Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pipelining Diabetes Supplies to Katrina Victims... PLEASE READ

This is sooooo important guys... If you can help out at all, please do. I'm going through our Diabetes Bookcase now to see what we can give. I'm going call in for some refills and donate those as well. And please, pass it on...

&, if you're reading quickly and DON'T have time to click, here's the nitty gritty:

Katrina Diabetes Relief

Send any available supplies (insulin, medications, meters, strips, insulin delivery, etc.) via overnight to:

dLife Relief
101 Franklin St.
Westport, CT 06880

Your supplies will be aggregated for immediate delivery and distribution.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tom Karlya 203.221.3453 Cell: 516.220.3979 — call anytime for next 36 hours


Conversation with Governor's Office Spurs Support from Leading
Diabetes Resource

WESTPORT, Conn., August 31, 2005- dLife - For Your Diabetes Life, a multimedia resource for the 18.2 million people in the United States living with diabetes, is starting a drive to collect donated diabetes supplies to help victims of Hurricane Katrina who are stranded without the medicine and supplies they need to manage their potentially deadly disease. The drive began when the dLife office responded to a caller who saw a need on a news report on TV showing someone stranded on the roof of a building holding a sign pleading for diabetes supplies. Information on how to help can be found at, by calling 1-866-dLifeNow or sending supplies to dLife Relief 101 Franklin Street, West Port CT 06880. After the dLife office spoke to the Governor's office in Louisiana; an action plan was laid out for those who need help and those who want to help.

"Having diabetes for 37 years and knowing our dLife community around the United States – diabetes suppliers, experts and individuals – I know the panic of watching your health deteriorate without needed supplies. We have to cut through the red tape and get those in such dire need life sustaining supplies. We're urging anyone who can help to respond to this urgent call for assistance," said Howard Steinberg, CEO and Founder of dLife.

The areas hit hardest by Katrina also happen to have some of the highest diabetes populations per capita. In Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, 7.2, 8.9 and 9.0% of their populations respectively have diabetes according to a 2002 study ( Living with diabetes means keeping an important balance of diet and medication to minimize the effects of the disease. The lack of supplies to the sizeable diabetes populations in these states will undoubtedly add to the loss of life already caused by the hurricane and a plan needs to be implemented.

dLife - For Your Diabetes Life is a multimedia network that includes the first ever weekly diabetes television show, dLife TV (produced by dLife, airing on CNBC Sundays 7pm EST / 4pm Pacific); a website,; a radio program, dLife Radio; and a direct mail newsletter, dLife Connect. dLife is a Westport, Connecticut company.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Interview!

I'm interviewed over at Third Wave Lit today. Please check it out and leave a comment or two if you like!

Thanks for all the support about our son's bolus scare. I think I may have figured out how it happened. While getting ready for our endo appt today, I downloaded the full pump data to transfer it to a log, and I discovered an interesting trend of a huge amount of carbs being consumed in the evenings, not at dinner. Bolused for, without a blood test.

Unbeknownst to me, when the children are supposedly playing quietly in their rooms, reading, or watching a movie, he's been chowing down on his sis's candy stash, bolusing his best guess... ON HIS OWN!

The night of our big scare, he probably bolused, planning to scarf down some candy, and then was called for dinner, with all this extra insulin onboard. Not good, and a major violation of the rule not to bolus EVER without checking with an adult.

He was very upset when he confessed this to us and even sent himself to bed early. He asked me to lock the pump when he is out of school because he didn't trust himself not to binge and bolus. Well, I'm glad we solved the mystery, anyway.

And last but certainly not least, please consider donating to the Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Whoosh! A Bullet Just Spun By...

This evening, unbeknownst to anyone, including him, and in addition to his regular dinner bolus, our son accidentally bolused for 162 grams of carbs.

The only reason I discovered it was cause he unclipped his pump to take a bath and I decided to glance at the bolus history, just to catch up on my log before his clinic appt on Tuesday. HOLY SHIT. Sorry, but HOLY SHIT.

I called him in from the bath... God, can you imagine? Taking a bath with that much insulin onboard? He would've passed out in the water. Glucagon, 911 call, paramedics... the script is very easy to write. That is a massive amount of extra insulin.

I called the clinic emergency line, who ordered me to begin feeding him fast-acting carbs ASAP. So within the space of 20 minutes, that's what he had... 3 juice boxes, 1 juice can, 2 tubes of cake mate decorating gel, 9 glucose tablets, a huge bowl of cereal with vanilla soy milk... I tested him about every 10 minutes for a half hour and he never got below 96 or over 150... although he looked so low there (even though the meter wasn't registering low, he must've on his way towards a serious crash) and he even said "I want to go to sleep... please let me sleep... I can't eat anymore... I'm going to be sick..." If I'd let him sleep, he wouldn't have been waking up without a glucagon injection.

At last he got everything in. Finally, an hour and a half later he seems pretty stable (though peeing a ton... well, with all that juice!) so I fed him a peanut butter apple to keep him stabilized through the night. Any high tonight, I am not supposed to correct at all. I'm to check him every hour until midnight and then I'll probably get up at 3 to check again. Oh. My. God. Can you imagine if I hadn't peeked at the pump? SCARY.

