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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Megs Diary, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Back to Genovia!

Greetings! Royal Wedding Disaster, the second book in my new series for middle grade readers, is almost here, and I’m SO EXCITED about it.

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And it’s not just because once again, I wrote and illustrated it myself, or because Book #1 is going to be out in paperback at the same time (May 10). No, there’s more.

Much more.

But first I have to fill you in on everything else that’s been going on, in chronological order (I know this would be much easier if I just posted more often, but I’m much too lazy busy for that):

OK so I had such an amazing time visiting with so many of you at my signings last month in SoFlo (including hanging out with tons of fun authors who like to drink wine as much as I do  such as Debbie Macomber and Meg Medina, with whom I plotted about how we’re going to switch name tags at future events. No one will figure it out!).

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And then I got back and a lot people were talking about how they are making a Princess Diaries 3 movie (maybe).

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While I agree this would be amazing (although I have not given up my dream of a Princess Diaries musical. COME ON PEOPLE, THEY DID IT FOR LEGALLY BLONDE), we need to give Anne Hathaway time off to enjoy being a new mom, and of course think of an amazing subplot for Heather Matarazzo (which shouldn’t be hard since she’s awesome).

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But just because we don’t have a movie right now doesn’t mean we can’t take a trip to Genovia (I don’t mean literally, though of course Genovian tourist agents are always standing by to take your reservations).

 

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I’ve got TWO new stories set in Genovia coming out in less than a month!

So we can go there in our minds.

In From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #1-1/2: ROYAL DAY OUT, Grandmére and Olivia take the royal limo to downtown Genovia in search of a gift suitable enough for a certain bride-to-be. Will they be successful? Find out in:

 

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This free e-short will be available online everywhere on May 10, 2016!

Yes! You read that correctly! This 30 page novella (set between Books 1 and 2 of the Princess Olivia series) is ABSOLUTELY FREE.

BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE.

As her sister Mia’s wedding day gets closer and closer, a LOT of things seem to be going wrong. Can Olivia keep her sister Mia’s royal wedding from becoming a royal disaster? (Plus do well at the Royal Genovian Academy AND handle Genovian means girls, her first prince(s) and being visited by her best friend?)

Find out in From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #2: ROYAL WEDDING DISASTER

 

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This full-length illustrated novel for readers 6 and up will be available as an e-book and in print in the US and Canada on May 10, 2016!

BUT WAIT THERE IS EVEN MORE!

ALSO on May 10, 2016, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, Book #1 will be available for the first time ever in paperback!

 

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Oh my God, I am super tired now. Also it would be nice if every time I wrote Genovian, my computer wouldn’t change it to Genevan. HELLO. Stop.

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So, also I will be on my Royal Wedding Disaster Day Tour, speaking and signing copies of ALL of the books! (Well, not Royal Day Out. I don’t know how you sign copies of an e-book.  I guess I could sign people’s e-readers and phones. In fact I will be HAPPY to).

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If you’re interested in dropping by to hear me read from any of these books or tell amusing anecdotes about the vagaries of my life, here’s where I’ll be (barring unforeseen circumstances) starting as soon as NEXT WEEK (OMG NEXT WEEK??? FOR REAL??? I need to go shopping):

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20

Twitter, The Internet

Meg will be chatting with @PWKidsBookshelf

Time: 3:00 PM EST

Use the hashtag #PWChat and stop by to ask me stuff. I’m sure I’ll have learned to use Twitter properly by then.

 

TUESDAY, MAY 10

New York, NY – 92nd Street Y

Lexington Avenue at 92nd St

Venue: Warburg Lounge

Time: 7:00 PM

Price: from $22.00

Ticket does not include book; B&N will be selling books

https://www.92y.org/Event/YA-Lit-Meg-Cabot

 

THURSDAY, MAY 12

Wellesley, MA – Wellesley Books

82 Central Street

Wellesley, MA 02482

(781) 431-1160

Time: 7:00PM

http://store.wellesleybooks.com/event/meg-cabot

 

FRIDAY, MAY 13

Chicago, IL – Book Expo America

McCormick Place

Ticketed signing

Time: 2PM-3PM

http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/en/Sessions/26485/Ticketed-Autographing-Session-with-Meg-Cabot

 

 

FRIDAY, MAY 13

Arlington Heights, IL – Tuscan Market

141 W. Wing St

Arlington Heights, IL 60005

847-392-9700

Time: 6:15PM

Price: $30/person, includes two books

(one new release + choice of ROYAL WEDDING, FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, or REMEMBRANCE), wine or sparkling juice, hors d’oeuvres

Q&A, personalized signing, photo booth, guests in costume will be entered in a raffle

Portion of proceeds go to Metropolis Performing Arts Center

https://www.facebook.com/events/1576119669378859/

 

 

SATURDAY, MAY 14

Chicago, IL – BookCon

West Building at McCormick Place

BookCon Panel, time TBA

Speaking with Sherman Alexie (THUNDER BOY JR.) & Kate DiCamillo (RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE), Signing to follow

“Guest Bookseller” at Macmillan booth, time TBA

http://www.thebookcon.com/Events/

 

 

SUNDAY, MAY 15

Irving, TX – Irving County Library

South Irving Library Meeting Room #1

601 Schulze Dr.

Irving, TX 75060

972-721-2606

Time: 3PM-6PM

Price: free, books will be available for purchase

http://cityofirving.org/Calendar.aspx?EID=3843&month=5&year=2016&day=7&calType=0

 

Phew!

OK so any mistakes above are mine and I sincerely apologize. I have been a haze since trying to get my latest adult book in by its deadline of April 1, which also happened to be my 23rd wedding anniversary!

Obviously I did not succeed (as if)! I missed it by several days, on which I blame the cat, who is quite elderly now and meows at nothing (all cats do this but this cat does it more than others, and at top volume, so I have to go see if she’s in mortal peril).

But she is not. It turns out she has dementia (for real – this was diagnosed by the vet).

But please do not worry about her. She’s fine, as you can see by the photographic evidence:

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Sometimes, however, she gets lost (inside the house) and then we have to go find her and turn her around so she’s facing the right direction.

I wish I were joking.

But I did have an excellent anniversary, as you can see by this very shaky photo (shaky because I was shaking with joy over the fact that HWSNBNITB got me 2 dozen roses, one rose to represent each year of marriage with one to grow on, and then also made me his delicious and infamous gluten-free lemon pudding cake).

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But once the cake was gone celebrating was over, I did get the book turned in, and am now happy to announce that I have a new book for adults coming out in October called The Boy is Back.

Although it’s listed as part of a series, it’s actually a stand alone novel (with all new characters in a brand new setting), but told in epistolary format, like my previous books The Boy Next Door and Boy Meets Girl (updated for modern readers, so it features emails, diary entries, text messages, and even some unfortunate – for the characters – gossip columns).

Boy-Is-Back

That’s all I can say about it for now – you’ll find out more closer to the release date!

Well, I really must go write and illustrate From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #3 now. Poor Olivia . . . the trials that girl’s grandmother (and aunt) put her through!

But perhaps I’ll just have a little more cake first while I watch Call the Midwife. . . .hope to cyber see you at the Twitter chat on Wednesday!

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More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Back to Genovia! appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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2. Spring Break and Book Signings!

Well, it’s March, which means a lot of different things  people.

To some, March means the beginning of spring, which means Spring Break (which of course to me will forever mean my Significant Objects short story about getting my wisdom teeth removed).

To others (okay, to He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog), March means college basketball season.

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(HWHSNBNITB wants you to know that the Indiana Hoosiers are this year’s Big 10 Men’s Champions.)

But for people in publishing, March is when “we crash a lot of books” (direct quote from my editor at HarperCollins).

Because March is when a lot of books are due, edited, come out, and book festivals (put on hold for winter) start up again.

I can attest to this because I’ve been working frantically to get the book I have due in, so I can enjoy all the book signings I have this month, AND respond to all the nice mail I’m getting about the books I have out, all while recovering from (and feeling thankful for) last month’s AMAZING book tour.

It was GREAT having a day named for me in Fort Lauderdale by the MAYOR!

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As well as meeting so many of you!

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And having a drink named after me!

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YOU ARE THE BEST!!!

So now I’m going to attempt to answer some of your many many questions before I plunge back into my attempt to make my deadline(s). I’m not sure it will work, but the important thing is that we tried, RIGHT?

 

Q: Meg, how much do tickets cost to go to your book signing this month in Fort Myers?

A: Nothing! The Southwest Florida Reading Festival is 100% FREE!

Come check it out:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fort Meyers, FL

South County Regional Library

Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Harborside Event Center & Centennial Park

1375 Monroe St,

Fort Myers, FL 33901

 

I will be doing two presentations, one at 10AM inside (check out the map when you get there. You’ll find me!) with a signing to follow,

and one on the Teen stage at 2:15 (outside), with a signing to follow.

(Sub question: What is the difference between your 2 presentations? Sub Answer: THE AUDIENCE.)

More:

They will be selling books on site, but you can also bring a limit of 3 books from home. I’m sorry, but I cannot personalize books from home, only books bought at the site. (20% of $ from sales of books bought at the festival goes to help fund more book festivals like this one, which in turns promotes literacy, so you understand why this is important!)

 

Q: Is there some way that I could have a private lunch with you and two of my friends or relatives?

A: OMG it’s so weird that you asked that because there IS!!!

On Sunday March 20 in Fort Myers, the Southwest Book Festival is auctioning off a fancy lunch with me from 11:30-1:30! The funds go to raise money for literacy! All you have to do is go here and place a bid. You also get this gorgeous tote bag filled with autographed books by me!

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(Complete Princess Diaries and Mediator series! Cat not included.)

We’re going to have so much fun!

 

Q: Aren’t you doing an event in Key West next week, too?

A: OMG I am! Thanks for mentioning it!

Monday, March 14, 2016
Key West, Florida
6:00PM
Friends of the Key West Library Lecture Series
Key West Theater
512 Eaton Street
Admission is free!!!!
Seating begins at 5:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis

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Hanging with Cassie and Jenna at the Key West Library!

Everyone should come to this, because I will be presenting a Power Point (YES I KNOW!!!!) that will include the FIRST EVER cover reveal for my new book, The Boy is Back, which will be out next October. What is the BOY IS BACK about?  HA HA COME TO THIS EVENT AND FIND OUT.

Q: Meg, when is Remembrance/Proposal coming out in the UK?

A: I’m happy to tell you that they’re BOTH available there now (and should be available in all UK territories, as well)! They’ll also be coming out in France, Brazil, and many other countries soon. I SWEAR.

 

Q: Meg, I don’t like e-books. Why can’t I read Proposal as a print book?

A: Lucky for you Proposal – my first ever stand alone adult novella (not in an anthology) — became available March 1 in print as well as an e-book! So if it’s not in a store near you, ask your local bookseller to order it for you.

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Q: Will there be a sequel to Remembrance?

A: I definitely have some ideas for one. I had a story line for Gina that I was forced to remove from the original draft  of Remembrance because it made the book over 600 pages long, which is too long for someone like me who only likes to read print books in the pool or bathtub. So maybe I’ll return to that story line someday.

 

Q: Will there be more Heather Wells books?

A: I would love for there to be, and I have actually started working on one, but right now I’m contracted for more princess books!!!!

 

Q: Will there be more Princess Diaries books?

A: Most definitely! Look for the return of both Princess Mia and Prince Michael in May 2016 in From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess #2, Royal Wedding Disaster.

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And after this, there’ll be more adventures of Olivia and her friends (including Mia, Nishi, Michael, Snowball, Grandmere and possibly even a prince or two).

 

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Back view of couple

Q: I can’t go to lunch on March 20, is there some other day we can hang out?

A: I would love to go to lunch EVERY DAY but I have to finish the book(s) I have due. Stay tuned to my Twitter and FB feed, and I’ll let you know when my schedule clears up!

 

Q: Are you worried about the zika virus?

A: I worry about it constantly every day.  Not for myself, because I am never going to get pregnant and also here in the US we have plenty of window screens, air conditioning, and Deep Woods Off.

But I worry about it a lot for my friends and readers in Brazil (and in Puerto Rico), and I’m closely following all the news stories about it. Just when you think things are as bad they can get, along comes something that hurts babies. You would think this would cause the media to go, “Okay, enough with THAT nonsense. Let’s concentrate on THIS so we can get it fixed.”

Let’s see if it works.

 

Q: What if I can’t be in Florida for Spring Break and won’t be able to see you?

A: No problem. I’ll be at Book Con in Chicago in May!

 

Q: What are YOU doing for Spring Break?

