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Quiz: How You Live Your Life

How You Live Your Life
You tend to deprive yourself of things you crave, for your own good. You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think. You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly. You tend to always dream of things within reach - and you usually get them.

This is all true, except I do not change friends quickly, at all. I have my same old friends from 1983. And my idea of a new friend is one I've had for two or three years.

Meme Thingummy -- 10 Years Ago, etc.

Literaticat tagged me with this meme/quiz thingummy. And she is always amusing. AND, of course, I can't resist anything of this nature, narcissist that I am.


- 10 years ago -
I was deeply involved in researching the incredible number of odd theatrical adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as the large quantity of Sherlockian/Holmesian societies.
I had just adopted my cats, and had to lie on the floor for hours, stretching my arm under the bed so they could sniff my fingers, because they were too scared to come out.
I broke up with a man who was not such a bad sort but who made me miserable nonetheless. Which was a very good choice and a long time coming.
AND I had just moved into my first solo apartment. I painted the floor silver.

- 5 years ago
I was packing my bags to go to Park City, Utah, writing a magazine article about the first roller coaster to do a sheer 90 degree drop – which I was going to have to ride.
Also, I apparently took a hip hop aerobics class.
I know this precisely, because of my datebook software.

- 1 year ago -
Again, I know exactly. A year ago today, I went shopping at Anthropologie for a new skirt and a blouse to wear to a meeting the next day, which was actually about the book I am currently beginning to write, tentatively titled DramaRama. I felt very pleased, as I hadn't had new clothes in a long time, and this book deal meant I could shop in a rather serious way.

- yesterday -
I sat on a beach, only 10 feet from approximately 25 seals, including pups. They lay around on top of each other, periodically galumphing into the sea for a little pick-me-up swim.
I also went to the library AND the bookstore, both. I felt lucky.
At dinner, I ate pizza with pears on it. I could not get to sleep until 2 AM and read all of Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner. It made me cry.

- tomorrow -
I will go swimming.

- 5 snacks I enjoy -
guacamole; Cheese Nips; avocado sushi; Hostess cupcakes; toasted cashews.
Basically, savory fatty things, plus one food made of plastic.

- 5 bands/artists that I know the lyrics to most of their songs –
Rodgers & Hammerstein and The Violent Femmes.
I think those two say quite enough about me that more are not required.

- 5 things I would do with a $100,000,000 -
Buy homes for my parents. (that's two)
Pay for college for my main teenager.
Buy a bigger place to live.
Donate a big chunk to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

- 5 locations I would like to run away to –
Narnia. The Drones Club. Oz. Wonderland. Neverland.

- 5 bad habits I have -
self-righteousness, nail biting, messiness, disdain, impatience

- 5 things I like doing -
hosting dinner parties, dancing to cheesy songs, baking, editing home movies, reading novels

- 5 things I will never wear –
Yellow. Those fat fuzzy boots. Gold chains. Pointy toe shoes. Fake fingernails.
These last two are vices I have given up years ago.

- 5 t.v. shows I like(d) -
The Sopranos. Northern Exposure. Ally McBeal (I know, I know) Happy Days. I used to like Howard Stern on the radio.

- 5 movies I like –
Bringing Up Baby. Hairspray. Time Bandits. His Girl Friday. Bedazzled (the old one). Desperately Seeking Susan. This is not a top five list.

- 5 people I'd like to meet -
Dorothy Parker, Iris Murdoch, PG Wodehouse, Joan Aiken, Katherine Hepburn.
But they are all dead.

- 5 biggest joys at the moment –
family; books; a hot tub; good cheese; silence.

- 5 favorite toys –
makeup; imovie; library card; Cuisinart; swim noodle

- 5 tagged (Your turn.) Goodness. I don't know who's even reading, for sure! But
Mary Pearson
Cecil Castelluci
Lisa Yee
Tanya Lee Stone
Marlene Perez
if you're in the mood, turn it lose, women!
But leave it alone, if you're not.

