Tuesday, August 26, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Summer

1) Hands-free phones can be just as distracting as handheld phones...if not more so.

2) Polish water ice is regular water ice mixed with soft serve ice cream. And it is yummy.

3) When the Pussycat Dolls grew up they wanted to have GROUPIES. Yeah, I totally misheard that one.

4) If you’re in the grocery store during a small earthquake, there’s really no better place to be than the bread aisle.

5) Going to Disneyland is way more fun when you bring a good-natured six-year old with you. I suspect this lesson is quite different with children who are not as good-natured.

6) Be wary when following the directions of a teen who has yet to obtain a license.

7) Good Road Trip Music: Panic At The Disco, Katy Perry, and the Mamma Mia! soundtrack. Bad road trip music: Celine Dion, smooth jazz, and anything with the words "lullaby" or "dirge" in the title.

8) Cardboard 3-D glasses inserted into TV Guide for a televised Miley Cyrus concert are not designed with adult-sized heads in mind.

9) Vampires can have babies.

10) Back to school shopping is much more fun when you don’t actually have to go back to school. (On the flip side, summer isn’t nearly as fun when people expect you to work through it.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ro-Commas

Just because we don't write mysteries doesn't mean that we're not mysterious. After all, if you read below it turns out that Caroline is really John. (And, I have it on good authority, that a few more of the Ro Com Authors are actually dudes but I'm not here to give away secrets.) This blog (thank you Ms. Echols) serves two interesting functions. For one, it is a chance for readers to get some insight into the romantic comedy books. We love our readers and we certainly love reaching out to you in every way.

But, this blog is also a chance for us on the writing side to get to know each other. In that way, we are not unlike the readers. Unfortunately, we don't have some sort of Dorothy Parker life where we sit around a table and tell each other smashing stories about our dashing lives. I only know Micol Ostow from her books and an occassional visit to her Facebook page. The same goes for Wendy, Erin, Nancy, Jenn, Nikki, etc... It can be such a lonely profession in some ways, it's just really nice to have a face or a fact or something that connects you to someone else sitting up late at night typing away.

It is great that we are all connected by our role in the Ro-Com books. It's a reason to friend someone online or to send an email congratulating someone on a new release. But, I suspect we have much more in common than that. In my other life I write television shows which is fun because you get to work in a group. (It also tends to pay better, but I digress) Late one night some friends and I (who worked on a great Nickelodeon show called the Mystery Files of Shleby Woo) were up late talking. As we recounted certain middle school crises it became apparent that we all had basically the same experience. We were all shy, more than a little awkward and worried that we would never figure out the things that everyone else seemed to know. Then, by stroke of luck, we each happened to say something funny that made our classmates laugh. That's when it dawned on us that maybe you didn't have to be beautiful or popular or super smart to get by. Maybe you were worthwhile if you just had something to say. For all I know, the other writers in this series were both brilliant and beautiful. (They certainly have attractive pictures.) Maybe they were always popular and in. But, I bet some were in the same boat. Well, maybe not Jenn, after all she was a drum major. But, you know, maybe some of the others.

We've got the scoop!

Look for these new Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies coming soon! ♥


The Twelve Dates of Christmas
By Catherine Hapka

Lexi’s feeling a little holidazed this winter...

Lexi Michaels has been with her boyfriend of four years, Cameron Kehoe, way too long. Sure, he's a nice guy, but lately she's felt like there's a spark missing between them. And his plan of staying close to their Christmas-obsessed town of Claus Lake, Wisconsin to attend culinary school just don't mesh with Lexi's big-city dreams. She comes up with the perfect plan--get Cameron to fall for another girl, and she'd be free--guilt-free, too.

But on a chilly December morning, when Lexi sees Cameron looking awfully cozy with new girl Jaylene, she realizes that she's made the stupidest mistake of her life. Will one of Lexi's many schemes get her all she really wants for Christmas--her boyfriend back?


Sea of Love
By Jamie Ponti

When it comes to love, sometimes it’s sink or swim

Like it’s not bad enough that Darby had to leave her longtime boyfriend and NYC life to move to Florida, where her family’s started running a hotel. Now Darby has to help with the hotel’s annual Valentine’s Day "Cupid’s Ball." Things start looking up when local beach hottie Zach takes Darcy surfing and shows her around. Beach life actually starts to grow on this fish out of water.