A: Writing books! Going to book signings!  And watching Madam Secretary, Walking Dead,  Broad City, Brooklyn 99, and about a million other shows, while also working out at StayFit here in KW – yes I have a trainer! – and trying to keep the cat from fighting every other cat within a 5 block radius.

Have an AMAZING spring, and see you soon (I hope)!!!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

The post Spring Break and Book Signings! appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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3. 2015 September Events and October Brazil Tour!

Hello, readers, royals, and mediators! It’s been such a fun, busy summer. I’ve had a great time seeing (and hearing from) so many of you during my 15th Anniversary Princess Diaries tour to celebrate the releases of Royal Wedding and From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess!

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But guess what?  It’s not over yet. I’ve still got a few more (national and international) stops to make in September and October!

Read on to see if I’ll be visiting a town near you (unless of course you’re my mother-in-law, in which case you already know I’m coming to see you. Hi, Bonnie)!

In the meantime, the cover reveal (and synopsis) for Remembrance, Mediator 7 (in stores February 14, 2016), is coming soon . . .

Come see me and my amazing fellow writers at the following locations:

September

Columbus Children’s Book Festival
Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Rd, Columbus, Georgia 31906

  • Saturday, September 19, 2015 – Noon-1:00 PM
    Embrace Your Inner Princess! – Signing to follow

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Read for Pixels 2015
Online Chat – Register here

  • Sunday, September 27, 2015 – 11:30PM EST (8:30 PST)
    Reading and Q&A session in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal Campaign.

readforpixels

October

I’m so excited to be heading to Brazil in October!  Can’t wait to see you there!!! Obrigada!!! (I’m seriously going to learn more Brazilian Portuguese than this one word before I get there.)

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Cachoeira, BA – Oct 18th,  10AM
Flica Festival
Recife, PE – Oct 19th,  5pm
Saraiva MegaStore Riomar Shopping Recife
Avenida Republica do Líbano, s/nº – Piso L2 – Luc 227 – Pina
CEP: 51110-160 – Recife – PE

São Paulo, SP – Oct 20th,  5pm
Saraiva MegaStore Shopping Center Norte
Travessa Casalbuono, 120 – Loja 414 – Vila Guilherme
CEP: 02047-050 – São Paulo – SP

Porto Alegre, RS – Oct 21st,  5pm
Saraiva MegaStore BarraShopping Sul
Av. Diário de Notícias, 300 – Loja 1022 – Cristal
CEP: 90810-080 – Porto Alegre – RS

Belo Horizonte, MG – Oct 22nd,  5pm
Saraiva Megastore Shopping Diamond Mall
Av. Olegario Maciel, 1600 – Lojas 16 a 21 – Nivel Bernardo Guimarães Lourdes
CEP: 30180-111 – Belo Horizonte – MG

Rio de Janeiro, RJ – Oct 23rd,  5pm
Saraiva MegaStore Shopping Rio Sul
Av. Lauro Muller, 116 – Botafogo
CEP: 22290-160 – Rio de Janeiro – RJ

 

Coming to Brazil in October:

 

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It’s going to be an amazing trip! I can’t wait to see you there!

XOXOXO

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

The post 2015 September Events and October Brazil Tour! appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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4. Brazil, Books, Paris, and Giving Thanks!

This has been the craziest fall so far here at Casa Cabot.

First of all, I just got back from Brazil, where they released Royal Wedding and a new version of The Princess Diaries with a brand new forward (by recently married Brazilian author Paula Pimento, who invited me to her wedding! How fofinha is she??)

It was so much fun to meet so many awesome readers like these:

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And it was amazing to see copies of the newest Princess Diaries books on the shelves.

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I visited a new city every day, but I didn’t have jet lag, because Brazil is one hour ahead of the US (except when it’s two hours ahead. Don’t ask).

My favorite part of Brazil is the people.  But I didn’t mind the dessert carts or caipirinhas, either!

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Then I got home and a few days later my editor sent me what we all agreed would be the cover of Remembrance, the first adult book of the Mediator series (which will be out a couple of weeks earlier than planned…February 2, 2016)!

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What I liked about this cover is explained here in this exclusive cover reveal from Cosmopolitan Magazine (where you’ll also find a sneak peek excerpt from Chapter One)!

We went through a LOT of covers for this book.  I can’t even tell you how many…but I liked each and every one of them. They just didn’t fit this particular book. I’m not going to show them to you because I really hope they get used for another book (that’s how much I liked them)!

But it took us so long to find the right cover that we missed the deadline for printing them on the Advanced Reader Copies, which arrived a few days after the cover reveal in Cosmo, looking like this:

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If you can’t wait until February 2 to read Remembrance, you can enter for a chance to win an ARC here.

Right now, in an effort to avoid doing any work at all associated with Thanksgiving (He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog is the chef around here, not me!) I’m working on a Mediator e-novella called Proposal that will HOPEFULLY be available January 6, a month before Remembrance is available. It takes place a few years before the action in Remembrance.

I say “hopefully”  because I’m hoping to finish it by the deadline or you won’t be seeing it until AFTER Remembrance comes out. But you won’t care, right?

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My mother-in-law, not caring at PF Changs. We can all learn from her.

In addition to that, I’m working on the illustrations for the second book (with more to come!!!) in the Notebooks from a Middle School Princess series, Royal Wedding Disaster. This book will be in stores (and on e-readers) on May 10, 2016!

Here’s a look at THAT cover! Could you die of the cuteness? Yes, that’s Princess Mia in the background, peeking over her shoulder at Princess Olivia!

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No, I’m not busy at all.

Even though I was sad to be home from Brazil (not just because no one was bringing me caipirinhas), I was excited to  attend YALLfest in South Carolina.

It was my first ever YALLfest, and it was AMAZING to see so many of my favorite author friends, bloggers, librarians, teachers, and readers all in one place!

Then we learned what had happened in Paris.

But I felt lucky to have been in Charleston when such horrible news broke, because like Paris, Charleston has had to learn to be strong in the face of senseless violence. Like the amazing author (and Yallfest founder) Margaret Stohl posted:

“It’s up to us to change the story. I refuse to believe that love will not prevail. #charlestonstrong #parisstrong.”

Sitting in the dark of the Charleston Music Hall, we were treated to an upbeat concert from the band Tiger Beat (honestly, I went on book tour with the titian-haired literary genius Libba Bray, but I didn’t know she could sing like that. And I mean, that woman can sing), who then performed the most moving rendition of “Let It Be” with the West Ashley High School that I’ve ever heard!

All of us agreed, it truly was “a moment of hope in the dark.”

(And you guys, I can testify – because I was sitting next to him- that RL Stine cried. Well, okay, we ALL cried.)

There’s a lot to be sad about this Thanksgiving.  But there’s much more to be grateful for. We have books, we have Brazil, we have Charleston, and we have caipirinhas.

And we’ll ALWAYS have Paris, and each other. I’m so thankful for that!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

The post Brazil, Books, Paris, and Giving Thanks! appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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5. Best of 2015, TV edition

Happy new Year! 2015 is finally making its way out the door, and I don’t know about you, but I’m not too sorry to see it go, kind of the way I feel about house guests who’ve over stayed their welcome.

But there were definitely some good things about 2015, am I right? Remember this?

 

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And this?

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This was fun, too:

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But what stood out most to me about 2015 was that it was a GREAT year for books, TV shows, and movies written by or about women.

That’s definitely something to be remembered/celebrated!

So I’m going to list a few of the TV shows, movies and books that I enjoyed in 2015 – limited to what I can remember, obviously. I know I’m going to leave things out, and if I do, please tweet and let me know YOUR favorites, especially if there’s something you saw that I missed and absolutely MUST see.

Of course since I can’t fit all of them in one post, I’ll be spreading the lists out a little over a few weeks.

 

TV Shows I Liked in 2015

(that I can remember)

 

Broad City*

This show about (and written by) two girls trying make their way in the big city has a cult following, and deservedly so, for pointing out all the weird things about life after college, especially in New York City.

 

If there’s a star * by the title it means that HWSNBNITB watches it with me. He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog has a notable disinterest in creepy or dramatic shows. I, however, will apparently watch just about anything.

Inside Amy Schumer*

Not everyone likes every skit Amy does on her show, which makes it somewhat controversial, but as Mr. Bennet asked his daughter Lizzie in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

 “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

Crazy Ex Girlfriend

A lot of people judged this new show on the CW by its title and didn’t watch it, but that was a huge mistake. “It’s more nuanced than that,” the main character insists. And it is!

Check out the musical number below where “crazy” Rebecca (she’s not “crazy,” that’s a pejorative term!) sings about how good she is at impressing other people’s parents. (There’s an “explicit” version that’s even funnier, but you’ll have to find that one on your own.)

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt*

From the addictive theme song to the hilarious musical numbers, this Netflix hit about a girl who’s been through unspeakable trauma trying to begin a new life is perfection. The humor might skew a little too satirical for some people, but I’m happy there’s a second season coming.

 

UnReal 

We all know reality shows aren’t “real” (though I for one sometimes try to trick myself into believing what I’m seeing wasn’t at all set up by the producers).

Now, thanks to UnReal, Lifetime’s scripted show about a “Bachelor-like” reality series, we know ALL the secrets. Its female creators (who have worked behind the scenes in television a long time – one of them is Marti Noxon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) hold nothing back and I was riveted from Episode 1. This was one of the most extraordinarily entertaining, well-acted shows of 2015. Thank God it’s been renewed for another season!

 

A Chef’s Life*

The cook in my life forces me to watch this PBS show about a female chef who’s moved back to her home town in South Carolina to raise a family and open her own restaurant . . . but I like it! Except that it’s a reality show and, well, sometimes I wonder . . . see above.

KIDDING.

Chef/writer Vivian Howard’s show is “disarmingly charming” acc. to HWSNBNIB and her food looks good, too.

 

River

This British detective drama on Netflix, written and created by Abi Morgan, killed me. DO NOT WATCH IT unless you’ve cleared your weekend because you’ll want to binge the whole thing to find out “who done it.” It – along with Happy Valley, which I’ve heard they’re making Season 2 of right now! – could be my favorite detective dramas of all time.

You’re The Worst*

Kind of like “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” I think the title of this show is misleading. I feel like in Season 2 especially this became one of the smartest, warmest comedies on TV. The female characters in particular are depicted as being flawed, but still funny and strong, which makes them lovable and sympathetic.

And just when I was worried everything on this show might go in the darkest direction possible, the writers proved that maybe these characters aren’t “the worst” after all…and that made me love the show even more.

Veep

This show has been around for a while but it only gets better every season.  And I don’t just mean the swearing. If this show were a food and beverage, it would be a delicious salt-rimmed margarita with cheesy nachos, basically one of my favorites. Julia Louis Dreyfuss is who I want to be when I grow up!

 

Getting On

Am I the only person who watched this show (besides Buzzfeed)? Because it is one of my favorite shows of all time. Watching the characters on this show (who work in the “end stage” ward of a hospital) go at each other is like watching the duel between Hamilton and Burr (or so I imagine).

It’s both tragic and amazing and you want them to stop but you also kind of want them to keep fighting forever which is why I’m so sorry this show is over.

 

The Affair

I know some people gave up on this show in Season 1 because the flashbacks were in such confusing order. Plus, I mean, it’s totally ridiculous.

But if you stuck with it for Season 2 you’d have found out that:

a) The completely twisted murder mystery only gets twistier and THE BABY IS NOT WHOSE YOU THINK IT IS.

b) There’s a cynical send up of the publishing industry that actually had me laughing out loud (oh yes! You can totally write that book in three months and it will be out by Christmas.* And yes, publicists TOTALLY do that thing. ALL THE TIME.  HA HA HA no.)

c) The wife – Maura Tierney – could NOT be more different than the character she was in Season 1, and it’s brilliant and I want her to win every award.

*You can if you’re Trumbo.  You can write Spartacus in 3 days in the bathtub while drinking.

 

Penny Dreadful

Like The Affair, this show turned everything around, so characters you thought were one thing – cough, Billie Piper – in Season 1 turned out to be something else entirely in Season 2. And I loved it.

Game of Thrones

I watch this show because I also read the books and I’m interested to see what happens next. I know some people are upset by the fact that occasionally characters get killed off (or abused) in nasty ways, but I think there’s so much senseless death and violence in real life that we NEED stories like this – where we get to see a character’s ill treatment avenged later. Because that so rarely happens in reality!

As long as the violence works in the context of the story, it doesn’t bother me.

And we need to know what happens to the mother of dragons! And to Arya and Sansa Stark, of course.

You guys know I was invited to George RR Martin’s indie theater in February to chat about Remembrance, right?