VB's Boyfriend List

So many boyfriend lists, so little time! I have been behind in posting them, which is why there's such a glut of them lately.

A reader I'm calling VB sent me this funny and spirited boyfriend list. It includes a stalker, love at first sight, an older man, a gay boy, and lots more.

Thanks, VB!


1. joe (it has been ten years and i still can't even utter any words to him without looking stupid, but hey, everyone gets to dream, right?)
2. paul d (questionably mutual liking going on here)
3. bryan (trouble)(he asked me to marry him)(i was 16... :/ )
4. Billy (<> love at first sight)
5. greg (cant tell if he likes me or is perplexed by me)(preferably the first though)
6. paul w (first kiss)(a stalker for sure)
7. andy (it was 7th grade and i heard he thought i was cute...awkwardness followed)
8. charlie (lasted one month, four days)(9th grade relationships baffled me)
9. kyle (<>)(we pretend we dont know each other anymore)
10. duane (what a hottie!)(he was 22 though... :( )
11. jake (turns out he's gay)
12. pat (summer was really good to him)
13. tom (i never even had a chance)
14. riley (too cute for words, he's perfect but it'd never work, sadly)
15. michael (loves the way he kisses)
16. abe (but nikki likes him)

---more to come as life keeps adding to the pile---

Dawn Emerman's Boyfriend List

Dawn Emerman runs the fascinating website Avenging Sybil, in which she's on "a mission to overthrow outdated attitudes about the sexuality of young women that still exist in today's young adult fiction."

Go Dawn!
I am behind you all the way.

Below, she gives us a romantic, comical and seriously excellent boyfriend list.
Read it. Then go to her website.


Dawn Emerman's Boyfriend List

1. Shawn - Kindergarten. Every girl had a crush on him because he was the tallest (turned out this was because it was his third shot at kindergarten, but the heart wants what it wants). One day it was his turn to pass out papers and he kissed me on the nose when he got to my table. I guess that was my first kiss?

2. Todd - First grade. My friend Jamie and I used to chase him around the playground. I remember he had these awesome gloves that had patterns on them that would only show up when it got to be a certain temperature. I stole one and held it for ransom. A kiss ransom, I think, and was denied. That marked the end of my romantic aggression.

3. Derek - Third through seventh grade. He was a year older than me, a good friend of my close cousin/friend Mike's. I admired him from afar - I doubt he even knew of my crush, but he made an indelible mark on my would-be grammar school romantic exploits.

4. Shane - Case in point. He is Derek's brother. One year younger than me. He was my first 'boyfriend' in fifth grade and was adoring. He wrote me charmingly misspelled notes and even had his mom drive him over so he could bring me a card on my birthday. I broke his little heart because I knew deep down I was really after his brother. And I didn't find the constant misspelling all that charming after all.

5. Shannon - Sixth grade. He was the coolest guy in my class. He called me up and asked me out! It was great and drama free, but he shortly slipped through my fingers because I confessed to my friend Kari that even though I was psyched to be going out with Shannon, I still had a crush on Derek. She convinced me that it was wrong to go out with Shannon if I felt this way. I bowed to her pressure and broke up with him, a move I regretted for years.

6. Ryan - Seventh grade. Classic. This guy sat behind me every year from first - seventh grade and made my life hell. As is usually the case, it turns out that it was because he liked me. One day he finally asked someone to ask me if I'd go out with him and I told that person yes (what, he was cute and maybe I had secretly liked him all along) and we were going out with each other even though we hadn't exchanged a single word. For some reason I changed my mind the next day, and it was done before we even talked face to face about it.

7. Tommy - Seventh grade. Oops. He was a sweetheart. Also my cousin/friend Mike's very best friend. He asked me out when Mike was going out with my best friend at the time and the four of us did everything together. Another one with the adoration - he was a great artist, and drew me funny pictures and wrote me a million notes I believe I still have saying how much he liked me and how he couldn't believe I was going out with me. He dropped a ton of cash on me, too. Despite his ardent confessions, he didn't lay a hand on me in the month or so we were together and I was confused and frustrated by this. I also questioned if I really liked him, or went with him because Allison was with Mike. I broke up with him and that was a pretty bad scene.