Then--surprise! A week before the ball, Darby’s NYC ex decides to pay her a visit. Darby’s knee-deep in guilt--because she realizes that she’s head over heels for Zach!

This Valentine’s Day, is Darby ready to dive into a new relationship with the guy who’s captured her heart?


Miss Match
By Wendy Toliver

Want to snag that certain someone? You need Miss Match!

Sasha Finnegan has always had a knack for matchmaking. It all started with Barbie and Ken and grew from there. Now she runs her own match-making business under the disguise of "Miss Match." So far, most of her clients have been strangers...but when Derek Urban hires Sasha to match him up with none other than her gorgeous and popular sister Maddie, she's not sure if she's up for the challenge. Especially since Sasha's crushing on Derek herself.

***COMING IN APRIL 2009***

Love on Cue
By Catherine Hapka

When you have to sing your heart out, it’s best to know how...

Maggie Tannery is a true theater girl--at least she is now. Back in middle school, she was so self-conscious her parents actually made her try out for her school play, but amazingly, Maggie discovered that when she's on stage her shyness disappears. Everyone knows that Maggie's practically a shoo-in for the lead in this year's production of Romeo & Juliet. But Maggie's got other things on her mind besides playing Juliet--she's hoping fellow drama club member Derek O'Malley will be her Romeo on and off-stage.

But Maggie gets a major case of stage fright when she finds out that her school has decided to stage a musical instead of a play--and Maggie can't sing! Knowing that Derek's still going for the lead male role, she keeps her eyes on the prize and decides to get some voice lessons from Nico Vasquez, a drama club member in charge of mixing background music for their performances. Things get complicated when Nico starts making backstage passes at Maggie. It looks like the music man of Maggie's dreams is not who she thinks it is...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Food Glorious Food!

I just got back from a whirlwind vacation. . .and not the kind Katie Kazoo went on a few years ago, just in case you were wondering.  This vacation was a relaxing trip up to Canada for a few days with the entire Krulik clan.  (That's my family, my brother's family and my parents!  Table for 10 please!) 

Family reunions are always a gamble.  Will cousins, siblings, children and spouses all get along?  Will you want to pull each other's hair out at some point?  Well, just in case you were wondering, we all got along marvelously.   I've found the secret to family harmony when on vacation.  FOOD!

No one feeds you more than a cruise ship.  Endless buffets, 24 hour pizza stands and ice cream machines keep everyone smiling.  (Any wonder the average weigh gain on a cruise is 2 pounds PER DAY?)   And the water slides don't hurt either.

Canada is gorgeous this time of year.  And yes, even their bookstores were not safe from the Krulik family.  Children's bookshop employees throughout St. John and Halifax will be surprised to see copies of Puppy Love, Ripped at the Seams, and She's Got the Beat, as well as several Katie Kazoo Switcheroo and How I Survived Middle School books turned face out.  Now here in New York, that's a regular occurrence, what with all the writers roaming our avenues.  But up there I'm sure they're wondering what gremlins snuck into the kid lit departments to rearrange things.

Summer is drawing to a close quickly, folks.  Please remember to savor every moment left of this magical season.



Shopping list!

Here’s a complete list of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies published so far. They’re all still available in bookstores--if you don’t find them on the shelves, ask the store to order them for you. Happy reading! ♥

How Not to Spend Your Senior Year
By Cameron Dokey

Rule #1: If at all possible, don't pretend to be something you're not. Specifically, don't play dead. Trust me on this one. I did it, so I should know.
Jo O'Connor has spent her whole life moving around. When it comes to new schools, there's not a trick in the book about starting over that Jo doesn't know. But life is about to teach her a new trick: how to disappear entirely.

Rule #2: Always expect the Spanish Inquisition, no matter what anyone else does.

They have to move again. Now. This very night. Jo knows better than to argue. Her dad is the key witness in a major case against a big-time bad guy. But Jo just can't resist one last visit to the school where she's been so happy. All she wants is to say good-bye. That can't cause any problems, can it?

Rule #3: Never assume you can predict the future.

Now Jo's one last visit has landed her smack in the middle of a ghost story. Specifically, her own. By the time it's over, she'll have a whole new set of rules about what's real, what's make-believe, and -- most of all -- what's important.

