Saturday, December 01, 2007

And the Holidays are Upon Us...

Got this one from Judy - you've got to see it to believe it!

I'm off to the NYC Independent and Small Press Fair today...and while I'll admit I'm a little intimidated, I'm trying to keep an open mind and just learn from the whole experience. The other authors I'm sharing a table with are way more published than I am (Stella Price, Cat Johnson, and Samantha Sommersby among them).

But then I remember that one year ago at this time, I didn't even have a publishing contract. Now I have my second novel on the top of the Champagne Rose Novel Best-Selling List! Not too shabby for a year in the business, huh?

I'll share pictures and all the wisdom I learn today on a later post...stay tuned!

Friday, November 30, 2007


I'm so glad it's the end of the week! How is it possible that around holiday time, things always, always, get busier than any other time of year??

Ah, well...

Friday's Feast

What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?

Roller coasters, definitely. Though I prefer the ones that loop upside down to the ones with all the stomach-losing free falls.

How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?

Turn red and wish I were somewhere else? I do OK in them, I think.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?

Depends on the person and the topic. I had a friend in college (a philosophy/religion major) with whom I regularly stayed up all night discussing them (wow, I miss those days. Not a whole lot to worry about except class and what you were doing on the weekends...). So I'll give this one an 8-ish.

Main Course
Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?

Yup, I do every year. I'm a teacher - lots of germy hands out there!

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?

I don't think I'm TOO bad. Probably around 6-8 hours/week.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm One Happy Girl!

Here's my interview, in my hometown paper! (Under my right hand...well, on the left from this view...go ahead, squint really hard until you see it)

And here's my beloved cat, who got a clean bill of health from the vet on Tuesday. Actually, the vet was surprised to see that his heart had decreased in size (it was abnormally enlarged back in August)...which never happens. He said, "Usually, we just hope for it to stay the same. But in almost every dimension, it's reading normal."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Ilene Schneider

Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm talking with Ilene Schneider, author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mystery Series.

Hi, Ilene! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was one of the first six women rabbis ordained in the U.S. I also have a doctorate in education, and most of my professional life has been spent in education and academia. I’m currently coordinator of the Jewish hospice program of Samaritan Hospice in Southern New Jerseey.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I’ve always loved to write, and my undergrad degree is in journalism. My goal was to become the first woman editor of the New York Times, but I got a bit sidetracked.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

My first novel, a cozy mystery called Chanukah Guilt, is, not surprisingly, about an aging baby boomer rabbi in So. Jersey. (Sound familiar?) When a young woman Rabbi Aviva Cohen counseled commits suicide, Aviva is drawn into investigating what may have led to the suicide. But it's not a grim book, or a thriller. It's got a lot of humor (I hope) and realistic situations. You can read all about it at I’m also currently working on a non-fiction book called Talk Dirty: Yiddish, slated for release November 2008 by Adams Media. And I’m developing the next in what will be a series of mysteries featuring Rabbi Aviva Cohen.

How do you go about developing your characters?

The ubiquitous "they" say to write what one knows. Physically, Aviva resembles me, but otherwise our lives are different. I did not base any of my characters on any one person (a point I emphasize to the members of my husband’s congregation – he’s also a rabbi), but they are composites of types. Sometimes the characters turn out differently from what I first thought, but I let them dictate to me, not the other way around.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

While writing Chanukah Guilt, I read lots of advice, and then ignored most of it. Find your own voice. And persevere.

Great advice! What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

Mostly fiction, mostly mysteries with strong female protagonists, interspersed with “literary” fiction. I have too many favorites to pick just one.

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

Most Difficult: sitting down and actually writing. I compose largely in my head, but then have to remember what I came up with and get it down on paper, or, rather, hard drive. Most exciting: when I’ve gone off on what seems to be a tangent, and it turns into a major plot point.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

I don’t.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

I sometimes find myself in a plot dead-end, but I can often come up with a scenario that solves the dilemma when I’m in the shower. I was very clean while writing Chanukah Guilt.

Describe your writing space for us.

Usually, I write on a laptop on the dining room table, where I can spread out any research materials (for the non-fiction) and stare out the window at my bird feeders. Sometimes, I use the desk top in the very cluttered second floor study. Other times, I take the laptop to a place like Border’s and look impressive (or, more likely, pretentious). And everything is backed up on both computers and on a flashdrive.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m a birder and a sort-of gardener.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?

