Monday, February 19, 2007

China Dolls

Hi blogland, and let's welcome Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan to the blog today! Michelle and Blossom are the authors of the new book, CHINA DOLLS.


With the traditions and family closeness of The Joy Luck Club and the sass, girl friendships and humor of Sex and the City, comes a novel about three Asian-American women balancing life, love and one another in New York City.

CHINA DOLLS [Thomas Dunne Books/ Pub date: FEB 8th, 2007] by Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan is based on personal experience and introduces three remarkable characters named M.J, Alex and Lin.

o M.J is a tomboyish sportswriter struggling to fit into her family’s traditional Chinese culture and the predominantly Caucasian male world of sports.
o Alex is a confident no-nonsense attorney fighting the submissive Asian woman stereotype and the fear of taking risks after a heartbreaking romance.
o Lin is the risk-taking stockbroker trying not to relive her mother's mistakes— that is until she falls for the office playboy.

Authentic, intelligent and funny, CHINA DOLLS explores how culture can affect one’s personal and professional lives. As if dating isn’t hard enough in New York City, these women have to balance the expectations of family and exceed expectations in the workplace, all while looking for Mr. Right. China Dolls embraces the fusion of these two cultures – a phenomenon that will grasp both commercial and young Asian-American readers today.


Michelle Yu

Michelle Yu is currently an on-air sports reporter. A Manhattan College graduate, she resides in New York City.

Sports and writing have always been my twin passions.

When I was seven, I received my very first diary. Sure, my life wasn't very exciting as a second grader, but I still wrote down everything in my Hello Kitty journal - even what I ate for dinner and my musings on my favorite "T.G.I.F" lineup show "Full House."

When I was 8, my parents sent me to take tennis lessons, and I fell in love with the sport immediately. Every night, I would write about who I beat in tennis camp that day and how I would one day hold that shiny trophy at Wimbledon, just like Steffi Graf.

So, obviously Wimbledon didn't happen, but I did end up becoming a TV sports reporter. Most of the time, I cover sports stories in New York City, but I also interview professional athletes - including Wimbledon players. I've also gotten my second dream - writing for an audience beyond my Hello Kitty Journal.

Currently, I live in Manhattan and juggle writing (with my lovely cousin and co-author Blossom) and my day job as one of those TV people.

Blossom Kan

Blossom Kan is an attorney in New York City. She graduated from Yale University where she majored in English.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I was seven years old, I’ve been writing stories. In fact, in my old room in my parents’ house, there's a desk full of little black and red notebooks filled with stories about these smart, strong girls who ran around saving people (I went through a Nancy Drew phase). Those stories are gathering dust right now, but Michelle and I have tried to keep those girls alive and well - our heroines might not be saving the world but they know how to save themselves.


"Asian-nuanced chick lit. Fun."~The New York Daily News

"Imagine The Joy Luck Club, but with less angst and more boytalk."~Publishers Weekly

"Every woman, regardless of race or ethnicity, is able to relate to Alex, M.J. and Lin."~Asiance Magazine

questions answered by Blossom
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.

Michelle and I were sitting around talking about how we love reading chick lit, but we felt that we could add something to the genre - a multicultural twist that could enrich the genre. We decided to start writing down some of these stories we had in our head, and somehow, that ended up becoming a whole novel.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

- Don't give up. Writing is not an easy process, and getting a book published is a monumental undertaking. There are about a million times when you feel like giving up - and you really just have to resist the temptation and keep pushing forward.

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

- Michelle and I have to be extremely organized. We both have full-time day jobs, so the only way we can do any writing is by being really disciplined about when we write. You really have to force yourself into a schedule. Even if you would much rather veg and watch TV, make yourself sit down at the computer at whatever the appointed writing time is and just write.

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

- The most exciting thing is seeing your book in the bookstore. It really makes the whole writing thing real and tangible for the first time. The most frustrating is dealing with the fact that you often have to rely on others to get things done - and sometimes, those things don't get done.