School starts tomorrow. I was so excited about it, but now the night from hell awaits us. Oh, and he has a stomachache too. No wonder. But I'm just glad he didn't puke up all that juice and stuff. I think it's all gonna stay down.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kill Me, Stephen King

Would you like to die in a Stephen King novel? Be a hero in John Grisham's next? Then here's your chance... bid on the charity auction to benefit The First Amendment Project. From The Miami Herald...
Now's your chance to die in a Stephen King novel or be portrayed ''in a good light'' in the next thriller from John Grisham -- while championing the cause of free speech.

That's the idea behind a charity auction on eBay that starts Sept. 1 and features 16 authors selling character names to the highest bidders. All proceeds go to the First Amendment Project, a nonprofit legal group dedicated to free speech.

In addition to King and Grisham, writers agreeing to sell a name in their upcoming books include Amy Tan, Peter Straub, Nora Roberts, Lemony Snicket and Dave Eggers. All have penned summaries of what they plan to offer in an auction preview.

What a great idea, and for such a great cause. Kudos to these wonderful authors!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Shaking Her Assets!

Is that a killer title or what? Today I'm thrilled to host the co-authors of this humorous new novel on the blog. Welcome to Robin Epstein and Renee Kaplan!

First the buzz:

Let’s say you really enjoy getting up in the morning to go to work, where your bosses love you, your office-mate gives better gossip than Page Six, and your expensively embossed business cards whisper to the world how important you are. And let’s say your boyfriend of nearly two years still makes you feel lucky to be with him, because you know he’s got your back and can definitely be counted on for a super-divine anniversary dinner out. And then let’s say you get fired (“No, not fired, downsized!”) and dumped (Oops -- His XXX e-mail “About Last Night” wasn’t intended for you!) in very quick succession. That would suck—a lot—and that’s exactly what happens to Rachel Chambers, a New York copywriter who suddenly has no job, no boyfriend, and no back-up plan.

She’s bummed, furious, crushed, and the vodka gimlet binge on her best friend Ben’s expense account does help—until the next day. Like it or not, Rachel has to reinvent herself. What she doesn’t do is follow the rules and get a conventional new job. What she does instead is start a business—sort of. She and Ben conjure up a business idea as a complete joke, and it unexpectedly starts to take off. But it's a risky stealth effort, with lots of improvising, a dose of guerrilla marketing, and copious amounts of total bluffing. Meanwhile, Rachel’s been temping, and when the art director at her temp job gets wind of her romantic and entrepreneurial misadventures, he turns her into a comic book superhero, with cone boobs and biceps big enough to defend any kind of business practice. Rachel’s man-eating alter ego has got her believing that she just might be able to pull it off in real life…though maybe without the cone-shaped bra.
And the blurbs:
"SHAKING HER ASSETS is funny, smart, and hugely entertaining."

- Jill A. Davis, author of GIRLS' POKER NIGHT

"A funny page-turner for the entrepreneur in us all."

- Alison Pace, author of IF ANDY WARHOL HAD A GIRLFRIEND

"Funny and true to life--a smart and clever read."

- Johanna Edwards, author of THE NEXT BIG THING
And the REVIEWS!
Have a job interview? Exploring raise possibilities? Now's the time to go for it! For inspiration, check out SHAKING HER ASSETS, a hilarious novel about pursuing a dream job.
Star Scopes

* * *

You don't have to possess X-Ray vision or a Lasso of Truth to be a superhero. New York City native Rachel Chambers, the star of the clever chick-lit title "Shaking Her Assets," finds her power simply by thwarting evil blind dates and leaping from job to job. Eventually, one of Rachel's coworkers gets wind of her urban adventures and sketches a compic strip based on her. Will her alter ego inspire Rachel to take control of her life?
-INSIDE TV, 6/13/05
What's New This Week

* * *

"Shaking Her Assets," a stylish cut of chick lit by Robin Epstein and Renee a breezy bathtub read about one of those ideas -- you know, the kind that makes you think, "I should quite this gig and just..."... This light romp through Manhattan -- with all its art, food and creative energy -- and makes readers want to hop and train and take a bite out of the Big Apple, just like the city's newest heroine.
-The Buzz
for full review: When You're Down, Shake It Up

* * *

Like many young professionals, Rachel - the protagonist in the new novel "Shaking Her Assets" by Renee Kaplan and Robin Epstein - is just trying to carve out her territory as a catalog editor in the creative hive that is New York City when personal tragedy strikes... Sounds like a job for - no, wait. Ambitious young women don't have a superhero! That is until Rachel embarks on a daring business idea and new friend Zach depicts her exploits as comic book character Marilyn Manizer, the woman with nerves - and bra - of steel. Rachel starts to believe she just might pull off her crazy but creative new life...
-ITHACA TIMES, 6/22/05
for full review:

* * *

What do you do when you lose your job and your boyfriend in the same month (after polishing off one too many vodka gimlets with your best friend, that is)? You reinvent yourself, of course...
for full review:

* * *

Fresh ideas like the comic book angle make this debut novel a cut above the ordinary. Engaging characters, particularly the smart and thoughtful protagonist, add sparkle to an appealing plot. The witty dialogue never falters and the Manhattan hipster scene feels authentic. Writing partners Epstein and Kaplan have collaborated on a sexy success story with great big heart.
-Romantic Times, 4-stars