 

Black-ish *

Diane. Her mom, Bow.  But Diane. OMG DIANE

 

Brooklyn 99*

This is pretty much one of the best comedic ensemble shows ever. Thank God we have it to fill the hole in our hearts left by Parks and Rec.  The female characters on this show are AMAZING. I’ve watched all of Chelsea Peretti’s stand up and I want to be Rosa.

But honestly it’s Terry Crews who is my favorite. Whenever I begin to succumb to mean world syndrome I watch this and snap out of it.

Lizzie Borden Chronicles

Lifetime! Again! What’s up with you Lifetime??? If you want to watch a woman slowly realize she can get away with killing all the terrible people in her town to make it a better place, then this is the show for you.  Don’t be mean to your dog around Lizzie!

 

Downton Abby*

It all ends next month! It will be hard to say goodbye but I’m so thankful to the Dowager for bringing us so many put downs..

Call the Midwife

These nuns and nurses are still adorable while delivering babies in sometimes sad and controversial circumstances and oh! That Christmas special!

 

Of course there are many more shows I want to gush about, but I’ve forgotten them (I’m sure you’ll help me out)

Besides, I’ve run out of time.  I’ve got to finish the drawings for Notebooks from a Middle School Princess #2, Royal Wedding Disaster. Freelance writers/illustrators don’t get holidays off when they have deadlines.

But I WILL stop later on tonight for a few glasses of champagne, to toast the New Year!

Join me back here next week year for my “Favorite Books of 2015″ and Favorite Movies of 2015.”

I hope everyone’s holidays are amazing and that 2016 brings nothing but joy!

Remember – be safe  . . .  be happy  . . . but most of all, be yourself!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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6. Mediator Madness

Exciting news for all you Mediator lovers (and even those of you not familiar with the series):

There’s a book trailer for Remembrance . . . the first ever book trailer in the Mediator series!

And it’s AMAZING (even if I do say so myself):

Click here to view the embedded video.

Okay, okay, I know it’s not quite as long as some of you might have wanted . . . but I think it’s perfect! Thanks so much to Janey (whose idea it was), the team at Harper, and my awesome friend Brady!  He makes the best book trailers – he’s made all of mine! His little peek into Suze’s messy hectic life is just hilarious!

We’ve got less than a month until Remembrance is available everywhere (well, OK, US and Canada) but it’s already arrived at my house!

I FLIPPED OUT when SIX HUGE BOXES ended up on my porch and I opened them to find these inside:

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That’s because Schuler’s Books is making the same offer this year for Remembrance that they did last year for Royal Wedding! If you’d like an autographed copy of Remembrance, you can click here to buy one!

Orders placed by Jan 25 ship the week of Feb 2, 2016 (day of the book release in stores and online). International shipping is available too!

So I’ll be spending the next week or so signing hundreds of these books – which is cool, since I actually joined a gym a few months ago, and have been lifting weights WITH A TRAINER in preparation for this. MY BODY IS READY!!! (I can lift twice the weight of the cat. Not that she’s too impressed – or happy – about this). In fact she wishes to be left alone.

 

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Cat, pretending not to see me.

But that isn’t all that’s been going on. “Proposal” will be out NEXT WEEK!

Available January 16, 2016

Available January 19, 2016

For those of you who don’t know, “Proposal” is a 100 page e-novella I wrote that takes place about two years before the action in Remembrance. I wrote it because after I handed in “Remembrance,” my editor said:

“Love it! But I wish you’d shown the part where he proposes to her.”

I was like, “Ha ha! Yes, but the proposal took place years earlier between books 6 and 7 so showing it would have made the book a hundred pages longer and also the whole point is that Suze and Jesse are already engaged and planning their wedding and and and. . . .”

Which is writer speak for “D’oh! That’s genius! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh, no I’m going to have to go write another book now aren’t I? Why did you give me that idea that won’t leave me alone until I write it down???”

So I did.

“Proposal” is a little bonus book for readers who want to know how Suze and Jesse’s engagement came about (author’s note: it obviously involves all the elements that make a Mediator book what it is: ghosts, a murder, humor, horror, and romance. . . quite a bit of romance, since it takes place on Valentine’s Day).

You can find out more about it here (excerpt coming soon).

To find out more about Remembrance (and read an excerpt), click here:

I’m SUPER excited about the release of these books, and even more excited about about my Remembrance book tour which will be taking me all over the US this spring. Click here to find out if I’ll be visiting a library or bookstore near you!

In meantime, I know I promised a blog post about my favorite Books and Movies of 2015 – that will be coming soon!

Right after I watch this week’s Downton Abbey. I have to do SOMETHING while I sign all these books!

XOXOX

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

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7. New For 2015 From Meg Cabot

You: “Hey, Meg, why don’t you have any books coming out in 2014?”

Me: “Because I’ve been so busy on a couple secret projects!”

Thanks to this exclusive story from the Wall Street Journal, they aren’t so secret anymore.

2015 is a special year for me. It marks the 15th Anniversary of the publication of The Princess Diaries, Volume 1, and Shadowland, Book 1 in The Mediator series. To celebrate this, in Summer 2015, I’ll be releasing three new books:  two in the Princess Diaries series, and one in the Mediator series!

Here’s the scoop:

 

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 Mediator 7

In REMEMBRANCE (William Morrow), the seventh installment of the Mediator series, all Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).

But when she stumbles across an ancient murder, old ghosts—and ex-boyfriends—aren’t all that come back to haunt her.

REMEMBRANCE will be the first ever adult installment of the Mediator, published by the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.

 

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Princess Diaries XI

In ROYAL WEDDING (William Morrow), Princess Diaries XI, Princess Mia’s planned nuptials to longtime love Michael Moscovitz are in jeopardy when the paparazzi uncover a startling secret: Mia has a long lost younger sister.

Now a scheming politico is using the royal scandal to force Mia’s father from the throne, leaving Genovia without a monarch . . . unless Mia can prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s finally fit to rule.

ROYAL WEDDING will be the first ever adult installment of the Princess Diaries, published by the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.

But don’t worry! Even though these will both be released as adult books in Summer 2015, you’ll also be able to share the princess power with your favorite younger reader:

In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS (Macmillan) a new middle grade series, I’m taking readers back to Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.

I’m super excited to be working with Jean Feiwel of Feiwel & Friends (a publisher of innovative fiction and non-fiction at Macmillan) with a new character for a younger audience. Olivia Grace has a biracial background, and that has a special resonance for me and my family. I’m hoping readers will be as excited about it as I am!

‘From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess’  marks the first time I’ve illustrated my own children’s fiction (even though I have a BA in Fine Arts from Indiana University, and I moved to New York City originally to be an illustrator! It’s just one of those things that never worked out until now.  Although being a bestselling author has been OK, too).  I’m SO grateful to Macmillan (and Jean Feiwel) for helping to make it happen!

Genovia Royal Family 2

 Art not final. Obviously! This is a sample sketch I did of Olivia and Mia!

I love both the Princess Diaries and the Mediator series because I have so much in common with those characters. Mia is bad at math, like me; Suze has a bad attitude, like me; Mia loves animals and creative writing, like me; Suze loves fashion and sees ghosts, like me. (Ha, kidding, only Suze sees ghosts.)

And now Mia has a younger mixed race sibling, like me (only mine is adopted. And a boy.  And I highly doubt Mia will fight with her sibling over the TV remote like I used to do with mine. Also, Mia is more than ten years older than Olivia Grace, so they don’t really watch the same TV shows. And in the palace in Genovia, there’s more than one television).

Genovia Royal Family 1

 

Art not final! Obviously Grandmere won’t have cocktail glasses in her portrait in the real book! It’s for kids!

I’ve been planning this book for some time. I got the inspiration a few years ago from actual goings-on in the royal family of Monaco (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to brush up on your royal family gossip). Of course there are major differences between Genovia and Monaco. For one thing, all children born to the heir to the throne of Genovia are in line to inherit. This is not so in Monaco. And for another thing, Michael Moscovitz is  not Grace Kelly.

I’m guessing some longtime readers of the Princess Diaries series are wondering, “But didn’t Mia’s dad, Prince Philippe, say he couldn’t have any more kids?” Well, you’ll just have to wait to read ROYAL WEDDING (and ‘FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS’) to find out the details!

(For those of you going, “Wait . . . didn’t her dad die in the movie?” for the last time, Mia’s father is alive in the books.)

For those of you wondering if Paul Slater is in Mediator 7,  the answer is yes, he is. There are a lot of comments I could make about that but I will restrain myself.

You may have noticed that I don’t have any public appearances scheduled for 2014.  That’s because I’m gearing up for such a busy 2015! 

(PS For those of you who regularly follow this blog who are wondering what happened to the boat I was buying, I’m still testing out which kind of boat I want.  But my friends who own boats have grown tired of my pointing at myself and saying, “I’m the captain now,” then taking over the wheel–though that joke NEVER gets tired to me. So I figured it was time to go back to writing for a bit.)

In the meantime, stay tuned to this blog and to my social media network feeds for updates, news, and maybe even a chance to win some sneak peeks at the upcoming books (like this one. You can bid to win a sneak peek chapter of either Royal Wedding or Remembrance, in addition to a complete signed set of the Princess Diaries series. AND all the money goes to diabetes research)!

As always, thanks for reading!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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8. 9/11: Keep It From Happening Again

Every year teachers let me know that the post below about my experience living in Manhattan a few dozen blocks from the World Trade on 9/11 has become part of their classroom curriculum, so I continue to post it annually.

I think it’s especially important to post this year given the fact that the other day I overheard some guy ask: “Why should we care if a few Westerners want to join ISIS? What’s the worst that could happen?”

I’d like to think this guy is just some random butthole, but given a new study I just read that only 54% of the world’s population has ever heard of the Holocaust, I think some people have forgotten about 9/11, or think it was only about “a few buildings” getting blown up, not thousands of normal every day people just like you and me dying in the most horrible ways imaginable simply because they did what most of us do every morning: They went to work.

And now, only 13 years later, another “radical terrorist group” has sprung up in the Middle East. Some Westerners think they aren’t “that much of a threat,” or even that their “cause” has merit.  Um, what?

Look, I get it. 9/11 is depressing. This has been a bummer summer.  We’d all rather read about the Royal Wedding of Princess Mia and Michael Moscovitz. But it won’t be available until 2015.

And a writer’s job isn’t only to entertain: It’s to record the tragedies of history so they won’t be forgotten and repeated, and also to point out acts of heroism so that they’ll inspire others to act similarly in future events.  So read on.  There’s tragedy in this, but there’s plenty of inspirational heroism, too, I promise.

 

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Meg’s 9/11 Diary

9/11/01 started out as one of those super nice fall days where the sky was cloudlessly blue and it was just warm enough, but not hot. My LA friends call that “earthquake weather.”

So we probably should have known something awful was going to happen, but most of us didn’t.

My husband had woken up early to go jogging before leaving for work at his job as a financial writer at One Liberty Plaza, which was across the street from the World Trade Center.

He has never been jogging again.

Not being a morning person, I was still asleep in my apartment on 12th Street and 4th Avenue, about a dozen blocks from the Trade Center, when the first plane hit. Our windows were closed and the air conditioning was on. I didn’t hear a thing until my friend Jen called.

Jen: “Look out your window.”

That is when I saw the smoke for the first time.

Me: “What’s happening?”

Jen: “They’re saying a plane hit the Trade Center.”

Me: “But how could the pilot not see it?”

Jen: “I don’t know. Isn’t that near where your husband works?”

It was. I couldn’t see his building from our apartment, but I could see the World Trade Center.  The black smoke billowing from it had to be going right into my husband’s busy investment office on the 60th or so floor.

“I better call him to see if he’s okay,” I said, and hung up to do so.

There was no answer at my husband’s office, however, which was crazy, because over a hundred people worked there.

Were they all right? I didn’t know. I couldn’t get through to anyone anywhere. I couldn’t make any outgoing calls from either of my phones 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, both on cell and land lines.

But I didn’t know that then.

Sirens started up. It was the engine from the firehouse directly across the street from my apartment building. It was a very small firehouse, but it was always bustling with activity. All the young, handsome guys used to sit outside it on folding chairs on nice days like the one on 9/11, joshing with the neighbors who were walking their dogs, with my doormen, with the neighborhood kids. The old ladies on my street always brought them cookies.The firemen, in turn, always had treats for the old ladies’ dogs.

Now all the firemen from the station across from my apartment building were hurrying to the fire downtown, throwing on their gear and urgently blaring the horn on their truck.

Every last one of those young, brave boys would be dead in exactly one hour. Their truck would be crushed beyond recognition.  That firehouse would sit empty and draped in black bunting for months.  No one would be able to look at it without crying.

Of course none of us knew it 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 then that our cell servers used towers that were located on top of the World Trade Center, and they all had stopped working due to the intensity of the flames shooting up the building.