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

- We're actually under contract for our next two books, so Book #2 is definitely on its way. It will focus on the younger sister of the Lin character who dreams about becoming a soap opera actress.

Thank you so much, Blossom and Michelle! You may buy China Dolls at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the best bet, your indy bookseller.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Know Your Numbers, Control Your Diabetes!

I first met Amy Tenderich online when she began her now-celebrated diabetes blog, Diabetes Mine. Amy's blog has blossomed since then to the most widely read diabetes blog online. She's landed herself an online column at dLife, and now she has a wonderful new book, co-authored with Dr. Richard Jackson from the world-renowned Joslin Diabetes Center. I'm so thrilled to host Amy on the blog today!


Amy Tenderich

Dr. Richard Jackson

AMY TENDERICH, a professional journalist with an MA in communication studies, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 2003. Almost instantly, she began to tell it like it is on her own diabetes blog (, for which she recently received the LillyforLife Achievement Award™ for diabetes journalism. Amy now also brings her unique observations on the challenges of living with diabetes to dLife in a monthly column, and does double-duty as a full-time mom. She and her family live just south of San Francisco, California.

DR. RICHARD JACKSON is Medical Director of the Joslin Diabetes Center's DOIT (Diabetes Outpatient Intensive Treatment) Program. Dr. Jackson is a well-known endocrinologist and Harvard Medical School Professor.


Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes helps you chart and understand the 5 most important values (your personal “Essential Health Factors”) for living a long and healthy life with diabetes (EITHER Type 1 or Type 2). That makes them pretty darn important! They are:

· Hemoglobin A1c—a measure of the average amount of glucose in your blood over the last several months

· Blood Pressure—a quick, painless armband test to determine the force of blood flow through your body

· Lipid Profile—a group of blood tests measuring your cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of fat), which is used to determine your risk of heart attack or stroke

· Microalbumin—a urine test that is an early indicator of kidney damage

· Eye Exam—a yearly exam that consists of dilating your pupil, allowing the doctor to see the back of your eye

Now, be honest. If you have diabetes, or are newly diagnosed, when was the last time you had these tests? Do you know the result numbers? Do you know what they mean? One thing you can be sure of: If everyone tracked and acted on these values regularly, [their lives] would look a lot rosier today.


"Cons? There are no cons. It's the perfect diabetes reference handbook... This book is a terrific resource for diabetes management." Deb Manzela, York Times

“Even those without diabetes will wish they had it just so they can use this book. Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes is written by two great authors espousing a positive and practical approach to better health. This book allows even the mathematically inept to understand their lab values and what area of their health is most important to work on. Targets for the five critical areas: A1c, blood pressure, lipids, microalbumin, and the eye exam, how to achieve them, and what order is most important to work on are presented.”

— John Walsh, PA, CDE, and Ruth Roberts, MA, authors of Pumping Insulin and Using Insulin

"Diabetes often makes people feel frightened and overwhelmed, but a good understanding of modern management and the goals of treatment are now having major positive impact on quality of life and health outcomes. In the end, the informed patient makes this happen. Richard Jackson and Amy Tenderich have really hit the bull’s eye by focusing on the key things that help people gain control over their diabetes. I expect that many people will find this sensible, easy-to-read new book enormously helpful."

-- Dr. Gordon Weir, former editor of Diabetes, former Medical Director of the Joslin Clinic, and chaired professor at Harvard University.


1. Please tell the story of how this book came to be.

Dr. Jackson and I were introduced by a mutual friend at the American Diabetes Association’s annual conference a few years ago. We both had a strong sense that a clear-cut patient guidebook for good health with diabetes was sorely missing. We started chatting, and right away it became clear that we both wanted to fill that gap with an upbeat, no-nonsense book. We’re both very happy with the result.

2. Who can benefit from this book? Why?

Know Your Numbers is invaluable for any adult diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. It’s the first-ever, hands-on guide to proactively preventing “diabetes-related complications,“ meaning the long-term damage the disease can cause (rather than preventing diabetes itself).