Royally Jacked
By Niki Burnham

Valerie's life is pretty good. While she's not the most popular girl in school, she does have decent grades, great friends, and a potential boyfriend. All a girl could want.Then her mother announces that (1) she's gay, and (2) she's leaving Valerie's dad for her girlfriend. Not what Valerie envisioned for her future. And just when Valerie is getting over this bombshell, her father tells her he's gotten a new job as protocol chief for the royal family of some obscure European country.

Valerie's world has come unglued. She can either stay in Virginia with her mom and her ├╝ber-organized, veggie-burger-eating girlfriend, or go with her dad, leaving everything she knows for some place she's never heard of. Valerie opts to go, and quickly discovers that it was a mistake -- until she meets the prince, and all bets are off!

Ripped at the Seams
By Nancy Krulik

There's a new fashion designer in town, and "Fashion Don'ts" have never been more in style!

Sami Granger is fresh off the bus from the Midwest when some crazy person in the bus terminal warns her that life in New York City won't be what she always dreamed of. But Sami's determined to make it in an industry that is notoriously hard to break in to. Nothing she ever learned in her small town can prepare her for her first job working for a hot-shot designer: He steals her designs!

Now the only place that will hire Sami is a trashy lingerie store that she's too embarrassed to tell her old-fashioned father about. Will a visit from her father land Sami on the catwalk, or out on the sidewalk?

South Beach Sizzle
By Suzanne Weyn and Diana Gonzalez

Is Enrique trying to win her over -- or just trying to win?

Road trip! Lula Cruz has her last summer before college all mapped out. She's checking out of NYC and checking in to the sizzling hot "SoBe" scene with her best friend, Jeff.

When their day jobs get to be a drag, they spice things up by entering a local band contest. And spicy it is! Turns out that the hottie Lula keeps running into is also her band's toughest competition! Enrique might seem like the perfect guy, but as things heat up Lula has to wonder: Can she trust her biggest rival with her heart?

By Caroline Goode

Dating in high school is like reality TV. It can get pretty surreal.

Between the strict social ladder (geeks' lockers left, jocks' to the right), and silly, pointless rules (no hand-holding, no kissing, no breathing!), high school is the single worst place to find a boyfriend. And Laura Sweeney is no exception. She hasn't had a date since...well, ever.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So Laura is calling in the big guns. She needs guidance. A proven "get the guy" strategy.

Luckily she knows exactly the expert to call. He's a matchmaking mastermind who actually has the bow and arrow to prove it. Let's just call him...Cupid.

Spin Control
By Niki Burnham

Valerie Winslow never thought life in the tiny country of Schwerinborg could be so great.

But then she never thought she would be dating the prince of Schwerinborg either! Georg, a real prince, is also her first real boyfriend.

And then everything falls apart. Georg's decided they need to cool off for a while and her dad's sending her back to Virginia to visit her mom.

Valerie's bummed -- until she decides to go out with her old crush, David Anderson. David may not be a prince, but maybe he'll take her mind off of Georg -- or will he?

She’s Got the Beat
By Nancy Krulik


Miranda was the quiet type...until she moved to Austin. Home of the hippest college rock bands, Austin, Texas, is a scene. And Miranda is dying to break out of her small-town shell. So she decides to do something totally un-Miranda: learn to play the drums.

When crashing the cymbals, the girl's a wild child! Plus there's a perk to her new gig: a cute bass player. Unfortunately Mr. Bass Man isn't exactly looking for love. Can this rocker chick change his tune? Or does finding her own rhythm mean sacrificing true love?

30 Guys in 30 Days
By Micol Ostow

Practice makes not-quite-perfect

Claudia Clarkson just cut the cord from her high school love-you-forever boyfriend. Sure, she misses Drew. But with so many eligibles on her new college campus, why study ancient history?

Problem is, Claudia's lived in la-la-loveland for so long that she's completely forgotten how to meet boys -- and how to flirt.

Then her roommate proposes a solution: Meet one new guy every day for thirty days. Consider it "target practice" for when Mr. Perfect comes along. Claudia's game, but she definetely hasn't got game. In fact, Flirting 101 could be her toughest course to pass...

Animal Attraction
By Jamie Ponti

The Season of (No?) Love

Jane's life is one giant Conspiracy, with the whole world plotting to keep any chance of romance far, far away. Her social history (17 years, 0 boyfriends) is proof positive of that. But this summer, she's determined to crank it up.

