Wednesday, November 29, 2006

R.I.P. Binky

Binky is dead.

Who is Binky, you may ask? Binky is our son's insulin pump, which delivers insulin to his body around the clock and keeps him alive on a daily basis. Among other features on the insulin pump software, one may "name" the insulin pump. For whatever reason, our son elected to call his pump "Binky."

Maybe it was named after his baby blankie, whose name is "Binky" (what he said when he couldn't say blankie). Maybe the pump was named after his sister; one of her many nicknames is "Binky." Could it be a twin thing? I rather doubt that he named his pump after the powerhouse literary agent Binky Urban--but Mommy and Daddy are both writers, so ya never know.

Anyway, all of a sudden yesterday at about 4 PM, our son was trying to give himself insulin for a snack. Binky claimed that the insulin cartridge was removed. Of course, it was not. Then Binky demanded that we confirm the sensor on the insulin pump pushrod by reinstalling the cartridge. Of course this didn't work. We threw out the insulin, filled up a brand new cartridge. Nada. New battery, nada aussi. Binky continued to lie and claim there was no insulin cartridge.

A lengthy phone call to Smiths Medical confirmed that Binky was dead. Or, shall we say, brain dead. In fact, Binky's body is going to be donated to science since the disease which took its life is undiagnosable (at least, via phone from St. Paul.). Of course, it was past 6 in St. Paul. The Fedex had gone. Binky's successor still lay in the warehouse. Unable to be shipped. Binky's carcass remained dead and tragically useless on the counter. We had no time for tears.

After hanging up I immediately called school because that is where our backup insulin pen in kept. We do have syringes at home but only Novolog pen refill cartridges which can be used in a pinch with syringes, but really are best used with a pen if you are going to do more than a couple doses that way.

We had to figure out a solution for school. Fortunately, the school secretaries were still there (bless them). I booked it over to school to get the pen. Then we had to dig all throughout our supply box at home for pen tips. We only had 6 on hand. That really won't get us through the two days we will have to wait for Binky's replacement. So I had to call the pharmacy and get everything refilled.

Moral, always have a backup pen BOTH in the house and at school. Make sure you have more than a pathetic number of pen tips. Really. That was a dumb move of us not to be better stocked with all that stuff. It was a needlessly stressful aspect of the situation. Fortunately the Lantus was available onhand.

The school secretaries looked at me with great pity. I must have looked really stressed. I didn't feel that stressed, just completely "on" and moving quickly to get the problem solved. Our son is OK with the shots for a few days but I had to write a long letter to the teacher describing the mathematical forumala for figuring out a high blood sugar correction and what to do at lunch. I'll bet I will get a call anyway, but that's OK.

I really miss Binky. In Binky's memory and also because it is 38 degrees outside, I am wearing a black down jacket. I can't wait for Binky's replacement to arrive. Maybe the new pump should be named something a little tougher, like Thor.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What about Happy Endings?

Gotta say, I offically love the title of Kyra Davis's new book, SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING. It's the type of title that makes you just want to grab the book and eat it up!

Kyra is quite a lovely person too. I first heard of Kyra when our books were both featured in an issue of COSMO. I'm sure Kyra remembers (as do I) that this is the issue where Jennifer Lopez's boobs were about to be slingshotted right off the cover of Cosmo and into the grocery store. I emailed Kyra or she emailed me--I don't remember now, but I do remember what a great person she is! She's the author of the SEX, MURDER, AND A DOUBLE LATTE, a hilarious mystery which still may be paired my book at Amazon.

We met for dinner at Opera Plaza awhile back and had a great talk, some of which actually revolved around the topics in Kyra's new book--which looks like a real winner for those of you who like women's fiction with a darker edge. In fact, this interview reminded my that SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING is on my "to-buy" list, and so when I am out holiday shopping later this week, I am going to reward myself by buying and eating up this book.

All in all, what a fun, genuine, multilayered, interesting and kind individual. Twas really my pleasure and therefore, I am thrilled to introduce Kyra to those of you who may not know her or her work.


Kyra Davis is the author of the highly acclaimed books: Sex, Murder And A Double Latte and Passion Betrayal And Killer Highlights. She has spent her life in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, where she currently lives with her young son. Now a full time parent and writer, Davis previously divided her time between a career in retail fashion and various artistic endeavors. So Much For My Happy Ending is her third novel.


Kyra Davis, the author of the very successful mystery series that includes SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE, was married to man diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. The symptoms were barely noticeable at first. But as the marriage wore on, her husband’s erratic behavior—his
lies about his job, his extravagant spending sprees using her credit cards that almost resulted in her filing for bankruptcy, his fits of temper and other highly unsettling behavior—led to her divorce.

In her latest book, SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING (MIRA Books, November 15, 2006, $13.95)—a departure from her light-hearted mystery series—Kyra Davis tackles the subject of mental illness. With her usual wit and humor, Kyra probes a very serious subject, and one that is close to her heart: What happens when the man you love and subsequently marry turns out to be someone entirely different from the man you dated? How do you recognize the difference between mental illness and the usual marital problems that afflict all couples? How could a man who was so romantic and loving turn out to be bipolar ?

