Shameless Promotion

Catch and Kill and The Morning Show

If you find yourself utterly demotivated and remembering sad, quiet stories, may I suggest a double dose of just desserts with Catch and Kill and The Morning Show. Not only do both feature journalists working hard, but they also offer solid fuck yous to corrupt establishments that have gagged victims and those shepherding their important stories to the public.

Catch and Kill is a formidable account of a network’s not airing a story about a notorious predator’s (I won’t mention his name because he sucks) reign of terror. The Morning Show stars Jennifer Aniston, who, in my opinion, makes everything better.

But seriously…first I raced through Catch and Kill, appreciating its sober tone as Ronan Farrow details his experience of reporting a story that would have put me in the hospital in the first week. I have his other “foreign policy” book buried under other such books (three issues of Vanity Fair).

Over the last thirty years, I’ve read shelves of books about sexual assault and I was expecting something different from Catch and Kill, i.e. a bigger focus on the victims individual stories. Then I realized that these stories were not totally his to tell. In Farrow’s writing, there is this respectful space between victim and journalist, where he reports what is there, what is told, but he doesn’t assume the victim’s story or take it on as his. His story is about the behind the scenes of bringing forward his bombshell findings. He reveals the sick culture where he worked and the levels of treachery those above him fought to cover up.

While Catch and Kill may be a trigger for some, for me, it wasn’t. I admire journalists even more, especially the work that goes into writing the truth–and the danger. If you can’t tell your story, there are those who will go to ugly places with you and on your behalf.

On a sudsier note, there is little ugliness in The Morning Show, except for what beloved co-anchor Steve Carrell does to more than one accuser. Obviously, his role is inspired by a real anchor who was fired for bad behavior (that real anchor also sucks). “Asleep at the wheel” Jennifer Aniston is left co-anchorless and the male vultures (including the sociopathic Billy Crudup with his evil, twinkly eyes) want to pick her apart and leave her 50-something bones on the curb. We know from Friends that Jen does tantrum like no other. And so does Reese Witherspoon, whose outrage over lack of truth will buoy viewers.

While I’m only done with three episodes, I already know The Morning Show is the female empowerment pill that I need. It–along with Catch and Kill–gives me hope that the stories will come out, the good will win, the bad will go away (lose all their money and go directly to jail), and there will be no more coworkers who squeeze our shoulders and say, “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t touch you because of Anita Hill, right?” or much worse and lame.

I’d like to put aside every decade I spent looking over my shoulder and be excited for a healthier environment for everyone. Everyone. A few obvious things would have to happen first and I’ll give you three guesses as to what I’m thinking.

Here’s hoping you find inspiration in the books or shows you’re checking out these days.

Shameless Promotion

Important Starspotting Update

Let me talk about great books I’m reading. And by books, I mean stars I’m spotting in the neighborhood. Someone needs to see them. If you think about it, without us, celebrity dies. We can’t have that happen so I will carry my fan flag high.

December 18, 2018. 5:30 pm. Upper West Side. 

I happened to be in a building and who gets on the elevator but Peter Riegert, the pickle man himself! If you haven’t already, rent Crossing Delancey immediately and etch it in your brain. Peter (I can call him Peter) is also the judge or bitchy lawyer on every single crime show. “Brrr, it’s getting cold,” he said to me that night. “Hahahahaha!” I said a little too loudly. But then someone interrupted our intimate conversation, apparently a friend of Peter. Whatever! I had to move on…

January 4, 2019: Noonish. Chelsea

Headed to Duane Reade for more Swiffer items, I saw, not for the first time, a very tall Ken Paves, hair guru to the stars, with lush gold locks walking his dog. And then I got home, Googled him, and realized it wasn’t really Ken. Of course, my public statement is that I totally saw him.

January 6, 2019: 3pm. Midtown

Sam and I went to see The Cher Show (so much fun). Not only do you get one Cher, but three dynamite Chers. Hello, Stephanie Block! Do you remember how you liked my gushing Tweet? And so did Jarrod Spector, who played Sonny (who also played Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway–you see how I wind up in celebrity rabbit holes). During intermission, I heard this dude on the phone saying things only a son of Cher (Jesus?) would say. I turned and confirmed the sighting of Chaz and lovingly put him in my little notebook of stars. It was hard for me to snap out of it that day.