Amazingly, the "therapeutic goals" for diabetes patients are well-publicized, but nobody gives most patients much idea how to achieve them. Until now, no useful, practical guide existed to help people with diabetes get a handle on their own health.

3. Please explain a little about each of the five tests in the book. Why are they important?

The five tests are:

· Hemoglobin A1c – a measure of the average amount of glucose in your blood over the last several months

· Blood Pressure – a quick, painless armband test to determine the force of blood flow through your body

· Lipid Profile – a group of blood tests including cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of fat) used to determine your risk of heart attack or stroke

· Microalbumin – a urine test that is the best early indicator of kidney damage

· Eye Exam – a yearly exam that consists of dilating your pupil, allowing the doctor to see the back of your eye

These 5 simple medical tests are the best and ONLY measures currently available that indicate each person’s own individual diabetes health risks. Yet despite being widely accessible and easy to administer, fewer than 42% of adults with diabetes have either had these tests, or understand what the results mean, according to an April 2006 report by USA Today.

Without measuring and controlling these key factors, a great number of people in this country are headed straight down the path towards diabetic complications, including blindness, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, and limb amputation. This doesn’t have to be the case!

4. What is the biggest obstacle people with diabetes face in attempting to get healthy? How do you recommend they deal with this obstacle?

Actually two: setting priorities and finding motivation.

First, so many people start off with the wrong ideas about diabetes, and they’re quickly overwhelmed. They think they have to do everything at once (overhaul their diet, lose 20 pounds, start a rigorous exercise program, tighten their glucose control, etc, etc.). But doing all that at once is just too difficult. And guess what? It doesn’t even make sense from a health standpoint. Only by knowing what your real health risks are can you take the right actions – ONE or TWO things at a time – to improve or maintain your health.

Secondly, it’s incredibly hard to get and stay motivated, since managing diabetes can be so difficult and frustrating. Many people fall into the trap of thinking, "I feel fine now, so I must be fine" (but diabetes does its damage over the long-term). Or they believe, "I'm doomed anyway, so it doesn't matter what I do" (not true! You can make a significant on your own health and your future).

To find your own motivation, we encourage people to think about what matters most in their life: career, family, hobbies or whatever makes them tick. Whatever it is, you have to be making healthful food and exercise choices and taking your medications not because your doctor said so, or even due to your family’s pestering, but because YOU (the person with diabetes) care about your own health and believe that your actions matter.

5. A very large task like managing one's diabetes health is easier taken in small steps. What are the first and most vital steps a reader can take?

That’s the whole point of our book: taking a step-by-step, positive approach to controlling your own health. Our message is that you don’t have to – and shouldn’t – try to tackle everything at once.

The most important first step to outliving diabetes is finding out where you where you stand with this disease. (By outliving, we mean preventing the long-term complications of diabetes, and finding a way to manage your diabetes every day without going crazy, and without letting it rule your life.) And the best and only way to find out where you stand is by having these 5 tests conducted regularly, obtaining the results, and understanding what the results mean. Then you can use our book to create a do-able action plan to offset on your most critical health risks.

6. As parents, we struggle with how much independence to give our kids vs. micromanaging every moment, test, etc. At some point, our kids will need to flourish on their own. What advice would you give to us parents about getting our kids responsible for their own health without scaring them? How can this book benefit us and them?

As you know, I’m a mother of three myself, and I think if it were my children, I’d want to send them off into the world with the clearest possible strategy for living well with diabetes and avoiding diabetic complications. That means in addition to checking their blood glucose before meals and fine-tuning insulin doses, they need to keep an eye on the “big picture” by monitoring these 5 key health risks regularly.

