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Meg has published almost forty novels for younger readers as well as adults, including The Princess Diaries series (on which two hit feature films by Disney were based), The Mediator series, and the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU series (on which the television series, Missing, currently being broadcast Saturday nights on the Lifetime network, is based).
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26. 9/11/2001

So, every time I don’t re-post this entry about what it was like on 9/11 in downtown Manhattan for average New Yorkers (well, me, my husband – who worked across the street from the World Trade Center – and our friends – including our friends who had kids in schools next to the Trade Center), I get messages asking why I didn’t post it.

Then every time I do post it, I get (a very few) messages from people asking why I can’t just “forget it” because it was a very painful period in our nation’s history. I understand both points of view.

However, some teachers have let me know that this post has become part of their classroom 9/11 curriculum, so the entry below is a slightly updated version. Whether you want to read it or not, do watch this amazing video (posted below) and read my remarks at the very end of this (long) post about the dangers of “forgetting.”

BOATLIFT, an Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience, is narrated by Tom Hanks and is only 11 minutes long, and totally worth every second (you will cry, but in a good way). This video kind of continues where my 9/11 story leaves off. It describes the largest emergency evacuation in American history (500,000 people) by boat, which was on 9/11, and included some of the people who ended up in my apartment. It was conducted partly by average boat owners (who knew?)! This video is about those boats and their captains. It will give you a vivid picture of what it was like that day in downtown Manhattan, but it will also make you feel happy. (So will what’s posted below it, I hope.)

Click here to view the embedded video.

Meg’s 9/11 Diary

9/11/2001 was one of those rare days where sloth was rewarded. I know several people who are still alive today because they were late to work that morning, or stopped to get coffee to help them feel a little less groggy.

I got woken up in my apartment on 12th Street and 4th Avenue by a phone call from my friend Jen.

“Look out your window,” Jen said.

That is when I saw the smoke from the first plane.

I called my husband’s office first thing. I couldn’t see his building from our apartment, but I could see the building ACROSS from his, which was the Trade Center, and black smoke was billowing out of it.

“What was happening?” I wondered.

Jen didn’t know. No one knew.

Was he all right? I knew he worked on a really high floor, and it looked as if whatever had happened to that tower across from his, it had to be happening right in front of his office window.

I couldn’t get through to him. I couldn’t make any outgoing calls from my phone that day. For some reason, people could call me, but I couldn’t call anyone else.

It turned out this was due to the massive volume of calls going on in my part of the city that day.

But I didn’t know that then.

Sirens started up. It was the engine from the firehouse across the street from my apartment building. It was a very small firehouse. All the guys used to sit outside it on folding chairs on nice days, joshing with the neighbors who were walking their dogs, and with my doormen. The old ladies on my street always brought them cookies.

9/11/01 was a very, very nice day. The sky was a very pure blue and it was warm outside.

Now all the firemen from the station across from my apartment building were rushing out to the fire downtown.

Every last one of them would be dead in an hour. But none of us knew that then.

I turned on New York 1, the local news channel for New York City. Pat Kiernan, my favorite newscaster, was saying that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Weird, I thought. Was the pilot drunk? How could someone not see a building that big, and run into it with a plane?

It was right then that Luz, my housekeeper, showed up. I’d forgotten it was Tuesday, the day she comes to clean. When she saw what I was watching, she looked worried.

“I just dropped my son off at his college,” she said. “It’s right next to the World Trade Center.”

“My husband works across the street from the World Trade Center,” I said.

“Is he all right?” Luz wanted to know. “What’s happening down there?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t reach him.”

Luz tried to call her son on his cell phone. She, too, could not get through.

We didn’t know that our cell servers used towers that were located on top of the World Trade Center, and they all had stopped working.

We both stood there staring at the TV, not really knowing what to do. It was as we were watching that something weird happened on the TV, right before our eyes: the OTHER tower — the one that hadn’t been hit — suddenly exploded.

I thought maybe one of the helicopters that was filming the disaster had gotten too close.

But Luz said, “No. A plane hit it. I saw it. That was a plane.”

I hadn’t seen a plane. I said, “No. No, how could that be? There can’t be TWO drunk pilots.”

“You don’t understand,” Luz said. “They’re doing this on purpose.”

“No,” I said. “Of course they aren’t. Who would do that?”

That’s when Pat Kiernan, on the TV, said, “Oh, my God.”

It’s weird to hear a newscaster say, “Oh, my God.” Especially Pat. He is always very professional.

Also, Pat’s voice cracked when he said it. Like he was about to cry.

But newscasters don’t cry.

“Another plane has hit the World Trade Center,” Pat said. “It looks as if another plane — a commercial jet — has hit the World Trade Center. And we are getting reports that a plane has just hit the Pentagon.”

That’s when I grabbed Luz. And Luz grabbed me. We both started to cry. We sat on the couch in my living room, hugging each other, and crying as we watched what was happening on TV, which was what was happening a dozen blocks from where we sat, where both the people we loved were.

We could see things flying out of the burning buildings. Pat said that those things were people.

That’s when my phone rang. I grabbed it, but it wasn’t my husband. It was his mother. Where was he? she wanted to know. Was he all right?

I said I didn’t know. I said I was trying to keep the line clear, in case he called. She said she understood but to call her as soon as I heard anything, and hung up.

Then the phone rang again. It was my husband’s sister-in-law. Then it rang again. It was MY mother.

The phone rang all morning. It was never my husband. It was always family or friends, wondering if he was all right.

“I don’t know,” I kept telling them. “I don’t know.”

Luz went up to the roof of my building to see if she could see anything more from there than what they were showing on New York 1. While she was gone, I went into my bedroom to get dressed (I was still wearing my pajamas).

All I could think, as I looked into my closet, trying to figure out what to wear, was that my husband was probably dead. I didn’t see how anybody could be down in that part of Manhattan and still be alive. All I could see were things falling —and people jumping — out of those buildings. Anyone on the streets down below would have to be killed by all of that.

I remember exactly what I put on that day: olive green capris and a black T-shirt, with my black Steve Madden slides. I remember thinking, “This will be my Identifying My Dead Husband’s Body outfit. I will never, ever wear it again after this day.”

I knew this because when I worked at the dorm at NYU, we had quite a few students kill themselves, in various ways. Every time a body was discovered, it was so horrible. All the people involved in the discovery could never wear the same clothes we wore that day again, because of the memory.

Luz came back down from the roof, very excited. No, she hadn’t seen if the buildings in which my husband and her son were in were all right. But she’d seen thousands — THOUSANDS — of people coming down 4th Avenue, the busy street I lived off of at the time. 4th Avenue is always crazy crowded with honking cars, buses, taxis, bike messengers, you name it.

Not today. Today all the cars and buses were gone, and the entire avenue was crowded with people.

“Walking,” Luz said. “They’re WALKING DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET.”

I ran to look out the window. Luz was right. Instead of the constant stream of cars I’d gotten used to seeing outside our living room, I saw wall to wall people. They had taken over the street. They were coming from the Battery, where the Trade Center is located, shoulder to shoulder, ten deep in the middle of the road, like a parade or a rally. There were tens of thousands of them.

There were men in business suits, and some in khakis. There were women in skirts and dresses, walking barefoot or in shredded pantyhose, holding their shoes because their high heels hurt too much and they hadn’t had time to grab their commuter running shoes. I saw the ladies who worked in the manicure shop across the street from my building running outside with the flip flops they put on their customers’ feet when they’ve had a pedicure (the flip flops the staff always make sure they get back before you leave).

But today, the staff was giving the flip flops to the women who were barefoot. They were giving away the flip flops.

That’s when I got REALLY freaked out.

The manicurists weren’t the only ones trying to help. The men who worked in the deli on the corner were running outside with bottles of water to give to the hot, thirsty marchers. New York City deli owners, GIVING water away. Usually they charged $2.

It was like the world had turned upside down.

“They have to be in there,” Luz said, about her son and my husband, pointing to the crowd. “They’re walking with them, and that’s what’s taking so long.”

Then Luz ran downstairs to see if anyone in the crowd was coming from the same college her son went to, anyone who might have seen him.

I was afraid to leave my apartment, though, because I thought my husband might try to call. Not knowing what else to do, I logged onto the computer. My email was still working, even if the phones weren’t. I emailed my husband: WHERE ARE YOU?

No reply.

A friend from Indiana had emailed to ask if there was anything she could do. At the time, the only thing I could think of was, “Give blood.”

My friend, and everyone she knew, gave blood that day. So many people gave blood that there were lines around the corner to give it.

After a month, a lot of that surplus blood had to be destroyed, because they didn’t have room to store it all. And there turned out to be no use for it, anyway. There were few survivors to give blood to.

My friend Jen, the one who’d woken me up, e’d me from her job at NYU. Fred (out of respect for this person’s desire for anonymity, I have changed his name here), one of Jen’s employees, and also a volunteer EMT, had jumped on his bike and headed downtown to see if there was anything he could do to help.

Jen herself was organizing a massive effort to set up shelter for students who didn’t live on campus, since the subways and commuter trains had stopped running, and the kids who commuted to school would have no way of getting home that night. Jen was trying to arrange for cots to be set up in the gym for them.

She ended up staying in the city too that night. She had no way to get back to her house in Connecticut.

Another co-worker from NYU, my friend Jack, did manage to reach his spouse, who worked in the Trade Center, that day. Jack used to train the RAs. He would ask me to “interrupt” his training with a fake administrative temper tantrum — “Why are you in this room?” I would demand. “You never reserved it!”— and then he and I would “fight” about it, and then after I left he would ask the RAs what would have been a better way to handle the situation . . . and by the way, did any of them remember what I was wearing? After they’d tell him, he’d have me come back into the room, and point out that every single of them was wrong about what I’d had on. This was to show how unreliable witness testimony can be.

Jack’s wife had just walked eighty floors down one of the Towers to reach the ground safely, only to realize the guys in her IT department were still up there, backing up data for the company. Once she reached the ground, and saw how bad things really were, she tried calling them to tell them to forget backing up and just COME DOWN, but couldn’t get hold of them.

So she went back up to MAKE THEM come down, because who doesn’t love their IT guys?

Why did you go back up?” Jack asked her, when he finally reached her. By that time she, along with the IT guys, had become trapped in the fire and smoke.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” she said. Of course it did. She was married to Jack. Jack would have done the same thing. She told Jack to say good bye to their twins toddlers for her. That was the time they spoke.

I can never think of this, or of Jack’s happy, cheerful greeting every time I saw him, or the stunned looks on the RAs faces when they realized we’d pulled one over on them, without wanting to cry. It seems so unfair.

Another friend, a pilot who had access to air traffic control radar, e’d me to say all the planes in the U.S. were being grounded — that what had happened had been the result of highjackings. That it was a commercial jet that had hit the Pentagon, where my friend’s father-in-law worked (they eventually found him, safe and sound. He’d been stuck in traffic on his way to the Pentagon when the plane hit).

But another friend – a girl I’d worked with when I’d been a receptionist in my husband’s office, a girl whom I’d helped pick out a wedding dress, and who, since the big day, had quit her job to raise the four kids she’d had – wasn’t so lucky. She never saw her husband, who worked at the Trade Center, again after he left for work that morning.

Then, behind me, I heard Pat Kiernan on the TV say, “Oh, my God,” again.

And this time he really WAS crying. Because one of the towers was collapsing.