That I could actually write something longer than 200 pages.

Thanks for joining us today, Ilene! If anyone's interested in finding out more, or inviting this author for a book-signing, leave her a comment here or visit her website. And have a great day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Trip I Don't Want to Take...

Some of you will recall that I had to take my poor sick cat to the (super-expensive but worth it) animal hospital back in August. While he's doing SO much better now (yay - gotta love drugs!), today I have to take him for a follow-up visit.

Not looking forward to it.

It's about an hour's drive, and he doesn't do well in cars. He used to, once upon a time; we used to drive back and forth from graduate school to my parents' house (about a 6 hour trip), and he'd just curl up on my lap or on the passenger seat and sleep. Not anymore. He will howl first, then throw up, then look forlorn and howl some more. I'm stocking the car with paper towels and hoping I only have to stop once to do a clean-up. I'm seriously considering asking the vet to drug him after the appointment, for the return trip.


And this is exciting news: of all the bazillion press releases I sent out in the fall for One Night in Boston, one was picked up, and I was interviewed by one of the local papers near the town where I grew up. The link is here. Cool, right?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Monday!

First of all, a big congratulations to Sarita Leone, who was the winner of a free download of Lost in Paradise after this weekend's excerpt and trivia question contest. Thanks to everyone who played!

Second, I'm thrilled to share the news that Lost in Paradise is currently #2 on the Champagne Rose Full-Length Best-Seller List (and #6 on the Champagne Rose best-seller list for all lengths)...and that's three days after its release! So thank you, thank you to everyone who went out and bought it. If you've read and enjoyed it, go ahead and write a review for me at The Wild Rose Press site, would you?

Finally, recently I've been approached by a few authors who are interested in having me make book trailers for them, which is oh so cool since I enjoy it anyway! Here's one that I finished over the weekend, for TWRP author Patrice Wilton:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This Weekend, Get a Little Lost...

Okay, on to round 2 of this weekend's Lost in Paradise trivia contest. Remember, just read the excerpt below and email the answer to to be in the running to win a free download of my novel! (By the way, after only 2 days, it's up to #3 on the Champagne Rose Full-Length Best-seller List! Let's keep it going!!)

“Nice place, huh? I mean the house, the street, and all.” Eddie waved to the ceiling above them as he leaned back, settling himself into the cushions.

Ash followed the movement and noticed strong, calloused hands, with scars on the knuckles, and one pinky finger bent in an odd way. Warmth filled her belly. She always noticed men’s hands. Maybe that’s why she found baseball players and cellists so sexy. She liked hands that looked powerful and rugged. Hands that could take on the world and throw it into its place when need be. Strong hands that turned soft when they wound their way along her body late at night. Eddie’s hands looked like that.
The warmth reached her cheeks again, and she willed it away, afraid it would betray her.

“So how’d you end up moving in here?” Jen asked him.

“Mm…long story.”

The bleach-blonde propped one elbow on the back of the couch. “We’ve got time.”

Eddie’s face changed a little, and he switched the subject, smooth as cream. “What about you, Jen?”

“What about me?”

“You and Ashley-what’s your story? You guys from around here?”

Ash cringed a little when he said the name. Ashley. Her alias. The one she’d just made up, to take the place of her true identity for the next few months. Already she felt guilty about lying to the guy who would be sharing her house. Darn it. Why couldn’t things ever work out the way she planned?

“Not really,” she began, with a quick glance at Jen. How did she answer his question without revealing too much? “I mean, we just graduated and…”

“We’re from Boston,” Jen finished when Ash trailed off into silence. “Ashley decided to take a summer to herself before jumping into the big bad world. You know, enjoy some peace and quiet. I’m just along for the ride.” She leaned in closer. “That, and to interview any housemates she might have. To make sure they pass inspection.”

Eddie looked over at Ash. “And do I pass?”

She felt her cheeks warm and wondered if that was answer enough.

Jen smiled. “Oh, I’d say you do.”

Trivia question: What does Ash find so attractive the first time she meets Eddie?

Email the answer to - and check back here tomorrow to see if you're a winner!