I hear so many stories of kids that did well under their parents’ care, but then went into serious “neglect mode” for a whole chunk of years during college and young adulthood. As a parent, I would try to drum into their heads that they need to know their A1C, blood pressure, lipid, microalbumin, and eye exam scores at all times, and know what to do about it if something is out of range. Even if complications start to set in, all of the damage is treatable or in many cases reversible if it’s caught early.

7. What’s been the most helpful thing for you personally in dealing with your diabetes every day?

I’d have to say becoming involved with the diabetes community -- because nothing is more helpful than finding others who are living a parallel diabetes life.

I’ve met so many amazing people through my blog (, who have helped me feel connected and also helped me come to terms with the “forever” of this disease.

To me, getting connected in this way is essential because:

· Having diabetes does not get easier over time…

· New treatments can be hard to get/ hard to adapt to…

· Quirky things happen; often you want to know if other people with diabetes have experienced (not just the doctor’s opinion)

8. Any plans to write more books?

I sure hope so. Nothing concrete just yet.

9. My author friends will want to know how the co-authoring process worked for you. Any tips for working with another party?

You need to like each other! Have a good rapport. Be able to laugh it off when things don’t always go as planned. Have clear-cut roles: Who’s the organizer? i.e. the one who’s keeping track of what’s finished and what still needs revising and what’s on your schedule next? Who’s writing what chapter? At what point does the “buck stop” on niggling with each other’s contributions? If you aren’t clear about these things at the outset, co-authoring could be very messy and unpleasant.

Luckily, Dr. Jackson and I really enjoy each other. He was the content expert/medical authority, and I was the writer/project manager. He even inserted little idiosyncrasies and jokes for me in lots of early drafts. It was my job to catch them. That sure made editing more fun.

Thank you so much, Amy! While I normally link to Amazon, B&N, and indy booksellers (and the book is, of course, available there if you wish), Amy and Dr. Jackson have a special option for you. If you order the book using this link, you will receive 5 free Extend Bars.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jen Barnes Makes Her Mark with TATTOO

Hello, everyone! Are you in recovery? Are people continually asking you what you think of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to go into rehab for alcoholism? Do these questions bother you? Well, for me the answers are an emphatic YES and YES and Y-E-S!

If you know someone in recovery, PLEASE do not ask them about this. Why? Because the only program they can work is their own. Although I applaud ANYONE'S decision to get sober, gossiping about it can only hurt me.

I do not discuss anyone's recovery but my own. My experience has shown me it is best this way. Sitting around and judging people's motives in going to rehab turns the focus away from where my problems are (inside me) to the outside where my problems are not. It traps me into making a judgment about people I cannot change, and coaxes me away from looking hard at and working on the one and only person I can change--ME. Please do your friends in recovery a favor, and do not ask them about what they think of Gavin Newsom, Lindsay Lohan, Robin Williams, Miss USA or anyone else's decision to seek help for drug or alcohol problems. You may be well intentioned, but it will only hurt us in the end!

Moving on, today I have another fabulous author interview with one of my Girlfriends Cyber Circuit pals, the great Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Welcome, Jen!


Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.


Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends - can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift - a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.

From Publishers Weekly
"Fun... far-out. The book's best moments may come from ditzy Delia, with the power of transmogrification, who turns a hotel door lock into butterscotch pudding, plus gives the girls Rollerblades when they're on the chase, including a fashionable pair for herself that look like high heels. Delia also delivers the book's best line when facing off against evil Alecca: "You think you're bad?... I'm on the cheerleading squad; I know what real evil looks like." In the end, readers will get a few good laughs from these sassy heroines."

From School Library Journal
"This chick-lit fantasy, similar to though not as dark as Neal Shusterman's fairy-tale retellings, is a fast-paced, fun read for Buffy and Charmed fans."—Sharon Rawlins, NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Trenton


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.