I watched, not believing my eyes. Since having moved to New York City in 1989, I had become accustomed to using the Twin Towers as my own personal compass point for the direction “South,” since they’re on the southern tip of the island, and visible from dozens of blocks away. Wherever you were in the maze of streets that made up the Village, all you had to do to orient yourself was find the Twin Towers, and you knew which direction to go in.

(If you ever watched closely during the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” you can see the towers beneath the Washington Square arch in the scene where Sally drops Harry off when they first arrive in New York.)

And now one of those towers was coming down.

I don’t remember anything else about that moment except that, as I watched the TV in horror, the front door to my apartment opened, and, assuming it was Luz back from the street, I turned to tell her, “It’s falling down! It’s FALLING DOWN!”

Only it wasn’t Luz. It was my husband.

He said, “What’s falling down? Why are you crying?”

Because HE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON.

Because my husband, being my husband, had picked up his briefcase after the first plane hit and said, “Let’s go,” to everyone in his department, took the elevators downstairs, and insisted everyone start walking for our apartment, because it was the closest place to where they were that seemed unlikely to be hit by an airplane.

(He told me later he’d worried they were going to try for the Stock Exchange, or the federal buildings you always see on Law and Order, and so had made everyone take the long way home around those buildings, which is why it took so long to get there).

They had to dodge the bodies of the people who jumped from the burning towers because they couldn’t stand the heat anymore. They saw the desk chairs and PCs that had been blown out of the offices so high above littering the street like tickertape from a parade. They saw the second plane hit while they were on the street, and ducked into a cell phone store until the rubble from the explosion settled. A piece of plane, nearly twenty feet long, flew past them, and landed in a parking lot, just missing Trinity Church, one of the oldest churches in this country.

And they kept walking.

I don’t know what people normally do when someone they love, who they were convinced was dead, suddenly walks through the door. All I know is how I reacted: I flung my arms around him. And then I started yelling, “WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL ME?”

“I tried, I couldn’t get through,” he said. “What’s falling down?”

Because they had no idea. All they knew was that the city was under attack (which they had surmised by all the airplanes).

So my husband and his colleagues gathered in our living room—hot, thirsty, but alive, and the ones who lived in New Jersey wondering how (and if) they were going to get home (eventually, that night, they all caught boats – see the film above -and when they arrived on the Jersey side, they were hosed down by people in Haz-Mat suits, in case they were carrying “chemicals” on their clothes. At that time, there was some belief the planes might have been carrying nuclear weapons or something. They were each given a single paper towel with which to dry off).

Luz, not wanting to go home until she’d heard from her son, who was supposed to meet her after class in my building, cleaned. I told her not to, but she said it helped keep her mind off what was happening.

So she vacuumed, while eleven people sat in my two room apartment and watched the Twin Towers fall.

It wasn’t long after the second tower came down that our friends David and Susan from Indiana, who lived in a beautiful condo in the shadow of the Twin Towers with their two children, showed up at our door, their kids and half the employees from their office (which was in our neighborhood) behind them.

They had been some of the people shown on the news escaping from the massive dust cloud that erupted when the towers fell. They’d abandoned their daughter’s stroller and run for it, while shop owners tossed water on their backs as they passed by, to keep their clothes from catching on fire.

In their typical way, however, they had stopped on their way to our place to pick up some bagels.

For all they knew, their apartment was burning down, or being buried under ten feet of rubble. But they’d stopped for bagels, because they’d been worried people might be hungry. Or maybe people just do things in times like that to try to be normal. I don’t know. They didn’t forget the cream cheese, either.

I took the kids into my bedroom, where there was a second TV, because I didn’t think they should see what everyone was watching in the living room, which was footage of what they had just escaped from.

I set up my Playstation for Jake, who was seven or so at the time, to use, while Shai, just turning 4, and I did a puzzle on my floor. Both kids were worried about Mr. Fluff, their pet rabbit, whom they’d been forced to leave behind in their apartment, because there’d been no time to get him (their parents had run from work and grabbed both kids from school).

“Do you think he’s all right?” Jake wanted to know.

At the time, I didn’t see how anything south of Canal Street could be alive, but I told Jake I was sure Mr. Fluff was fine.

This was when Shai and I had the following conversation:

“Are planes going to fly into THIS building?” Shai wanted to know. She was crying as she looked out the windows of my thirteenth floor apartment.

Me: “No. No planes are going to fly into this building.”

Shai (still crying): “How do you know?”

Me: “Because all the planes are grounded. No more planes are allowed in the air.”

Shai: “Ever?”

Me: “No. Just until the bad guys who did this get caught.”

Shai: “Who’s going to catch the bad guys?”

Me: “The police will catch them.”

Shai: “No, they won’t. All the police are dead. I saw them going into the building that just fell down.”

Me (trying not to cry): “Shai. Not all the police are dead.”

Shai (crying harder): “Yes, they ARE. I SAW THEM.”

Me (showing Shai a picture from my family photo album of a policeman in his uniform): “Shai, this is my brother, Matt. He’s a policeman. And he’s not dead, I promise. And he, and other policemen like him, and probably even the Army, will catch the bad guys.”

Shai (no longer crying): “Okay.”

And she went back to her puzzle.

Watching from my living room window, we saw the crowds of people streaming out from what was soon to be called Ground Zero, thin to a trickle, then stop altogether. That was when 4th Avenue became crowded with vehicular traffic again. But not taxis or bike messengers.

Soon, our building was shaking from the wheels of hundreds of Humvees and Army trucks, as the National Guard moved in. The Village was blockaded from 14th Street down. You couldn’t come in or out without showing proof that you lived there (a piece of mail with your name and address on it, along with a photo ID).

The next day, after having spent the night on our fold-out couch in the living room, Shai’s parents snuck back to their apartment (they had to sneak, because the National Guard wasn’t letting anyone at all, even with proof that they lived there, into the area. For weeks afterwards, on every corner from 14th Street down, stood a National Guardsman, armed with an assault rifle. For days, you couldn’t get milk, bread, or a newspaper below Union Square because they weren’t allowing any delivery trucks — or any vehicles at all, except Army vehicles — into the area), and found Mr. Fluff alive and well.

They snuck him back out, so that later that day, we were able to put the entire family on a bus to the Hamptons, where they lived for the rest of the year.

As my husband and I were walking back to our apartment from the bus stop where we’d seen off our friends, we saw a familiar face standing on the corner of 4th Avenue and 12th Street, where we lived:

Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea Clinton, asking people in our neighborhood if we were all right, and if there was anything they could do to help.

I didn’t go up to shake the ex-President’s hand, because I was too shy.

But I stood there watching him and Chelsea, and something about seeing them, so genuinely concerned and kind (and not there for press or publicity, because there WAS no press, there was never any mention of their visit AT ALL in any newspaper or on any news broadcast I saw that day), made me burst into tears, after having held them in the whole time Shai had been in my apartment, since I didn’t want to upset her.

But you couldn’t NOT cry. It was impossible. Everyone was doing it …so much so that the deli across the street put a sign in its window: “No Crying, Please.” Our doormen were crying. Even Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s mayor (whom I will admit up until this crisis I had not particularly liked for cheating on his very nice wife, Donna Hanover, who used to be on the Food Network), kept crying.

But he also kept showing up on New York 1, no matter what time you turned it on, even at two in the morning, there he was, like he never slept, always crying but also telling us It’s going to be all right, which was BRILLIANT.

The same day we put Shai and her family on a bus to the Hamptons, September 12 — which also happened to be poor Shai’s birthday — companies (even RIVAL companies) all over Manhattan offered up their conference rooms and spare offices to my husband’s company, so that it would be able to remain in business, since all its windows had been blown out, and asbestos had fallen all over everything.

Since he was the only person in the company who lived downtown, my husband was elected for the duty of removing all the sensitive data from the now mostly destroyed office, which meant he had to pass through the Brooks Brothers in his building’s foyer, from which he had bought so many of his business shirts and ties. The Brooks Brothers was now serving as Ground Zero’s morgue.

While under escort of the National Guard, he and guardsmen–the first to enter his floor since the event–found a body in an emergency stairwell. It was determined to be the body of someone from another office, who had probably suffered a heart attack while trying to evacuate. The body was removed and taken to the morgue while my husband watched. (He threw away the clothes he wore that day.)

For the next week in Lower Manhattan, even if you wanted to forget, for a minute, what had happened on that cloudless Tuesday morning, you couldn’t. The front window of my apartment building filled with Missing Person posters of loved ones that had been lost in the Trade Center. The outside walls of St. Vincent’s Hospital were papered with them as well, and Union Square, at 14th Street, became an impromptu memorial to the dead, filled with candles and flowers. So did the front doors of every local fire station, including the one across the street from my building. The old ladies who used to bring cookies there stood in front of it and cried.

You couldn’t go outside during that week — until it finally rained Friday night, four days later – without smelling the acrid smoke from Ground Zero … and, in fact, you were encouraged to wear surgical masks outdoors. An eerie grey fog covered everything. Some of us tried to brave it by not wearing masks — like Londoners in the Blitz — meeting for lunch like nothing had happened, but it made your eyes burn. I have no idea how the rescue workers at Ground Zero could bear it.

It wasn’t until employees from a barbecue restaurant drove all the way to Manhattan from Memphis, and stationed their tanker-sized smokers right next to Ground Zero, and then started giving away free barbecue to all the rescue workers there for weeks on end, that the smell changed to something other than death. Everyone loved those guys. It was just barbecue. Except it wasn’t just barbecue. It was a sign that things were going to be all right.

But of course, for a lot of New Yorkers that day, things were never going to be all right again. While I was celebrating the fact that my husband had come home, Fred – Jen’s employee, the EMT who had ridden his bike downtown to see if there was anything he could do – couldn’t find his crew. This was before the buildings fell, before anyone had any idea those buildings COULD fall, when the police and firemen were still streaming into them, thinking they could get people out.

The crew that Fred normally volunteered with were inside one of those buildings, helping people down the stairs. Fred couldn’t find them, because all the cell towers were down, and communication was so sketchy. Someone told Fred to drive a bus they’d found, and help evacuate people out of the World Trade Center area.

Fred didn’t want to be outside driving a bus. He wanted to be inside with his crew, saving people.

But since he couldn’t find his crew, he agreed to drive the bus.

Then the buildings came down. Later, Fred found out that the crew he normally volunteered with had been one of the many rescue squads buried under the rubble.

Like a lot of the rescue workers who lost coworkers in the attack, Fred seemed to feel guilty about having survived, while his friends had not. Even when all his NYU co-workers pitched in and bought him a new bike (after his old one got crushed at Ground Zero), Fred couldn’t seem to shake his sadness. It was like he didn’t believe he’d done any good that day.

“All I did,” he said, “was drive a stupid bus.”

But that’s not all he did. Because remember Luz’s son?

Well, he showed up at my apartment not long after Jake and Shai and their parents did. Luz grabbed him and kissed him and shook him and cried, and when she finally let go of him, he told his story:

He had been heading towards — not away from – the towers, because he’d wanted to help, he said. A lot like Fred.

But suddenly, from out of nowhere, someone grabbed him from behind, and threw him onto a stupid bus.

“But I want to stay and help!” Luz’s son yelled at the guy who’d grabbed him.

“Not today,” Fred said.

And he drove Luz’s son, and all the other students from that community college to safety, just before the towers fell.