Kyra explores these questions as she chronicles the relationship between April and her soon-to-be husband, Tad, who is the man of her dreams: romantic, attentive and adoring who holds the promise of a normal, secure life. But on their honeymoon—Tad’s withdrawn behavior, his refusal to leave the hotel room, and other disturbing behavior—are cause for alarm. When they return home, however, and Tad reverts back to the man she knows and loves, April rationalizes his behavior during their honeymoon, but she can’t quite dismiss it. “The warning signs were there,” she later muses. No neon signs, mind you, just little sparks at the end of a very long string. Funny that I could have been blind enough not to realize that the string was a lighted fuse.”
SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING chronicles every step of April’s relationship with Tad, from the engagement and subsequent marriage, through the unraveling and finally the turning point. As April tries to cope with what is happening to her husband, Tad is grappling with the demons that are driving him apart from April and threaten to destroy the one stable anchor in his tumultuous life.

In her unique style, Davis examines the disturbing subject of coping with bipolar illness of a loved one with the sensitivity, insight and perspective of one who has been there, and the humor of one who has had to make difficult choices in order to survive and move on.

Kyra Davis brings insight and energy to "So Much for My Happy Ending,"…In April, Davis has created a narrator with a sensitive, honest, engaging voice.

--Boston Globe

Davis fuses light-hearted romance with keen domestic suspense, making this an absorbing…read.

--Publisher’s Weekly

Davis' engaging departure from her usual focus is a unique entry in the chick-lit genre and should appeal to those looking to move beyond typical fare.


Davis’ tragicomic tale is both entertaining and horrifying at once….it’s a harrowing account of marriage to a man with bipolar disorder. Still, it’s hopeful and even wildly funny at times.

Four stars

--The Romantic Times

Novelist Kyra Davis spins a chilling tale

-Ebony Magazine


1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how
the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

The “glimmer” was actually a rather dark slice of my life. Like my protagonist, I was married to a man who is bipolar. Unfortunately he was unable/unwilling to face his demons and refused treatment. Watching his self-destruction was an incredibly painful experience and I wanted to write a novel that accurately detailed that experience without demonizing anyone or painting an inaccurate portrait of the disease.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Hang in there. You can’t be a writer without experiencing rejection---a LOT of rejection. Don’t let the thanks-but-no-thanks letters discourage you and if an editor or agent takes the time to tell you why they don’t want your manuscript pat yourself on the back. Editors/agents don’t bother giving any feedback to authors whose work they think is unpublishable. So keep on writing and eventually you will get a contract.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?

I’m not organized. Period, end of story. I honestly don’t know how I manage to get through life let alone have a career. So when it comes to writing I simply write when I have time to write (when my son’s at school, when he’s asleep and so on). I do handwrite an outline for each novel I write and sometimes I even manage not to misplace those outlines. But even when I do remember where I put the outline for the book I’m writing I rarely stick to it. I’ve been told that the truly great authors are all addicts, incredibly unhappy or psychologically ill. I would never try to lump myself in with the Sylvia Plaths and Hemingways of the world so I don’t have to resort to such extremes. Still, I like to think of my disorganization as my way of compensating for my overall emotional health.

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?

The most exciting thing is the feedback I get from readers. Sometimes people write to tell me that my Sophie novels provided them with the emotional escape they needed during a stressful time and sometimes it’s to say that So Much For My Happy Ending gave them a new perspective on a difficult relationship in their lives. Either way, their notes are inspiring and rewarding.

The most frustrating thing is the business end of this industry. Contract negotiations, trying to write a proposal for a book that you want to write that is also “commercial enough” to sell---that kind of stuff can drive you nuts.

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?

I would love to continue to write the Sophie books and to also write a stand alone every other year or so. The third Sophie book, Obsession, Deceit And Really Dark Chocolate will be in stores September 07’.

6. You said this book is based on your life. Does that mean that you are your protagonist (April)?

April and I are different people but we do have a lot in common. I’ve never had April’s need to be “normal” and my mother is nowhere near as outrageous as April’s. Still, April’s experiences are very similar to my own.

7. Do you consider So Much For My Happy Ending to be chick lit?

To be honest, I’m not sure I know what “chick lit” means anymore. It seems like any time a female author writes a contemporary novel about a young female protagonist it’s considered to be chick lit. This book does have the “chick lit” protagonist (she’s young and works for a fashion retailer) she has two close friends, one of which is gay and that seems to be very popular in the chick lit genre. On the other hand this isn’t an “urban romance” or any other kind of romance. The issues that are dealt with are serious and the ending isn’t neat or tidy. So either it’s “dark” chick lit or it’s simply women’s fiction. I’ll let the readers decide which.

8. Do you think that the fans of your Sophie Katz mysteries will also enjoy So Much for My Happy Ending or is it meant for an entirely different audience?

So far it seems like my Sophie-readers also like So Much For My Happy Ending. I think publishers often underestimate readers. They assume that a woman who will buy a romance or a chick lit novel won’t buy a nonfiction book about evolution or a novel detailing the horrors of slavery. It’s not true. Sometimes people are in the mood for something lite and sometimes they're in the mood for something else. I think that the Sophie readers' approval of my non-Sophie book is evidence of that.

Thank you so much for this interview, Kyra! Kyra's books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local indy bookseller. Huzzah, Kyra!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Am I an Alcoholic?

Happy Thanksgiving, all. I am grateful, first and foremost, for 24 hours of sobriety. Everything else, as they say, is just gravy. Without sobriety, I wouldn't have anything.

As a way of giving back, I'm going to share the questionnaire that I found really useful in assessing my own drinking habits. It tends to lead one into HONESTY--something for which I am also very grateful.