Jane's snagged a gig at the local theme park as part of the star attraction -- the Mermaid Show. But then the Conspiracy strikes, and she ends up starstruck in a furry beaver costume all day long. Hard to breathe, let alone flirt....Can Jane figure a way out of the beaver suit and into the arms of her summer love?

A Novel Idea
By Aimee Friedman

Required reading has never been so hot.

Once upon a time there was a Brooklyn hipster named Norah. Unlucky in love, and short on extracurriculars for her college apps, Norah decided to start a book group. She knew the perfect locale -- a local indie bookstore with a crush-worthy cutie manning the soy latte counter.

When the first meeting arrives, Norah gets a page-turning surprise. The attendees may be bookish, but there are also a few hotties! Most noteworthy: sweet, literary James. He's like a modern Jane Austen hero.... Only, how to snag him?

Ever the romantic heroine, Norah devises a secret plan. And if it works, Norah may just find her "Happily Ever After" love story. The End.

Scary Beautiful
By Niki Burnham

Chloe Rand's life is great.

She has a serious boyfriend, she's about to start her junior year of high school, and she has a tight group of girlfriends. But when her boyfriend moves across the country and decides the long-distance-relationship thing just isn't for him, Chloe's devastated. Worse, she soon learns that when you're the prettiest girl in school and totally unattached, everyone starts treating you differently. Girls don't trust you, guys aren't sure what to make of you, and everyone assumes you're either spoiled, dumb, or both.

Chloe realizes that she's been living the last few years in a bubble and decides to do something about it. But when she falls for Billy, a total geek, will it make her situation better...or worse?

Getting to Third Date
By Kelly McClymer

Could a forgotten cutie be Katelyn's newest catch?

Katelyn Spears is a firm believer in the two-date rule. First dates are so awkward; every guy deserves a second chance. But a third? Not unless he's got serious Romeo potential.

Enter Tyler. Tyler thinks Katelyn's rule is too harsh. He dares her to go back through her Little Pink Book and grant a third date to all the two-date duds. Oh, and she should report back to the whole school via her newspaper column.

Standing by her policy (and determined to prove Tyler wrong), Katelyn makes a few phone calls. But will any of her old flames rekindle a romance?

Dancing Queen
By Erin Downing

Who needs Prince Charming if you've got a rock star?

It's official. Olivia is a superfreak. Sure, she may have landed the hottest internship at an ├╝bercool TV music station. And yes, she's chilling with A-listers in London all summer. But when she meets her very first pop star, she gets caught in a revolving glass door and falls smack down on her bum -- all in one quick motion.

Luckily, Rocker Boy thinks Liv's quirks are adorable. He takes her clubbing at the hippest spots! Liv may be clumsy on solid ground, but on the dance floor she sparkles. The summer's just begun and she's already captured the spotlight -- and a celeb's heart, too. Now if only she was sure he's the right guy...

Major Crush
By Jennifer Echols

Marching to the beat of a different drum...

Tired of the beauty-pageant circuit, Virginia Sauter tosses her tiara, pierces her nose, and auditions for the most unlikely of roles -- drum major of the high school marching band.

Virginia wins, but is forced to share the title with Drew, whose family has held the position for generations. Sure, Drew is hot, but because of his superior attitude, he and Virginia are constantly arguing. That is, until they share more than just their half-time salute...

But as the drum major's heated competition turns to sizzling romance, explosive rumors threaten everything -- including the band's success. Love seemed to be a sure hit, but Virginia and Drew may be marching straight into disaster.

By Niki Burnham

When it comes to love, how many chances do you get?

Girl meets prince. Girl loses prince. Girl gets prince back -- right? Well, that's what Valerie is hoping. She's back in Schwerinborg after spending some time with her mother in the good ol' US of A, and hopes that sparks are still flying between her and Georg. At first it looks like things are going great, until a ski trip to the Alps has Val and Georg's romance hitting some moguls. Could Val's love life be heading for a face-plant?

Love Undercover
by Johanna Edwards

True love needs no disguise.

Kaitlyn Nichols craves a little mystery and mayhem in her life. Having a top-secret agent for a father should do the trick, but unfortunately Dad is no 007, and danger is nowhere on the horizon.