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 at the World Trade Center — 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. 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.  People were choosing to jump from their offices in the World Trade Center rather than burn to death.  They couldn’t escape the flames, and rescuers couldn’t reach them.

But their offices were sixty to ninety floors from the ground.  Some of them were holding hands with their colleagues as they jumped. Many of them were women.  You could tell by the way their skirts ballooned out behind them as they raced towards the pavement below.

Luz and I sobbed.  We didn’t want to watch, but we couldn’t stop.  This was happening in our city, just down the street, to people we saw every day. Who would do this? Who would do something like this to New Yorkers?

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. The jumping people couldn’t choose where they landed.

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 first responders 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 on at the time. 4th Avenue is always heavily trafficked with honking cars, buses, taxis, bike messengers, and scooters.

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 window, 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 them so long to get here.”

“I hope you’re right,” I said. But I wasn’t sure I shared her faith.

Then Luz ran downstairs to see if anyone in the crowd was coming from the same college her son went to, to ask if anyone 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), then 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 had 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 Jack 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 since the elevators weren’t working due to the flames, 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 of course she couldn’t get hold of them because no phones were working.

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, and couldn’t make their way down again.

“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 last 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 that those twins have had to grow up not knowing their mother. And for what reason?

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.  Many people that day were rewarded for tardiness).

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.

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.

(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 small side streets home around those buildings, which is why it took them 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, the ones who lived in New Jersey wondering how (and if) they were going to get home.  Eventually, that night, they managed to catch boat rides – see the film below.

Despite all the horror and misery of that day, there many, many acts of heroic bravery that continue to make me proud to be a human (and, let’s face it, an American). The “boat lift” from Manhattan is one of them. It is completely worth watching this short documentary about it by Tom Hanks if you have not seen it already.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Meanwhile, 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 young children, showed up at our door, their kids and half the employees from their office (which was also 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: “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 of the neighborhood 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 all the businesses in the Trade Center and One Liberty Plaza that had lost theirs, including my husband’s company, so that they would be able to remain solvent, another act of kindness that never gets mentioned anywhere, but should.

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 their 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 at One Liberty Plaza 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 One Liberty. 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 during the Blitz — meeting for lunch like nothing had happened, but the smoke made your eyes burn. I have no idea how the rescue workers at Ground Zero could bear it, and I’m not surprised so many of them now have respiratory diseases and cancer.

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, as the mayor kept assuring us, 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 volunteer 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, confident 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, to 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 buried beneath rubble 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, and the company he worked for got back on its feet, my husband decided financial writing wasn’t for him.  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 my husband a job in his new restaurant.

He 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 family 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 thinking about law school, and Shai is touring colleges. 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.

Of course, now there are some new bad guys out there. That’s no big surprise.  You can never catch them all.

But the important thing is that we never forget . . . and that we never stop trying.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

The post 9/11: Keep It From Happening Again appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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9. 25 More Things You Don’t Know About Meg

1.  Meg’s written over 80 books which have been published in 38 countries, including the US, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, Poland, and Japan, among many others.

 

2.  She has over 25 million books in print.

 

3.  Meg was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008 (it runs in her family), which is sad because most of her favorite foods have gluten in them.

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4.  But don’t feel sorry for her because many of Meg’s books have been #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, in addition to being USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and BookSense bestsellers. So she’s doing OK, except for the gluten thing.  And there is no gluten in wine.

 

5.  Meg wrote and illustrated her first story at the age of 7. It was called “Benny the Puppy.” Benny’s entire family dies in a freak prairie tornado.

 

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6.  Meg’s writing career began in 1998 when her first historical romance for adults, Where Roses Grow Wild, was published under the pen name Patricia Cabot (so Meg’s grandmother wouldn’t know she was writing books with sex in them).

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Her grandmother found out, though, so now all Meg’s books are published under her real name.

 

7.  The Princess Diaries was rejected by almost every publisher in North America with the exception of Avon/HarperCollins.

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8. The American Library Association called The Princess Diaries: “Like reading a note from your best friend.”

 

9.  Meg met her husband when she was 16, but they didn’t start dating until she was 24. They have been married for over 20 years.

 

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10.  Meg’s “Boy” books are popular world wide because of their “short chapters,” “realistic but romantic plots,” and “satisfying” endings.  The “Boy” books are told in text, email, and journal format.


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11. Meg can name all fifty states in alphabetical order in less than 30 seconds and has won quite a bit of money from people who bet that she could not do so.

 

12. Meg’s been blogging since 2003. Her post about her experience on 9/11 has been incorporated into the curriculum of some classrooms.

 

13. Meg’s 1-800-Where-R-You series (now re-titled Vanished) was made into a television series called Missing starring Vivica A Fox and Mark Consuelos. It ran on the Lifetime Channel for 3 seasons.

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14. Meg is an insomniac. That’s how she’s written so many books.

 

15. All author proceeds from Meg’s historical romance novel, Ransom My Heart, are donated to Greenpeace. Meg has also contributed 100% of the proceeds from stories she’s written for anthologies to the Teenage Cancer Trust, War Child, No Strings, Lisa Libraries, Kids Company, the New York Public Libraries, Reading Is Fundamental, The Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York City, First Book, the UN Refugee Agency, and Girls Write Now. To see a complete list of all the books Meg has written, including the anthologies, go here.

 

16. Meg’s mom was an extra in the Oscar-winning 1979 coming-of-age film Breaking Away.  You can read Meg’s mom’s texts to Meg on Meg’s Twitter.

 

17. The summer of 2015 will mark the 15th Anniversary of  The Princess Diaries and Mediator series.  To celebrate, Meg will be releasing two new adult sequels: Remembrance, Mediator #7, and Royal Wedding, Princess Diaries #11. A third book, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, will also be available, and will introduce a brand new princess.  Read more here.

 

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18. The best gift Meg has been given by a fan (so far) is a life-size, papier-mâché replica of Princess Mia’s cat, Fat Louie.

 

19.  Meg is a member of the Author’s Guild, the Screenwriters Guild, The Romance Writers of America, and Literati with Lyme, which helps raise awareness about lyme disease, which Meg contracted in 2002. Meg believes everyone should be tested yearly for lyme, even people like her who hate hiking.

 

20. Avalon High, a modern re-telling of the myth of Camelot, was a New York Times and Publishers Weekly best seller; selected by the New York Public Library as a “Book for the Teen Age”; named to the Texas Lone Star Reading List; nominated as an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, and YALSA Popular Paperback; and was made into a Disney Channel movie.

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21. Meg owns a home in Indiana that was made from two converted barns.

 

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22. Meg enjoys supporting young writers and has judged the Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest several times.

 

23. In 1994, when Meg was 26, her father passed away suddenly. He inspired Meg’s own love of genre fiction by reading a mystery novel a day, but he died before he ever read a single one of her published works. Meg hopes he’d enjoy them, especially the Mediator series, which he helped inspire.

 

24. Meg likes cats, reading, watching TV, swimming, bike riding, boating, and being in the sun. Meg does not like cars, coffee, cell phones or cold weather.

 

25. Meg’s been called “the master of her genre” by Publishers Weekly, but her favorite accomplishment so far is writing books that fans call their favorite “comfort read.” She hopes to continue to keep doing so for a long time.

 

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

 

 

 

 

The post 25 More Things You Don’t Know About Meg appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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10. 2014: The Year in Review

Happy Holidays!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m pretty honest.  There are some things I can’t say online because I try to be princessy, and princesses aren’t rude (to people’s faces).

But I think we can all agree that 2014 was a pretty terrible year.  Borrowing from kids’ book author Megan McDonald, I started calling Summer of 2014 the Bummer Summer.

Amidst all the many national and global tragedies that occurred, He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog lost his father, and we were forced to put his mother in a nursing home.

And of course the cat, now an only child, has decided to become a solo artist, delighting us with nightly 4AM concertos in the stairwell.

2014 wasn’t all bad, though. Many wonderful people were born, graduated, got jobs, and were married  . . . .

 

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(Find the out of town author at the chic wedding in Palm Springs, CA in the photo above ^^^^.)

Some people celebrated 21 year wedding anniversaries . . . .

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(He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog also refuses to allow his photo in this blog.)

Some people had friends kind enough to take them out on their boats and let them practice driving for when they get their own boats, chasing after rainbows, looking for pots of gold.

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But instead of gold, some people may have ended up running their friends’ boats aground.

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That’s okay though! Because the thing about chasing after rainbows is that even when you don’t find gold at the end of them, you usually end up finding something.

For me that something was the realization that the most important thing in the world is having good friends (who don’t mind if you run their boat aground).  And that home is the place where there’s always a warm drink and someone who’s happy to see you:

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2014 was also a great year for me creatively because, since I didn’t have any books coming out, I could concentrate on writing new ones!

Here’s the long awaited COVER REVEAL for ROYAL WEDDING (Princess Diaries XI)!

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Read a sneak preview of it here!

I can’t WAIT for everyone to read the WHOLE thing when it’s out in stores and e-readers on June 2! (In the US and Canada. Updates on when it will be out in other countries coming soon!) Learn more here.

And for those of you asking for proof that Mia (unlike me) can actually plan a wedding and is not going to elope:

Check out this Royal Wedding Pinterest board that I’ve created (with the help of my immensely talented friend and assistant Ann). Watch Mia and Grandmére duel it out over everything from shoes to bouquets and wedding decor.  New fights added weekly.

Before Royal Wedding hits the shelves, though, stay tuned for my first-ever illustrated (by me!) book, FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, which will be in stores on May 19!

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Yes! I drew this^^^^!

Middle School Princess will take readers back to Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of 12-year-old Olivia Grace, who may or may not be Princess Mia Thermopolis’s long-lost little sister!

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 I did not draw the book cover^^^! I can’t draw crowds!

Only the inside drawings are mine!

 

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That’s Lars, above. ^^^ I drew him.  In case you ever wondered what a Genovian bodyguard looks like.

 

 

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Don’t worry, there are female Genovian bodyguards, too. I drew her, too. ^^^

 

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This is Grandmere, with Rommel. ^^^^ I drew her. She is quite fancy, as you can tell.

Read an excerpt here!

Check for more sneak peeks (and chances to win SUPER COOL PRIZES, including advanced reader copies of both Royal Wedding and Middle School Princess) on the Official Princess Diaries page on Facebook. (Accept no substitutes.) A Middle School Princess page is coming soon here!

Middle School Princess was a super fun challenge for me since I couldn’t write it the way I normally do . . . in bed.

 

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Certain people complained I was getting eraser crumbs in the sheets as I was doing my drawings.

So I had to work at my art desk!

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Here is a photo of me there:

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In reality I do not wear dresses when drawing, I wear yoga pants and very crappy t-shirts. This photo is staged. 

 I wouldn’t allow a “realistic photo” as I, like Grandmere, am too vain.

If you’re a Mediator fan, don’t think I abandoned you for 2015, though. I handed in the completed manuscript for Mediator 7, Remembrance, way back in July, but the only release date we could all agree was special enough for the book was Valentine’s Day 2016.

I know what you’re thinking. When did Meg get so mushy?  I don’t know either.

But even though it’s more than a year away, I promise you it’s going to be worth the wait! I’m hoping this book will be the greatest Valentine’s Day gift Mediator fans—and even readers unfamiliar with the series—will ever receive.

(Well, okay, that might be pushing it. Nothing is better than chocolate.)

In the meantime, I would not be doing my duty as royal spokesperson for the Palace of Genovia if I did not remind everyone that:

As a person who tries to act princessy, I don’t believe in sharing too much of my personal baggage with my readers, especially on my social media. To quote Grandmere in Royal Wedding:

“It’s a royal’s job to entertain and enlighten – not burden – her subjects. Your personal baggage should only be shared with your therapist (or the bell boy, of course).”

However, I sometimes feel like people forget that I have two brothers.  One is a white police sergeant. The other is African American.

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Look, it’s me! Stuck in the middle. No wonder I became a writer.

So here is my sincerest wish for the holidays. . . and I don’t think it’s much different than the wish of any big sister:

Could we please try to get along? Remember that most people are good at heart.

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Let’s give love a chance in 2015.

(Yes, that motorcycle cop dressed as Santa is my brother, and yes, that is his wife, Mrs. Cabot-Claus.)

Back to your regularly scheduled blog:

Books make the perfect stocking stuffer!

And here are some free short stories to enjoy while you’re sipping hot chocolate by the fire (or hanging out on the beach).

We’re slowly putting together my tour schedule for 2015. It’s nowhere close to finalized, but here’s a sneak peek at some of the events I’m booked for so far on tour in 2015!