This questionnaire was originally posted on Twelve Step Forums. I hope it can help someone. Pass it on!

The sub-questions are designed to help shed light on the basic question. Read them only if necessary, but don't count them separately. What will eventually happen is that you will have a discussion with yourself; this is only an outline to give your conversation some constructive direction.

This survey was written by recovering people. They had the same questions while they were still drinking or using and probably came up with the same answers. They survived and so will you. But there needs to be a starting point, and question No. 1 is as good a place as any ...

1. Is there some particular reason why you are concerned about your drinking at this time?
* Are you drinking more often that you used to, or greater quantities when you do drink?
* Are you able to drink more without getting drunk?
* Do you sometimes have the shakes or other discomfort the next morning, and does a pick-me-up drink help make you feel better?

2. Is one of the reasons for your concern the fact that some people are getting on your back about your drinking?
* Do close friends say you are acting differently these days, or that you undergo some kind of personality change when you drink?
* Are they suggesting that you cut down or cut it out?

3. Do you have other friends that you prefer to be around these days -- people who don't mind your drinking, or don't mention it?
* Are these new friends that you've recently made?
* Are they fairly good drinkers, also?
* Do you have much else in common with them, or are drinking-related activities your main bond?
* Do you tend to prefer social events where drinking is more readily available?

4. Have you had more than two or three memory lapses (called blackouts) in the past 90 days?
* After an evening or other period of drinking, have you forgotten where you left your car?
* Or how you got home?
* Have you had to call someone the next day to fill you in on what you were doing the night before?

5. Do you sometimes regret things that you may have said or done while you were drinking?
* Are you ever embarrassed to the extent that you want to avoid certain people, or going back to a place where you may have done some foolish things?
* Do you wish that you could undo those things, or ever think that less drinking might help prevent them from happening again?

6. Do you drink more than the people you are with, or do you ever load up your drinks so others don't notice what you are doing?
* Do you order or mix doubles for yourself while others are drinking singles?
* Do you carry an extra supply with you in case the host runs out, or the bar closes before you are ready to quit?
* Is there anything unusual about your drinking habits that might make other people wonder!

7. Have you gotten careless about things that used to be important to you, or have you dropped certain activities from your routine?
* Do you spend less time with your children, spouse, or other family members than you used to?
* Are you less interested in some of your former hobbies or sports or entertainment source?
* Are you reducing outside activities that interfere with your drinking?

8. Have you tried or considered changing things in your life in order to get along better and eliminate some of the problems?
* Have you thought of leaving your spouse, or the family, or going away for a while to give everybody a little extra space?
* Have you thought about changing jobs, or maybe even moving to another part of the country where you could make a clean start, without the hassles and disadvantages from the past?

9. Do you ever wonder if some of the problems that may accompany your drinking would be lessened or go away, if you decided to stop entirely?
* Are there family arguments that might not flare up so often?
* Would work (or school) tardiness or absenteeism be somewhat improved?
* Are there financial or business setbacks that could be reduced? Insurance problems? Checkbook or household budget balancing?
* Difficulties in meeting obligations or paying back loans?

10. Have you ever promised yourself that you would really try to cut down on your drinking without quitting altogether?
* Have you tried skipping certain nights of the week, or hours of the day, when you wouldn't drink at all?
* Have you tried switching brands or type of alcohol in order to keep from getting so drunk or losing control so much?
* Have you tried putting someone else in charge of your drinking to help you cut down?

11. Have you ever tried to quit -- totally -- and not been able to?
* Have you ever set a date or duration when you would actually try to stop?
* Were there reasons why the effort really never took hold, or the timing never seemed right?
* Did your promise to quit seem less important when the deadline to quit rolled around?
* Was it easier to continue drinking than to fight the situation, and are you still drinking at this time?

12. Was it difficult for you to make this self examination, and is this a subject you consider too personal to discuss with others?
* Do you intentionally avoid discussions about your drinking or its complications?
* Do you sometimes have your spouse or other persons intervene for you, or make excuses about your tardiness or other related problems?


This is the simplest scoring system in the annals of do-it-yourself testing. Any "YES" answer to a main or sub-question has earned you membership in a not very exclusive population of several million people with drinking or drugging problems. The more "YES's" you toted up, the better off you are. Every "YES" you were able to mentally put down was a striking symbol of personal honesty. It meant that you have begun the process of self-realization -- a principle in which virtually all recovery problems are based. Without personal recognition of your condition, there can be no meaningful recovery.

If you will consider each "YES" to be a minor victory in this same sense, you might want to take the test again and see how many more "YES's" you can identify. The enemies of recovery are guilt, denial and alibis. The allies are acceptance, understanding and honesty.

If the results of the test suggest that you, or whoever you took the test for, are an alcoholic or other chemical dependent, congratulations. Now you're getting somewhere.

Me again.

Alcoholism is a disease. An alcoholic does not drink because he or she has a weak character, is a bad person, or has bad situations in life. An alcoholic drinks because he or she has a compulsive, chronic, progressive and fatal ilness. The illness can be controlled--not cured--by stopping drinking.

Easier said than done. But there is help out there. Your family doctor can direct you, or your local AA meeting has a lot of people who have successfully tackled the drinking problem and can tell you more.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Must Confess!