* * *

The savvy, independent woman chicklit readers want to identify with is Rachel. She struggles in her relationships with her family, both envying her married sister and feeling blessed by and proud of her sister’s family. She... figures out how to run a business, makes quick smart decisions that further her company. She demands to be taken seriously and respected, particularly by her best friend and his fiancée in one memorable restaurant showdown. Ah, the glory of it! Watching her business savvy is in itself a reason to read the book though ultimately, it is her entire coming of age, with her family, friends, romantic partners, and career, that make this story fascinating.
-Small Spiral Notebook
for full review:

* * *

[T]he writing is surprisingly smooth, written in the first person events in the life of Rachel Chambers... The book has a likable heroine, and is written in a breezy colloquial style. Even at the heroine's darkest hours, she keeps a sense of humor.
-PRESS FOCUS, All Around Philly, Book Review
for full review: 'Shaking Her Assets': A Comic Look At a Young Entrepreneur

* * *

Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons may be on to something: Life would be much easier if we were all superheroes. That's the premise of Robin Epstein and Renée Kaplan's hip new tome, Shaking Her Assets, which is one part chick lit, one part graphic novel. The story's heroine, Rachel Chambers, is a copywriter who gets mercilessly kicked to the curb by her boss and boyfriend. But things start looking up for Rachel when Zach, a co-worker at her temp job, creates a comic-book superhero based on her misadventures. Marilyn Manizer is a hot-blooded (and just plain hot) superheroine with steel resolve -- and a steel bra.

* * *

Radio Interview with Dayna Steele, "The Art of Doing Business"
And now onto the juiciest stuff... the interview! *applause*

MO'C: How does your co-authorship work? Do you switch off chapters, or point of view sections, or just write until you can't write anymore and send the book along?
RE/RK:We had a pretty precise process--but it took some figuring out. We brainstormed, conceived, and outlined the whole book together--literally. In front of the same computer screen. After months of collaborative face to face work, we'd created a detailed outline of dozens of chapters, which we then divided. Basically, odds and evens! We'd write a chapter, send it to the other, she would edit--sometimes heavily!--and send it back, and then we would discuss the changes and suggestions and send it back again. In all this back and forth we ended up creating a smooth interweaving of our styles and, we hope, a single strong voice.

MO'C: How did you get the idea for this book? Having been on the sidelines of corporate "downsizing" myself, I have to wonder if there's a story behind the story here....
RE/RK: would be fair to say that we've seen our fair share of downsizing and job cancelling, both personally, and among our friends. But we also think that the feeling is universal--it's the rare person who hasn't, at one point or another, had the unpleasant feeling of being dispensable at work. And whether you actually get the hatchet or not, those are moments that often force you to reassess.

MO'C: Which one of you is most like Rachel and why?
RE/RK: That's an excellent question, because we deliberately created Rachel to be neither one of us. It's such a recurrent trope in chick lit for the main character to be be a veiled--or barely veiled--version of the narrator. We wanted to avoid the idea that this story was just our story. It was important to us that Rachel reflect something a little bit larger than our own experience. Now I know that is SO not the answer you were looking for, because it'd be so much more fun it were all TRUE! The truth is that it is mostly all true, but it's a patchy composite of me and robin and lots of other women of our generation that we know.

MO'C: What message did you hope to get across with Shaking Her Assets and why?
RE/RK: Well, Shaking is a story of personal reinvention--a story that very much reflects our stories. Only a lot funnier and with comic strips. Both of us have become experts of personal reinvention over the years: after college Renee went to Harvard Law. But instead of a lawyer she became a writer...and then a television producer, and then a novelist. Robin has gone from stand-up comic to sitcom writer to scripting video games. Reinvention is probably the story of our whole generation, and it's when we realized just how good we'd become at repackaging and re-starting our own lives, that we decided we may as well write the Novel of Reinvention. We wanted to write about how universal this experience is--and also how positive it can be. Careers and love lives sometimes crash and hit bottom--we've all experienced those moments--but Rachel, like most women, has a lot more resources than she's aware of, and sometimes it takes some extreme circumstances for women to realize that. We ending up building something from what feel like nothing, and learning a lot about ourselves along the way.

MO'C: How did you come up with the title? It's so snappy and unforgettable!
RE/RK:The dirty little secret is that it was a VERY working title (e.g. totally temporary!) that we came up with in a moment of exhaustion and punchiness, the day we turned in our first complete manuscript. And then it stuck! What started out as a campy joke, our editor ended up loving.

MO'C: Rachel becomes a comic book superhero. Would each of you please name your favorite comic book superhero and tell why that hero appeals to you?
RE:I'd have to go with the Incredible Hulk. I think it's because some days I can relate perfectly to how that guy feels: he gets so angry, he turns green, busts the seams on his clothing and then goes crashing through walls. I actually had a moment like that yesterday when I was in a fitting room...
RK: My favorite superhero is probably Underdog: it's his understated genius, and his calm in moments of crisis!

MO'C: What advice would you have for aspiring authors?
RE/RK:Keep writing, keep pitching, persevere: you dont know how long it will take, but something better than you imagine will very likely come of those efforts. For all you invest, you WILL get a return, but not necessarily when and how you'd expect it. But keep leveraging your assets, and know that if you have confidence in your talent, that confidence becomes infectious.