January 19, 2019: Afternoon. Chelsea

I was coming from Duane Reade, having purchased the orange Palmolive dishwashing liquid, and crossing 19th street when I saw a white-haired man in gym clothing (lycra). I knew that face so I stared, hard. It was Dan Abrams: Author of must-read Lincoln’s Last Trial and famous legal analyst on TV!  He passed me and I think he might have been scared–of me or Barry’s Boot Camp. Truth be told, he has breezed by me before in the same fashion. As if we are strangers.

I deserve a lot of applause because I see a celebrity every week, and not just by following her/him on Twitter. Do I talk about it endlessly? Not even once (except to three people). I am one of those fans who dares not interrupt the celebrity space by conversing naturally. Don’t mind me hiding in the bushes as Lady Gaga walks by. Sure, these are normal people, and I realize we all go through the indignity of colonoscopy prep, but celebrities are my one weakness. Along with many other things.

More updates to come because the stars can’t help but cross my path. Especially when I go looking for them.

 

 

 

Romantic Life Lessons, Shameless Promotion

Weekend at Williams College

I’m a firm believer that leaving the house is a good thing. Two weeks ago, at Williams College, I sp18033806_1841392116120242_235358556887425489_noke about my employer’s global marketing program at a conference about romance. Following this, I signed my book at Water Street Books, a lovely bookstore that is too friendly to be your typical college bookstore. Where were the shotglasses and school banners? Maybe they were there, but I was too focused on the wall to wall books.

Given my new fearless status when it comes to travel, this whole trip was a labor of love: hopping on a train and getting into a car with like-minded romance-aholics. I had the pleasure of talking with stars of the genre: Eloisa James, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Sonali Dev who writes Bollywood in a romance novel, Katy Regnery, Radclyffe of Bold Strokes Books, Alison Case who is a professor at Williams (and fellow Oberlin alumna!) to name a few. We had a blast, and not because of the constant Dunkin’ Donuts outside the lecture hall.

And now I’m packing for the RT conference in Atlanta. This is my first time going. Except, of course, I have three emergency edits to do. Is it me or are work and Crazy Life Events falling from the sky all at once? Well, this just means it’s time for chocolate and dessert.

 

Romantic Life Lessons, Shameless Promotion

It’s Happening: My 30th High School Reunion

mulletIn three weeks, groan, I’m attending my high school reunion. Let me muster the energy to drag my fabulous self to what can only be an unnecessary trip down memory lane. I am so over that.

Lie, lie, lie! I’m not even close to being over it! This eagerness must be palpable because somehow, I wound up on the planning committee and–wait for it–amassing enough 80s music to last 3 hours. I love the build-up, the preparations–emotional and wardrobial (that’s a word)–and the blinding nostalgia. How could you not want to re-live your painful adolescence?

In the spirit of reunions, let me revisit my reunions. Each one has a flavor.

My 5th Reunion: Um, I don’t attend this one because life is too traumatizing. See chapter 4 of my book, Romance Is My Day Job. I call this flavor “gum stain on the subway platform” because it is just that icky.

The 10th: It takes me months to pick out this purple gauzy dress and chunky patent leather heels. The hair is everywhere. Classmates are marrying and having babies, like my best friend Nici. Isn’t 27 too young for this? I breathe into paper bags over the idea that I could embark on such adult rites of passage. My recollections of this reunion are vague because I am hyper-focused on an impending first date with some dude in NYC, the dude responsible for my being in NYC. An important domino in my life. Would I be in New York if it weren’t for this date? Probably not. Flavor: Tiramisu because it is the first time I try the dessert in New York.

The 15th: Ugh, 32. That’s almost as old as Jesus before he died and I have done nothing too important. IMe, Nici, Kirsten do learn that my classmates are wildly interesting, but I eat too many strawberries (not sure what this means and yet it is my lame excuse for fleeing Connecticut before the real festivities). Jesus would not have done this. Reunion flavor: Strawberry Agita.

My 20th: I’m 37! Though I could be the only single one left, I am…okay. Am I? Oh God. Why did I cut my hair short? Why!?? Despite those pesky feelings of low self-worth,  sleek black pants and a raincoat hide a whole lot of sh&*t. I’m grateful, at least, that I have done nothing terrible ever. Job, roof over my head, loved ones, no longer living off credit cards: not too shabby. Flavor: One scoop of vanilla because I’m blessed.