Hello, blog-readers and welcome to Lola Douglas, my Girlfriends Cyber Circuit pal and author of the successful "Hollywood Starlet" series for Young Adults! Superstar Lola took the time out of her busy starlet life to catch up with the paparazzi (that would be me) and answer a few questions! Big movie star air-kisses to Lola!


When she was five, Lola Douglas wanted to be an actress like her then-hero, Drew Barrymore. Instead, she became a supermarket checkout girl, a video store clerk, an administrative assistant, a features reporter and a textbook development editor before deciding that writing teen novels was her real forte. Lola has lived in seven of our great United States, including Indiana, and says that during her five-and-a-half month stint in Fort Wayne no one ever forced her to see the movie Hoosiers. She was, however, coaxed into auditioning for a part as an extra in a Neil LaBute film (Your Friends and Neighbors, to be exact), but was rejected during the first round. When not watching too much reality television, reading Gawker, or obsessing over all things Marc Jacobs, Lola can be found working on her next super secret project, which will be published in 2008.

To this day, she remains fascinated with Drew Barrymore.



Razorbill/Penguin Young Readers Group

Just when Morgan Carter was falling in love with the simple life she'd built in Fort Wayne, Indiana, her true identity as an infamous Hollywood starlet was exposed. Now Morgan has a choice to make: return to her glamorous movie star existence--or stick with the wholesome life, and the new love, she's found in the Midwest.
In this sequel to True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, Lola Douglas's heartfelt prose and headstrong heroine return to delight readers.


Kirkus Reviews
The continuing travails of 17-year-old Morgan … come across with delightful zing, yet address serious subjects. … Douglas manages the lightest of styles while delving into deep issues for adolescents. Fun, breezy entertainment with thoughtful undertones.

More gossipy stuff for all those YA readers who love to think about celebrities and dream about their lives. ... This sequel [is] appealing.

Saving the World Daily Through Information (blog of YA librarian “Cedarlibrarian”)
The sequel does not disappoint. … This book has a lot more serious content than the first, but it's by no means gloom and doom. There's lots of girly brand-dropping, Hollywood gossipy angst, and romance. Verdict: Style and substance.

A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy (blog of YA librarian Liz B.)
If I didn't know better, I'd say Lola is the pseudonym of Drew Barrymore. Maybe someone 'in' the industry would be able to point out howlers and mistakes galore, but the essence is what is important: Lola respects these teens, the Britneys and Lindsays, MaryKates and Ashleys and Mischas. She respects Hollywood and the entertainment industry, yet is not seduced by it. This isn't a rosy picture of tinsel town. But it is a wake up call to the public not to judge teenagers by ridiculously high standards; to the adults in the profession to be adults, not business managers; and to the teens themselves, saying, you have choices.


Razorbill/Penguin Young Readers Group

Teen star Morgan Carter's mom is trying to kill her. At least, that's what Morgan thinks when she's sent to Ft. Wayne, Indiana after a near overdose outside LA's Viper Room.

Morgan's going to recover out of the spotlight. Way out. She's given a major make-under, a new name, and a completely different identity. Morgan's plan? To write a tell-all book about her experience and stage a comeback. But when this LA girl finds love and a new life in Middle America, will she abandon it for another shot at superstardom?


School Library Journal
This tell-all journal-style story is nearly as amusing and compelling as Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" and Louise Rennison's "Georgia Nicolson" series.

Kirkus Reviews
Despite the topic's darker subject, since the narrative is in chatty diary form, this is light, breezy and lots of fun, especially for girls with Hollywood fantasies.

(Starred Review) An absorbing read. Who has not imagined themselves in the ranks of the wealthy and famous, the mundane life a mask for the glamorous persona fighting to get out? The themes of finding the joys of the simple life, making true friends, accepting responsibility, and overcoming drug addiction are also well realized.

RomanticTimes Book Club
Told via the heroine's humorous journal entries, this cute tale shows the downside of being a young star. Readers will root for Morgan and yell at her when she veers off track. With a charming ending that leaves a few loose ends for the
book's sequel, due in the fall of '06, this unpredictable tome is pure enjoyment.
Morgan is charming (even when she's obnoxious), witty, fun, and most importantly, a multifaceted person who has to overcome a lot of garbage in her life. Meg Cabot fans, this is the book to pick up while you're waiting for the next Princess Diaries installment.

The Tampa Tribune
Written in a confessional journal style, with plenty of real-life name dropping, Lola Douglas' teen novel, "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet," has mass appeal.

The Des Moines Register
This funny, diary-format novel ... is a satisfying read, with more depth and heart than most chick lit. Teen Review
A great read!! I could not put it down. Morgan told her story through journal entries, and she told it very well. I found myself laughing at her various experiences and firsts as she tried to play the part of an average American girl. I found myself overwrought with sadness and sympathy for "Claudia" with all the secrets she had to keep, and all of her thoughts she had that she didn't belong anywhere. All I can say is, I can't wait until the sequel comes out! Anyone looking for a good book, read "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet!"