MO'C: What's next for the two of you?
RE/RK:Well as soon as Dreamworks buys the film rights to Shaking Her Assets (tee-hee), we'll begin writing part II..and until then, we are brainstorming what the next book will be. And it just might be something totally new and NON-fiction.

Thanks so much for visiting the blog, you two! And don't forget to pick up a copy of Shaking Her Assets at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or (where all the cool kids are buying theirs)your local independent bookseller.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Californians Take Action!

This is from my friend Lisa, who advocates for children in this state. This is terribly disturbing news.

Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates the liver to release its glucose stores, saving the life of a diabetic in a hypoglycemic incident. In cases in which the diabetic is unable to swallow, a glucagon injection is all that stands between the patient, and death. Shouldn't ANYONE in a school be permitted to administer this lifesaving injection? We don't have hours, we have MINUTES to save a life.

In an emergency situation, without this hormone the child may die.

Thank you,

Thank you~~~

Recently, State Assembly Member Lori Saldaña (D-76) introduced AB 1667, legislation that would reverse current laws permitting non-licensed school personnel to administer glucagon to children with diabetes in emergency situations. AB 1667 would also prohibit non-licensed school personnel from assisting with the administration of insulin and other medications. (The current law, which was passed in October 2003, is now known as California Education Code 49414.5 - see attached.)

The bill’s sponsor, the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO), indicates that there is a shortage of nurses in the state's public schools. According to CSNO there are 2,791credentialed school nurses for over six million public school children. Many of these school nurses are "roaming" nurses and not full-time at any one particular school. Additionally, school nurses are often not available to attend field trips or extra curricular activities sponsored by schools.

The American Diabetes Association believes that while the school nurse is the most appropriate person in the school setting to provide care for a student with diabetes, the reality is an inadequate number of school nurses exists to assist these students - and those with other medical conditions - during school and at school-sponsored activities.

Diabetes management is needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and diabetes emergencies can happen at any time. School personnel should be prepared to provide diabetes care at school and at all school-sponsored activities in which a student with diabetes participates. Reversing the law that permits this is not only unwise, it is dangerous. Contact your state senator and urge him or her to oppose AB 1667 and keep students with diabetes safe at school!

PLEASE TAKE TIME TO SEND A LETTER TO YOUR STATE ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVE OPPOSING AB1667. If you need to identify your local representative, go to: Below is a sample letter for your consideration. Feel free to share this email with family and friends to elicit their support . Take time to explain to them how this will affect your child at school. Your efforts are vital to protecting the right of all children with diabetes.

-Lisa Shenson, Parent & Advocate

Sample Letter Opposing AB1667

Dear ,

I am writing on behalf of children with diabetes to urge you to oppose AB 1667.

AB 1667 would reverse previously passed legislation that allows non-licensed school personnel to administer life-saving medication to children with diabetes in emergency situations. It would also prohibit non-licensed personnel from assisting with insulin administration and other diabetes care.

Currently there is not an adequate number of school nurses to perform these services. If AB 1667 passes there won't be ANY school personnel to assist students who have diabetes in an emergency or with their required health management.

As a national parent advocate who has personally assisted hundreds of diabetes families in California and elsewhere to protect their child's right to appropriate medical care in school, I cannot overemphasize the devastating effects this legislation would have on the lives of children with diabetes.

Consider this...

...if a child is in need of adult supervision to administer insulin, no one will be able to help. Due to a lack of insulin, the child will suffer needless elevated glucose levels. And those elevated glucose levels are directly linked to increased risk of diabetes complications including blindness, amputation, organ and nerve damage, and thusly quality of life.

...if a child is suffering from severe hypoglycemia, the only treatment is a life-saving glucagon injection to bring them out of a seizure or coma. If no one is willing to administer this injection, the child is at extreme risk for severe brain damage, or worse yet, loss of life. deny a child access to appropriate medical care while in school is a violation of California Education Code and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

I hope you share my view that it is most disturbing that the sponsorship of this bill is California School Nurses Organization. Aren't these the very people who are supposed to care about the safety and welfare of every child?

I am deeply disturbed to think that we've become a society that is so consumed with self-promoting agendas and litigious worry that we've lost sight of the need to support our children. I ask you, WHO will care for these children in need?

I urge you to oppose AB1667 on the Senate daughter's life, and so many others, depend on it.




Phone Contact

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Lionel went into labor about an hour and a half ago. She's given birth to five baby rats. One was stillborn. The remaining four are squeaking and wiggling and trying to nurse. (We didn't even suspect she was pregnant till a few days ago... she was SOLD to us pregnant, unbeknownst to us.) I'm not sure if she's going to have any more, because technically they can be in labor for up to two hours. She's a very young rat, so maybe that is why the litter is so small. Hoo boy... Anyone in Northern California want to adopt a couple of rats in about four weeks?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Frankly Mr. Shankley

Hey, there's a new blog you should take a look at. It's written by Frankie who's spent the last several months dealing with her son's heroin addiction. She's been through so much and has been so strong. Just recently her son was arrested for possession and now, he is in jail awaiting a trial.

So, take a peek and send a few comments her way... I know she'd really appreciate it, cos it's a very tough time for her.