Now more than a decade has passed since 9/11. A year or two after finding that body, after the company he worked for got back on its feet, my husband decided financial writing wasn’t for him, and he decided to follow a lifelong dream: he enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. He got to work with chefs like Jacques Pepin. At his graduation, Michael Lamonaco–who ran Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the Twin Towers. Michael is another person who happened to be late to work on 9/11–offered him a job in his new restaurant.

My husband declined, however, because we were moving to Key West, where the pace of life is a little bit slower. Michael said he completely understood.

Luz and her son are doing fine. Fred is now married with two children, and head of his own division at NYU. Mr. Fluff did eventually die, but of natural causes. Jake is now in college, and Shai is a skilled snowboarder. Shai’s mother says her daughter has no memory whatsoever of that day, or of the conversation she and I had, or of the promise I made her — that we’d catch the bad guys.

Shai, however, says she does remember our conversation, and that I was right: we did catch the bad guys. There might still be some out there, because you can never catch of all them. But we’re trying.

Not long ago, someone asked an interesting question at a dinner party. If you could take a pill that would make you forget your worst memories, would you do it?

I don’t think I would. Though some pretty terrible things have happened to me in my life (that I prefer not to write about because in my opinion, books are for fun, therapy is for the bad stuff), the memories of those things have helped shape who am I.

Of course I would prefer it if one of those memories wasn’t that 3,000 people were murdered across the street from my husband’s place of work by a bunch of religious whackjobs.

But though I’d prefer it 9/11 had never happened, I think it’s important that we always remember it. Because by forgetting history, we are dooming others – and ourselves – to repeat it. I never want it to happen again, in my or anyone else’s lifetime.

So, that’s why I will keep posting this.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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27. Book festival! New book! Contest Winner! More!

Many things are happening this week that don’t necessarily involve going back to school, tropical storms, and politics (it’s an election year here in the US for those of you who are reading this from overseas and don’t follow the news in the US. Honestly, I wouldn’t either if I didn’t have to).

Here is a small sample of some of the things that are going on:

New book! Out today!

And it isn’t just mine, it’s an anthology to which I was honored to be invited to contribute along with many other talented writers such as Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Malinda Lo, Diana Peterfreund, and many more (thanks, Carrie Ryan, for thinking up this idea and editing the book)!

Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction is just what its title says: 14 stories, each dealing in some way with a prophecy or prediction (kind of like the Mayan prophecy that the world will end in 2012, get it? Only it’s not going to, it just feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? At least it does for me, especially when I’m with my in-laws. Ha ha, totally kidding).

My story, Out of the Blue, is about teenaged twins who were kidnapped by aliens when they were six, and returned so shortly after no one even knew they were gone. So when they tried to tell people about what happened, of course no one believed them. Why would they? Little kids are always making up crazy stories.

Now, on the twins’ sixteenth birthday, the aliens have returned . . . and they aren’t happy that their orders weren’t carried out. Maybe people should have listened to the twins. Can KC and her brother stop the world from being destroyed? Probably not. They’re still just just kids . . . or are they?

Here’s a link to reviews of Out of the Blue and some of the other stories in the collection by the blog 365 Days of Reading. Foretold is available today everywhere that books and e-books are sold!

What are you doing this weekend for Labor Day? 



I’m going to Decatur, GA!

The Decatur Book Festival
 in Decatur, GA, to be exact, on Saturday, September 1.

You’ll find me at 10AM, at the First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage. 

Go here for more info. Book signing directly following my presentation.

The main book I’ll be promoting in Decatur is Size 12 and Ready to Rock, but hopefully a good selection of ALL my books should be available for purchase. Usually the rule is, I’ll sign and personalize anything bought at the festival, but I can only sign (not personalize) books from home. This is to save time since other authors who have programs after mine might be waiting to sign their books, too! Number of books signed from home may be limited, depending on the length of the signing line.

As always, festival organizers have the final word about signing limitations, so check with them. Hope I see you there!


Don’t forget! Still available for a special summer sales price of $7.99 everywhere ebooks are sold, as well as the first three ebooks in the series for only $4.99.

Another project I’m working on this fall is:

This fun contest to win a manuscript evaluation (from me) via Scholastic’s This is Teen Facebook page. There were over 1,000 entries (!!!) but we managed to narrow it down to 5 finalists (based on their submitted synopsis).

It was SO hard to choose, especially from so many entries, because they were all so good. So if you’re one of the writers who entered, keep in mind that just because yours didn’t make the final cut doesn’t mean it isn’t a great idea for a book (because believe me, they were all great)! Your synopsis might just have needed a little more tweaking to make it stand out from the crowd.

Synopses are the hardest thing to write for most writers, so don’t beat yourself up over it.

Speaking of beating yourself up, it’s back to school time (ha ha, everyone’s least favorite thing).

It was very hard to choose The Back to School selection for the Meg Cabot Fiction Club, but we all decided we needed something light yet meaningful, and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody, in stores now, was just the book!

School sucks (my opinion only, not shared by others I realize), so why not use your precious entertainment hours wisely by reading something FUN (but juicy)? 52 Reasons is about a rich, spoiled heiress who has to spend 52 weeks doing minimum wage jobs her dad picks out for her before she can access her inheritance. Along the way she learns what “rich” really means.

Check out the adorabs video here:

Click here to view the embedded video.

See, I told you. Funny (and there’s a cute guy).

Finally, speaking of cute, here’s Macy (aka TheMFunky), the winner of the Underworld book trailer contest, with her prize . . . a brand new iPad!

Macy_ipad
I swear to God I did not make her pose that way, she sent that photo all on her own with her thank you email after receiving the iPad, I was bowled over by the cuteness of it and asked if I could post it here and she said yes. But then I should not be surprised because all Meg Cabot readers I’ve ever met really are this amazing. Mwah.

Macy’s taking her new iPad with her to college, where she will hopefully make many more of her beautiful videos, like these (to be honest I love both of these, I still can’t decide which one got the iPad. They both did, I guess):

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Thanks and congratulations to Macy, TheMFunky (who is herself an aspiring YA writer)!

Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend! Be sure to grab a copy of Foretold, and I’ll see (some of) you at the Decatur Book Festival!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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28. 100% Not Fake

Here are some things that have been going on in the swinging cocktail lounge that is my life and mind (vodka martini, very dry and very dirty).

1) Apparently there is a new show on TLC called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. A lot of reviewers are saying this show is the equivalent of the coming of the anti-Christ.

However I have been told by people who actually saw it that it’s not that bad because this family is not fake like some of the families we see on reality TV these days (I won’t name names).

I’ll reserve judgement until I see it. Obviously I DVR’d it, but I have a lot of episodes of Misfits and Covert Affairs to catch up with before I’ll ever get to Honey Boo Boo.

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Here’s my unicorn family. Sorry, I’m showing you a picture of them instead of Honey Boo Boo because I own the rights to this photo.

2) Speaking of reviews, this reminds me . . . Salon.com is shocked — shocked, I tell you! — to learn that some authors are hiring people to post fake raves about their books on Twitter, and also to post fake 5 star reviews about them Amazon.

I don’t know why Salon.com is so shocked about this since this kind of thing (it’s called “sock puppeting”) has been going on for years and years, and not just in the publishing business. Rock stars, movie stars, politicians, you name it, have all employed this insidious practice. Every single troll on every single website you go to is probably being paid by some political organization to be there.

The practice of sock puppeting has become so common that there is even a Wiki How explaining how to hire and pay people to post fake comments in the forums of your own website.

The Salon.com article says this practice is most common with authors who are just starting out in their careers, and I can attest that there was a time at the beginning of my career way back in 2000 when I was totally tempted. The only reviews I ever got back then were on Amazon, and this one particular lunatic kept writing that my books glorified smoking.

(OMG, I still get so angry when I think of this. My dad, a smoker, died of throat cancer at age 53, when I was just 26, leaving my mom an unemployed widow with 3 kids. Obviously that scarred me for life, as it would anyone – she was only about two years older than I am now when he died! There is NO WAY I would ever write anything that glorifies smoking. I have never smoked and get an automatic migraine when people around me start smoking).

But some people can’t help being idiots. I wanted to go on Amazon and post this beneath the person’s review:

Dear Crazed Lunatic, Meg Cabot does NOT glorify smoking in The Princess Diaries. This book is about a girl who becomes a princess and doesn’t like it. SHE DOES NOT SMOKE. Her GRANDMOTHER smokes, but the heroine frowns upon it and mentions MANY TIMES that it is bad. Only an idiot such as yourself would you ever think that this book glorifies smoking. Signed, Not Meg Cabot

But nothing good ever comes from doing things like this, so I trained myself to stay off Amazon (except to buy DVDs of Will Ferrell movies).

And I was proven right to do so when, in 2004, a glitch in Amazon Canada’s software revealed the true identities of all the anonymous reviewers there, many of whom turned out to be the books’ OWN AUTHORS!

Yes, it turned out many authors had not been able to resist the impulse (as I had) and had sock puppeted themselves (or whatever the term is). (Click here to read the amusing NY Times article about the incident).

I wish I had known this was going on at the time because I would have RUSHED to Amazon Canada before they fixed the glitch in order to find out who had reviewed his/her own books and also to find out what they had said in response to their bad reviews. I can just picture it:

By Nathaniel Hawthorne: PsYchO2001, I’m so sorry you found “The Scarlett Letter” such a “crushing bore” and feel so angry that the author “crammed so much symbolism into it.” Need I remind you that it is considered a modern classic by most mature adults? Perhaps you’d be more comfortable reading an “action novel” such as Melville’s insipid fish tale, “Moby Dick.”

By Charlotte Bronte: HotMama, I understand you might have been a bit disappointed when you learned “after all those interminably long pages” that what Mr. Rochester had hidden in his attic was not “a vampire or anything else remotely cool”. But would it have hurt you to have employed a “Spoiler Alert” in your review? Now EVERYONE knows what’s in the attic at Thornfield Hall. Try using a little common courtesy next time.

By Emily Bronte: MrsRPatzz18: U r wrong. Wuthering Heights is NOT “the wurst bk eva” and I believe that Heathcliff is every bit as “hottttt” as Edward Cullen, if not more so! U, madam, r the byotch, not me!

Click here to view the embedded video.

3) Speaking of reviews, this one is legitimate: I enjoyed The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers, coming out September 1. It’s told in an encyclopedia format, which is fun and different, and is about an 8th grade girl dealing with the stresses of family, boys, and friendship. For a librarian’s thoughts on it (and librarians we KNOW can’t be bought), go here.

Speaking of libraries, the Cuyahoga Public Library gave me this (not the unicorn, the little book) as a gift after I spoke there:

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When you open it up, this is what’s inside:

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Yeah! You got that right! Post-its! Is that the coolest thing or what? AND IT IS MINE. I GOT IT FROM THE LIBRARY.

Go here and you can see my discussion at the library mentioned above.

4) Apparently a bunch of people went on NPR and voted for their top 100 teen books and here is what they came up with.

This list is fun though I’m confused by it. I assume they’re the top 100 books read by teens and not about teens. One problem I’ve always had is a tendency to overanalyze things too much (in case you didn’t notice). It is a problem that has been remarked upon by many, don’t worry, and I continue to be treated for it. I always flunk multiple choice tests because I think I’m being tricked and NONE of the answers are right (this is why I can’t pass the Florida State written driving exam).

But I’m happy some of my favorites made it on there, and would like to thank everyone who nominated and voted for books by me.