Children's Literature
Morgan's story, told in journal form, is one in which a spoiled Hollywood brat transforms into a charming, at times obnoxious, yet witty and fun character who overcomes a lot of garbage in her life to discover who she really is. Overall, it provides a great read.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Douglas does a remarkable job of rejecting caricatured stereotypes of either midwestern teens or Hollywood starlets, instead creating realistic, complex characters who just happen to move in worlds so far removed from each other that misunderstandings are inevitable. (Recommended)

The first of what will become a popular series. (4Q/4P)

1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how
the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

MORE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET is my second installment in a series about Morgan Carter, who’s loosely based on a young Drew Barrymore. At 16, Morgan OD’s outside of L.A.’s notorious Viper Room and almost dies. So her mother and agent ship her off to rehab for six months. When she emerges, she can’t get any work. So, her agent cooks up this scheme in which Morgan will go live with a family friend in Indiana and attend high school undercover, then emerge a year later and write a tell all novel that will re-launch her career. This is all in the first book, TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET.

MORE CONFESSIONS … picks up a month after Morgan’s been outed and has decided to stay in Indiana to finish out her school year. Only now, instead of constantly worrying about her secret identity getting exposed, now she’s faced with a whole new set of problems: dodging paparazzi on school grounds, her love interest feeling insecure now that he knows he’s involved with a famous actress, her mother pressuring her to lose weight and clean up her image, and an old co-star claiming to be involved with her because it makes for good press. The same old co-star that’s been haunting Morgan’s dreams since the night he date-raped her several years prior.

I’ve been a fan of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series since its inception, and I really wanted to try my hand at a diary format novel. So I tried to think of whose diary I’d want to read. Drew was the first person who popped into my mind. I chose Fort Wayne as a setting because I lived there for several months after college and it was a total culture shock. I thought, what better way to throw a teen starlet out of her element than to send her to a mostly land-locked state that’s a good three-hour drive from the nearest big city?

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Just to keep writing. Have faith in your own words, and don’t give up no matter how many rejections you receive. Work your craft, have patience and perseverance, and it will happen.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?

*snort* That’s like asking Pig Pen for cleaning tips. I’m totally disorganized and don’t have any kind of set schedule. The only constant I have is that I must consume mass quantities of caffeine when I write.

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most

It’s all very exciting, and it’s all very frustrating. Exciting when people read your words and tell you that they made them laugh or cry or think. Frustrating because in this publishing climate, it’s difficult to get your book into readers’ hands.

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not,
what else is in the works?

I’d love to write a third installment – I have the story roughed out and everything. Currently, though, I’m working on a book about a girl named Gretchen and her involvement with a TV show called SILVER SPRING. But that’s about all I can say about that for now!

Thank you so much, Lola! Lola's books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your best choice, your indy retailer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bleed Like Me

Hi, blogland, and welcome to another great installment of my women authors' blog co-op, the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit. Today I am pleased to host Laurie Stolarz, author of the new book BLEED. What a great title! With self-injury as a topic (I haven't read the book, but this is what I am surmising from the press release), this looks like a book to which readers of THE BITCH POSSE may relate. So check it out! It's Young Adult fiction, but as I told you, I am a voracious consumer of YA... It is getting edgier and more daring by the day.


Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. She is currently working on Project 17, the companion novel to Bleed, also for young adults. To learn more about Laurie, please visit her website:


Ten teens, one unforgettable day

Over the course of a single day, the lives of ten teenagers will intersect in powerful and unexpected ways.

Among them are Nicole, whose decision to betray her best friend will shock everyone, most of all herself; Kelly, who meets the convicted felon she’s been writing to for years; and Maria, whose definition of a true friend is someone who will cut her. Derik discovers his usual good looks and charm won’t help him get the girl he really wants, while Joy, a fifteen year old waitress, hoping for true intimacy, narrowly escapes a very dark fate.

Seamlessly woven together, this collection of interconnected short stories paints an authentic portrait of today’s teen experience that is at once funny, moving, and often very haunting.


“Stolarz expertly weaves a combination of stories the reader will remember for a long while.” – Anne Keller, RandomReads

“The reader is swept along in this masterful plotting of characters as their lives intertwine in most unexpected ways. Laurie Faria Stolarz has captured perfectly the angst and folly of the teenage world.” –

“…a funny, yet poignant book of interconnecting short stories in which the lives of 10 teenagers are seamlessly woven together….The author demonstrates the ability to identify with today’s teen experience…” – School Library Journal

Also Available by Laurie Stolarz:

The Blue is for Nightmares Collection
Llewellyn Publications
Ages 12+

Nightmares. Dark Secrets. Premonitions of Death.

Welcome to Stacey’s World!

With over 250,000 books sold, the Blue is for Nightmares Collection is now available as a boxed set, including a copy of Stacey’s spell book, filled with some of Stacey’s favorite home remedies.

It begins with the dreams. White lilies, the death flower. Being chased through the woods, knowing she cannot outrun her pursuer forever. Visits from the spirit of a girl who was murdered. Threats and taunts from an unseen assailant.

But that’s only the start. When the dreams begin to spill over into Stacey’s waking life, that’s when the nightmare really begins.