For this book, I knew I wanted to write about four best friends who acquire supernatural powers; I just wasn't sure how to give them the powers, until one day, when I found this awesome temporary tattoo. It was sparkly and this unearthly blue-green color, and just looking at it, I couldn't help but think that it looked distinctly like it could have magical powers. My brain connected the dots between this thought and my characters, and the premise for Tattoo- four best friends get psychic powers from temporary tattoos- was born. As I wrote the book, it became far more of an adventure story than I'd originally expected, but despite that, I really consider it to be pretty character-driven, since the girls pretty much dictated what would happen at each point along the way.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Never stop writing. When you're submitting one project, start writing another. The book you sell might not be your first or second or third. For me, it was the seventh, so I think it's very important to always spend at least as much time writing new material as submitting the things you've already written.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
I'm not a great person to ask about being organized. Organization is definitely not my forte! As for my writing day, it's more of a writing night. I tend to write late at night, after everyone else is asleep. During undergrad, this was usually between two and four in the morning, but now I often start around midnight. I don't do much planning before I start writing, and the stories twists often surprise me along the way.

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

I think the frustrating thing- at this point- is that somewhere in the back of my head, I expected the release of my second book to be just like my first, and even though I've had a lot of fun with both books, their releases have been really different. Now, the most frustrating thing is that when I engage in a bout of shameless self-googling, I really want to hear people talking about the new book, but I keep coming across people discussing the old one instead! It sounds like a silly thing to get frustrated about- because I love that people are discussing my books- but I'm really anxious for my readers to catch up!

As for the most exciting thing, hands down it's the fans. Nothing prepared me for hearing from readers. Especially because I write young adult and a lot of my readers are teens, getting emails or messages from them is incredibly rewarding. I even had one girl tell me that she didn't like reading before she read my first book, but that after reading Golden, she's decided that reading can be fun. There are just no words for how amazing that is.

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

There is a sequel planned (due out Fall 2008), but it's actually a couple of books down the line. Between then and now, I have three books coming out- a sequel to my first novel and the first two books in a new series about cheerleading secret agents. Once I finish up with all of the sequels, I'm not sure what I'll do next. Anything is possible!

Thank you so much for appearing on my blog, Jen! Jen's book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local indy retailer (best choice)!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Welcome Melissa Senate!

Hello blogland,
I've been on a hiatus due to the advent of AFGO*. It's been interesting... actually, I am quite positive about all of it! Still, I've been a bit overwhelmed and so I must extend my deepest apologies to the Amazing Melissa Senate, of novel-writing fame. Welcome to the blog, Melissa!

Melissa is the author of the new book, LOVE YOU TO DEATH. The woman must breathe novels because she has written so many good ones!


A summer baby born in a Catskills bungalow colony, I lived in New York City as a kid, New Jersey as a teenager, Connecticut for college, Brooklyn for the those first few post-college years (I somehow had a $450 a month studio in primo Park Slope), then the Upper East Side of Manhattan until just two years ago, when I moved to a small coastal town in Maine for a quality of life experiment (for my young son, not for me). I have to admit that the quality of life in Maine is pretty great.

What was I doing in NYC all those years? I worked for Harlequin Books (starting as an editorial assistant and leaving as a senior editor) for ten years, then moved to two young adult book packagers, working on everything from the New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley ("We'll solve any crime by dinner time!") to Sweet Valley University (Elizabeth and Jessica were in junior high, high school and college simultaneously!).

When I sold my first novel, SEE JANE DATE, in 2001, I took a huge leap of faith to write full time. SEE JANE DATE was made into an adorable TV movie (starring Charisma Carpenter and Holly Marie Combs) for ABC Family and is now on DVD, and it's also the subject of and answer to a question in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Trivial Pursuit (My sister's in-laws were actually playing the game and got the question and knew the answer, which is how I found out about it in the first place). SEE JANE DATE led to THE SOLOMON SISTERS WISE UP (which took me on a 3 city tour of Italy (I've been to Rome twice in the past three years and would happily go every year for the rest of my life); WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANWAY?, which reunited me with the characters from SEE JANE DATE (it's Eloise's story); THE BREAKUP CLUB, my first novel to include a male main character (there are 4 main characters), and THEODORA TWIST, my debut novel for teens, which Teen magazine hailed "a hot (and fun) summer read.