5) I know it’s cool to rave about the gymnastics and swimming on the Olympics (and all I have to say about Gabby Douglas “Hairgate” is, to misquote The Princess Diaries movie, “Hair? Flying through the air? I prefer to talk about flying through the air”) but to me it’s all about the equestrian events because the one thing I always wanted was a horse (but I was never enthusiastic enough about one to want to clean stables).

So just picture me on the back of this horse winning the gold for the USA (and turn off the sound if you’re an impressionable child or at work because the musical accompaniment is very naughty, but funny):

Click here to view the embedded video.

6) What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? 

I’m going to Decatur, GA!

The Decatur Book Festival
 in Decatur, GA, to be exact, on Saturday, September 1.

You’ll find me at 10AM, at the First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage. 

Go here

for more info. Book signing to follow after my presentation.

Some people are complaining that my signing is much too early in the morning, but I actually chose it because at 10AM it is unlikely to be crowded yet or 9 million degrees outside, and afterwards we can all go have martinis for lunch.

Click here to view the embedded video.

You see? I’m always thinking of you.

There will be tons of other authors there (such as but not limited to the US Poet Laureate, Shannon Hale, Tess “Rizolli and Isles” Gerritsen, Michael Connelly, and Kathy “Bones” and Kerry Reichs). Click on the link above to see more. Guarantee you won’t regret it.

Here are some of the books I’ll be promoting in Decatur (but pretty much all of my books will be available):

Size 12 and Ready to Rock

Still available for a special sales price of $7.99 everywhere ebooks are sold, as well as the first three ebooks in the series for only $4.99.

Then there’s …

Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, the anthology to which I contributed (with lots of other great authors like Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Malinda Lo, and Michael Grant). This comes out August 28, just in time for Labor Day Weekend!

And of course . . .

The Abandon series!


Finally, we had an Underworld trailer contest! All the entries were amazingly creative . . . in fact, it was extremely hard to pick a winner because each entry was so strong and creative in its own way. I had such a hard time choosing, I had to ask for help deciding. We managed to narrow it down to these five finalists:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

In the end, we chose based on creativity, originality, tone (of the book, not the video . . . we loved all the videos, but we felt we had to pick one that matched the tone of the book, which is a paranormal romance, most closely), and most of all, the one that summed up the theme of the book (romantic longing) best.

We all felt it was TheMFunky who deserved the prize (an iPad) for her creativity and originality with the paper cut-outs (which looked super hard to do, especially with the growing leaves and fluttering Fury wings!), while also getting the tone (and the theme) of the book right!

Thanks and congratulations to TheMFunky (who is herself an aspiring YA writer)!

Hope everyone has a great rest of their summer, look out for bugs (and Honey Boo Boo) and I’ll see (some of) you at the Decatur Book Festival!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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29. What I Learned On My Summer Vacation (Book Tour)

I just spent the past two weeks crisscrossing the US (well, mostly just the Midwest. I did West coast and East coast last summer, so it was the Midwest’s turn) on my book tour to promote Size 12 and Ready to Rock . . . which, just to get this out of the way, you can buy now for a special sales price of $7.99 everywhere ebooks are sold! Also, the first three ebooks in the series are only $4.99! My publisher is calling this the “Size 12 Days of Summer” sale.

This was my idea ^^^^^! I know, I should work for Target or something, I LOVE making up the names of special sales promotions!

(When I worked in a bookstore, I also loved making the window displays. Sometimes I would put one rude thing in it to see how long it took someone to notice. Often no one ever would. People don’t see what they’re not expecting!)

I know how people love having cute fun mysteries (with a dash of sexy romance) to read in the summertime. I long for these to read as I’m whiling away the long hot summer days, too!

(Actually right now all I’m longing for is some free time to while away, but whatever.)

Anyway, my book tour was an amazing mid-summer adventure and a smash hit (at least to me). Everywhere I went, readers defied the 100+ degree heat and turned out in what seemed to me (and to my publisher) like droves.

Over 400 people were at the Des Moines Public Library event (Des Moines! How fun were you? So much fun!), and over 500 attended the Cuyahoga Public Library in Cleveland! (OMG Cuyahoga! I still can’t spell or pronounce you but I love you!)

Pittsburgh_RtR_tour
Awesome photo, whoever took this! Glamour girls with glamour background!

I had some fantastic signings at bookstores, too, like at Joseph-Beth’s in Cincinnati, Books and Co in Dayton, Schuler’s in Lansing, MI, and the Carmel, IN Barnes and Noble!

RtR_tour
Schuler’s! And Whitney, the manager! Whitney rules! Why am I doing this with my face though? I don’t know.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip, and some of the valuable life lessons I learned along the way, which I hope, will you, as well:

There seem to be quite a few eight year olds out there in America who are concerned that they haven’t been published yet.

I know there are some 8 year olds who’ve gotten published. Believe me, I’ve met some of them. But here’s a little known secret:

The vast majority of them never published another book again.

If you want a long-lasting publishing career, I think the best way to spend your tweens and teens and early twenties isn’t worrying about getting published, but figuring out who you are and what you’re good at, experimenting with your style, and developing your own voice—in other words, just live your life.

As Heather Wells states in Size 12 and Ready to Rock, our brain doesn’t become fully formed until age 25 (if you don’t believe her, click here).

This could explain a lot (like why a certain under-25 starlet recently confessed to a fling with a certain married movie direct

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30. Heather Wells is Ready to Rock

It’s been a crazy week! Between the wildfires in the west, the storms in the northeast, and Tom and Katie, it’s starting to look like the Mayans might have been right about 2012.

But the Mayans didn’t count on brave firefighters, power company workers, and Katie’s crack legal team. So we shouldn’t pack our bags to run off with John Cusack quite yet.

I have to pack a bag, but only to leave for my two week long book tour (click on the link to see if I’ll be visiting somewhere near you, and if I am, stop by to see me!) for my new book, Size 12 and Ready to Rock which will be out on TUESDAY (YAY!!!). So I’m going to make this quick.

But look what was found in the vaults of the Cartwright Records building as they were remodeling to make way for the new Cartwright Televsion division:

Click here to view the embedded video.

I know! Heather Wells thought she’d never have to see that thing again, especially now that she’s quit the music business to work in residence life in a New York City college dorm and solve murders there.

But now, thanks to the Internet, this video is EVERYWHERE, mocking her!

Personally I think Heather is being too modest, and this video is hilarious (special thanks to the ultra amazing Brady Hall and his team, everyone at Avon/HarperMorrow, also my own home team of Laura, Louis, and HWSNBNITB, and especially Janey, whose idea it was). Please do me a favor and forward this video to everyone you know, before Heather takes out a cease-and-desist.

I get so many emails and Facebook messages and Tweets asking for more books about amateur sleuth Heather (way more than any other series, except possibly The Mediator), that I couldn’t resist signing up to write a few more books about her.

Heather isn’t just popular in the US. She’s popular all over the world. Here are a few of her international covers. I would like it noted that I’m not sure what is going on in most of these covers. Heather never loses weight. She is a victim of vanity sizing. Nor is she a prostitute. She solves crimes. But like Heather, I go with the flow:

Screen shot 2012-07-05 at 4.05.04 PM

Screen shot 2012-07-05 at 4.05.10 PM

Screen shot 2012-07-05 at 4.05.16 PM

As to WHY I think readers connect with Heather, I speculate a bit here on Huffington Post.

But who really knows? How can you not love someone who’s been beat up a little by life, but keeps getting back up again . . . and of course, who then catches murders?

Of course, tastes vary. I’ve got a friend who’s become a little anti-princess since she became a mom, and is trying to raise her daughter to be princess-free. I’ve blogged about my feelings on this subject before (I believe in princess power), so Barbara Chai at The Wall Street Journal asked my thoughts on the new Pixar-Di

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31. Ready to Rock Tour, Book, Giveaways, etc

It’s here! The very first copy of the first Heather Wells mystery in five years, Size 12 and Ready to Rock, is in my hands!

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Unfortunately, I only have this ONE copy. The rest won’t be released in the US/Canada until July 10.

But you can read the first three chapters (and find out why is Heather posing with a bunch of dolls, including Miss Mexico) here, as well as pre-order hard or e-book copies (or wherever else you shop for books).

So I’m hearing that if you haven’t read the first three books in the Heather Wells series, you don’t have to worry: It’s easy to catch up with what’s going on with Heather’s life in Ready to Rock (at least according to what people are saying on goodreads.com (where I SWEAR I only went because they’re very nicely giving away 10 free copies of the book, and I wanted to be sure to tell you about it, and I wanted to give you ACCURATE information about the dates of the giveaway: It’s from now until July 9. I wasn’t looking at my reviews. OK, I might have peeked).

But apparently, you can just jump right in with this one. (I didn’t do this on purpose at all. OK, I did).

I don’t know why there was a five year gap between the last Heather Wells book and this one (except maybe because I started a couple of other series in between. Hi, Allie Finkle and Abandon!).

But in the books, only three months have gone by for Heather and Cooper and the rest of their friends. That’s the fun thing about fiction: We age, but our characters don’t have to. Thank God, because if they did, then Yoda would have to play Batman instead of Christian Bale this summer.

Speaking of which, a lot of people have been asking about my summer plans. So just in case you’re wondering, too, after going on my Ready to Rock book tour (more on that below), I’ll be doing exactly what all of YOU will be doing:

Working (writing the sequel to Underworld, which I’m just reminding you will be called Awaken. OK, I’m reminding MYSELF), going to movies, watching TV, hanging out with friends and trying not to eat too much (and failing), and reading all the amazing books that are coming out this summer, some of which are anthologies I contributed to (so I can say they’re amazing because I know some of the authors, and I think they’re amazing, not my own stories, duh, I’m not saying MY stories are amazing, though I did work super hard on them because I wanted them to be as amazing as the stories of the authors I was competing against working with, right it’s not a contest).

So, first things first. Here’s where I will be this summer. If you’ll be in any of these towns, too, PLEASE COME SEE ME! I hate sitting alone in bookstores (although it does give me a chance to catch up with my Real Housewife celebrity memoir reading. Obviously I don’t buy this, I sit and read them while I wait to go on before book tour stops in the stores. This is also how I read the entire Left Behind series and Eat for Your Blood Type):

Meet Meg on her Super Sized Ready to Rock Tour This Summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Des Moines, IA

7:00 PM


AVID Festival 
Des Moines Public Library
Hoyt Sherman Place

1501 W

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32. Cover Story

Questions! Have I read Shades of Grey? How do my book covers get chosen? Will there be a spanking robot in the next Underworld book? When’s my next book tour? How’s Henrietta? Etc.

I wasn’t able to get to all of your questions during my live video chat on Goodreads (but thanks to all of you who came! I hope you got to see Henrietta—her visit might have gotten cut off at the end due to her dislike of human contact), so I thought I’d try to answer some of the rest of them here. So here goes:

Q: Have you read the new Twilight fan-fiction re-styled into the mega bestseller Shades of Grey?

A: No, I have not, but thanks for asking! Right now I’m still hooked on reading British country manor house murder mysteries (I’m also hooked on the Sherlock re-tellings on Masterpiece Mystery. OMG SHERLOCK!!!!! Even HWSNBNITB watches it without falling asleep. Now that’s masterful storytelling).

But I’m always happy when any book by a woman is topping the charts, especially when it’s a story about two people who find love (aka a romance), so kudos to EL James and happy reading to her fans.