1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

I really wanted to explore how the decisions we make everyday – even the smaller ones – can affect others in ways we may never even consider. The decision whether or not to pick up the phone or let the machine get it; the decision of walking to someone’s house versus taking the bus; or of taking a walk by a cemetery rather than at the beach – how the outcome of those decisions can have a domino effect, affecting other people’s lives…even the lives of people we may not even know. The book starts out with one girl (Nicole) grappling with the decision of whether or not to betray her best friend (Kelly) by going after her best friend’s boyfriend (Sean) while the best friend is away. We see how the effect of that decision plays out, affecting all the other characters in the

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I would recommend reading what it is you love. Ask yourself why you love it, why you feel it works. What technique does the writer use that works for you? What point-of-view? What do you like about the dialogue? The characters? Do the same for books that don’t appeal to you. Become a better reader. By answering some of these questions, you’ll become one. You’ll be able to identify what works for you as a reader. Then, apply those elements to your writing. Also, consider joining a writers group. I rely heavily on mine. They’re there for inspiration as well as critiques. We support each other through every step of the process – from that first idea to the finished book. And lastly, of course, it goes without saying that before you send anything out, know the market. Know which editors are looking for your type of book, what their policy is on reading unsolicited manuscripts, if you’ll need an agent, and which agents are accepting new clients in your genre. Also, be sure to ask your agent for a client list, check that they’re a member of AAR (, and never pay reading fees.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
Since I have a toddler, I don’t really have a typical writing day. I write when I can – when he’s in pre-school or napping or sleeping. I’m pretty good about being able to work on demand. When I’m working in the morning, I love a good cup of coffee (black) and I need to shut off my e-mail to resist the urge to procrastinate.

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing?

Getting to connect with my readers. I’m lucky to receive between 50-100 reader e-mails per week, telling me how the books have touched them, impacted them, empowered them in some way. It doesn’t get much better than that. Also, I like having an excuse to watch MTV and read Teen Vogue on a regular basis.

The most frustrating?

Writing can be very isolating, which is why it’s so important – for me – to try and connect with other authors, friends, colleagues whenever I can. I love making school visits or attending author events, stepping out of my quiet office to connect with readers and people in the business.

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?

I have a companion book to Bleed coming out in the fall of 2007. It’s a really scary novel called Project 17.

Thanks so much, Laurie! Check out her books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your best choice, your local indy bookseller.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Travelin' through NaNo

Aye, I'm joining the masses and participating in National Novel Writing Month.

Every year, thousands of new and established writers come together to attempt to do the impossible: write 50,000 words in the month of November. Of course, this is not really a novel--novels are usually at least 75,000 words or so. But it's a great start on a new novel, or, in my case, progress on a WIP (Work-in-Progress).

So I took up the gauntlet and even downloaded an icon to show my progress (or lack thereof...)

Oh, boy. Do you think at the end of the month, there will be a ton of characters suddenly breaking into song at random points in the story, singing things like this ballad (along the themes of what I'm writing today...)
Travellers are Travellers for all eternity. /
Travellers were Travellers in ancient history. /
Travellers, I would say it world wide, /
Travellers are Travellers I will say it with pride. /

They slept in their tents from sun to the snow,/
And on old tattered ass out begging they'd go. /
Wearing old hobnailed boots and blankets for shawls /
They would beg in the farmyards, school kitchens, and halls. /

For meat, flour, cabbage and tea, /
That was the Travellers dinner that day./
Around the fire that night they would tell stories and sing, /
And the old matchmaker a wedding she'd bring. /

When the fire died out the stars would shine bright, /
And the straw was the bed for the Travellers that night. /
An old 'Glathering Box', they would make money from lead, /
And "Many's the farmer was fooled," they said. /

But give it a week and the farmer would know, /
And from an old woody camp the Travellers would go. /
Finding camps on Ireland's muddy back roads, /
Would be a blessing from God to lay down their loads. /

But the farmer would come full of demand, /
In the middle of the night they'd be put off his land. /
So in one place today and another tomorrow, /
There would be camps full of happiness, more full of sorrow. /

From disease and illness some of their children would die, /
For weeks after their mothers would cry. /
When the news was brought back it was the dampness and rats, /
The Travellers were told borrow from the farmer some cats. /

The news they were told was from an old Dr. Ward, /
But the Travellers would say it's the will of our Lord. /
To the Travellers the happiest times of the year, /
Was when they packed up their loads to go to Puck Fair. /

Selling all kinds of things from wagons to swag, /
And a good old Puck Fair the Travellers would have. /
When the fair was over they all would go home, /
To the four corners of Ireland the Travellers would roam. /

They would laugh and think back of who they had met, /
The laughing would fade when they heard of a death. /
Off to Mullingar to bury him low, /
And straight to the pub the Travellers would go. /

Through a few drunken words one of them would say, /
God rest the soul of my cousin today. /
After a while there would be a fight, /
And the Travellers would be barred from another pub that night. /

So when old Travellers tell you of long times past, /
And say that the good times they did go by too fast. /
They might be right in the long lives they had, /
I bet ye some of it was good, more of it bad. /

Travellers are Travellers for all eternity, /
Travellers were Travellers in ancient history,/
Travellers, I would say it world wide, /
Travellers are Travellers I will say it with pride./

~Bernard Power

I've already cast some singers in my novel.... or, at least, it's crossed my mind! Aye, that song would fit several of 'em... :D

Good luck to all my blog readers who are participating in NaNo.

I've Been TAGGED!

Ryan Bruner has tagged me for a blog meme! He's challenged me to share five little-known facts about me. Hmmm... how much do I want to share?

1. I was Essie, the ballet-dancing sister (the part Ann Miller played in the movie) in a high school production of YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU.

I wore a tiny tutu that I had to get at the last minute from a local costume shop, since the director assumed that every girl had a tutu lying around her bedroom and... did not provide one for me. It was 2 sizes too small for me and I had to pull a "Scarlett O'Hara" to get into the thing, sucking in breath, having a friend work the hook-and-eyes, and having a rib removed.