Also, Lionel the rat's pregnant, I'm pretty sure. Which means that in a week or two a dozen ratlings will descend upon our home. Loverly.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Artists, Writers, Ancient Beatniks, Ageless Bohemians, Bibliophiles, Boulevardiers, Billionaires and Bums

I had such a great goddamn time last night with The Bookseller to the Stars (on a visit to San Francisco in his very first visit to the USA) and the lovely Karen. Mark is just as funny, personable and brilliant in person as he is on his blog, and Karen is so smart and witty and gorgeous.

We did a North Beach evening starting with running into the two of them in the crosswalk while I was wandering around trying to figure out what was where, cos I'm a local but I also can't find my way out of a paper bag... We started with a drink at Vesuvio's, next to City Lights, at Jack Kerouac Alley.
This world-renowned San Francisco saloon located in North Beach just across from the infamous City Lights Bookstore, was first established in 1948 and remains an historical monument to jazz, poetry, art and the good life of the Beat Generation. Vesuvio attracts a diverse clientele: artists, chess players, cab drivers, seamen and business people, European visitors, off-duty exotic dancers and bon vivants from all walks of life.

On October 17, 1955, Neal Cassady, the real life Dean Moriarty of the quintessential Beat classic On the Road, stopped at Vesuvio on the way to the now legendary Six Gallery for a poetry reading, and the place has never been the same. It became a regular hangout of Jack Kerouac and other famous Beat poets and has become ground zero for pilgrims on the Beat trail ever since.

It was here that Jack Kerouac once spent a long night in 1960 when he should have been on his way to Big Sur to meet with Henry Miller. Miller had written Kerouac that he enjoyed reading The Dharma Bums and would enjoy a visit from the emerging writer. Kerouac, however, had other plans. He continued to hoist drinks and called Miller every hour telling him that he was just a bit delayed in leaving the city. The two would never meet that night..

After that we went to the legendary City Lights Bookstore, where I did a drop-in signing (they had four hardcover copies of The Bitch Posse right in front! Yay, City Lights!) and browsed and bought.
Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City Lights is one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where booklovers from across the country and around the world come to browse, read, and just soak in the ambiance of alternative culture's only "Literary Landmark." Although it has been more than forty years since tour buses with passengers eager to sight "beatniks" began pulling up in front of City Lights, the Beats' legacy of anti-authoritarian politics and insurgent thinking continues to be a strong influence in the store, most evident in the selection of titles.

The nation's first all-paperback bookstore, City Lights has expanded several times over the years; we now offer three floors of both new-release hardcovers and quality paperbacks from all of the major publishing houses, along with an impressive range of titles from smaller, harder-to-find, specialty publishers. The store features an extensive and in-depth selection of poetry, fiction, translations, politics, history, philosophy, music, spirituality, and more, with a staff whose special book interests in many fields contribute to the hand-picked quality of what you see on the shelves.

The City Lights masthead says A Literary Meetingplace since 1953, and this concept includes publishing books as well as selling them. In 1955, Ferlinghetti launched City Lights Publishers with the now-famous Pocket Poets Series; since then the press has gone on to publish a wide range of titles, both poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction, international and local authors. Today, City Lights has well over a hundred titles in print, with a dozen new titles being published each year. The press is known and respected for its commitment to innovative and progressive ideas, and its resistance to forces of conservatism and censorship. All City Lights Publications that are currently available are proudly featured in the bookstore.

With this bookstore-publisher combination, "it is as if," says Ferlinghetti, "the public were being invited, in person and in books, to participate in that 'great conversation' between authors of all ages, ancient and modern." City Lights has become world-famous, but it has retained an intimate, casual, anarchic charm. It's a completely unique San Francisco experience, and a must for anyone who appreciates good books.

Then we wandered a bit to find the apartment building where Allen Ginsberg wrote Howl. Just looked like any other old apartment building, fancy that. Maybe someone is in there right now writing the next great American masterpiece, but they're probably just washing the evening's dishes. Then again, you never know.... And a trip to Washington Square,

One of the most recognizable and must see on your tour of North Beach is the SS Peter and Paul Church on Washington Square Park...or The Church of Dirty Harry. If the facade looks familiar, it's because these are the steps where the priest gets whacked by the rooftop psycho..(the sniper's rooftop perch by the way is located at The Dante Building at 1606 Stockton at Columbus Ave) Dirty Harry may have ruled the Park in the 70s but in the Beat 50's it was a favorite hangout for the Beat Literati..including Mr. Kerouac. You can almost picture him now, lolling in the grass, soaking up the sun and some cheap wine on a lazy San Francisco afternoon.

And then our evening was topped off with a dinner at Enrico's, listening to jazz and talking and talking.