But all that changes when Mr. Nichols brings home Blaine, a seventeen-year-old hottie who’s about to enter the Witness Protection Program. Suddenly Kaitlyn’s in the perilous position of protecting the cutest guy she’s ever met!

When Dad enrolls Blaine in her high school, it’s up to Kait to detect the girls who want him... and the guys who want to kill him. Meanwhile, Kait’s about to discover that there’s one thing she can’t protect--her heart...

Prom Crashers
By Erin Downing

Will you go to the proms with me?

It was love at first sight for Emily and Ethan. But then Em lost his number, and with it, lost all hope of finding a real boyfriend before the end of senior year. All she knows about Ethan is his first name, that he has a super-cute smile, and the fact that he’s going to a prom this month. Which high school? That’s anyone’s guess...

Em enlists the help of her three best friends, who quickly score some formalwear and hail a limo. Together, Emily, Charlie, Max, and Sid vow to find Ethan, to find a cure for senioritis, and most importantly, to find true love--one hilarious prom night at a time.

Gettin' Lucky
By Micol Ostow

Looking for love in Las Vegas...

Cass Parker is a big believer in luck, fate, and all things karmic. So she’s devastated when she walks in on her supposed best friend macking with Jesse, the guy she’s in total "like" with. Talk about bad karma. Vegas is just full of cheaters, she concludes, even the locals.

But Cass refuses to sulk. She finds new friends, and even gets invited to join their weekly poker night--totally casual and not-for-profit, of course. They seem pretty chill, and Cass definitely needs to get out more. So after consulting her horoscope, she gets in the game.

But when Jesse turns up for a final showdown, it turns out that Cass isn’t so good at bluffing--not when it comes to matters of the heart...

The Boys Next Door
by Jennifer Echols

Cute, available, and one cabin over.

Lori lives for summertime at her family's lake house. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties in the cabin next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys.

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard...

In the Stars
By Stacia Deutsch & Rhody Cohon

Which do you follow: your head or your heart?

When Sylvie loses the diamond from her late mother’s ring, her best friend Cherise insists it’s a sign that love is about to enter Sylvie’s life. Yeah, right. Sylvie doesn’t believe in signs--she only star gazes through her telescope. But she also knows Cherise won’t drop it, so to humor her Sylvie agrees to date the next boy who asks.Sure enough, a new guy in school appears and Sylvie’s the object of his affection. Maybe Cherise was right after all? But when the sparks don’t fly and Cherise thinks she’s just scared, Sylvie ends up confiding in an old friend. Could finding the perfect guy be as rare as catching a shooting star?

Crush du Jour
By Micol Ostow

When a girl bites off more than she can chew...

Laine barely has enough time for herself, much less for romance. But she's always hungry for more projects--so she decides to start up a cooking class at her local community center. As it turns out, Seth, the guy co-teaching the class with her, is not just cute, but downright delicious!

When Seth offers her a waitress job at his family's restaurant, Hype, Laine can't resist. Just as Seth finally warms up to Laine, Laine finds out that Callie, another waitress at Hype, is cooking up a plan to steal Seth for herself. But tensions really reach their boiling point when Laine's restaurant critic mother writes a scathing review--of Hype! Will Laine have to put love on the back burner again?

The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren
By Wendy Toliver

Geeky to gorgeous in sixty seconds...

Roxy’s about to turn sixteen, but life isn’t so sweet. As a band geek, Roxy can barely get the cute guys to notice her, much less go out with her. Then, on her birthday, Roxy is transformed into a siren: seductively beautiful with the power to control all men. She though sirens were an ancient myth, but suddenly Roxy can get any guy she wants with just a few notes on her flute.

There are only two rules: don’t tell anyone about being a siren, and don’t fall in love. When she starts dating Zach, the guy everybody’s crushing on, Roxy realizes she could get used to this siren thing...but how can she keep herself from falling in love?

Love, Hollywood Style
By P. J. Ruditis

True love doesn't always follow a script...

Tracy Vance’s love life is a total flop. Sure, she has a cool job as a tour guide at a real Hollywood movie studio, but when it comes to her personal life, she can barely get her crush, Connor, to notice her.

Then Tracy gets a brilliant idea: Why not win Connor’s heart with some help from the big screen? Taking her cues from her favorite chick flicks, Tracy puts "Operation Ro Com" into action, and it actuallyseems to work!