8. Andy - Seventh. One of my best boy friends. I had a brief crush on him after Tommy and there was a time way later on, after we graduated from high school, when he actually took me on a date, but we weren't for each other. My grandfather (aka my hero) just loved Andy, the nice boy who mowed the church cemetery. I think he was hoping we'd end up together, but no dice, Pup. I'm still in touch with him and we went to each other's weddings. Come to think of it, # 6, 10, 13, 15 and (obviously) 18 were there too. I have a good history of ending things well with the boys of my past.

9. Jason - My eighth grade crush. Noteworthy because he was my first true lust experience - I sat behind him in algebra, hoping he would have to stand up so I could look at his great ass. He didn't give me the time of day.
10. Ian - Oh, this is a rough one. Quite a history with Ian, though he was never my boyfriend (he was always someone's bf though - your classic serial monogamist). I looooved him on and off between eighth grade and my sophomore year of college. If ever there was a person I thought I'd end up with, it was gorgeous Ian. Of course, I was cursed to be his confidante - as if I wanted to know the details of his dating other girls. But I took what I could get. And the summer after graduation turned into a supercharged time between us that culminated in an all-night drunken makeout session at a party. Er, he did in fact have a girlfriend at the time. And as expected, he was the best kisser, hands down.

11. Eric B. - Freshman year. Holy cow this was humiliating. I was brand spanking new at the big high school (I went to a small Catholic school K-8) and here was this stunning, popular, blue-eyed junior soccer star (who had his license!) asking me out. I thought I had high school sewn up at that moment. And then he dropped me like a hot potato because I didn't have much to say and he was into older women. FYI it wasn't a matter of not putting out with this one - he didn't even try to hold my hand, which gave me the idea that something was totally wrong with me.

12. Eric R. - Freshman through junior year. Second only to Ian when it comes to intensity of unrequited affection. Another of my cousin/friend Mike's buddies. Another serial dater. I was so psyched when we ended up in the same math class and he would talk to me and try to predict my test score on test days. It was our thing we had. Double vindication was mine when he ended up asking my friend--much later, when we were in college--if she thought I'd go on a date with him ('No, she doesn't like you anymore.' Best friend ever!), and later at cousin/friend's wedding he was there, balding and chubby. Heh.

13. Pete - Junior year. It's true, there was nobody worth mentioning between freshman and junior year. Eric B. was bad for my self esteem. I knew Pete since kindergarten. He asked me out when I was tutoring him in French and we had a couple of weeks where we were a couple. He was cute and nice, but there was no real spark there even though he was my first actual kiss (I don't count the kindergarten one). Oh, and he was Ian's best friend.

14. Frank - Summer after junior year. He was a few years younger than me. Very pretty. And served as my indoctrination to the joys of making out, thereby erasing the suspicion that I was actually a leper. The perfect summer fling.

15. Omar - Senior year. My longest 'relationship' at the time. My best friend knew him from her brief foray into private school. He was from Bermuda, so he had this great accent. He was also incredibly nice and a handsome devil to boot. The impetus for our dating was the product of a lot of 'What did he/she say about me?' back and forth with our mutual friend. I saw him once a week, if that. We mostly just made out a lot. And we realized after about three months that we'd rather just be friends.

16. Jamie - Senior year. If not for Omar, there would have been Jamie. In a rare stroke of luck, I had two boys courting me simultaneously. I had just started to 'talk to' Omar when Jamie, who had always been super popular (which didn't mean anything to me by the time I was a senior, thank goodness, but still) asked me out in the most unsmooth way possible. He literally turned red with embarrassment. I think I went with Omar because of first dibs, as well as friend pressure. Stupid. That was when it first occurred to me that I didn't have to date just one person, but I bowed to the pressure from my friends who said that I did. I'm glad I chose Omar, I guess, but I did have 'what might have been' moments about Jamie for quite some time.