Since 1958, the preferred haunt of Artists, Writers, Ancient Beatniks, Ageless Bohemians, Bibliophiles, Boulevardiers, Billionaires and Bums, Critics, Cynics, Clampers and Curmudgeons, Poets, Pimps, Politicians and Profiteers, Cops and Robbers, Radicals and Revolutionaries, Rogues, Rebels and Rotters, Hell's Angels, Strippers, Musicians and Jazz Aficionados, Dilettantes, Debutantes, Degenerates, Manic Desperados and other Shady Characters, Slumming Socialites, Coyotes, Courtesans, Feminists and Cigar-puffing Adventurists, Arbitragers, Actors, Athletes and Authors, Men of Letters, Women of Numbers, Journalists, Columnists and Media Hacks, Professors, Teachers, MD's and PhD's, Winos, Cork-sniffing Oenophiles, Cuisine Weenies, Sycophants, Gourmets, Gourmands, Gossips, Gangsters and the Broadway "Kosher Nostra", Outlaws and Lawyers, Hipsters, Hookers, Hippies, Yuppies, Techies and Dot-Commies, Ex-Techies and Dot-Commies, Geeks, Nerds and Webmasters, Hollywood and East Coast Expatriates, Finocchios, Transvestites, Scoundrels and Skells, Tenderloin Touts talking trash, Ex-spooks and Green Berets, Broken Down Thugs for hire, a Detective, a Rocket Scientist, Art Hungry Impresarios, Book Artists, Fine Printers and Friends of Calligraphy from the World over.

Very trippy to meet someone you only know via email. I can't even really express how great it was to meet Mark at last and to put a face to the famous and lovely Karen. A grand time was had by all.

By the way, I'm at Joshilyn Jackson's blog today!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Definitely not A DOLLAR SHORT!

This is a new book I can't WAIT to read! Welcome to Karin Gillespie, Queen Diva of The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit and author of the just published A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood. If Karin's first book (Bet Your Bottom Dollar) is any indication, A Dollar Short is going to be scrumptious!

Here's Karin's Press Release... and below it you'll find an interview in which Karin discusses writing, marketing, and all things bottom dollar-ish.


“As tart and delectable as lemon meringue pie… a pure delight!”
--Jennifer Weiner, author of Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Little Earthquakes

“Never a dull moment…. this fast-paced screamer of a romance begs a giggle, if not a guffaw. —Booklist

It isn’t every day a movie star steals your husband. Former beauty queen Chiffon Butrell faces that dilemma when her husband Lonnie wins a trip to Hollywood. Lonnie meets mega movie star, Janie Lynn Lauren—known as Jay-Li to her elite circle- and leaves Chiffon behind in Cayboo Creek, S.C., with three kids and no money.

Chiffon’s manages to lose her temper and her job in quick succession—only to discover that Lonnie’s paycheck from the Nutra-Sweet plant has been forwarded to a California address. With three kids to feed, Chiffon comes up more than a dollar short.

Her good friends, the Bottom Dollar Girls, try their best to pitch in. But there are too few hands to lend, what with Elizabeth and her husband Timothy expecting their first baby any day, and the rest of the Bottom Dollar Girls knee-deep in their secret—and possibly scandalous--plan to raise money for the Cayboo Creek Senior Center.

When a slick of Wesson Oil at the Winn Dixie gets the better of Chiffon’s ankle, there’s just one thing to be done—call on estranged older sister Chenille, who hails from Bible Grove, S.C. A prissy, fussy spinster prone to dressing her dog Walter in matching plaid “mother-son” outfits, Chenille is everything Chiffon detests.

Chiffon's little house is soon overrun with buzzing paparazzi, and the tabloids are having a field day with the starlet's affair with a down-home country boy. Jay-Li declares war when she appears on national television to assassinate Chiffon’s character and to declare her intentions for Lonnie by wearing a t-shirt that says, “Chiffon, Be Gone!” Things get ugly in a hurry in the battle of wills between the mother of three and the world’s greatest movie star.

Through all their trials, the Grace girls find solace in the centerpiece of the series, the Bottom Dollar Emporium. Whether it's the straightforward advice of eighty-five year old Attalee, or the helpful ministrations of Elizabeth, the women of the Bottom Dollar stick together.

Not to be missed, A DOLLAR SHORT (Simon and Schuster, August 2005) sparkles with energy and wit, as well as the compelling story of emotional loss and the strength to endure. It is a hilarious saga of loss, sisterhood, and the will to survive in small town Cayboo Creek, South Carolina.


Before coming a novelist, Karin Gillespie was a special education teacher at an inner-city school and an editor of a regional parenting magazine. She’s also a bi-monthly columnist for the Augusta Chronicle.

Her first novel, Bet Your Bottom Dollar, is in the process of being optioned by James Woods for film.

She travels the Southeast with three other Southern authors, and they call themselves the Dixie Divas.

For the release of A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood, Karin will be embarking on the “Take Back the Tiara Tour” which will feature a red carpet, dime-store tiaras, and an essay contest for women.

A Dollar Short has been chosen as a featured alternative for Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs.

MO'C: I loved your first novel, Bet Your Bottom Dollar, and can't wait to dig into the sequel. Did you always have a series in mind?

KG: This is the conversation I had with my agent when I got “the call.”

Agent: Good news! Simon and Schuster wants to buy your novel.

Me: Shriek! Shriek!

Agent: They think it should be a series. Do you have an idea for a second book?

Me: (Lying through my teeth) Of course, I have an idea for another book! I have ideas for gazillions of books.

So, no, I didn’t have a clue. But at that point I was willing to write a pop-up version of the book if they wanted it.

MO'C: A Minnesota native, you migrated to the deep South. How did you find that transition and how long did it take you to learn to stop talking Minnesotan and begin speaking Southern?

KG: I moved to the South when I was thirteen and since I’m waist-high into my forties I consider myself more Southern than Midwestern. Of course Southerners would likely disagree. You really have to a granddaddy in the Civil War to be truly Southern.