And finally:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for being the most amazing readers, friends, and family a girl could have! I hope you have the best holidays – and new year – ever!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

The post 2014: The Year in Review appeared first on Meg Cabot.

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11. Happy Anniversary!

I can’t believe it, but it’s true. 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the publication of the first book in The Princess Diaries series!

I know. You were just a baby back then.  So was I!  Look at my rosy cheeks!

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Ha ha ha.  Okay, so that photo totally isn’t from 2000.  I don’t have any digital photos of myself from the year 2000!

As regular readers of this blog know, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of The Princess Diaries, we’re going to be having all sorts of amazing events, contests, and give-aways leading up to two new books in the series that will be released in a mere 100 hundred days (give or take a few)!

Check it:

In ROYAL WEDDING (Princess Diaries XI), Princess Mia’s planned nuptials to longtime love Michael Moscovitz are in jeopardy when the paparazzi uncover a startling secret.Find out what that secret is June 2, 2015 in this first ever adult installment of the Princess Diaries!Learn More | Read Excerpt | Royal Wedding Pinterest page | Follow Princess Diaries

But wait . . . there’s more!

In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, you’ll be able to introduce the younger readers in your life to the world of the Princess Diaries (and Genovia) through a fun new heroine – 12 year old Olivia Grace!  Coming on May 19, 2015. Visit Page| Read Excerpt | Follow Princess Diaries |

 

I totally know what some of you are going to ask now:

“Where can I get an ARC* of these books?”

*An ARC is an “advanced reader copy” of a book that publishers sometimes make from the version of your book called the “uncorrected proof.” Authors try to destroy as many ARCs as possible because who the hell wants copies of their book out there with mistakes in it???? are very thankful for this and only wish they had enough ARCs for everyone!

But if you’re a librarian attending ALA Midwinter in Chicago in February, I’ve been told there will be ARCs there. I will be there, too, because my goal of course is to try to destroy as many copies as possible before my publicist asks, “Meg, why are you standing in that Dumpster?” graciously autograph as many possible.  I can’t wait to see you!

Where else will I be in the coming months attempting to stuff my ARCs into recycling bins before unsuspecting readers can be harmed by them signing ARCs (and of course my books that have actually been proofed)?

Click here to find out!

(Schedule not final! Appearances may be added!)

Meanwhile, don’t forget . . . on February 14, 2016 (I know . . . more than a YEAR from now!) I have a very special Valentine’s Day gift for Mediator fans (and readers everywhere)!  I just want you to be prepared, because it’s going to be HOT.

Until then — for instance, for THIS Valentine’s Day — you know what you can do for yourself?  BESIDES go see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, which I know you’re all doing, because I’m doing it, too (with a ton of friends and a bottle of wine, of course):

Check out the brand new e-versions of my steamy Patricia Cabot novels which have just been released by MacMillan!

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Yes!  Originally only published in paperback under my pen name “Patricia Cabot” (so my grandmother wouldn’t find out I was writing “naughty books”), these are now available for the first time electronically, everywhere ebooks are sold!

(And FYI, Grandma DID find out! And they turned out to be her favorites!  Who knows, they could turn out to be your favorites, too!)

I would like to thank you Chicagoans (and librarians) in advance for letting me spend my birthday with you!  I also think it was very sweet of you to invite Katy Perry to sing on my birthday. I love her! (Some people say she’s only doing it for the Superbowl but those of us born on February 1 – hi, Princess Stephanie of Monaco! – know the truth – that she’s really doing it for us!)

You guys are the best!  Thanks so much for pitching in to already make 2015 our best year yet!!!! XOXOXOX!!!!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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12. Spring! Contests! New Books!

Spring is here!

I know because these have arrived . . . .

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Oops, no, not those.  Silly me.  I meant these:

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Advanced reader copies of Princess Diaries #11, Royal Wedding, and From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess!

I’m so excited it’s finally here…the 15th Birthday of the publication of The Princess Diaries series, and with it, the first ever ADULT book in the series, and the first ever middle grade book about a whole new princess, for a whole new generation of readers!

If you want a chance to win free copies of these ARCS, enter here by May 1! Or here by April 25!

MSP_GirlsWorld_Contest_v2[2] copyThere’s an even more sensational contest happening here, where you can win not only books, but a $2500 makeover for your bedroom fit for a royal!  (You have to be under 14 in order to enter, so sorry, Mom, you’re disqualified…also you can’t be related to me, I already checked).

tiara

We’re also giving away official Olivia Grace tiaras like the one pictured left (only limited supplies were made). Click here (especially if you’re an international reader…this one is open to you, too.  I wish ALL of these contests were open to international readers, but it is very difficult to send bedroom sets overseas. We even have problems getting ARCs to readers overseas).

 

But never fear if you don’t win any of these contests! Because there’s a 100% guaranteed way you can get your hands on copies of these books:

Buy the finished, actually edited versions!

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess will be available on May 19, and Royal Wedding will be available June 2!

(Please click on those links above for ordering info, and also to visit the beautifully designed web pages we’ve been working so hard on.)


UK Readers

Check out these gorgeous UK covers:

NotebooksMiddleSchlPrincess_04.02_v2 copy - Version 2

Middle School Princess (available in the UK May 21)!

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Royal Wedding (available in the UK July 2)!

 pdreissues1-5 UK Princess Diaries releases!

 

Have you ever seen anything as cute? Besides the many cat videos I post on my Twitter and FB pages, of course.

As more international covers (and contests) come in, I’ll post them! I know the books will be available in Brazil, France, Japan, Hungary, and many other countries SOON!


In the meantime, even though I know authors aren’t supposed to read reviews (terrible things can happen if we do), sometimes my agent and editors forward them to me, and I cannot stop myself.  

That’s how I know Kirkus Books says:

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess is “a sweet fantasy, both funny and highly satisfying.” Kirkus went on to give Royal Wedding one of their rare stars, saying “this funny, heartwarming story is royally perfect from start to finish.”

Then Booklist was sweet enough to call Royal Wedding a:

“whirlwind of jaw-dropping, hilarious, and occasionally touching events. Original fans of the series, now adults themselves, will be thrilled with this, but it will be enjoyable for those on either side of Cabot’s extensive fan base.”

Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Publishers Weekly declared that:

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess is both amusing and entertaining, and Royal Wedding is “pure fun,” going on to say, “Readers who first discovered Cabot’s Princess books as teens will enjoy seeing Mia and Michael all grown up, and new readers will enjoy this sweet contemporary tale. Since this is being billed as the final book in the series, one hopes that Cabot will reconsider and write more of Mia and Michael’s story . . . .”

I have to admit right now I’m hard at work at the moment on sequels of another kind:

  • The next installment of the Olivia Grace, Middle School Princess series (which will be out next year)!
  • A new “Boy” book (this time with TEXTING).
  • Revisions for the 7th Mediator novel, Remembrance (which will be available February 14, 2016).

Hard at work, that is, when a certain someone will allow it:

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(I know my office looks like something out of a hospital ward, but I write in bed, and writing is thirsty work.)

But I’m certainly considering PW‘s advice about some new works featuring Mia and Michael (now that they’ve put it into my head).


In the meantime, I’m also recovering from the massive cold I acquired during our trip last month to Italy (He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog and I just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary there)!

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Just one of our many His and Hers Lunch in Italy. I had no problem finding gluten-free food there!

I also visited the Bologna Book Fair for the first time last month.  Perhaps you read about it in PW? I threw a big 15th Anniversary dinner for The Princess Diaries to thank all of the series’ foreign publishers for their support over the years!  It was so fun.

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Meg with a certain editor at a certain Brazilian publisher

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The MacMillan Middle School Princess party in Bologna!

I’m so excited to continue my tour for Royal Wedding and From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess next month. I’ll post the exact times/places I’ll be visiting as soon as I have a final itinerary, but here’s a sneak peek at my  schedule so far.

Meanwhile, I have to get back to work so I can finish up all of these new books before I hit the road!

But I can’t resist posting one last contest: Click here to register to win this matted 8 1/2 x 11 portrait I drew (medium: pencil) of the artist (ME!) pouring Ball-Gown-In-A-Box on Cinderella so she can go to the ball and charm the socks off everybody.  All funds for the portrait go to raise money for literacy!

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Good luck! And as always, thanks for reading.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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13. Book tour!

Look what’s coming to a town near you! Well, hopefully….

My Princess Diaries/Middle School Princess book tour!

 

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Here are just a few of the places I’ll be this spring/summer.  Not all my events/signings have been finalized so I’m only listing the ones I know right now for sure.  Stay tuned!

 

Dallas, TX
The RT Booklovers Convention
Thursday, May 14-Saturday, May 16
Click here for events I’m currently scheduled to attend!
(I’ll also be signing on Saturday in YA Alley!)

Meg.Cabot_.Princess.Diaries_0

 

 

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess tour, official pub day May 19!

Columbia, SC
The South Carolina Book Festival
Sunday, May 17, 4:00 PM
Richland Meeting Room A & B

 

Cincinnati, OH

Joseph-Beth

Monday, May 18, 7PM

 

Naperville, IL

Anderson’s

Tuesday, May 19, 7PM

 

St Paul, MN

Red Balloon

Wednesday, May 20, 6:30-8:30

 

Boulder CO

Boulder Bookshop

Friday, May 22, 6:30PM

 

New York, NY
BEA and Book Con
Friday, May 29-Sunday, May 31:

Friday at Book Expo you’ll find me signing at ________ (info to come!!!!)

Saturday, May 30, 2015
SPOTLIGHT ON ROMANCE: READER LOVE
With Robyn Carr, Kristan Higgins, & Sarah MacLean
2:15PM
Signing directly after

Sunday, May 31, 2015
A New Chapter in Genovia! With the Leading Expert on Genovian Princesses, MEG CABOT
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Signing after

 Meg-Cabot-Book-Con

Princess Diaries Volume 11, Royal Wedding tour, official pub day June 2!

St. Louis, MO
60th Annual IRA Conference (only now it is called ILA)
Keynote Speaker at YA Literature Luncheon
July 19, 2015

 

Columbus, GA
Columbus Children’s Book Festival
Keynote Speaker
September 18 to 19, 2015

 

Brazil
Flica Festival and various other locations to be announced
October 22 to 29, 2015

 

Charleston, SC
YALLFest
November 13 to 14, 2015

 

Book Tour FAQs:

Q: Why aren’t you coming to my town/country?

A:  Authors (like princesses and vampires) can only go where we’re invited, so if I’m not coming to a place near you, it’s because no one (official) asked.  I’m so sorry! Maybe next time.

 

Q: Can I bring books from home for you to sign?

A: It’s really up to the venue. It costs money to fly me to these events, so the venue needs you to buy at least one book at the event. If you do, they might allow me to sign two or more of your books from home.  It’s a great idea to contact the venue in advance to ask!

 

Q: Will you sign other things besides books?

A: Like what? Probably not, that is just weird.

 

Q: Can I get a selfie with you?

A: If it’s OK with the venue, it’s OK with me.

 

Q: Can I bring my tiara?

A: Tiaras are strongly encouraged.

 

That’s it for now!  When I get more info, I’ll be sure to add it.  Check my Twitter and FB pages for the absolute LATEST updates!

 

More Later.

Much love,

Meg

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14. The Royal Wedding Day is Here!

Today is the official wedding day of Mia and Michael (according to the royal invitation in Princess Diaries #11, Royal Wedding).

To celebrate, I’m drinking trying to be a little kinder to everyone I know (including myself).  As Mia mentions in the book, the reason people love weddings (and brides) so much is because they’re symbols of hopefulness in a world that sometimes seems filled with sadness and despair.

So here’s a link to Mia and Michael’s Wedding Play List. Dance along with me and all the other wedding guests as I update you on all the crazy things that have been going on, and hopefully, in doing so, spread a little cheer along the way!

 

Image 7So many readers! So many post-its!

I had a blast seeing so many of you on my book tour, from the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas, TX, where I made new friends…

 

CFDH8pZVAAAx9uv(Authors Charlaine Harris, Kathy Reichs, and me.)

…and caught up with old ones….

CFEcolfUgAAC9Fw(Yes, you are seeing correctly: Tiny Jamie from Outlander was at Mia’s bridal shower.)

…to Columbia, SC, where I did the first of my many dramatic readings from the new books…

 

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…to the most amazing middle school in Illinois where Beth Stephens, the kindest librarian EVER, made me a Princess Olivia necklace and MEG CABOT BOOK CHOCOLATES (most of which I ate before I could photograph their splendor)…

 

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…to BookCon in NYC where I met a ton of new fans (and got re-acquainted with a few I’ve known and loved for a while)!

 

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…and even ended up sitting next to Nick Offerman from Parks and Rec….