It does cheese me off a bit that her fans have been getting some flak in the press (“Mommy Porn?” Gross. What is that? And is “Daddy Porn” Cinemax After Dark? I guess so).

No one should get made fun of for their reading choices. I used to read nothing but romance novels in college (in preparation for writing my own, now out of print but you can still find them occasionally in used book stores. Read about them here) and people used to make fun of me for it …until the day I found the book that featured the hot space mercenary who was hired by the intergalactic council to save their princess from the cruel emperor who had hooked her up to…

…a spanking robot.

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Hi I’m here to rescue you…hey, what’s that robot doing? I WILL DESTROY IT after first using it on myself.

As soon as I told people the plot of this book, EVERYONE in my dorm wanted to borrow it (sorry, one of the borrowers stole it so I no longer remember what it was called or who wrote it but it was AMAZING). Soon a huge romance reading craze was started (which included lesbian and gay romance), which obviously blossomed into a drinking game (hey, it was college), the particulars of which I will not get into on this site, but think the New Girl True American drinking game and you will have the gist. You can pretty much start a drinking game based on anything.

Hopefully by now everyone has seen the New York Times article on the neuroscience of “Your Brain on Fiction,” explaining that research shows:

“Stories stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life. Individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective. This relationship persisted even after the researchers accounted for the possibility that more empathetic individuals might prefer reading novels.”

If you need recs of good spanking robot books, or maybe something like 50 Shades, or even a good country manor house mystery, visit the

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33. It’s Here

You know that old saying, April showers bring May flowers? Well, sometimes in April it can a little rain too much, bringing forth more than just flowers. This May at my house, April showers have brought forth:

- a new book (in stores TODAY!)

- an awesome book trailer contest (you could win an iPad!)

- a Goodreads video chat, and…

- possibly even opened a door in my local cemetery to the Underworld, releasing all the vengeful spirits who feel that they were wronged by John Hayden, Lord of the Dead. Of course that could be my imagination. Don’t mind me.

But before we get into all that, let’s talk about the usual stuff that’s supposed to show up in May, such as:

1) Prom. Aw, so cute!

2) Sweeps week: Who will win on Dancing With the Stars? Will Nick move out on The New Girl? Will Leslie Knope win the Pawnee City Council election on Parks and Rec? And will Dani get her dragons back on Game of Thrones?

3) Movies with aliens in them are a May staple: The Avengers! Men in Black 3! Battleship! I plan to see them all!

4) May means summer vacation is on its way! Which means lots of time to read . . . .

5) . . . New books!

This May is bringing one of my new books, Underworld (the sequel to last year’s spring release, Abandon), out NOW in US (and Canadian and Australian and NZ) stores (and on ereaders)!

Click here for a complete list of Underworld‘s worldwide release dates, as well as other updates and Extras (including a list of Isla Huesos’s MOST WANTED, a map of Isla Huesos, an Underworld playlist, FAQs, and more, coming this week!)

In case you didn’t already know, Underworld isn’t just about a girl and a boy. It was inspired by the myth of Persephone, but really, it’s about a storm . . . not a a silly April shower, or a “storm of love,” but the kind of storm that wipes out entire populations. The kind of storm we get here where I live in Key West (also known as The Island of Bones, which are commonly found scattered across the island after such a storm). The kind of storm that looks like this:

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The New York Times called Abandon (the first book in the series) “scarier than senior year”:

“This is Hades as seen through the eyes of a 21st-century teenager . . . . Pierce struggles to regain the life of a normal teenager now that she’s seen what lies beyond . . . .

Death is just getting warmed up.”

And Seventeen Magazine says:

“Pierce is a rockstar narrator. She’s bold, gutsy, and hyperaware – she might even be too brave for her own good. We love a girl who isn’t scared to take action. Pierce might be a little reckless, but at least she’s never a damsel in distress.”

Yes! Thanks, New York T

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34. Princess Week

Did you know April 22-28 is National Princess Week? Of course you did!

(If you’re like me, you assumed every week was Princess Week and were surprised to learn this isn’t true.)

But according to Disney and Target, the only “officially” recognized Princess Week is this week. That’s when they will be promoting all princess-themed books and toys and movies in their stores, under the Julie Andrews Collection.

This collection includes Julie Andrews’ own books (yes! She wrote some! So did her daughter. They’re really cute), The Princess Diaries books and movies, and a lot of other great princess books, like Shannon Hale’s fabulous Princess Academy.

This is awesome in many ways. Who’s a better spokeswoman for princesses than Julie Andrews? (Some of you might be saying “Princess Mia Thermopolis,” but she was not available due to a “scheduling conflict.”)

It seems fitting to me that Princess Week should come in between Earth Week and the release of Underworld (May 8), since every truly empowered woman recognizes how important it is that we keep our planet safe, and Pierce, the heroine of Underworld, finds herself trapped in a royal palace beneath the earth (as you know if you’ve read the sneak peek opening chapters of the book), of which she may become queen (or blow up, depending on how things work out with her new boyfriend, ruler of the dead).

In a little less than three weeks, Underworld will be in stores (and available on ereaders) …

… but someone at Scholastic snuck me a special advanced copy!

Underworldbook

Even though I’ve had over fifty books published, I still get really excited when I find a padded envelope in the mail addressed to me and I open it to discover a BEAUTIFUL BOOK inside that someone made from a bunch of words I wrote (and then actually paid me for)!

When this happens, I get really excited and dance around the house and show the book to whoever is around, usually the UPS delivery guy or the exterminator, neither of whom is ever impressed, though they politely fake interest.

It would be nice if getting your published book in the mail was as exciting in real life as it is often portrayed in movies. In the 90s so-bad-it’s-good cult classic, Aspen Extreme, for example, in which TJ Burke and his friend Dexter move to Aspen in hopes of finding themselves (and true love) on the slopes, TJ writes a tender article about his love for skiing and his wish that his good friend Dexter had not become a crackhead and (spoiler alert) been crushed to death in an avalanche, and sends the article off to Ski Magazine.

A soulful montage ensues that includes a hot air balloon floating in the distance over the mountains (as often happens to us writers when we send stories off and are waiting to hear if they will be published).

Less than a minute later, TJ goes out to his mailbox, and what does he find inside? An envelope containing a copy of Ski Magazine with his name and the title of his story on the cover!

<

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35. Spring Breakaggedon 2012

Spring is here (officially, if not temperature wise in most places), and you know what that means:

1) School’s out for Spring Break in a lot of places, so Key West (where I live) is packed with vacationers.

2) Some of those vacationers are staying in my house!

3) But that doesn’t mean new books aren’t getting written (and read and reviewed. More on these below)!

4) Official sneak peek excerpts are getting posted (see below) and Advanced Reader Copies are being released (again, see below)!

5) Ladies Fussypants and Slutty McSluts-a-Lot are ready to party.

During what I’m calling “Spring Breakaggedon 2012,” Lady Fussypants has already managed to develop a nasty addiction to catnip . . . .

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EXPOSED: SNIFFING THE NIP!

. . . and Lady Slutty McSluts-a-Lot has been caught red-pawed in the company of several highly inappropriate suitors with whom she has been spied cavorting in the backyard, and from whom she has picked up some very unladylike habits . . .

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CAUGHT IN A BOX!

Both have disgraced the House of Downton Cabot. We fear an advantageous marriage will now be impossibility for either of them. More on their slow descent into madness later.

On a brighter note, Underworld is officially on its way to a bookstore, Kindle, Nook (or whatever form of reader you prefer) near you! It will be available in the US and Canada on May 8th.

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Henrietta during one of her more lucid moments

For those of you who can’t wait, click here for a sneak peek at the first two chapters of Underworld!

For the date Underworld is coming to your country, click here (coming soon).

What will happen to Pierce and John in Underworld? A LOT. In answer to one of your many frequently asked questions, yes, someone dies at the end.

But Spring is about rebirth/reawakening, so the real question is, will he/she STAY dead?

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Release the Kracken!

On March 20 (the first day of Spring. Get it? The day Persephone was released from the Underworld?), I received a big box of uncorrected proofs, also known as ARCs, from Scholastic. There was much celebrating! Lady Fussypants even laid down the catnip pipe in honor of the occasion.

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Some of you have already won copies of these ARCs, like Katie, whose amazing Pinterest board won our Meg Cabot Pinterest contest!

(Click here to see links to all the fabulous finalists!)

And one amazingly generous bidder won

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36. Help a Book Lover in Need!

Just a quick post since I am (as always) on deadline!

Tons of authors (including this one) are offering up autographed books to raise money for the Red Cross for the recent Midwest tornado victims, many of whom lost everything, but especially their school libraries!

Here’s your chance to be a hero not just to book lovers in need, but whole families! And you get something GREAT out of it (besides a warm fuzzy feeling). Bid on one or more of these signed books these authors have generously donated to Authors for Henryville (Indiana)!

Click here!

All the money will go to the Red Cross, and YOU will get an amazing autographed book (or series of books) by your favorite author(s)!

The auction will run until there are no more books, and/or until we have stamped out tornadoes (sp?) FOREVER! (OK, maybe not that last thing.)

I’m donating a complete signed set of The Princess Diaries (this auction happening now! Bid soon!):

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A complete signed set of the Size 12 is Not Fat series, with an ARC of Size 12 and Ready to Rock to come! (this book will be out this summer):

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A complete signed set of The Mediator series (this auction happening now! Bid soon!):

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A complete signed set of the Insatiable series:

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And a signed copy of Abandon, with an ARC of Underworld to come (Underworld will be out in May)!

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So stay tuned to the Authors for Henryville site to watch for these signed books, and many more by many of your favorite authors, as they come up for auction!

Remember, every little bit helps!

You may not actually have been born a Hoosier* or live in Indiana now, but we Hoosier authors COMPLETELY appreciate your help! Donating automatically makes you an honorary Hoosier.** THANK YOU!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

*Hoosier = anyone born in or who lives in Indiana. No one really knows why.
** Or not, if you don’t want to be. Totally up to you.

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37. Recap of Downton Cabot

This has been a very tumultuous week at Downton Cabot. Here are the things you need to know if you want to keep up:

Lady Henrietta “Fussypants” Cabot has begun rising before 7AM every morning, insisting on being fed Whiska Temptations by hand.

Hen4
Portrait of Lady Fussypants in the Powder Room, waiting for hand feeding

As there is no butler (I tried to hire one, but annoyingly, he wishes to remain with his current employer. Ungrateful wretch!), and I do not rise until 8AM (preferably 10AM) at the earliest, this is annoying.

The local surgeon (mobile vet) has been consulted to see if Lady Fussypants’ odd behavior can be explained (she’s also begun to express sympathy with a local street cat who claims to be the amnesiatic heir to Downton Cabot, and has had an affair with a married farm cat for which she’s yet to express the slightest remorse).

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Lady Fussypants, caught in scandal!

Meanwhile, Lady Fussypants’s sister, Lady Gem “Slutty-McSlut-A-Lot” Cabot, killed a visiting Turkish noblecat with her vagina. Obviously none of us knew such a thing was possible, but somehow she managed it.

(Technically she might have done it with another orifice. The details are a bit sketchy.)

Like her sister, no remorse has been expressed, except remorse that killing a Turk with her vagina has made it impossible for her to marry the cat of her dreams.

Gem3
GUILTY!

Just when we thought things were calming down, the Spanish Influenza broke out. The local surgeon (for humans) was summoned to Downton Cabot.