But Tracy soon realizes that getting the leading man isn’t the same as keeping him. Maybe things never work out like they do in the movies--or do they?

Something Borrowed
By Catherine Hapka

She’s ready to catch the bouquet, not steal the guy!

When Ava gets dumped by her boyfriend, she’s pretty upset. He wasn’t the love of her life of anything, but with her sister’s wedding--a.k.a. the social event of the season--just two weeks away, Ava’s got to save face by finding someone cute and fun to bring as her date.

With the clock ticking and no dates in sight, Ava asks her best friend if she can "borrow" her boyfriend, Jason, for the night. Ava’s never been a big Jason fan, but he’ll look great in a tux and at least she’ll have someone to dance with. But it doesn’t take long for Ava to realize she’s got him all wrong...

What do you do when Mr. Right is wrapped up in a package that belongs to your best friend?

Party Games
By Whitney Lyles

If only life were one big party...

Sara would be looking forward to her sixteenth birthday, but thanks to her mom’s party planning business, she’s way too wrapped up with someone else’s: spoiled socialite Dakota London‘s. Sara would much rather spend her summer hanging out with Ian, an up-and-coming guitar player and her new crush. But Sara is so busy catering to Dakota’s every wacky whim, she’s got no time to spend with him.

And then, the icing on the cake: Dakota wants Ian to be her date for the big bash! Sara can’t believe the favor she’s been asked, especially because she thinks she’s fallen for Ian. Will this birthday end up more bitter than sweet?

Puppy Love
By Nancy Krulik

Romance can be ruff...

Alana loves her dog-walking job, but it blows her mind to see how pampered these pooches are. Her newest clients actually feed steak to their prized poodle and treat her to massages at a doggie spa! Alana can’t make heads or tails of why anyone would do this--or why she seems to be confiding her frustrations in hunky handyman Connor, and not her own boyfriend, Sammy.

When Sammy starts keeping an awfully tight leash on her, Alana wonders whether Connor might be a better match. But Alana's puppy love comes to a screeching halt when she learns that Connor isn’t who she thought he was. Is Alana barking up the wrong tree with him, too?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sneak a peek at PUPPY LOVE in stores now!

Click on the book cover to read the first chapter!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back 2 School

I'm sure many of you have already headed back to school, but around here, kids don't start till next week. So that leaves a few more days to celebrate the last days of summer. We kicked it off with a neighborhood potluck BBQ in our backyard. I think there were about 75 people here! This is a picture of Brenda Hattingh, a professional party entertainer from LA, who was so kind to do magic and balloon critters, swords and crowns for all the kiddos. She was amazing! We played football and volleyball and sampled all the awesome food people brought, from Snickers apple salad to 7-layer dip and chips.

Last weekend, we had the balloon festival and the Xterra race where I live. The Xterra is a mountain triathlon that consists of swimming in the lake, biking up a mountain, and running up and down a mountain. Eventually, everybody ends up at Snowbasin resort to celebrate, which, as you might possibly recall, is where the 2002 Olympics downhill races were held. We had great weather this year (last year was too rainy for the balloons) and a great turn-out. My brother-in-law was in the race and did really well! He trained really hard and I was so proud of him. (He's the one in white.)
We've also been swimming a couple of times and went school supply and clothes shopping. I even got myself a little something--a long-sleeved T-shirt hoodie and some ballet flats.
What do you like to do on those last few days of summer vacation?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Caroline Here! (okay, John)

Sorry to all that I haven't posted much here. Been dealing with some very serious health crises last few months: our beloved niece, Katie, is dying of melanoma at the age of 28. She got engaged a few months ago, and we thought she might live long enough to marry -- but it's a matter of days now. My 85-year-old mom fell down a flight of stairs and broke her neck, but she is slowly recovering. She may even go home this week after months in hospitals and convalescence. Of course, they live in other states.

On happier news, both my kids are in college now! Sarah is a senior at Arizona State and Eric is a freshmen at University of Arizona. They are such great kids, although the impending death of their cousin has been rough on them, too. Ah, I can't seem to get away from that for the moment.