17. Kevin - Sophomore year of college. This dude fancied himself a man of mystery and gave me no details whatsoever about his life. I just thought he was cute and wanted to kiss his face. His possible-double-life act got old fast, and the kissing turned out to suck. Eh, college. It was a pretty barren time.

18. Mikey - End of the line. Summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. Who knew I would find the love of my life so young? I certainly didn't, when I met him in the house where we were both subletting rooms for the summer. Ten years later, he is still my best friend, my crush, my I'm-so-glad-none-of-those-other-things-worked-out life partner.

RJ's Boyfriend List

Lots of Boyfriend Lists these days!
This one, from a reader I'll call RJ, includes naptime fuzz balls, shocking french kisses, and a secret crush.
Read it and giggle. Thanks, RJ!


RJ's Boyfriend List

1. S. - My Kingergarten boyfriend. He was actually a Younger Man, as he was in preschool in my combined preschool/Kindergarten class. We hid behind the raised platforms in the classroom and kissed. For a few months' worth of naptimes, we made a giant fuzz ball from picking at our blankets, secretly passing fuzz back and forth through the gap between a shelf and the wall, and hiding it when we folded them when naptime was over. He left the school after that year, and I didn't see him again...until the sixth grade, where he magically appeared at my THIRD elementary school as a fifth grader. He rode my schoolbus, and didn't remember me (I assume - I never asked him outright). I once overheard him asking a bunch of fourth graders if they were virgins. After he told them what "virgin" meant and they all said "yes", he told them that he'd lost his virginity with "some girl in preschool". !!! That is the closest I've ever come to hitting someone (apart from the time that I did...). Ruby's Adam reminded me painfully of S., though I didn't make a fool of myself by reminding him about the giant naptime fuzz ball like Ruby with the mermaid game.

2. M. - One of said virgin fourth graders. In sixth grade, I decided that, because all the other girls had crushes and/or boyfriends, I needed to develop a crush. All the boys in my class were gross, so I scoped out my schoolbus for potential crushes. M. was possessed of a wicked sense of humor (always my favorite trait in a guy), two years younger than me, and someone I never, ever spoke to. He was perfect. I wrote about him in my diary (purple with a picture of kittens on it) faithfully all year and counted all the words he'd ever spoken to me (ten, total).

3. T. - My first (and only, thus far) "real" boyfriend, when I was fifteen-almost-sixteen. We met on the internet. No, he was not some creepy 40-year-old stalker (though he WAS four years older than me). He lived in New Jersey, and I live in Minnesota. He came to Minnesota for two weeks in the summer, where we became an official "item". He was my first kiss (if you don't count S.) and my first french kiss, both at the exact same time, which was a shock to my system. I wanted to stop and say, "Aren't you supposed to do REGULAR kissing first?" but I didn't. He went back to New Jersey, and I decided I didn't want a long distance relationship. Instead of breaking up with him, I avoided him (easy to do, over the internet). We didn't officially break up until December when he finally broke down and called me and I couldn't avoid him without hanging up on him.

4. C. - M. version 2.0, 10th-11th grade. I decided I needed a secret crush to cultivate, and picked C. because he was funny and not part of my immediate circle of friends. Over the summer, I had a dream that he asked me out, and decided it was a Sign. When I went back to school in the fall, I found out he'd transferred to a different school. I've seen him from afar a few times since, but only talked to him once, briefly, awkwardly. I still use him as my token crush name for silly online quizzes that ask for that sort of information.

5. A. - I met him in 10th grade and had a minor crush on him. Then we became good friends and I discovered that I didn't like him that way after all. A few months later, he asked me out. ...Oops. We remained friends, but, a year later, he asked me out again. Ouch. Surprisingly, we're still friends, though I dread the day that he decides that the third time's the charm...