My sixth novel has just been published. Set in Maine, LOVE YOU TO DEATH is a fun mystery about a young woman whose worst ex-boyfriends are on someone's hit list. The hot Portland police detective investigating is a little suspicious. Also just published is my first essay, The One That Got Away, in the anthology IT'S A WONDERFUL LIE: 26 TRUTHS ABOUT LIFE IN YOUR TWENTIES. In May, another essay of mine (Then Again, Maybe I . . .) will be published in EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, a tribute anthology to one of my favorite authors.

I love to hear from readers, so feel free to email me with questions or comments or just to say hello:


Abby's worst ex-boyfriends are on someone's hit list. Friends, familiy, coworkers–and a hot Portland police detective–think that someone is Abby herself!
First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced.
Then two other ex-boyfriends report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr, of the Portland Police Department (and Very Probing Questions and Incredibly Delicious Face), doesn't think so. Neither do Abby's friends, family, coworkers and other exes–who are suddenly shaking in their shoes.
Soon enough, everyone is sucking up to her as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of posioninig their drinks….
Is someone trying to frame her? Who? And why? She has to find out fast. Because by-the-book Ben is bound to break her heart. Which makes him next on someone's list.


"Melissa Senate is definitely one of my favorite chick lit writers. Her books are funny and fast-paced and always make you feel good!"
–Sarah Mylnowski
"Readers will cheer Abby every step of the way as she fights to clear her name and find her prince for whom the glass slipper will finally fit."
–Publishers Weekly
4 stars says RT Bookclub 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.

A: Wishful thinking? Just kidding! LOVE YOU TO DEATH is about a woman whose worst ex-boyfriends are on someone's hit list. It's a lighthearted mystery (Publishers Weekly goes so far as to call it a romp). Interestingly, at the same time I was starting the novel, I was writing an essay about a former boyfriend for an anthology (IT'S A WONDERFUL LIE: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE IN YOUR TWENTIES), and this essay brought up quite a few of my most obnoxious boyfriends/breakups. The essay was so personal and serious, and I think the novel became a lighthearted way for me to "deal with" these cads! I wish them all well. Really.:)

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Aside from reading like a madwoman (and/or madman) join online writers' groups, post questions, answer questions, develop a community for yourself. It's a great way to network, both with other aspiring author and published authors, to get info about agents, editors, publishing houses..and to make connections.

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

A: I do have 5 set writing hours a day while my son is at school, and sometimes I'm very disciplined about writing and sometimes I'm suddenly doing anything but writing. What I've learned, though, in the seven years I've been writing full time is that when I'm NOT writing, I actually AM writing, in my head, in my bones, in every bit of me. I'm seeking answers to emotional threads and connections for my characters, for the plot. Who knew that happened while you ate a bowl of Raisin Bran or furiously cleaned your already clean bedroom?

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

A: Two things have consistently been the most exciting: 1) Typing The End when I'm finished with a manuscript and knowing that I'm proud of it, and 2) when a reader emails me or blogs about enjoying my book. Snoopy dance.

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

A: At the very end of LOVE YOU TO DEATH, there's a little blurb that says to look for another Abby Foote mystery next year. But I changed my mind! When I was sitting down to write a proposal about the next Abby Foote mystery, another character, another story had already started to grip me and wouldn't let me go, and I actually tried to make it fit into Abby's world, but of course that was impossible. It's about estranged twin sisters in their late twenties and how they come back together. There's an intervention involved (of the least likely sister) for a bad-for-her engagement, and a road trip that takes them down a bumpy, but fun road. It'll be out in the summer of 2008. Later next year my second young adult novel will be published as well. Love writing for both audiences!

Thank you so much, Melissa! You may purchase Melissa's book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the bestest choice, your local indy retailer.

*AFGO=Another Fucking Growth Opportunity :)