 

Image 4(Though I didn’t recognize him, because he shaved off his mustache.)

And so many places in between!

 

All of you managed to put Royal Wedding on both the USA Today AND New York Times bestseller lists, as well as introduce a whole new generation of readers to a brand new Genovian princess. I can’t thank you enough! You’re ALL princesses (and princes) of Genovia!

Image(This photo courtesy of Buzzfeed, which gif’d me, then quizzed me. If you don’t know what I mean, click on the links.)

If Royal Wedding and Notebooks haven’t come to your country yet, don’t worry, they’ll be there soon.  Here’s the latest on release dates (with more coming soon):

July 2, 2015 (UK/Aus/NZ)

August/September 2105 (France)

October 2015 (Brazil)

December 2015 (Indonesia)

Spring 2016 (Japan)

Spring 2016 (Czech)

 

Starting next month, the entire Princess Diaries series will also be re-released in the UK, with these fab new covers and a new introduction by me!

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And though I’m home now (after a month away.  HWSNBNITB’s cat has been giving me the evil eye since she really enjoyed having him all to herself while I was gone ), happily for the cat, I’ll be in many other places (and countries) soon!

Come see me at 7PM on July 1 at Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL. This event will also be LIVE STREAMED so even if you don’t live in the area, you can drop by via the WONDER OF THE INTERNET.  Check my Twitter/FB feed for updates, and click here often to find out when/where I’ll visiting somewhere close to you (either live or online).

 

Image 1(This amazing photo is by Kathryn Wirsing, the photographer for this “Get That Life” Cosmo interview by Heather Wood Rudolph)

 

In the meantime, tons of you have been asking if the Princess Diaries 3 movie rumors are true. Sadly, I can’t comment except to say I think it would be great if it happened, because the world needs more movies/stories with strong female role models. (Speaking of which, go see the movie Spy starring Melissa McCarthy!) Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Miracles Happen!

 

The same answer goes for whether or not there’ll be a sequel to Royal Wedding. I’d love to do one, but right now I’m working on a new middle grade book featuring Princess Olivia–Royal Disaster–that will be out next summer! All of the characters from the first Notebook will be in the 2nd….as well as a certain royal bride:

 

gallery-1434120727-m9c7316-edit(Photo of my Royal Disaster sketch pad, glasses, pen, and phone by Kathryn Wirsing)

 

And as you know, Remembrance, Mediator 7, will be out 2/14/2016.  As I’m also working on a new book told entirely in texts and emails (a stand alone, but part of the Boy series), I’m pretty busy on the book-writing front!

 

gallery-1434121341-m9c7240-editPhoto by Kathryn Wirsing

Here’s the official book trailer for Royal Wedding to tide us all over for now.  Please notice how much it features Lars, which I love!

Click here to view the embedded video.

My undying thanks as always to the very kind Brady Hall for making such a hilariously great video!

Okay, have a fantastic Royal Wedding day. And remember:

EVERY DAY can be Royal Wedding day if we’d all just be a little kind to someone who needs it.  And don’t forget to include yourself in that category!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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15. Meg Cabot’s Characters Pick Their Oscar Favorites

Well, the Oscars are this weekend so I interviewed some of my characters to find out what their picks are for Best Movie of the Year. Their choices might surprise you … or not:

Princess Mia Thermopolis, heroine of the The Princess Diaries series:

It’s really hard to say which was my favorite movie this year because they were all so good. So many of them were educational (particularly to me as the heir to the throne of Genovia)!

Argo was a great example of the lengths I might need to go to in order to rescue citizens of my country if they are ever trapped in a foreign land.

Lincoln is a fantastic historical piece about a leader I hope to one day emulate.

And in the unlikely event of a terrorist attack on Genovia, I too will assemble an elite team of military operatives — headed by my single-minded best friend Lilly Moscovitz and her computer genius brother, my boyfriend Michael — who will devote themselves to tracking down the bad guys, just like in Zero Dark Thirty.

I feel obligated add that my bodyguard Lars enthusiastically volunteered to be the Royal Torturer after he saw Zero Dark Thirty.

This is an example of the many kinds of things with which you have to put up when you are a royal. It’s not all “What Are You Wearing?” and Royal Baby Bump Watch. It’s “Can I Be The Royal Torturer?”

I had to remind Lars that in Genovia, we don’t allow torture … and that we would not, even in the unlikely event of a terrorist attack.

But he looked so disappointed that I finally relented and told him he could be in charge of converting one of Genovia’s many five star hotels into a prison for whatever terrorists the elite team of military operatives manage to catch, since our current jail only has three cells in it (and those are always filled with whichever of Grandmére’s boyfriends failed to pay their bar tabs). So that made him really happy.

Seriously, it’s hard being a princess! But we learned that this year from the movie Brave.

Pierce Oliviera, heroine of the Abandon series:

Movies? Who has time to see movies? Some of us are busy trying to protect our boyfriends and/or family members from murderous demons.

And FYI, they don’t have movie theaters or DVD players in the Underworld, where I’m currently living.

Jess Mastriani, heroine of the Vanished series (also known as 1-800-Where-R-You) :

My pick for best movie of the year would be Battleship. Yeah, I know it isn’t on the list.
That’s the Academy’s problem, not mine.

I was particularly impressed with Rhianna’s role as weapons specialist Gunner’s Mate Second Class Cora Raikes. My favorite part was when GM2 Raikes saved the life of Riggins from Friday Night Lights by blowing away that alien.

Rhianna, call me if that guy you keep hanging out with in real life gives you anymore trouble. I know where he lives.

How do I know where he lives? Because I know everything. Unfortunately.

Heather Wells, heroine of the Size Twelve series:

I haven’t had a chance to see any movies because I’m busy planning my wedding to my private eye boyfriend. What? Oh, thanks, I know, he is pretty hot, isn’t he?

Anyway, do you have any idea what it’s like to work in a place nicknamed “Death Dorm” by the press because every semester some student (or my boss or whoever) manages to get him or herself killed here? It’s no picnic, let me tell you.

But if I were going to see one of the Best Picture picks it would be Django Unchained because let me tell you, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo Di Caprio in a battle to the death over Kerry Washington? Yes, please.

Wait, you weren’t taping that, were you? Can you play it back? I didn’t say anything that could get me fired, did I? Because I get really good benefits working here, so I don’t want to lose my job, despite the whole murder thing.

Suze Simon, heroine of The Mediator series:

Seriously? You want to know which Oscar pick I liked best this year? I can tell you which one bored the crap out of me: Life of Pi. My boyfriend Jesse dragged me to see it without telling me what it’s about. It turns out it’s about some guy trapped in a lifeboat with a tiger.

Jesse says it’s an allegory about God or religion or something and he really appreciated it after having spent two hundred years being trapped as a ghost in my house.

I said, “Really, Jesse? Do I look like a tiger to you? Have I ever eaten a zebra? Listen, when I want to spend my hard-earned entertainment dollars on an allegory, I’ll go to Disneyland and take a ride on Space Mountain. In the meantime, shut up and kiss me.”

So he did.

Jesse can pick out the movie anytime if that’s what’s going to happen ;-) . But otherwise, no more movies about anyone trapped in a lifeboat with anything.

Lizzie Nichols, Queen of Babble series:

Oh my God, the costumes in Les Miserables were to die for. And – ha! What do you know? She did!

Oh, should I have said spoiler alert? Darn, I’m always doing that.

Allie Finkle, heroine of the Allie Finkle Rules for Girls series:

I pick Beasts of the Southern Wild, which my uncle Jay took me to even though my mom said not to because it would give me nightmares. She was totally right!

But it was still a good movie. It’s about a girl like me, only she’s practically in first grade instead of fourth, and she has to keep from dying in a horrible flood, which my uncle Jay said is totally going to happen to this planet if we keep abusing our precious resources.

So the rule is, stop abusing our precious resources and you won’t cause a big flood in the future for that poor girl in the movie. The end.

Samantha Madison, heroine of the All American Girl series:

David and I saw Amour at the White House. The President of France was there, because it was a special screening just for him and David’s parents, the President and First Lady.

That movie was so sweet, but also sad, because it was about old people in love who are dying. I cried like a big baby. It was totally embarrassing.

From now on I’m making David see movies in the theater, like a normal person. I don’t care if we have to take the Secret Service with us. I can’t take this anymore. Who cries in front of the President of France? Me, it turns out.

Emerson Watts, heroine of the Airhead series:

Well, I know it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, but I’m going to have to say my favorite movie of the year was Skyfall. It really spoke to me as someone who knows what it’s like to have a ruthless killer trying to assassinate her. That’s all I can say about that due to the court mandated gag order.

Meena Harper, heroine of the Insatiable series:

I have to say, I really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook. The story was entertaining, the romance believable, and the male lead, played by Bradley Cooper, reminded me of a certain someone I happen to know, especially his obsessive hatred of completely arbitrary things, such as American literary heroes.

(Alaric Wulf breaks in: I do not hate Ernest Hemingway.)

MH: Well, you don’t like him.

AW: I don’t hate him, though.

MH: You said Tender is the Night is a piece of garbage and threw it overboard the last time we took the boat out to go snorkeling.

AW: It fell overboard.

MH: Because you ripped it in half and threw both halves into the water!

AW: I do feel that that particular author might be overrated.

MH: And you claim you bear no resemblance whatsoever to the guy Bradley Cooper played in Silver Linings Playbook?

AW: Physically, yes, I’m very attractive, and I’ve strangled numerous individuals with shower cords, but none of them were human, and none of them lived to tell the tale.

MH: I rest my case.

Well, this has been Meg Cabot’s Characters Pick Their Oscar Favorites with your host, Meg Cabot. Thanks for reading! Please note that the views expressed above are not necessarily my views, but those of my characters, some of whom are suffering from post-traumatic stress. Tune in again soon when we’ll hear from Jean Honeywell from Jinx and Ellie from Avalon High about their views on St. Patrick’s Day.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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16. The Bride Wore Size 12 Bridal Tour!

I can’t believe summer is over already!

This would be super depressing if there weren’t so many fun things to look forward to this fall, such as wearing stylish boots (for those of you who don’t live in Florida), the return of Scandal (the dishiest show on television right now), and of course the return of Heather Wells in The Bride Wore Size 12, which is going to be in stores (and available for download) in the U.S. and Canada in about 2 weeks (official pub date 9/24) …

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And none of the book tour stops for The Bride Wore Size 12 are going to interfere with Scandal (which premieres Oct 3)!

I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “But Meg, you’re an award-winning, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of something like 80 books, with more than 25 million copies sold, in nearly 40 countries. Surely you would not let a mere TV show stop you from making an appearance to promote your new book.”

Olivia Pope of Scandal dedicates her life to protecting the innocent (and also the public images of the nation’s elite)!

Heather Wells of the Size 12 series and the soon-to-be released The Bride Wore Size 12 dedicates her life to protecting the innocent (and also the students housed in the elite college residence hall where she works)!

Both women solve murders, and are having red hot affairs with sinfully sexy men!

Both women love popcorn, and also alcoholic beverages!

Sadly for Olivia, she doesn’t seem anywhere close to marrying her one true love. But wedding bells are ringing for Heather Wells in The Bride Wore Size 12.

Or ARE they?

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Yes! They are!

And guess who’s invited to the wedding? YOU!

In The Bride Wore Size 12, a whole new school year has started for assistant resident hall director Heather Wells. Not only that, but she’s finally getting married to her one true love, P.I. Cooper Cartwright!

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But you know what the new school year always seems to bring to Heather:

MURDER!

Will she be able to tie the knot – much less get her freshmen settled – without getting involved in a double homicide? The first event in The Bride Wore Size 12 celebration book tour is in less than ONE week! Maybe we’ll find out there.

Join me in a special ONLINE chat on Tuesday, September 10 at 7PM EST (4PM PCT) with one of my favorite authors (and people) the beautiful, talented author Rachel Vail.

Space is limited, so to reserve yours, go to Book Talk Nation now. You can join me while I chat with Rachel about very important things such as popcorn and where we get our ideas, and ask any question of your own that you want (within reason. Please don’t ask about that one time we went on that secret mission for the CIA to rescue the President’s children, because we’re still not allowed to talk about it).

Signed copies of both my own AND Rachel’s books will be available for purchase (but copies of The Bride Wore Size 12 won’t ship until the on-sale date of September 24)!

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Here’s the complete list of all the other events (so far) for The Bride Wore Size 12 Tour! Note that NONE of them interfere with your Scandal viewing!

For details on registering or ticket purchasing for the signings, please click on the provided event links (which took me a really long time to write out, so seriously, click on them. If they’re wrong, it’s my fault, write and let me know).