So there it is, in lurid detail.

Alesia Holliday's Boyfriend List

Aha! A "borrowed" wireless connection and the ability to put up an image!

Ngff200hAlesia Holliday, who is on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit with me, writes (as she puts it herself) "funny books about the everyday (and not so everyday!) things we all go through." Her website says that her goal with each book is to make you laugh so hard you spew foodstuffs out your nose, so if you like to laugh, you should check her out.

Alesia's new title is Nice Girls Finish First, and it's all about the myth of the nice girl -- and how we can end up doormats if we succumb to the pressure to be nice nice nice all the time. (Something I am rather familiar with myself!) You can read an excerpt from Nice Girls here,

you should also know that under her so-un-secret pen name, Jax Abbott, Alesia's written two novels for teenagers, both about the teenage daughter of a pair of superheroes. They're called Super What? and Super Sixteen.

Superwhat125Boyfriends who have ended up in my books
by Alesia Holliday

1. My two loves from ninth grade, Seth and Mike, are both in my teen series (Super What? and its sequels, written under my pen name, Jax Abbott) as potential boyfriends of my star, Jessie. She has wild, unruly red hair (like I did back then) and HER Seth is a math geek and ADORABLE (like mine), and HER Mike is a jock and also adorable (like mine),. Of course, Jessie also has super powers, so the similarities fall apart a little bit . . . I have a lot of fun remembering life in high school (and how interesting it was to go to school in Izmir, Turkey for a couple of years) for those books.

2. One of my "Oh, boy, was THAT ever a mistake" boyfriends from my rocker boy phase in college is a lot like Daniel, Kirby's rat-bas*%rd ex in Nice Girls Finish First.
Can we say Scary Stalker? 'Nuff said.

3. A very bossy and pompous guy I dated for a short while in college (you know the type -- he HAD to have the last word on EVERYTHING), who wanted me to marry him and not bother my silly little head about having a career (did I mention I was very young? And we only dated a very short time?) is a teensy bit of Bree's boyfriend Lyle. The actual WORDS "barefoot and pregnant" were never uttered, but . . .

4. The hot guy who flies for the Navy I dated when I was in law school seems to be a big part of lots of the heroes in ALL of my books . . . Oops! Good thing I married him. :) So now my list of boyfriends is closed, but last week my five-year-old said, "How old do I have to be to have a boyfriend, Mommy?" and I FREAKED completely OUT. I'm thinking, after my experiences, definitely a convent for her -- do they still have those?

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Go read Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

First off, I love me a boarding school story, and this one is full of ridiculous pranks and night excursions and serious religious discussions and illicit drinking -- just like a boarding school story should be.

Second, it's very funny.

Third, it's actually about something more than popularity, or sex, or whatever, and much as I love reading most teen comedies, I was pleased to actually be invited to think.

Last, there's been a lot of discussion about whether or not the book represents female sexuality accurately or appropriately. And as someone who's given a huge amount of thought to this subject (sexuality and how it's represented in teen fiction), I actually really liked how Green represented Alaska. Yes, she is, in some ways, a quirky, difficult, idealized girl -- like that quirky sexpot from so many movies that so many boys seem to love -- and we never fully get to know her. But that, exactly, is the point of the novel. Pudge's ideas about Alaska -- and the other characters' ideas about her -- get discussed in great detail. Also: Alaska likes sex, and though she certainly suffers -- it's not because she's a girl who likes sex. It's for other reasons entirely.

In any case, I know I haven't told you what the book's about. It's about a boy called Pudge who starts junior year at an Alabama boarding school and gets swirled into the complicated lives of a small group of friends, including the short, complex, hard-drinking Colonel, and a queen-bee bad girl called Alaska. Any more would be telling.

Can't post the cover. This dial-up business is making me insane. I am so spoilt by DSL. Sorry. But go to Green's website, and look at it there.

Happy reading!