“My God,” the surgeon cried, looking at that weird thermometer they stick in your ear at the doctor’s office. “100.7? You’ve got a fever! Does your throat hurt?”

Me: “Wait. I’m actually sick for once? This is awesome!”

“She always thinks she’s sick,” He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog explained, and pulled a list from his shirt pocket. “Let me tell you the diseases she thinks she’s had in the past few weeks. Spinal meningitis, dengue fever, that thing you get from cleaning out the litter box, walking pneumonia, whatever kind of cancer it was that guy had in the movie 50/50—”

Me (to doctor): “SHOULD my throat hurt? Are sore throats going around?”

Doctor: “Here, take Tamiflu if your body begins to ache. How long have you felt sick?”

Me: “How would I know? I just sit in bed all day reading my own writing and hand feeding Whiska Temptations to my 20 year old demented cat. I always feel sick. Wouldn’t you?”

Doctor: “Good point.”

Husband: “—whatever they got in the movie Contagion, whatever all the people have in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, every disease anyone has ever had on Dr. G. Medical Examiner—”

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Lady McSlut-A-Lot retires to her bed of Padded Envelopes in shame

Hen3
Lady Fussypants is

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38. What A Girl Wants

The first month of the year is already gone and I haven’t even bought a 2012 wall calendar yet for my office.

But what do you do when you get to OfficeMax and the only calendar choices left over in the store are Indy 500 and Glee? No offense to either of these fine institutions but sometimes I fall asleep in my office (aka my bed). I do not want to wake up and see a car crash or Mr. Shu looking at me first thing in the morning.

Although it’s a bit ironic because I’m from Indiana (home of the Indy 500), and I just found out from D-Listed that Heather Morris (Brittany from Glee) and I have the same birthday (making us both February 1st D-Listed Birthday Sluts). Which I should have known because Brittany and I have so much in common, given our mutual love of cats, rainbows, and unicorns.

Since I didn’t get what I wanted for my birthday (a cat, rainbow, and unicorn office wall calendar, or to wake up in the body of mixed martial artist Carla Gugino), I decided to order Rob O’Neal’s wall calendar online. He’s a local Key West photographer who was badly injured in a scooter accident. All the proceeds from sales of his calendar to go to help his recovery. His photos of the ocean are very soothing to wake up to, I find.

Anyway, I was so touched by how many of you wrote to wish me a happy birthday! You’ve already made my year, and the year’s just getting started! There’s still so much to do before I leave for my mini-book tour for the release of Overbite in paperback on February 7 though!

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Overbite’s sexy Italian cover

I have to, for instance, learn how to become a mixed-martial arts expert like the guys in Warrior (which the Oscars ignored, except for Nick Nolte. Whatever, Oscars! And no best supporting actor for the guy who played the monkey in Rise of the Planet of Apes? I give up).


It’s gonna be OK, buddy. Look, my arm grew back from last year.

I’m leaving for Dallas, TX (LOVE YOU DALLAS) where I’ll be on Saturday, February 18 from NOON to 3:30PM (check it out! This event had a time change!) for Tea at The Adolphus on 1321 Commerce St!

(Actually, with the time change, this is now more of a lunch. YUM)

I hope I’ll see you there! There are still some tables left, so click here to make a reservation!

What you’ll get if you go to this event:

*A delicious lunch.

*One of the first copies of Overbite in paperback, signed (I’ll sign all your other books, too. Even books not written be me. I’ve done it before. Sorry, JK Rowling, the kid was convinced I was you. Also, I signed that copy of Webster’s Dictionary. I wasn’t going to tell that kid no.)

*An edifying talk about unicorns princesses Keynesian economic theory writing, the creative process, how to get published, and live your dream. Or at least how to deal with the fact that you are not a mixed-martial arts fighter (yet) but that dream could still come true if you get a

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39. Advice from Mia Thermopolis

Hi, it’s me, Princess Mia Thermopolis! I stopped by Meg’s blog to post for her because she’s so busy promoting Abandon, which just came out today for the first time in paperback!

You would think that as a royal, I’d be the busy one, what with going to college and helping my dad to rule a country (for the last time: he only died in the movie version of my life. He is alive and well in real life).

But I’m getting pretty good at multi-tasking. I’m actually writing this during my Interactive Media class (blogging counts as interactive media, right?).

Anyway, a lot of you have been writing to ask where I’ve been lately, and why I haven’t updated my own blog in so long.

Unfortunately, blogging isn’t as emotionally therapeutic as I’d hoped. I hadn’t counted on the fact that everyone can read it (hi, Mom).

I thought Tweeting might be more fun so I’ve been doing that a bit (you can follow me here), but again, those pesky privacy issues.

I really think I’m better off journaling. Who knows, maybe I’ll have something else for my royal biographer to publish someday. We’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, since so many of you seem to have questions for me, I thought I’d try to answer a few of them. So here goes:

Dear Princess Mia,

Do you still go to the Plaza in New York City for tea with your grandmother? Because I went there over winter break hoping to get your autograph, and you never showed up.

Wondering If You’re Even Real

Dear Wondering,

As a matter of fact, I am real. I don’t get to the Plaza for tea as much as I used to because I’m in college now and don’t have to take princess lessons anymore (thank God).

I did, however, spend winter break in Genovia, where the median temperature is always seventy-five degrees. (Please plan your next vacation in Genovia!)

Due to my busy study and travel schedule I won’t be making many public appearances in the near future. However, if you’d like to meet my biographer, Meg Cabot, she’s got TWO public events planned for the month of February in advance of the release of Overbite in paperback! If you’ll be in either Texas or California, you can have tea (or lunch) with her, and even sit at her table (if you buy a ticket in time).

The details of those events are:

Saturday, February 18

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Tea at Fresh Fiction
The Adolphus

1321 Commerce St

Dallas, TX

Friends, books, chat, and high tea! Who could ask for anything more? Not me. An exclusive luncheon with Meg Cabot in the famous French Room at The Adolphus!

This will be Meg’s only appearance in Texas and a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon! Click here to sign up!

You’ll also get one of the first copies of Overbite, which will be out that month in paperback, which Meg will sign! (She says she’ll sign all your other books, too. Well, the ones you bring/buy at the event that were written by her.)

Maybe she’ll even give you some spoilers about the next book in the Heather Wells series, Size 12 and Ready to Rock, coming out this July, and the sequel to Abandon, Underworld, coming out in May, too!

Click

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40. Best of 2011

Happy New Year! By the time you read this, it will most likely be 2012. How could another year have passed so quickly?

I don’t know. All I know is that 2011 went by like lightning.

Like most writers, I am a person of deep reflection (mostly when it concerns the lives of my characters, and celebrities, too, of course), so I realize that most of the highlights of 2011 — for me, anyway — involved all the traveling I did for the books that I wrote that came out this past year (Abandon and Overbite, not to mention my short story for the anthology What You Wish For) . . . not just this past month in France , but over the summer, too, when I got to go to places like Cedar Rapids and Tulsa and Boston and San Francisco.

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Shop window in Strasbourg

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Amazing French rugby shirt and fun poem courtesy of Florence – who wins the prize for coming to the most signings in a single country: every single one of them except one! Florence, you rock. I can’t thank everyone involved in my French tour enough for all their kindness. Merci!

2011 was especially meaningful to me since it was the year I finally found the answer to a question that is asked in nearly every interview I have:

“Which 5 people, living or dead, would you most like to have over for dinner?

How can anyone answer this? I know everyone thinks you can tell something really deep and important from the way a person answers this question, but I personally feel that this question is incredibly stupid, and that no one can tell anything about anyone from the way they answer it – at least not anything deep or meaningful, unless the person mentions 5 dead members of her own family. And this is why:

Everyone expects authors to answer that they’d have someone literary to dinner, such as Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte or maybe Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald. And I’m ashamed to admit that upon occasion, I have answered in this way.

But the truth is, I was lying. Except for a few of my author friends, I do not want to entertain any authors (except ones I already know) in my home. If you look at the great writers in history, almost all of them have had some kind of mental problem (presumably from being tortured by the burden of their genius, as one of my professors in college explained to us), and have self-medicated to numb the pain of their exceptional intelligence and creativity. This is true of nearly every great artist and musician as well (poor Amy Winehouse).

Most of us who grew up in large Catholic families already know how dinners like this go (generally there is a fist fight, then someone passes out on the living room floor).

It would totally spoil my enjoyment of Pride and Prejudice if its creator came over to my house and threw up on my carpet after too many vodka and cranberries.


Jane Austen. Crazy eyes?

Another way people expect you to answer the “5 People” question is with religious or political figures. Like, “I’d just love to have Jesus Christ, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and Buddha to my house for dinner.”

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41. Book Tour in France!

So this morning I’m getting on a plane for my book tour in France. This is exactly the kind of glamorous thing that I always imagined I’d be doing if I were ever a published author!

But here’s a little known secret: in real life, hopping on a plane to Paris for your book tour turns out to be less than glamorous (at least if you’re me).

Because right now I can’t find the leggings I just bought (two pairs!) for this very trip.

And I’ve suddenly realized I only have one hour to change planes in Atlanta, which means my suitcase (which weighs 75 pounds even without the leggings, because I’m bringing 3 pairs of boots) will never make it onto the plane.

And my 19 year old cat Henrietta has decided that the floor of the office across the hall from the laundry room where her litter box is actually located is really the most convenient place for her to go to the bathroom (number two only).

Oh, and the touchpad of my MacBook Pro died, just when my revisions are due for Underworld. I have my trusty MacBook Air, but it only has 2 hours of battery, for some reason. Perfect for a 9 hour plane ride during which I hoped to get some work done.

Obviously I shouldn’t complain because

a) I am incredibly lucky (and thrilled) even to be having a book tour in France, and

b) things can only improve, right? By the time I get there and see all those smiling French faces, everything will be fine. Even my suitcase will show up eventually!

But until then, zut alors!

Anyway — yoga breath — this week, Abandon is being released in France. It has the same title in France as it does in America (and England).


Tres jolie!

My French publisher’s amazing website has the lowdown on all the contests and fun stuff that’s going on online while I’m there. But below are some of the places you can stop by to say hi to me in person (sorry I don’t have links for all of them. You should contact the stores to make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. I do think you might need bracelets and stuff in advance to get in to some of them, so it’s worth double checking).

Lille
Friday, December 2
Signing at Le Furet du Nord bookstore
5:30 – 6:30PM

Montpellier
Saturday, December 3
Signing at Sauramps bookstore
3:00 – 4:30PM

Paris
Sunday, December 4
Signing at the Montreuil Book Fair
4:00 – 6:00PM

Strasbourg
Wednesday, December 7
Signing at La Librairie Kleber bookstore
4:30 – 6:30PM

Paris
Thursday, December 8
Signing at FNAC Montparnasse
6:30PM

And if you have questions you’d like to posez you can posez them here (I have a question. WHERE ARE THOSE LEGGINGS?).

On the days I don’t have events listed, I will still be working — behind the scenes, doing interviews and videos and stuff you’ll see later! I do get a little time off, but this is a work trip! Besides, I used to live in France, so going there is like going home!

OK, I’m completely making that up. But when I was six, my family moved to Grenoble, France for a year so my dad could teach there on sabbatical. I went to French school and actually learned to read in French, from some of the best books of all time . . .

. . . because they saved me from my overwhelming confusion at suddenly being plopped into first grade in a foreign country:

Martine<

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42. Cover Girls

So much book cover stuff is going on, not just with my own books, but other people’s too, that it’s all I can think about.