They had to rewrite my part a little to make me a BAD ballerina who thought she was good... since I was such a colossal klutz. I fell down a lot. It was fun. At performances everyone's eyes were glued to MOI... because my boobs were continually threatening to pop out of the beautiful, whale-bone supported, pale blue satin, tight as all get-out bodice. Did it ever happen? I'll never tell...

2. I am a wild-eyed Chicago Cubs fan. I have been known to go around singing the famous song, "Go Cubs Go!" right here in the middle of California. This DESPITE the following:

"The Cubs were taking batting practice, and the pitching machine threw a no-hitter."--Radio deejay

"The only bad thing about being released by the Cubs is that they made me keep my season tickets."--Ken Rietz, ex-Cub third baseman

"Would the lady who left her nine kids at Wrigley Field please pick them up immediately? They are beating the Cubs 4-0 in the 7th inning."--Radio deejay

Q: Did you hear about the new Cubs soup?

A: Two sips and then you choke.

"The latest diet is better than the Pritikin Diet. You eat only when the Cubs win."--pianist George Shearing

Twenty major events that have occurred since the Chicago Cubs last laid claim to a World Series championship:

1. Radio was invented; Cubs fans got to hear their team lose.

2. TV was invented; Cubs fans got to see their team lose.

3. Baseball added 14 teams; Cubs fans get to see and hear their team lose to more clubs.

4. George Burns celebrated his 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th birthdays.

5. Haley's comet passed Earth twice.

6. Harry Caray was born....and died. Incredible, but true.

7. The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and Chicago teams won championships in each league.

8. Man landed on the moon, as have several home runs given up by Cubs pitchers.

9. Sixteen U.S. presidents were elected.

10. There were 11 amendments added to the Constitution.

11. Prohibition was created and repealed.

12. The Titanic was built, set sail, sank, was discovered and became the subject of major motion pictures, the latest giving Cubs fans hope that something that finishes on the bottom can come out on top.

13. Wrigley Field was built and becomes the oldest park in the National League.

14. Flag poles were erected on Wrigley Field roof to hold all of the team's future World Series pennants. Those flag poles have since rusted and been taken down.

15. A combination of 40 Summer and Winter Olympics have been held.

16. Thirteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown; several thanked Cubs pitchers.

17. Bell-bottoms came in style, went out of style and came back in.

18. The Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and the Florida Marlins have all won the World Series.

19. The Cubs played 14,153 regular-season games; they lost the majority of them.

20. Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico were added to the Union.
*me again* - But just wait till next year! :D

3. I pulled the lever (trigger?) for a Republican for the very first time in my life yesterday. But (this said for Mom and Dad's benefit, since their heads are spinning now) I'm still THRILLED the Dems took Congress, and maybe the Senate too.

4. I read the collected stories of Raymond Carver once a year. Boy, does he write well about drunks. Among many other things.

5. I cheat at Candyland to make the game go faster.

OK, now I am supposed to tag others... how about Joshilyn Jackson, Becky Motew, Frankie, Jackie Kessler and Heather Brewer.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Mishearings of Worried Parents... Ah, What the Brain Can Do

Today we had our son's yearly opthalmologist visit. As many blog readers know, a yearly exam with an opthalmologist is recommended for people with diabetes to assess whether there is any retinal damage, glaucoma, etc.

As usual, my stress hat is on. It fits me very tightly and gives me headaches. It also has a sensor that shoots lightning bolts of fear down my back at a moment's notice. I don't like wearing my stress hat, but it likes to be on my head during moments like these... moments of WAITING FOR RESULTS AT DOCTOR'S OFFICES. They are very bad moments.

So, she is gazing into his eyes with her little light, and I hear her say, "Well, I'm seeing some DAH..."

I don't even let her full word go into my head. Because I know, in my heart, the word is "damage." I am sure there is "damage" to his retinas. Little bubbles, she will probably describe them as. I know the signs and symptoms of retinopathy all too well. I've memorized them, in fact.

DAH. Damage. My mind is spinning my heart is sick, a million thoughts flood my mind in a millisecond..

Before she finishes her word.



"There are some flakes of dandruff in your son's eyelashes," she goes on.

Normally I would blush like mad because I don't force him to wash his longish, early-Beatles style hair every day. I would feel like the worst, most neglectful mother in the world. But since juvenile diabetes hit our lives, I have realized there are only so many ditches worth dying in and blood sugar tests and shots are among them, daily hair washing, not so much. I simply nodded and smiled like a maniac.

"Make sure he uses a dandruff shampoo each day because the flakes can go into the eye and cause infection."

Oh, boy!! I have never in all my life been so happy to hear about what a bad mother I am for not forcing him to wash his hair daily. I have never been so happy to hear a diagnosis of DANDRUFF!

No retinal damage. His results were excellent, thank God. The kicker was, at the end of the appointment she told me how "well" both he and I were doing. How "calm" I was compared to most parents of children with diabetes that she sees. If she only knew the inner workings of my brain...

Yes, I am good at this "mishearing" thing. It reminds me of when I was watching Saddam Hussein's trial, and I kept hearing people talking about Saddam's "codependents." Imagine if you were Saddam's codependent. Boy, that'd be a tough row to hoe. It might be even worse than being a co-defendant....

Methinks I have been doing too much reading of the old Melody Beattie... ::)

Have a great day all.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Lifetime of Diabetes.... Photo Gallery

This is a beautiful and poignant scrolling photo gallery dedicated to Type 1 Diabetes. Check it out. This one hits home....