Saturday, September 21, 2013
LONG ISLAND

7:00 PM
BOOK REVUE
313 New York Ave
Huntington, NY 11743
Book Revue

Sunday, September 22, 2013
NEW YORK
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST
BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL
154 Christopher ST
New York, NY 10014
Brooklyn Book Festival

Monday, September 23, 2013
CONNECTICUT

7:00 PM
RJ JULIA BOOKSELLERS
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
RJ Julia Booksellers

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
NEW JERSEY

7:00PM
BOOKENDS
211 E Ridgewood Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Book Ends

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS

7:00 PM
BARNES & NOBLE
3225 W 69th St
Edina, MN 55435
Barnes & Noble

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CHICAGO

7:00 PM

STEVENSON HIGH SCHOOL
West Auditorium
1 Stevenson Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Registration Required, please call 224-543-1484
Sponsored by Lake Forest Bookstore

Friday, September 27, 2013
BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore Book Festival

Saturday, September 28, 2013
BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore Book Festival

Sunday, September 29, 2013
BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore Book Festival

Saturday, November 23, 2013
MIAMI

Miami Book Fair Event
MIAMI BOOK FAIR
Info TK

(For more details, including ticketing and exact times/locations for the book festival events, go to Where is Meg, or the book festival website, closer to the event date.)

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Finally, don’t forget to enter the Heather Wells Bride Wore Size 12 Sweepstakes!
Become one of 45 lucky hostesses to win party favors and books to throw a Heather Wells Wedding Shower. Go here for all the details!

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Want to read a sneak peek from The Bride Wore Size 12? There’s one here! Shhh, don’t tell!

Okay, that’s all for right now even though I have a LOT to say, but I’m saving it for my next entry. I hope you had a great summer and got all rested up for the mystery (and romance) to come this year! I know I did. And I can’t wait to see some of you along the way this fall!

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More later.

Much love,

Meg

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17. 9/11 Post

Every year teachers let me know that this post has become part of their classroom 9/11 curriculum, so I will continue to post it every year. Here it is, for those who weren’t around that day:

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 below -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).

Watch this amazing film about the “boat lift” from Manhattan. It will make you proud to be human:

Click here to view the embedded video.

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 skilled at many sports. 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 for me, books are for fun, therapy is for the bad stuff), the memories of those things have helped shape who am I.

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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18. Bride Wore Size 12

They’re here! My copies of The Bride Wore Size 12 arrived!

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On September 24, you’ll be able to get your own copy! Or even sooner if you come to one of my events on my Bride Wore Size 12 tour (click on the link, or see below for more info)!

(You can win a copy, too, by entering my Bride Wore Size 12 contest, but we won’t be drawing names until October 31, 2013, so you’ll have to wait awhile!)

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Guess what else? You can click here to visit the official Bride Wore Size 12 page, read an excerpt, and check out some NEWLY POSTED EXTRAS! (Coming soon due to popular demand: Another Heather Wells rock video!)

Here’s a quick, newly updated list of all the events where I’ll be signing:

Saturday, September 21, 2013
7:00 PM
BOOK REVUE
313 New York Ave
Huntington, NY 11743

Book Revue


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Brooklyn Book Festival
BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL
Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201
Brooklyn Book Festival

3:00 PM
Youth Stoop (Borough Hall Plaza/Columbus Park)

The Secret Lives of Girls
With New York Times bestselling authors Lauren Myracle (The Infinite Moment of Us), Meg Cabot (Awaken) and Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind, Panic). Join these three superstar young-adult authors as they discuss the ups and downs of girlhood, whether it’s independence, love or finding one’s voice.

5:00 PM
BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL MOOT COURTROOM (250 Joralemon St.)

Body Counts: Writing Murder, Abductions, Disappearances
Join Ken Wishnia (The Glass Factory), Eric Lundgren (The Facades), and Meg Cabot (Size 12 and Ready to Rock) as they talk murder, abductions, and more. Moderated by Amanda Bullock (Housing Works Book Store).

Monday, September 23, 2013
7:00 PM
RJ JULIA BOOKSELLERS
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443

RJ Julia Booksellers

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
7:00 PM
BOOKENDS
211 E Ridgewood AVE
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Book Ends

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
7:00 PM
BARNES & NOBLE
3225 W 69th St
Edina, MN 55435

Barnes & Noble

Thursday, September 26, 2013
7:00 PM
LAKE FOREST BOOKSTORE
Adlai Stevenson High School, West Auditorium
One Stevenson Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069

A Vernon Area Library Event

Registration Required, please call 224-543-1484
Sponsored by Lake Forest Bookstore

Friday, September 27, 2013
BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Baltimore Book Festival

6:00PM CHOCOLATE AND ROMANCE
**Authors: Meg Cabot, Christi Barth, Robin Covington, Laura Kaye, Christie Kelley, Eliza Knight
Maryland Romance Writers Tent

Sunday, September 29, 2013
BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Baltimore Book Festival

5:00PM BOOK GROUP WITH MEG CABOT AND JENNIFER ARMENTROUT

Thursday, November 21, 2013
6:30 PM (approx..; exact time TK)
Library Event for BRIDE WORE SIZE 12
PALM BEACH COUNTY LIBRARY
Writers Live!
1951 Royal Fern Drive
Wellington, FL 33414

Saturday, November 23, 2013
Miami Book Fair Event
MIAMI BOOK FAIR
Info TK

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And don’t forget: There will be special updates from Heather and Cooper while they’re on their honeymoon in Europe! Look for postings from them on Instagram throughout the month of October.

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And there’s still time to enter the Heather Wells Bride Wore Size 12 Sweepstakes! Become one of 45 lucky hostesses to win party favors and books to throw a Heather Wells Wedding Shower. Go here for all the details!

Here’s what a few reviewers have had to say (sorry, I can’t help it. Mysteries are the hardest stories in the world to write — for me anyway — and also my favorite books in the world to read—also TV shows to watch—so when I get a nice review for one I’ve written, I feel VERY VERY EXCITED!!!! AND I HAVE TO SHARE IT! IN ALL CAPS!!!!)

From Publishers Weekly:

Bestseller Cabot neatly blends crime, humor, and a touch of romance in her fifth Heather Wells whodunit (after 2012’s Size 12 and Ready to Rock). While handling the demands of freshmen orientation at Manhattan’s New York College, Heather also listens to parental complaints about room assignments at Fischer Hall, the student residence where she works as a supervisor. Recently popularized by the arrival of Crown Prince Rashid, Fischer Hall is also the site of the untimely death of a new resident adviser, Jasmine Albright. Heather works to fit together the pieces of the puzzle in Jasmine’s demise even as she continues to plan for her upcoming wedding to her dreamy fiancé, Cooper Cartwright. Multidimensional characters, from the dorm handyman to the arrogant yet elusive prince, are a plus, but it’s the simmering mystery behind the suspicious death that propels this installment to its surprising conclusion. (Oct.)

And from Booklist (I’m excerpting this one since most of it is a re-cap of the plot summary, which you just read, above):

Heather Wells is trying to juggle her wedding plans with registration week at the residence hall where she is assistant director. (She) rises above the craziness to take care of everyone and solve the crime in what is both an exciting mystery and surprisingly funny caper. Cabot splices realistic details of dorm life with humorous descriptions of wedding planning, along with rapid-fire, smart commentary on everything from hovering parents to women’s kills at target shooting….—Amy Alessio

Wow! Can you tell I’m VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK?

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Well, I have to go pack for my book tour now, but before I do, I know you’re probably wondering, what is with all those cute photos of that couple getting married? Who can they be? OK, I’ll tell you: They’re my brother and his new wife, who just got hitched in Mexico!!!! Margaritas for EVERYONE!!!!

(Except me, I obviously have a lot of work to do!)

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More later.

Much love,

Meg

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19. Official Book/Trailer Release!

It’s here! The new Heather Wells mystery, The Bride Wore Size 12, is in stores (and available as an e-book) in the US and Canada now!

And you know what that means:

Not only is justice once again being served by fiesty former teen popstar (turned assistant resident hall manager and soon-to-be bride) Heather Wells, but there’s also a new book trailer of her singing a never-before-released hit song (“Diamonds and Chains,” also known as The Bride Wore Size 12). Check it out here:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Here are the answers to your questions :

Q: Who wrote “Diamonds and Chains”?

A: Heather Wells!

(With a little help from Meg Cabot, who had inspiration from the extraordinary marital musical team of Ann Larson and Michael Sohn—although writing song lyrics is not their day job . . . they’re professors!— with tweakage by Brady Hall. Brady also wrote the entire tune, played all the instruments, and produced and directed the video.

Q: Who sang the song?

A: A beautifully voiced angel sent from heaven to dazzle our ears.

Q: Who is that girl in the video?

A: Another angel put on this earth to entertain and delight us.

Q:Is she a size 12?

A: In her photos, the angel looked Heather Wells-size. On film day, it would have been as unfair to fire her for not being size 12 enough as it would have been to fire a different actress for not being a size 2. The whole point of the Heather Wells series (besides the fact that they are romantically and comically suspenseful mysteries), is that the heroine has come to love herself (and be loved by others) exactly the way she is.

One of my strongest desires is that all women and girls (and boys too!) learn to love themselves no matter what their size. I know my readers want the same thing.

Q: Meg, why didn’t you star in the video yourself?

I’m so flattered that you think I could play a 30-year-old blond popstar! But I like to leave this kind of work to the professionals, and reserve my energies for other things, which in this case meant getting ready for my Bride Wore Size 12 book tour, which has been AMAZING so far. Meeting readers never gets old.

This time I’ve also gotten to meet many cool authors, including Sharon Draper (I’ve met her before, actually, but she gets better every time) and Lauren Myracle (who I was sure I HAD met before, but I hadn’t) at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

I’ve also gotten to take a lot of photos with my Heather and Cooper wedding figurine from the book cover. They are accompanying me on my tour (until I or a TSA agent accidentally break their heads off).

If you’d like YOUR photo taken with Heather and Cooper (or with me, or you merely wish to get your copy of The Bride Wore Size 12 signed, or you wish to listen to me give my little talk which sometimes even includes a Power Point presentation, when I can get it to work), you can still see me at the following stops this week and weekend:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
7:00 PM
BARNES & NOBLE
3225 W 69th St
Edina, MN 55435

Barnes & Noble

Thursday, September 26, 2013
7:00 PM
LAKE FOREST BOOKSTORE
Adlai Stevenson High School, West Auditorium
One Stevenson Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069

A Vernon Area Library Event

Registration Required, please call 224-543-1484
Sponsored by Lake Forest Bookstore

Friday, September 27, 2013
BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Baltimore Book Festival

6:00PM CHOCOLATE AND ROMANCE
**Authors: Meg Cabot, Christi Barth, Robin Covington, Laura Kaye, Christie Kelley, Eliza Knight
Maryland Romance Writers Tent

Sunday, September 29, 2013
BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
10 E. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Baltimore Book Festival

5:00PM BOOK GROUP WITH MEG CABOT AND JENNIFER ARMENTROUT

After my tour, I’ll be taking off with He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog, my mom, her boyfriend (some of you might remember him from such books as The Princess Diaries), his daughter and her husband, my brother and his wife for Paris, France. Then we’ll be heading on to Provence, so my mom can live her birthday dream of visiting Provence.

Don’t worry about Slutty-McSlut-Slut-A-Lot being alone at this time, though, we have a live-in professional cat sitter moving in while we’re gone who is trained in krav maga and will not be brooking any shenanigans from her.

Don’t forget: There will be special updates from Heather and Cooper while they’re on their honeymoon in Europe! Look for postings from them on Instagram throughout the month of October and also possibly coming soon as they cannot be controlled or kept in one country.

Okay, I could post links to all the freaking FANTASTIC reviews many of you bloggers have been giving to The Bride Wore Size 12 which I truly appreciate and will definitely be re-tweeting, but my plane is landing in MINNESOTA so instead I’m only going to say can’t wait to see you and:

Be safe!

Be happy!

And most of all

BE YOURSELF!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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20. On Bon Courage and Whether or Not to Kill Off Your Characters

So I spent most of last month in ANOTHER COUNTRY (France)!

It was only my second non-book related trip outside of the US since I first got published. I felt a little guilty about it (proof you are a workaholic: when you feel guilty for taking non-work related trips), but it was for a good cause:  to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday! All she wanted for her birthday was for her loved ones to go to France with her.

My mom is an artist (much like the mom of Mia Thermopolis) and she likes French art, although not so much this kind of French art:

 

More like the home decorating kind of French art found in Provence:

So my mom, her boyfriend (some of you might remember him as being the inspiration for The Princess Diaries, since he was one of my teachers, and my mom started dating him after my dad died, much like Mia’s mom does in The Princess Diaries, although my dad was not the heir to a royal throne in real life, and in the books, Mia’s dad is not dead); my mom’s boyfriend’s daughter; her husband; He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog; me; and my brother and his wife all went to France (along with the Heather and Cooper wedding cake topper from the cover of The Bride Wore Size 12).