Which is not good because I have so much to get done before I leave for my mini – book tour at the end of the month in, of all places, FRANCE. I have deadlines to meet and French to learn and suitcases to pack for the Salon du Livre Jeunesse! (If you’re going to be in France at the same time, also look for me in Lille, Montpellier, Strasbourg, and other bookstores of Paris! I’ll be putting up a real schedule soon, but in the meantime, check out my French publisher’s site, Lecture Academy, for updates.)

Meanwhile, both the covers for my 2012 releases have been released, and, if I do say so myself (and I can, since I had nothing to do with them), they’re pretty gorgeous.

But your input is vitally needed for one of them.

But first, OK, the cover for Underworld? OMG. So amazing. Don’t even get me started, I love it so much:

Underworld JKT
Underworld won’t be in stores until May 8, 2012!

Yes, that’s the same model from the first book! Isn’t she amazing? Just LOOK at her. And yes, that’s John’s arm.

Blue is my favorite color (to look at, not to wear), FYI.

But for my next book in the Heather Wells series, Size 12 and Ready to Rock (in stores in July 2012), I completely need your input! Because we’ve got two covers and we couldn’t decide which one was better! So I was like, “What if we just asked everyone what THEY thought?” and my editor, Carrie, was all, “YES.”

So take this uniquely rare opportunity to VOTE on which cover you like better here on the Heather Wells Facebook page (voting ends Sunday)!

This one?

Size12Rock4[8]

Or this one?

Size12Rock42[8]

I know some of you are looking at these covers and thinking, “What is the difference?”

But to some speople (like me) there is clearly a major difference (I will not tell you my preference so as not to prejudice the voters, but I do have one. Although honestly, either one would be fine).

And thank you to the amazing people at William Morrow for letting everyone have their say! You have no idea how many covers we went through to narrow it down to these two! We saw Heather in black dresses, gold dresses, red dresses, green dresses, jeans, on and on.

But this was hands down our fave. It’s just so . . . Heather. Sometimes you have to let your heroine dress up a little. Even if she’s solving a MURDER.

Anyway, here are some of the other things in my life that I’m excited about:

Of course, Princess Mia Thermopolis has a Twitter page and has started Tweeting. Mostly she’s just quoting Grandmere’s advice right now, but occasionally she has her own stuff to say. If only that lazy royal would update her blog.

(It was pretty sad when Princess Mia went to start

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43. Twitter and Facebook Qs Answered

I love reading all your comments and questions on Facebook and Twitter. But some of them require answers that are too long to write in 140 characters. And let’s face fact: I write 55,000-100,000 word books for a living. It’s hard for me to write anything in 140 characters.

So I thought I would try to answer a few questions from Twitter and Facebook here. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see one of yours. Or a friend will see yours, and Tweet you about it. That is what social media is all about!

From Malena
Hi Meg? What are you going to be for Halloween?

Am I the only person freaking out because Halloween is this week and I still haven’t figured out what my costume is going to be? I did come up with one, but when I showed it to some people, no one knew what I was until I explained. See if you can figure it out:

designall.dll

Get it? I’m one of those people who always writes “First” under an online news story whenever he/she is the first one to comment.

OK, never mind, maybe I’ll just go as a witch again, like last year.

From Ana Christina
Helo Meg, how is your cat Henrieta doing? We haven’t heard about her in a while.

Well, thank you for asking, Ana Christina. Henrietta has a bit of arthritis, and now requires special stairs so that she can reach the side of the bathtub on which she likes to stand to drink out of the caps from water bottles, which are the only receptacle from which she will consume liquid. But other than that (and being completely insane) she is doing well.

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From Cristen
Hey Meg, I was wondering if you happened to know when Underworld is coming out because the suspense is killing me!

Dear Cristen,
The suspense is killing me too! I’m glad you want to know more about Pierce and John (and this is a good time of year to wonder about them, since Coffin Night just took place here in Key West! Once again, no coffin burners were actually caught)! Look for Underworld, the sequel to Abandon, in stores in May 2012.

From @janelleminniti
Hanging out for @megcabot to release the next heather wells book…..

Dear Janelle,
That’s funny, because my editor and I were just hanging out, trying to pick a cover for Heather Wells #4! I’d show you what we finally decided on, but then, of course, I would have to kill you. Size 12 and Ready to Rock will be out in late Summer 2012!

From Daphne
I just finished “Overbite” and it was really engrossing! Loved everything about it. I would love to see/read about what happens to them next!! ♥

Thanks Daphne! I’m super glad you liked it. The ending of Overbite certainly left the door open for a third book (with a very intriguing premise for a heavenly love triangle . . . ha ha get it? Heavenly?), but for now I’m concentrating on Heather Wells and the Abandon sequels (and maybe some other surprises if I drink enough caffeine).

From Sanny Appy Gal
Hey Meg!! I love all your books. From the first word I read in the first Princess Diaries Series I fell in love with all your books! I always wanted to know where you get all those awesome ideas!! Can you share your secret?

Good question Sa

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44. Sunshine in Tall Shoes*

Hey, here’s something we don’t have around here very often: A guest post! And it’s by a guy!

It’s from author Christopher Moore, whose awesome new graphic novel, The Griff, is in stores now! In case you didn’t know, I did a guest post for Chris a few weeks ago (click here to read it. It’s all true. Please note that the title of this post is also by Chris).

I love Christopher Moore, not just because he’s a good author, a gentleman, and the vampires he writes about don’t sparkle (NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH VAMPIRES WHO SPARKLE. It’s genetic, I know sparkling is not a choice), but because his books were once MEDICALLY PRESCRIBED by a physician, and as you know, I fully respect medical authority (such as Hank Med on USA Network, and of course, Dr. George Clooney).

Here’s Christopher Moore’s guest post. Pay attention–it could save your life:

The first time I ever saw Meg Cabot she was being chased across a banquet room at Book Expo America by Lemony Snicket, who was trying to steal her tiara.

(Note from Meg: At first I thought, “This is so funny, but sadly isn’t true,” and then I remembered it IS true, and one of the less bizarre things that have happened at Book Expo, which is why I forgot about it.)

My first thought was, “Boy, Meg Cabot can sure run fast in tall shoes.”

And my second thought was, “There’s no way that tiara is going to fit Lemony Snicket, so I hope she gets away.”

Meg got away.

And later, at another Book Expo America, I actually met Meg, who was sitting in a hotel restaurant with a bunch of sneaky-looking publishing people.

Suddenly, I had to go rescue a girl who got her prom dress caught in the escalator by cleverly telling the bartender to call someone who knows how to turn off the escalator before it ate the prom girl. So after that happened, I looked back at Meg, who was still sitting with the sneaky-looking publishing people and I thought, “Well, she seems nice, I hope she gets away.”

Then she asked me and my wife-like girlfriend if we wanted to join her for dinner, but I said, “No thanks, we have a thing to go to,” (because we did) “but may I suggest that you slip off your tall shoes.” The people she was sitting with looked like they were faster than Lemony Snicket and I thought she would need the extra speed.*

(*Note from Meg: What I especially love about this story is that some of the people I was sitting with that night included my mom and R.L. Stine–of “Goosebumps” fame–and of course Bob’s wife, Jane. I agree, however, that they were probably quite sneaky-looking, particularly Bob Stine, who was Thrillermaster at this year’s Thrillerfest in NYC. What could be sneakier?)

(There was another time when a doctor prescribed my books to Meg’s husband because he was too cheerful and needed to get more snark in his diet, which is my specialty, but I don’t remember the details of that because I had a cold at the time and had taken a lot of Nyquil.)

(Note from Meg: All of the above is also true. And note what I mentioned about such bizarre things happening at Book Expo that I forgot about all the other stuff, like Lemony Snicket trying to steal my tiara. Like Peter Yarrow playing a special solo round of Puff the Magic Dragon exclusively to Julie Andrews in the green room before breakfast at 7AM. Yes, this happened. I was there.)

Anyway, Meg got away, and as you know, went on to write several thousand awesome novels.

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45. It’s Meg Cabot Day: Stop Working

I hope you aren’t working right now. Work is forbidden (for real, by proclamation of the mayor of Bloomington, Indiana) on July 31st, which is Meg Cabot Day.

So today if you want to blow off work and spend the WHOLE DAY floating around in a pool or lake on a raft, or just sitting in the shade or AC, reading books (specifically mine, but they can be books by anyone. I’m easy like that), you don’t have to feel guilty about it.

Not that you ever would or should feel guilty about reading for pleasure. It’s just that I know some of you have gotten in trouble for reading when you aren’t supposed to be, because I’ve gotten your letters, emails, Facebook messages, and Tweets about it.

But today if anyone says anything like, “OMG, you didn’t even make the bed!” or “Um, where are the TPS reports?” you have a built in excuse for why those things are not done:

You’re legally obligated to spend the whole day lazing around, reading.

Here’s the official proclamation I received from the mayor of Bloomington (my place of birth) on this day seven years ago (at a book signing at the Bloomington Barnes and Noble):

PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana and spent her childhood in pursuit of air conditioning, which she found at the Monroe County Public Library; and

WHEREAS, Meg whiled away many hours in the library, reading the complete works of Jane Austen, Judy Blume, and Barbara Cartland; and

WHEREAS, armed with a Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, she moved to New York City intent on an illustration career, but when that failed to materialize, got a job as the assistant manager of an undergraduate dormitory at New York University where she wrote novels on the weekends; and

WHEREAS, Meg still calls New York City home, along with her IU graduate husband and one eyed alley cat named Henrietta; and,

WHEREAS, Meg has published over thirty novels for younger readers as well as adults, including The Princess Diaries series, The Mediator series, and 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU; and

WHEREAS, Lifetime network is making a series from 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU where students attend Ernie Pyle High School, a reference back to Bloomington, home to IU’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism; and

WHEREAS, film rights to The Princess Diaries were sold to Disney, and a feature length film based on the book was released in August 2001; and

WHEREAS, Meg’s has an upcoming book, Teen Idol, set in Indiana, and is scheduled to be the lunch speaker at the Girl Scout Leadership meeting at Indiana University.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mark Kruzan, Mayor of Bloomington, Indiana, do hereby declare Saturday,

July 31 as

MEG CABOT DAY

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Seal of the City of Bloomington this 15th day of July, 2004.

________________________________

Mark Kruzan

Mayor

Admittedly, some of the info in the above proclamation is slightly out of date (for instance, Teen Idol, as well as some other books by me, have already come out, and the Lifetime series Missing isn’t on anymore, alas, in most countries).

But the important thing is that you have a good Meg Cabot Day! You deserve it for being such devoted readers, whether you’re just starting out with the Allie Finkle series, or have taken the plunge with Insatiable and Overbite or Abandon, or whether you’ve been reading my books since the first one came out in 1998, when I was writing them unde

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46. Dog Days

Right now we’re in what is commonly referred to as the Dog Days of Summer.

I used to think people called this time of year “the dog days” because it’s so hot, even dogs don’t want to move from their nice comfy spot in the shade.

But it’s actually because historically, August was when Sirius, the Dog Star, was the brightest star in the sky.

So everyone back in olden times thought Sirius was to blame for bringing all the heat.

They didn’t know about meteorology and seasons and stuff like that. They also thought the reason winter came was because Hades had kidnapped Persephone, the daughter of goddess of the harvest, and was forcing her to live with him in the underworld. So the goddess of the harvest was so mad, she was making it cold.