My 25th: I’m MARRIED. Look at my husband! You all know him! He’s cool! I’m not a dork anymore! Married, married, married. Oh wait, I missed all the crazy after-hours shenanigans because I’m married married married. Okay, I’m still a dork*. Flavor: Two scoops of matching flavors, whatever he wants.

My 30th: Married, married, married. This means I have another set of eyes and sharp senses to take in the entire event: my classmates, my teachers, the beautiful school itself, etc. I will enjoy this reunion and stay up all night**. Class of 1986, I’m ready. Beware of the girl who watches and records everything. She might write about it someday. Just kidding, sort of. But seriously, flavor: Whatever keeps us dancing.

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*but married

**to catch any shenanigans. The fact that I use the word “shenanigans” only proves my dorkiness.

Shameless Promotion

What I Am Reading and Eating

FullSizeRenderFriends and Romans, I’m in that state of reading five books at the same time. See picture. 1. The two Classics oriented ones I picked up because I’m doing secret research. It’s like I’m there with Caesar about to get stabbed by my peers. And Seneca, he’s not the frozen apple juice enriched with vitamin C or the small town in Upstate New York. He’s that famous stoic or that famous fake-stoic placating Nero — or Dr. Phil. I’m not sure, but I can’t put these books down! 2. Because I read the gossips, I know that Meryl Streep sent Equal Means Equal to everyone in Congress, so I have to read it, too, because she’s Meryl and it’s about time I became a feminist. 3. As much as I try not to love Elizabeth Gilbert — because I have petty moments of resentment of her hang-out time with Oprah, travels, selfie-skills, and overall enlightenment — I am officially coming out as loving her. Once more, I’ve bought her in hardcover at an actual store. 4. On the romance side, I’m deficient in my Sherry Thomas reading. This writer is gifted–tells a beautiful, layered story–and is a really good speaker.

My books, along with my day job, have kept me out of the blogosphere. I can only deal with so many words a day.

What I’m eating: biscuits from Cafeteria (restaurant featured on Sex and the City). They make good coffee too. I secretly order them when husband is out. I throw away all evidence of gorging — the bags, the takeout Tupperware — so he has no idea. Not to worry. After a year of sloth, I’m running again. The idea of replacing my wardrobe scared me into it.

Hope you are all experiencing page-turning reading and unnecessary-yet-delicious calories. We’re in this together.

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Summer Romance Recap

10400005_10153415799199449_3601979989100117259_nWith this week’s heatwave, I’m pretending the summer is over. What did I do? Here is a summary:

June, hmmmm. Okay, let’s skip to July, my birthday month. My hubby and I went to Washington, DC, where I mostly sat around, ate Reuben sandwiches, and/or visited landmarks while he worked. The city was positively steamy, which I tried to forget as we walked around the Capitol–breathtaking even with the construction. We passed buildings, fantasizing about congresspeople toiling late into the night for the good of America. While alone, I went to H&M in Union Station to buy cool new shorts, then showed them off at the Stamp museum. Do I know how to have fun or what?

We came home to celebrate my 47th birthday. Soon after this came RWA, where I got to meet some amazing authors, including a couple I’ve long admired: Deborah Blake and Karen Booth! The romance didn’t end there since NPR published its top 100 romances. Being mildly OCD (self-diagnosed), I decided that I needed to read (and re-read) the entire list. This week, I’m beginning with Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. I’m intrigued to find out what makes the hero not quite a husband. She doesn’t have to do his laundry? In addition to this one, I’m finally reading To Kill a Mockingbird since I’ve pretended all these years to have read it. So far, so good. Jem and Scout are a hoot!

Perhaps the last hurrah of my summer, aside from two upcoming conferences, is that I attended a reunion (similar to the one in my book) where I got to see the wonderful people in my family. I’m very blessed. Now it’s time for me to edit three books by Monday with no rest to watch Bachelor in Paradise*. Please pray for me.

*Why did I remind myself that this exists?

 

Shameless Promotion

A Romance Is My Day Job Giveaway!

coverhuhHey, don’t you want to start tax week right? Here’s how: I’m giving away 10 autographed paperback copies of my book, Romance Is My Day Job. Not just 3 or 7, but 10–and I may even sign them with sparkly pen. Recipients will be chosen at random and it is open internationally. All you have to do is post a comment from now until 5pm ET on 4/17/15 and you may be chosen to receive one of these copies. Please bear in mind that all comments must be approved so they may not appear immediately.

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing this true love story with readers!