldwide.

All countries can agree that human reproductive cloning should be prohibited. Reproductive cloning is unethical and dangerous. However, it is essential that the distinction be made between cloning for reproductive purposes and cloning for the purposes of potentially life-saving medical research. There can be no debating the promise that nuclear transfer research holds – it is safe, ethical and may lead to treatments or cures for medical conditions including heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury, and countless others. It is critical that the United Nations distinguish between therapeutic cloning research, which seeks to create stem cells in a Petri dish, and reproductive cloning that seeks to produce a child.

We ask that your mission either vote AGAINST or ABSTAIN from supporting the declaration adopted by the Sixth Committee pertaining to human cloning. The declaration lacks clarity and does not represent a consensus on the issue of therapeutic cloning.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Commenting Is Fixed

I've gotten several emails from people wanting to comment but who've been blocked out by Blogger--the issue should be fixed now! I hope I don't get a ton of spam comments now.

Dear Blog Spammers,
Your leavings will be deleted immediately and you will be reported to a higher being.
Lots of Love,

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

AWESOME Cincinnati Post article by reporter Roy Wood, about a climber with Type 1 Diabetes.

He's climbed Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, Mt. McKinley in Alaska, Mt. Kilamanjaro in Tanzania, and many others. He's visited the North and South Poles, and he's attempted to scale the formidable Mt. Everest, only faltering near the top. And now, 37-year-old Type 1 Diabetes patient Will Cross is
"working to complete the NovoLog Peaks and Poles Challenge, a two-year quest to reach both poles and the highest mountain peak on each continent.

"Drug maker NovoLog, which makes insulin, is sponsoring his adventure...

"If he completes the climbs, he will become the first American and first person with diabetes to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and trek to both the North and South pole, he said....

"There were many similarities in the climb and his battle against diabetes, he said

"For example, Cross said, ladders are laid across crevasses, then crossed one, slow, careful step at a time.

"Similarly, he breaks his health care into 'just one blood test, not a series of finger pricks -- just one result, not a series of bad results.'

"'Every day I can make a decision to live well with diabetes,' said Cross, who was diagnosed at age 9. "

Everest is Cross's albatross--he had to turn back last year, near the summit. But he'll do it. He will. There is nothing we can't do if we put our minds to it.

What an inspiration! Cross's story made my day.

In Which I Emerge, Briefly

Please excuse my absence from Blogger! I've been an utter disaster for a few days, and believe me, you DO NOT want to know the gory details. Though I'm on the mend, I wanted to check in briefly.

Firsto--I just got a great piece of news yesterday--THE BITCH POSSE will be reviewed in the May issue of Cosmopolitan. Yay, Cosmo!

And secondo-- I just got to read my first real, unbiased review. Not from Kirkus, not from Library Journal, but from an intrepid literary blogger named Sam-I-Am-Books! And, no, she is not my mom in disguise! I do not know Sam-I-Am, and I do not owe her any money for the review. Hee...

But does she like green eggs and ham? you may ask. Well, I don't know, but I was more curious as to where she got an advance copy of my book!

After I stumbled upon this review, I emailed her, and I guess she picked up an ARC at a bookstore she works at. I'm really flattered--as Sam pointed out to me, she is a very tough grader! She actually has a great little review site going... check out her full roster here. P.S., Sam, if you're reading this... could you send a little pixie dust toward Cosmo and Kirkus for me?

And now I shall go collapse once again! I hope to be up and running by next week.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Girl and a Gun, How Tough Could It Be?

Are you discouraged because the query letters for your novel keep coming back with the words "not for me" scrawled across the top?

Or torn into tiny pieces?

Hey, you're thinking. Maybe I oughtta try film scripts. They say all you need to make a good movie is a girl and a gun. Anything else is just window-dressing. What could be easier?

WELL, send a bad query to Hollywood, here's what could happen. Mr. Anonymous Big Time Agent could read your query, bust his gut laughing, and POST IT AND MAKE FUN OF IT ALL OVER HIS BLOG.

You may have seen this before; I hadn't, and consequently I spent WAY TOO LONG at his site this morning. Enjoy.