Oh, old timey people. You make me laugh.

So what the old timey people would do when it got REALLY hot was find a nice fat dog, then slit its throat as a sacrifice to Sirius, to make him be less mad and stop it from being so hot.

(Author’s note: There was no ASPCA back then to stop people from doing stupid things like this).

And guess what? This did not even work! It stayed hot. And someone was minus a dog.

But this is how the Dog Days of Summer got its name.

So if you’re feeling a lack of motivation or just generally blah right now, you should know that you’re not alone. It’s not the fault of anyone’s dog (not even Sirius, which due to gradual shifts in the earth’s rotation, is no longer the brightest star in the sky during August).

But these ARE still the Dog Days.

But don’t worry, because there are a LOT of people working to try to get us out of our doldrums right now (thank God, because when I’m done trying to work on my current project every day, all I want to do is have a nice cocktail and be entertained by someone else’s project).

Here are some other people’s projects that I’m enjoying right now (I’d tell you about mine, but since it’s the Dog Days, I’d just fall asleep while doing so):

After long and exhaustive study, I’ve determined that one of the reasons the shows on the USA channel are so entertaining is because the network makes a conscious effort to match the color of their sets to their main characters’ eyes.

Case in point, Necessary Roughness, USA’s new show about a single mom sports psychologist who works for a pro-football team in New York City:

As you can tell from the above photo, this show is already good because every week Dr. Dani Santino (who just got divorced from her cheating scumbag of a husband) has to solve the mystery of what is wrong with her patient (always a new patient every week, always some kind of athlete, or married to one), and also has to juggle the guys she works with, pictured above, some of whom are kind of hot for her (the one from Buffy and one from Gilmore Girls)!

(I’m sort of mad I didn’t think of this show, because I was into sports psychology as far back as 2004, as you can tell from this blog entry. DANG!)

But the important thing is that in almost every scene, USA Network makes sure actress Callie Thorne’s golden brown hair and eyes match something golden brown on the set, usually leaves, so the show has a sort of warm, golden, autumnal feel to it. Don’t believe me? LOOK:

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47. Which 80s Film Heroine Are You?/Hurricane 101

So roughly half of the coastal US is under a hurricane watch or warning right now (except, strangely, the parts of the US that are used to it, such as Florida, which is where I am right now).

Having been through numerous hurricanes since I moved here in 2004, I feel qualified to give some advice to people going through one right now. If you need proof, just click on this entry from my Hurricane Diaries.

You can read many similar posts just by putting the word “hurricane” in the search engine of my blog. Though why you’d want to, I can’t imagine. It’s just more of the same!

Because the worst part about being in a storm isn’t the fear that your house might get swept away, because most likely that isn’t going to happen (unless you live on the beach and you didn’t evacuate, in which case, you should probably leave now, if it’s safe to drive).

No, the worst part is the clean up (especially if the power was out for a long time and the stuff in your fridge gets stinky) . . .

. . . and the abject boredom as the rain pours down, the power flickers, and everyone realizes they’re in no real danger . . . except of losing their minds because there’s nothing to do (hopefully you’ve been to the store in advance and stocked up on cheese popcorn and Gummi Bears and awesome reads.* Oh, and a flashlight. And, if you are over 21, beer and wine. And ice)!

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place! (Assuming you charged your batteries and can still read this).

Because here’s a cool quizz I made up to keep everyone stuck inside, riding out the storm, occupied and having fun!

So get out a pen and try to figure out . . . .

WHICH 80s TEEN FILM HEROINE ARE YOU?

Your friends would describe you as:

A) Popular
B) Brainy
C) Weird
D) Tomboy

When dressing for school in the morning, you make sure:

A) Everything looks cute
B) Everything matches
C) Everything is black
D) Everything is within easy reach of the bed so you can sleep in a little later after the alarm goes off

Your idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon is:

A) Shopping at the mall
B) Getting a head start on your history paper
C) Painting a self-portrait
D) Skating in the park


You’re packing to go to camp for the summer. You take:

a. Your yearbook
b. Your Powerbook
c. Your poetry notebook
d. You would so not go to summer camp.

Your favorite kind of movie is:

A. One that has kissing
B. One that is historically accurate
C. One that has a serial killer
D. One with explosions

Your ideal boyfriend is:

A. Sensitive loner
B. Brainy underachiever
C. Jock with a heart of gold
D. Artistic type

What does your favorite purse look like?

A. Prada
B. Anything big enough to fit all your books
C. Anything big enough to fit all your sketchpads/knitting needles
D. Purse? Who needs a purse when you have pockets?

Your preferred eyeliner color:

A. Blue
B. Natural
C. Black
D. Eyeliner? Yuck.

You favorite TV show is:

A. Jersey Shore
B. Masterpiece Theater
C. You only watch movies
D. Anime

Ready? Count up all your As, Bs, Cs, and Ds!

If you answered mostly As, you are:

Congratulations! You are a PROM PRINCESS. The 80s teen film heroine you are most like is MOLLY RINGWALD from THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Popular and pretty, you are universally liked, but long to b

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48. Ten Years

Sunday will be the tenth anniversary of 9/11. For those of you who don’t know, my husband (also known as He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog) was working in an office building across the street from the Twin Towers, and was sitting at his desk when the first plane hit.

I’m going to re-post an entry I wrote a while ago about the experience my husband and I shared on 9/11, not because I think it’s so well-written or anything, but because I think the memories from that day shouldn’t be forgotten.

But I also know that some people come to this blog looking for an escape from bad memories, not to relive them (hey, that’s why I come here, too). So for all of you, I’m also posting a link to this Back To School quiz. May the Force be with you.

For the rest of you, here is this:

On 9/11 I got woken up in my Greenwich Village apartment by a phone call from my friend Jen. I was still asleep when the first plane hit. 9/11/2001 was one of those rare days where sloth was rewarded. I know several people who are still alive today because they were late to work that morning, or stopped to get coffee to help them feel a little less groggy.

“Look out your window,” Jen said.

That is when I saw the smoke.

I called my husband’s office first thing. I couldn’t see his building from our apartment, but I could see the building ACROSS from his, which was the Trade Center, and black smoke was billowing out of it.

What was happening? I wondered. Jen didn’t know. No one knew.

Was he all right? I knew he worked on a really high floor, and it looked as if whatever had happened to that tower across from his, it had to be happening right in front of his office window.

I couldn’t get through to him. I couldn’t make any outgoing calls from my phone that day. For some reason, people could call me, but I couldn’t call anyone else.

It turned out this was due to the massive volume of calls going on in my part of the city that day.

But I didn’t know that then.

Sirens started up. It was the engine from the firehouse across the street from my apartment building. It was a very small firehouse. All the guys used to sit outside it on folding chairs on nice days, joshing with the neighbors who were walking their dogs, and with my doormen. The old ladies on my street always brought them cookies.

9/11/01 was a very, very nice day. The sky was a very pure blue, not a single cloud, and it was warm outside.

Now all the firemen from the station across from my apartment building were rushing out to the fire downtown.

Every last one of them would be dead in an hour. But none of us knew that then.

I turned on New York 1, the local news channel for New York City. Pat Kiernan, my favorite newscaster, was saying that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Weird, I thought. Was the pilot drunk? How could someone not see a building that big, and run into it with a plane?

It was right then that Luz, my housekeeper, showed up. I’d forgotten it was Tuesday, the day she comes to clean. When she saw what I was watching, she looked worried.

“I just dropped my son off at his college,” she said. “It’s right next to the World Trade Center.”

“My husband works across the street from the World Trade Center,” I said.

“Is he all right?” Luz wanted to know. “What’s happening down there?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t reach him.”

Luz tried to call her son on his cell phone. She, too, could not get through.

We didn’t know that our cell servers used towers that were located on top of the World Trade Center, and they all had stopped working.

We both stood there staring at the TV, not really knowing what to do. It was as we were watching that something weird happened on the TV, right before our eyes:

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49. Please Add This to Your Wishlist!

What do authors Alexander McCall Smith, R.L. Stine, John Green, Ann M. Martin, Cornelia Funke, Jeanne DuPrau, Mia Farrow, Karen Hesse, Joyce Carol Oates, Nate Powell, Sofia Quintero, Francisco X. Stork, Cynthia Voigt, Nikki Giovanni, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Gary Soto, Jane Yolen, and me have in common?

We all have a book out today! It’s called What You Wish For.

We each contributed a story or poem for this book to the The Book Wish Foundation for free, so that 100% of their proceeds would go to the UN Refugee Agency!

That means if you buy a copy, you’ll be helping to build libraries all the way across the world, where they barely have any books, let alone libraries, or even pizza.

And if you buy a copy through this link, 100% of their net profits from the sale will go directly to the Book Wish Foundation, so they’ll get even more funds than they would if you bought a copy anywhere else.

So what are you going to do today? I think you should make sure you get a copy of What You Wish For, which contains “captivating, inspiring, sometimes creepy and ofttimes funny stories and poems” that “offer hope about things we all wish for.”

Not to mention, my story has romance AND pizza in it, both of which the world needs a lot more of (it goes without saying it needs more books and libraries).

Thanks for reading!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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50. Bits ‘n Bans ‘n Birthdays

Hi! Well, it’s officially fall. School has started, all of our favorite shows are back on (and some new ones have been added—check below for some completely partial reviews!), and some new books have come out (not any of mine, except the anthology I’m taking part in. Which, if you want to see me talk about LIVE—via Skype—at the United Nations, you can win tickets to! Just click here).

Fall also traditionally brings us the birthday of the most FANTASTIC PERSON IN THE WORLD (again, I am completely partial), someone with whom some of you might be familiar. . . He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog.

Yes! It is true! On October 5, HWSNBNITB will be half a century old (just like George Clooney, HWSNBNITB was born in 1961, obviously the best year for men).

As you can tell by this recent photo, HWSNBNITB is still filled with youth, vitality, and many other things:


(Yes, HWSNBITB still refuses to allow me to mention him or put his photo on my blog. I thought you would enjoy looking at this photo of George Clooney instead. HWSNBNITB is actually younger by six months than George, but of course a better cook and even more handsome and erudite)

So I hope you will join me in wishing HWSNBITB a happy birthday (only you can’t go to his Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Linked In, or Google + pages because he is old school and doesn’t have any of those things. You will just have to wish him happy birthday to the air).

To celebrate, we are going to do super fun things, many of which I am almost done planning (birthday plans should never be left up to me).

Fall also brings us Banned Book Week, a very important week that has passed (another example of my planning) when the American Library Association celebrates the importance of the First Amendment (the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might not be your personal cup of tea).

But as we scan the lists of the Most Banned Books in America, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of books disappearing from our library shelves are not even on these lists!

Why?

Because library patrons (and parents) have caught on that rather than going to all the trouble of asking for an official ban, it’s much easier simply to remove the offending book from the library and pay the fine.

The library rarely has the budget to replace the missing book with a new one of the same title. The book is gone, and 7 – 15 bucks later, nobody’s the wiser.

For every book challenge that’s been reported, research suggests at least as many as four to five have gone unreported, and who knows how many books have simply gotten “banished” due to material inside that a single patron found personally distasteful!**

**Thanks to Author’s Guild Board of Directors member Rachel Vail for the above data.

How can you help libraries get more money so they can replace books that have been “banished?” Contribute when you hear your local library is having a book drive (every penny counts), and enter your zip code here:






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