Teresa Ollila's photo project

When I view these photos, in my eyes I feel tears, and hammering against my skull are a mad flock of question marks. Why? Why do these children have to go through this? Why did my child end up with this disease? It doesn't run in our family, it came out of the blue. It just hit us like the proverbial ton of bricks. Look at the sweet faces and look what these children have to do, just to stay alive. Why? WHY, GOD, WHY? WHY MY SON? WHY??????

In some ways diabetes is all our son has ever known. He doesn't remember much about life before diabetes. (He was diagnosed at age 7.) But I do.

It's just a tiny thing, but he doesn't sleep over at other children's houses. I wouldn't expect nor trust other parents to test his blood sugar in the middle of the night, or bring down a monster high, or hear the little voice coming from the next room ("I'm low") and rush in to do a test and find a 47 on the meter (for the blessedly uninitiated, normal blood sugars are 80-120... 47 is pretty darned low, in the danger [of seizure, coma, or death] territory) and madly pour juice down his throat. I can't ask them to correctly measure and dose insulin for all he eats.

He has friends sleep over here instead. It's enjoyable but he knows he's different.

Then again, we all have our burdens, don't we? I have friends dealing with children with severe autism, children who need liver transplants, I know families dealing with fatal childhood cancers. So, I guess, in some ways we are lucky. The 354 staring at me from the meter doesn't tell me so. So, it's another one of those nights, bide my time for the next several hours, watch the time tick away and poke, poke, poke into the night, until a realistic bedtime number is reached... I'd be ecstatic with a 180, tell ya the truth. And then, it's that half-sleep where I wonder whether, once again, I'll hear that little peep from next door... "I'm low..." And God bless those two words, because without them, there'd be a seizure, or worst....

Guess I'm not in a very happy mood. But do, go ahead and view those pictures. They say a picture tells a thousand word story-I think that is quite true in this case.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just like brushing my teeth

Perhaps this blog will make me sound like a big Bible-thumper. Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. I have always felt, and still feel, that there are many routes to God. Of course, I hadn't found my own until just awhile ago.

Before I got into recovery, I did not see the value of prayer in everyday life. It seemed very mechanical to me. I wasn't grateful for much in life since I saw the world in such a dysfunctional way. So I never prayed in gratitude! I used my Higher Power as a personal Santa Claus. When I wanted something, I selfishly prayed for it. When I didn't get the thing I asked for, I concluded that God did not exist, or, if God DID exist, God just didn't care about me.

So I had pretty much given it up. When I entered recovery, I was so desperate, that I was willing to do whatever that group of alcoholics suggested that I do. Prayer was suggested. I prayed because that was what I was told to do and it seemed to help during those dark, early days when I found myself taking it not just one day at a time, but one moment at a time.

Later, I learned never to pray for selfish ends, only for others. This was the complete opposite of what I had been used to! At the advice of my fellow recovering alcoholics, I only prayed for myself when it came to becoming a person who could be of greater service to others. This included staying clean and sober as well as letting go of my selfishness, self-seeking, dishonesty, and--what for me is the root of everything--fear.

Amazing, this seemed to work as well! I became someone who could accomplish things she had only dreamed of before. Even more importantly, I became a less obsessive, stressed-out, unpleasant person. I began to WANT to do things for others. Dare I say... I became HAPPIER? Instead of putting away chairs after meetings because it was "the right" thing to do, I inherently WANTED to chip in and tidy the room. Actions I used to take with resentfulness, I took gladly and with a song in my heart. It was a song that began very quietly. It was the song of sobriety, no, it was more than that: it was the song of serenity.

Serenity. I had never felt it before. I have never known the meaning of the word peace before. Inner peace has come to me as a gift of my sobriety and the work I have done within my sobriety.

One thing I do to maintain my inner, and outer peace, is daily prayer and meditation. I find a quiet spot, and talk to my Higher Power, which I call God, twice a day. Just in my thoughts of course. I have certain prayers that I pray each time and then I turn over my resentments, fears, and other personal flaws which glom onto me like barnacles each and every day, to my Higher Power. And then, I thank my Higher Power for 24 hours of sobriety, for my recovery, for my family, and for my friends in and out of recovery.

And then, I take my specific concerns for others to my Higher Power. These are usually health-related concerns, as well as people I know are having a hard time with sobriety. Some may be wanting to get sober and not know how, some may be still out drinking and using, but I keep them all in my prayers. And I pray for people who have shown me cruelty. I do this for two reasons: because I know that they are having some kind of troubles right now, or they wouldn't do that-AND, I do it because if I let a hurt turn into a resentment, I am doomed. Resentment is as poisonous to me as alcohol.

Why do I pray, not because I am a particularly pious individual, or because I follow a certain prescribed religion that requires it. No, I pray because by doing so, I am saving my own ass and preserving my sobriety.

You see, if I lose my serenity, I will lose my sobriety. I will drink because of a resentment, because of a fear, because of a stress, jealousy or anything else.

And if I lose my sobriety, I will die.

I love helping other people and I love being in a state of serenity, but at the end of the day, I can't forget that it is a bonus. My primary concern is NOT TO DRINK AND NOT TO USE. Alcoholism and drug addiction are deadly diseases and those of us in recovery must NEVER, NEVER lose sight of that.

With that said I wish everyone an extra big helping of serenity, today, always! XO