I've always felt funny in this blog, because A) I'm male, and B) CUPIDITY was the last book I wrote in this genre or for Simon and Schuster (although I have written 50 books for S&S under my real name, John Vornholt). I like being Caroline Goode, and I actually tried for decades, on and off, to to sell a romance novel. I'm thrilled that I succeeded at least once! Romance is still proving difficult work for a male. Why aren't there YA romance novels for boys? I should invent that genre.

I promise to post more often, with good news next time. I haven't mentioned our great cruise of the Mediterranean, where we saw our daughter in Florence. I have theater stuff to talk about, and we should know in a few months about CUPIDITY the movie. If anybody wants to come to Tucson in late September, I'm on the faculty of a great writers' conference that draws lots of editors and agents, as well as writers:

Wrangling with Writing, given by the Society of Southwestern Writers (SSA)
September 27-28
Holiday Inn, Palo Verde
4550 S. Palo Verde Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85715


Best to all,

John (okay, Caroline)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

(Cyber) Party time!

With two books due within the next two months, this tried-and-true city writer has made her way to the middle of nowhere. I'm bunkered down at a farmhouse in upstate NY, with nothing to interfere with my tappity-tapping other than the babbling brook (well, pond, really) outside my window.
If it sounds like heaven, just remind yourself that being under deadline kinda puts the sting right back into things. :)
Even still, I love it here. Who knew communing with nature would be my thing? I woke this week to find a groundhog on our front porch. A groundhog! He was way too busy giving me the hairy eyeball to see his shadow, but this suburban girl was enthralled. Only slightly less so than when N discovered a toad on the very same porch last night...and the two of us together discovered that Miss Jones is, apparently, less of a fan of toads than we are (what? She never read Arnold Lobel?)

But the real excitement comes from all of the pre-planning we've been doing for the POPULAR VOTE release in September! Just last night N and I designed a promotional bookmark, which is going to look just like the funky picture you see above, with the pub info on the back. Cute, right?

Well, believe it or not, one can be yours, if you drop by my livejournal blog (micolz.livejournal.com) during the week of Sept 8-13th for the very officially official POPULAR VOTE CYBER-LAUNCH PARTY! All week long, I'll be running q&a's with some of your favorite children's and YA authors, including Ro Com faves PJ Ruditis and Nancy Krulik, and more!

We'll have giveaways every day at random: 1 copy and 1 bookmark of POPULAR VOTE, plus a special prize from the visiting author of the day. They'll be answering fun questions about their own (mis)adventures in popularity, student government, and letting you know which causes rock *their* vote.

I think Erin Bright would approve.

Stay tuned for a final author line-up and schedule, and if you're an author who'd like to be involved, just shoot me an email (or comment here and I'll get in touch with you).

I'm looking forward to it!
Vote for Erin! Vote for POPULAR VOTE!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If anyone is in the Adirondacks area...

I will be reading and signing at THE BOOKSTORE PLUS in LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK this FRIDAY, the 15th, at 4 p.m.

Lake Placid is where I spent every summer growing up, so it's a very special place for me to return to. I'm excited about the event, and I'm equally excited about visiting my favorite old spots-- like the bookstore in town, where I, funnily enough, discovered so many amazing teen books, and the ice cream parlor overlooking the lake, and the little back roads I used to race down and daydream along.

Lake Placid is a one-of-a-kind place, so if you're in the area, drop by, and of course, drop by The Bookstore Plus!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just in time for band camp...

It's band camp season! Ah, twenty hours a week on a football field in the hot summer sun...the tantalizing watered-down Gatorade...the gnats. August is also the anniversary of the publication of Major Crush. This book is now in its fifth printing, thanks to you. I really appreciate your support!

To celebrate, I'm running a contest. Here's a pic of my brother and me wearing the Worst Band Uniform Ever. All you have to do is e-mail me at echolsjenn@yahoo.com with a description of an even worse band uniform. It can be your own uniform, or the uniform of the marching band across town that you have always felt a little sorry for. The first five entries receive a copy of Major Crush. I'm holding out hope there is a band uniform in the world worse than mine. I'm sure it involves sequins. On polyester!

Speaking of which, the Drum Corps International championships were held last night and Phantom Regiment won, which is really nice because they came in second last year. DCI is an organization of super-bands for ages 14 to 21 that practice and compete all summer. I wanted desperately to join when I was in high school, but they only take brass and percussion, and I was a woodwind player. However, Barbara Caridad Ferrer was a member, and she has written a wonderful drum corps novel called So She Dances coming out in 2010, so we can all live vicariously that way. I also have a cousin in Alabama's corps, Spirit, but I can't tell you his name. My goals as a YA writer have always been (1) to write the best books I can, and (2) to avoid embarrassing my teenage relatives.