There is even a saying about the matter: If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.

Anyway I leaned quickly enough to replace my “you guys” with y’all and to quit putting sugar on my grits.

MO'C: Which of the characters is most like you and why?

KG: I deliberately make my characters the least like me as possible because then I can vicariously lives completely different from mine. But I’m probably most like Chenille in A DOLLAR SHORT. She’s a school teacher (who gets fired due to an unfortunate mishap with a machete) and I used to be teacher too so I “borrowed” some of my experiences and gave them to Chenille.

MO'C: If I remember right (and I don't have the book in front of me so forgive me if I'm wrong), Chiffon was not an altogether sympathetic character in the first Bottom Dollar Girls book. What were the challenges of making her a sympathetic character in this one and how did you address those challenges?

KG: She was kind of a bit player in the first book, but not particularly unsympathetic. I think you may be thinking of Jonelle Jasper who was a mean little wench in the first book and is even a bigger one in the second book.

However, I think it’s pretty easy to make an unsympathetic character sympathetic once you are in their point of view. You can make the readers understand why they’re acting so sleazy, through their inner dialogue.

MO'C: Do you have any advice for second-time novelists, both those with and without sequels? Is it easier to write a sequel than a standalone novel, do you think?

KG: I’ve found that writing a series is easier because you don’t have to re-create an entire universe with every book. I just wrote a book out of series and it was like cutting the grass with pinking shears when I'd gotten used to felling great swathes with a riding lawn mower.

Second books, by the way, are like second children. You love them dearly but you don’t fuss over them nearly as much. My advice is once the book is out and once you’ve done all you can to promote it, let it go and focus on the next thing at hand.

MO'C: You also run the widely read marketing blog, Diary of a Hype Hag. What are your three top tips for authors trying to market themselves and their work?

1.Figure out what promotion tactics works for you and dump the rest. After
every book launch I do a house-cleaning, figuring out what was a waste of my
time and what wasn’t.

2. Do something every day to promote your book, whether it be sending out a
bunch of postcards or sending a press release to a radio station to see if
they want you as a guest.

3. Get a few books on book promotion and read them straight through, making
notes and brainstorming as you go along. When you get an idea, let it simmer
for a day or so and you’ll likely discover a way to make it even a better

But as important as promotion is, don’t EVER let it overshadow your writing. The best thing you can do to promote yourself is to write a kick-butt book.

MO'C: As if you didn't have enough to do, you are the mastermind behind The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit. How did you come up with this brilliant idea? What have been some benefits the Circuit has provided?

KG: I started the GCC because I'd heard about virtual tours, and I thought they were a fabulous idea. I also knew several women writer who had blogs so I thought why not have a virtual tour with women writers only? I put a little item on my blog and the authors who wanted to join came pouring in. I initially thought 10 authors or so would be a good number, but the interest was so strong I ended up with 25 authors instead. The tour had definitely exceeded my expectations. I hear from publicists and publishers who want their authors to join, and now there's a waiting list. The authors who tour tell me they are picking up new readers and the bloggers enjoy having some great content. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

MO'C: Tell us about your Take Back the Tiara Contest.
KG: Here’s the link but basically it’s an essay contest for women writing about a moment of empowerment (excuse that cheesy word) or when they have “taken back the tiara.”

MO'C: Do you have any words on motherhood and writing?
KG: It’s been my experience that they don’t mix all that well. I was a single mother for seventeen years (I just got married a couple of months ago) and I really didn’t attempt to do serious writing until my son was 12 and didn’t seem to need me every spare minute of the day. I really applaud women with young children who write but I suspect they must have supportive partners.

MO'C: What's in the works for Karin Gillespie?
KG: I have two more books under contract that I’ve completed. One is the third book in the series called DOLLAR DAZE, the other is an out-of-series book called EARTHLY PLEASURES, which is sort of a chick lit in Heaven tale. I’m hard at work on my fifth book!

Thank you so much, Karin, for visiting the blog today! You can buy Karin's novel at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my favorite, your local indie bookseller via Booksense. And don't forget to visit Karin's site!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A RatAgedy

Already... :o(

As I wrote about yesterday... maybe it was the lack of sleep from all those night checks! But yesterday we agreed to purchase, and purchased, two pet rats for the family. I guess learning a new insulin pump was not enough of a challenge for the next few weeks. LOL

Now it's not the rats I mind... not except for their ugly tails, which are just, ugh. But they're not like the icky outdoor spooky scary gross rats. They're little, like hamster sized, and sweet. They're kinda cute, and they're very clean animals. But their BEDDING! I am soooo allergic to this bedding. It's this recycled paper something or other. But I digress...

So as I hinted at yesterday, we bought, from a neighborhood and not altogether reputable (we learned later) pet store, two rats. They had a male and female in their display together and for obvious reasons we didn't want both... but they had female "feeder" rats ready to go to the snakes and they agreed to sell me one in addition to the female on display. The feeder rat was our daughter's rat, Bonnie. And our son named his rat Lionel. (Even though it's a girl)

This morning Bonnie was mysteriously outside the cage, DEAD on the floor.

Our son told us he prayed for her to be alive again but it didn't work...

Tears tears tears, all around.