Monday Night, the 18th, in San Diego; then Friday in Torrance

Hey hey hey,
I'd love it if you all would come on out and hear me read at Barnes & Noble in San Diego this Monday night, the 18th. Then I'll be in Torrance, just south of LA, on Friday. Here are the details:

San Diego, CA : July 18
BARNES & NOBLE 10775 Westview Parkway (858) 684-3166
7 PM

Torrance, CA: July 22
BARNES & NOBLE Del Amo Fashion Center 21500 Hawthorne Blvd. (310) 370-5552
7 PM

MJ Rose's Boyfriend List

Cov_haloeffect_1MJ Rose, who is on the GCC with me, writes REALLY scary, erotic thriller books. (So those of you who aren't old enough to vote, go read A Great and Terrible Beauty or something by Nancy Werlin and come back to read MJ's books when you don't live with your parents any more.)

For a supercool, frightening but still PG-rated video about of her book, THE HALO EFFECT, click here. It's like a movie preview for a book. How awesome is that?

Also, something even cooler: for every blog or website that links to this preview before July 19, MJ has arranged for $5 to be donated the non-profit literacy organization, Reading is Rundamental. So copy the link, y'all.

Now, lest you think that a glam novelist who writes dead-scary books about a sex therapist and her potentially criminal patients never suffered teen heartbreak, MJ offers us up her list of "Boyfriends I Never Got."

The Boyfriend List of The Boyfriends I Never Got
by MJ Rose

The ones who got away are often more memorable that the ones you get. So
herewith are the boyfriends who didn't happen despite my best efforts.

1. Kindergarten. Peter M. He had a girlfriend by the time I got there the
very first morning. I gave him my cookies from milk & cookies for two weeks but
never snagged him away.

2. Summer 6th Grade. Jim L. He was the lifeguard. 17. I was one of the kids.
10. I stared at him for six long weeks. He was nice to all us little critters
I wrote in my diary about him every single night. I was so in love. I got so
sun burnt that summer. My wrinkles are all his fault.

3. 10th Grade. Jeff G or Mitch G - it didn't matter they were twins. I would
have gladly taken either. I did all sorts of desperate things to attract
either of them. They lived a block away from my school, so I'd go early and hang
out across the street from them and wait to see them emerge from their building
and then just happen to walk by. They were really friendly but nothing every
happened. Found out about ten years later they were both gay.

4. 10th Grade. Steven G. He was my friend Lynn's boyfriend. He and I had
crushes on each other and used to call and talk on the phone all night. But he was
waiting for the right time to break up with her. I tried to wait for him.
Really. But he took too long. By the time he did, I'd met someone else.

5. 10th Grade. Ron W. (It was a busy year.) He was best friends with Lynn
(see above) and me. We hung out all the time when she wasn't with Steve G. I did
everything I could including learning how to bake cookies (there are those
cookies again) to get him to pick one of us to go out with. He couldn't pick. He
went on to date her when Steve G finally did break up with her.

6. Four years in a row, Christmas Vacation. Barry I don't remember his last
name. Our families all went to the same hotel every winter vacation in Puerto
Rico. So a whole bunch of us hung out together every year. I had a four year
crush on him but he never seemed to notice me. He had the best smile in the
world, I can't believe I still remember that. On my 14th birthday - which was
over that vacation he dance with me, slow dance, to the song, You are my Special
Angel. I wore a powder blue skirt and matching blouse and tan shoes. (I can't
believe I still remember that either.)

7. First Job. Hy A. He was a writer at the ad agency where I worked. Much
older than me and an award winning writer. He was so talented I was in awe. Also
in awe of the blue eyes. He was an incorrigible flirt. I flirted back. And
flirted back. And flirted back. Found out later that year, to too was gay. (I
seemed to repeat my mistakes.)

P.S. Interested in publishing and how it works? MJ has a blog all about the industry.

P.P.S. Interested in how authors get their ideas and what inspires them to write particular books? Rose also runs this neat site called Backstory, where writers tell all.