And we can live vicariously if the finals are on TV again this year. Last year I couldn't find a TV listing at all. Then Barbara, Vicki, Cathy, and Marley all individually e-mailed me to say they were watching it right then on ESPN2. Of course, I didn't check my e-mail until the next morning, twelve hours too late. Next time pick up the phone, people!!! If I figure out when it's on, I'll post the listing here and we can all watch. Though looking around the DCI site, I don't see any really bad uniforms this year. Back in the day I saw some crazy outfits, like the U.S. military meets Hello Kitty. I'm talking to you, Star of Indiana.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Plans, Interrupted

I must apologize for my lack of posting in July. I knew July was going to be crazy (technically, the last week of June and the entire month of July). My teaching job was extra busy, and I not only tutored two students in reading for a summer clinic, but also took on a private student for the summer. Tutoring kids with dyslexia is fun and worthwhile. It is also creatively demanding (we have a very set curriculum...sort of: 6 section per session, 3 for decoding and 3 for encoding, that must be made interesting and fun). I also wrote two proposals and am nearing completion of a screenplay.

Of course, my daughter decided to come visit last week (I was in the home stretch of the long hard month, but tired and still a little behind). I might have been cranky with the inconvenient timing of her visit, except that something happened to remind me that life is not about plans, or smooth sailing. It is about adjusting to what the day holds, and finding a way to take joy wherever you can. So, just after my daughter arrived from San Francisco for her first visit home in two years, this happened:

In case the picture is too small to see, this is what used to be the outside wall of my mud porch. The guys came to fix the floor, which was rotted from some roof leakage. A day and a half job, tops. Until they saw the extent of the rot and had to rip out the floor, the joists, the beams...they're still not quite finished.

This is how it looked Friday (from the inside):

Work will be done today (or tomorrow...I hope). I'll have a brand new, non-rotted mudporch (for the bargain price of 3x what I was expecting to pay for the new floor). It will need my manual labor to give it: finished flooring, wall insulation, wallboard, paint and shelving.

When they took the mudporch down to...well, mud and three walls, I gave up on trying to be perfect for my hectic last week of July. I did my best. I spent time with my family (I was not the family champ of either Wii Sports or Big Brain Academy, but I still had fun). I waved buh-bye to the plan, and laughed about it (beats the heck out of crying).

When we took our eldest child back to the airport and sent her home, we still did not have a wall between the garage and the mudporch. But we knew we would, sooner or later.

And you know what? I've been struggling with revisions on a book, and I realized that -- just like my mud porch -- sometimes you need to bring the rotted floor down to the foundation, get rid of the rotted wall and support beams, and rebuild from scratch.

I can bounce with security on my new mud porch floor now. Sure, it still needs some paint and finishing, but the room itself is now, and the roof leaks have been discovered and will be fixed so they can't do any more silent damage.

Pretty soon I hope to be able to say the same about the book revisions!


Friday, August 01, 2008

One down, one to go...

This week, I turned in the final revision for one of the books I've been writing over the past few months. I also have a sneak peek at the cover, which I've posted at my website:
Isn't it cute?? This book is intended for a slightly younger audience than my romantic comedies (it will be published by Scholastic), and I've had so much fun writing it. The most notable difference between a "Ro Com" and this "Candy Apple"? My main characters can't kiss. Bummer.

Unlike Aimee, however, there's no rest for the weary (I am seriously pooped) - my second book of the summer (my next Romantic Comedy for Simon Pulse!) is due on September 8, and I still have about 80 pages to go. I've been sort of flip-flopping between my two manuscripts all summer, and finally wrapped the first one up. So now - after a little rock exploration (see picture) - I can put all my energy into my next Ro Com (tentatively titled "Drive Me Crazy"...but don't hold me to that). Hopefully next time you hear from me, I'll be most of the way done with that book and maybe I'll even have a cover to share!

I hope you're all enjoying your summers. PS: Make sure you check out the trailer for my friend David Levithan's book's movie trailer - Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. How exciting! www.myspace.com/trailerpark