And then, the gnawing questions. How had Bonnie escaped? And what caused her mysterious death?

Could it be FOUL PLAY?

We think she died from shock at having been put into the nice lovely rat home and being handled after having been neglected as a feeder rat (which should never have been sold to us). Anyway we went to the local Petco where we learned (a) we should never have been sold a feeder rat (b) we did not receive the correct instructions for rat care from the local pet store, against CA law (c) the rat was escaping due to the fact we had been sold a guinea pig cage. uggghhh

Long story short, we now have another new rat from Petco, named Rufus. (Even though it's a girl). These critters kind of grow on you, they're very sweet, and smart, but their FUCKING BEDDING! It's like designed to give you an allergy attack. I closed our daughter's door (she's Rat Marshal for the night) and opened her window. The rats are being left alone as they're being given some time to adjust to their new lifestyle. I didn't know that rats could stress out so easily. That may have been part of what killed Bonnie, for she had no known enemies.

Rats, there are rats in my home. But they're so cute... Why, why? Why did I do this?????

*I* just hope Lionel's not preggers from having lived with that boy rat in the neighborhood pet store...

Saturday, August 06, 2005


So today was exciting in three ways.

1) It was the one-week anniversary of our son on the insulin pump. Overall, a pretty uneventful week, except for a bad site yesterday... requiring a call to the clinic and a site change. Three readings in a row in the 300s. I can't wait to see his a1c next month.... NOT. It's going to be horrible, I know. #1 he has come out of his honeymoon and #2 this pump start, we're learning diabetes all over again just about.

2) There was a "Kids Day at the Lab" at UCSF. Both kids got to go into the diabetes research labs and see exactly what the researchers are working on towards a cure. Meanwhile the adults heard presentations from Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone and Dr. Stephen Gitelman about the research towards a cure. Believe me, it was an honor to be in the presence of these two incredible doctors. Afterwards, our daughter came out and said, "We've got DNA in our pockets!" Now there is a remark you hear maybe once per lifetime. They each had a vial of human DNA used for experiments in their pocket.

3) Two more members of the menagerie... Bonnie and Lionel the rats. Yes, it was a very weak moment. Fortunately they are both girls. We nearly got a girl and a boy rat, but since we don't want baby rats, we got two girls. And Lionel could be a girl's name.... Hell, our daughter's already decided to teach her rat (Bonnie) to read, so ya never know where that Orange Prize for Literature will go... Methinks it is Bonnie's turn.

More later... XOXOXOX

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Urgent Help Needed for Marianne~

My very sweet and generous friend Marianne Mancusi (A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court; I interviewed her here) from the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit just lost her house and all her possessions to a freak lightning strike. The blogging/writing community is gearing up to help her out. You can donate some books to her library (a writer's library is very important) but even more importantly a gift certificate to someplace like Target would be very appreciated. She lost EVERYTHING. The house is burned to the ground.

Fortunately, Marianne was out of town at the Romance Writers of America conference, and her dog was at her parents' house. BUT, Marianne didn't have renter's insurance, so all her possessions are truly gone.

There is also an online auction going on to help raise some funds for her. You can go to Literary Chicks to find out more.

Poor Marianne!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Exist... I Think

Whew, it's been a busy few days we started pumping insulin! Thanks for the emails, messages and calls about our pump start. I had been told "it's like being diagnosed all over again" and so had braced myself for the worst. It's really NOT like being dxed all over again. For one thing, the emotional rollercoaster, the anger, all those things you go through when you grieve... that's not there, really. (Because I did go through a grieving process at dx... you are grieving for a way of life, for the illusion of a 100% healthy perfect baby/child...) But I wasn't grieving with the pump start. Not any more so than any other day living with diabetes.

Our numbers are already MUCH better. And yesterday morning, our son said, "Hey... this pump DOES make my life easier!" when he didn't have to give an AM Novolog shot with his meal. We are still doing a partial dose of basal Lantus each day, because I am dead scared of ketones and we also just want the freedom to disconnect for longer periods, him being an avid swimmer and all. But one shot per day beats the hell out of 5-6 per day!

This is big news on the diabetes circuit and so I thought I would share... I am noticing now that as the book publicity hubbub dies down I am focusing so much more on diabetes... hmmmm.... And I thought I was such a brainy writerly type too... You know, it was so odd being listed as a resource for dLife (the cable show on CNBC with former Miss America Nicole Johnson hosting), I even joked about it (I mean, am I not a newbie? A pathetic and greener than the grass newbie who even SQUIRTS INSULIN INTO HER EYEBALLS when attempting a site change? Yah, pathetic may be too mild a word), but, I just can't seem to shut up my mouth about diabetes. STILL, I will try not to analyze, and just go with the flow. Here's the article:

Transportation Bill Passed in Congress to Prevent Discrimination Against Employees With Diabetes

American Diabetes Association Led Effort to Repeal Blanket Ban on People with Insulin-Treated Diabetes Driving Commercial Vehicles

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 1 (PRNewswire) — The transportation legislation, passed last week in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, contains an important provision that will help end discrimination against people with diabetes who seek employment as commercial drivers. The American Diabetes Association led a coalition to enable qualified individuals who must use insulin to properly manage their diabetes to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.... {more}
This is great news as it's yet another step in eliminating discrimination against those Americans with diabetes.