You might think it was difficult to find restaurants that could accommodate that many people, some of whom did not speak French, one of whom has to eat gluten-free, one of whom is six feet eight inches tall and kept hitting his head on the small medieval doorways in all the castles we visited, and another of whom has Parkinson’s disease, but actually, we managed quite well, because we had:

“Bon Courage”

That’s what a French cab driver wished us when he dropped us off at our second hotel in Paris, because the staff of the first one was going on strike at midnight and so they were kicking all the guests out (yes! This happened).

“Bon courage” means “stay strong, brother” or, literally, “good courage.”

It made us feel quite French to be wished “bon courage” during a strike by French workers (the next afternoon they were granted all their demands). Bon courage!

So as you can guess from the above, and perhaps the photo below, things got dicey occasionally:

But we had an amazing time. Mostly it was all incredibly beautiful sunsets, rainbows, cats, and of course castles. And some donkeys.

 

 

It wouldn’t be France without amazingly delicious food, bought fresh from the local town markets. Why does everything taste so much better in France?

If you ever go to France, THIS is where you have to stay. It’s where we stayed in the Dordogne (why do so few people in the US know about the Dordogne? But maybe it’s better that way) and it is out of this world.

Now we’re back in the US and there are no more charcuterie platters for lunch (sad), but we all realize how very lucky we were to have had the chance to take this trip.  Many thanks to my mom for being born and for insisting that this is what she wanted, and to everyone who pitched in to make the trip so special, including HarperCollins who made an effort to truncate my Bride Wore Size 12 book tour so that we could squeeze in this important family event!

(And I will continue the tour at the Miami Book Festival at the end of this month. Exact dates and times to come!)

It was sobering to come back to the US and realize that this is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, in which a lot of people lost their lives, their homes, schools, and in some neighborhoods, even their public libraries! Talk about “bon courage!” Sandy survivors have really shown it.

Someone else who’s showing it right now is longtime blogger and Meg Cabot Fiction Club  (and one of the first – and possibly only – male) member James “Boothy” Booth of Book Chic Club, who recently posted the sad news that he has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The prognosis looks good, but he still has to go through a lot of painful chemo treatments, so please keep him in your thoughts!

While I was in France, I didn’t have steady access to wifi, so I couldn’t keep up with what was going on back in the states (which, considering the government shutdown, might have been a good thing), but when I got back the first thing someone told me (ERRONEOUSLY, as it turned out) was that my favorite character from one of my favorite TV shows (The Walking Dead) had died.

(NOTE: This is not true. This person read a spoiler wrong. The character SMILED. She did not die. Don’t ask me how someone could read DIED for SMILED, but this person – who shall remain nameless as always in this blog – did, even though he has a Masters in English Literature.)

Obviously, I was upset! Although I’ve never had cancer or lost a library, loved one, or home to a hurricane -yet- I’ve been through hard times, and one thing that helped get me through those hard times was losing myself in a good fictional story.

Nothing works better to help you forget your own misery for a little while than reading about someone else’s, especially if that person is facing his or her misery with a sword and some “bon courage” (like Michonne on The Walking Dead, who did not, I will repeat, NOT die).

Sometimes it IS necessary for writers to kill off characters in order to further their narrative (case in point: Everyone else who has died on The Walking Dead. And of course, George RR Martin has killed off many characters – and animals – in his Game of Thrones series, but you’ll notice that none of them were particular fan favorites – so far. Except the dire wolves).

I don’t think it’s wrong to be upset if a character you like gets killed off (just ask how I felt when I was 13 and read Mill on the Floss), but it’s always wrong to threaten an author with physical violence if he/she does kill off a character you like.

I mention this because lately there’s been a rash of authors killing off popular characters in their series, and some fans have responded by threatening to punch those authors in the face if they ever meet them. Please don’t do this, even to be funny. Authors are sensitive, like a flower.  Not me, obviously, but some authors.

I certainly understand feeling passionate about a book, and wanting it to end a certain way (personally, I want the Khaleesi to marry Jon Snow. There, I’ve said it. Do you hear that, George RR?).

I’m a fan of happy endings, because we live in sad times. One out of four children in this country is on food stamps. One of five women in the US has been raped. Some of us need happy endings.

But sometimes the happy ending we pictured isn’t what the author envisioned. I’m not sure I’d have made the choice Helen Fielding did to have Darcy be dead in Book 3 of the Bridget Jones series (this is not a spoiler, the news was released before the book was). But I understand why she did it, because a widowed, middle-aged Bridget dating  provides more material than a happily married Bridget. And a lot of readers seem to be enjoying the book (I still need to read it)!

All I can say further on the subject is, in one of the of the first creative writing workshops I ever took, I noticed that all my other classmates were writing very sad stories at the end of which the main character often committed suicide with rusty razor blades.

Meanwhile, I kept writing humorous stories about girls who got broken up with at the mall (which was especially weird since at the time things were not going well in my home life).

So I started writing sad stories, too, since that’s what I thought you were supposed to do in creative writing workshops (hint: if you want to win a lot of book awards, do this in your writing career as well).

As soon as I’d turned in the first one (about a homeless vet who’d lost his hand in the Vietnam war and so was going to commit suicide with a rusty razor blade), my awesome teacher, Judy Troy, took me aside after class and asked what the hell was going on.

I explained that I wanted to do what everyone else was doing in the class, and make readers cry.

Judy got very irritated.

“It’s easy to make people cry,” she said.  ”Anyone can do that! I could make you cry right now while you’re standing front of me. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make people laugh? You have that gift. Don’t waste it! We need more stories to make us laugh. Go back to doing that!”

So I did.

My feeling is this:

So many people in this world have lost so much, and need so many things. But the one thing we all really need right now are more stories to make us laugh, with heroes and heroines who exhibit “bon courage.”  We need them so that we, in turn, can feel inspired to show “bon courage” in the face of hardship, too.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any sad stories, because that would be ridiculous, and fake, and a waste.

But the sweetest endings, the ones that stay with you the longest, are the ones where, after the long, hard battle, the good guys win. Because that actually does happen, sometimes.

And – although I’m not saying all stories should end this way – maybe then they go to France with their mom for her 70th birthday and have a really good time, with a lot of laughs.  And then they all come home and get back to work.  And it everything ends up happily ever after … for now!

Thanks, Mom!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

 

 

 

 

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21. Literary Death Match

I’ve got four (4) book events this week!

Mostly all writers do is sit around and write (or sit around and not write, in which case, we can usually be found watching Law & Order reruns, fretting that we’ll never write again, or writer anything as good as Law and Order, especially the SVUs).

But sometimes, we go out and talk about writing. That’s almost as fun as writing . . . in some cases, more fun.

It’s particularly true of the Miami Book Festival (it’s the festival’s 30th anniversary!). I’m going there this week, as well as attending some signings in the surrounding area! I’ll also be judging a “Literary Death Match.” Oh, yes: A death match is going down.

When? Where? Check it out:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


8:00 PM

MURDER ON THE BEACH MYSTERY BOOKSTORE

Delray Beach

273 Pineapple Grove Way

Delray Beach, FL 33444

 

 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

6:30 PM

PALM BEACH COUNTY LIBRARY

Meet the Author

1951 Royal Fern Drive

Wellington, FL 33414

 

 

Friday, November 22, 2013


8:00PM to 10:00PM

LITERARY DEATH MATCH

Bardot Lounge

3456 N Miami Ave, Miami

This event is for adults only, age 21+

NO CHILDREN

Doors open at 6

 

 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

11AM

Miami International Book Festival

Building 8, 2nd Floor Room 8201

 

 

Hope I’ll see you at some of these events!

I don’t know about you, but all the Christmas ads on TV (and decorations in the stores) have made me feel inadequate. I haven’t even put away my leftover Halloween candy. I’m not ready for Christmas! And you can see from the expression of Slutty-McSlut-A-Lot, aka Gem, what she thinks about the whole thing:

But here’s an easy and practically FREE gift-giving idea to get you started on the holiday shopping for the book lovers in your life:

Send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to my PO Box (address below), and I’ll return it to you filled with the autographed bookplates (indicate how many you’d like, and if you’d like them personalized), bookmarks, flyers, and postcards pictured here (jewelry and family photos not included)!

Send the SASE to:

Meg Cabot


P.O. Box 4904


Key West, FL 33041-4904

Send your SASE early (as in now) so it can be sent back to you in time for the holidays, so you can then give it to your friend/loved one!

You can also send Meg Cabot books themselves to be autographed and personalized, too, but please also enclose an envelope with correct postage on it for their return, and include plenty of time for their return before the holidays!

If you need a guide on which Meg Cabot books are appropriate for which age range, you can find it here.

As for what else I’m up to, the answer is . . . writing (and of course, not writing. Never be too hard on yourself)! As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month and I’ve been posting (almost) daily word counts on Twitter about the book I’m working on (uh, the days I actually work on it), reading all your inspirational tweets, and eating lots of mini-Butterfingers leftover from Halloween. So fun (although I have to stop with the Butterfingers. Only because I’m almost out of them).

But in between, I can’t help but think of everyone in the Philippines who is suffering from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most catastrophic storms in history. Please join me in donating to the Red Cross if you can, or to Unicef. Even texting $10 could help make a difference! Maraming salamat po (Filipino for Thank you very much)!

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

Now back to packing for my trip to Miami . . . and to that secret book I’m working on! Hope you’re doing well, and that I’ll see you this week at one of my events. But if not, remember:

Be safe, be happy, but most of all – be yourself!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22. Happy Holidays!

This is my favorite time of year.

I love the lights and good tidings, not to mention all the crazy shows on TLC and HGTV about Christmas-themed weddings and competing with their neighbors to decorate your house (which I like to watch while gorging on peppermint bark).

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 (A festively decorated Key West house, with a holiday dolphin theme, of course!)

I also love all the stories about strangers paying off the lay-aways of single moms at K-mart and I TOTALLY love all the crazy “gift guides” celebrities put on their blogs because we’re so going to give someone an ugly $45,000 watch as suggested by Rachel Zoe.

But this time of year I also start having stress dreams that I’m still working at the first real job I ever had (as a gift wrapper in a bookstore), and I’ve accidentally wrapped someone’s perfect gift wrong, ruining their ENTIRE holiday.

The truth is I think I’m better at choosing (and wrapping) gifts for my fictional characters (check out the What Would Meg Cabot’s Characters Want Holiday Pinterest page) than real life friends and family (and store customers).

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(Something John Hayden from the Abandon series might receive.)

If you’re like me and waited until now to start your holiday shopping, there’s still time! Here is MY celebrity gift guide, the nicest thing about which is that most of the gifts are free or next to free:

Give someone this FREE online booklet of some cartoons. I did (yes. I draw too)!

The best part about this gift? IT IS FREE (it’s also good. Well, in my opinion).

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If you know someone who is Brazilian and speaks/reads Brazilian Portuguese, Size 12 and Ready to Rock was just released there on December 9 (read a free sample here).  So you could give them a copy.  Also FREE (well, the sample is. The book itself costs money).

 

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Of course, the sequel,  The Bride Wore Size 12, is already out in the US and Canada as a trade paperback and e-book, which makes it the perfect stocking stuffer, if you ask me (but I’ve already read it, so I hope no one gets it for me).  However, this costs money, unless you go to the many websites online where you can find pirated versions. I am not going to link to them however, since I can’t make it THAT easy!

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You could also try surprising a loved one with the gift of a copy of Holiday Princess (we’re giving you a chance to win one here).

 

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But since the contest ends AFTER the holidays, this suggestion probably defeats the purpose.

People keep asking me, “But Meg, what do YOU want for Christmas?”

I already got what I wanted for Christmas: a sabbatical.  For those of you who don’t know what this word means, here is the definition:

 

Any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

 

I’ve been taking a little break from writing to do other things (such as drawing)  . . . although my sabbatical hasn’t been too successful as it turns out I can’t help writing, so I can’t help sneaking bits of that in.

Other than that, though, it’s been LOVELY. I got to spend time (the entire month of October!) with family and friends in Europe. My good friend Michele Jaffe has been spending the winter in Key West (she even helped decorate our tree)! I even have a secret project I’ve been working on that no one knows about!  Shh! Don’t tell.

 

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The project does not involve Slutty-McSlut-A-Lot. She just looks cute in this photo. 

All in all, if I’d been on that Westjet flight where Santa asked all the passengers what they wanted (and at the end of the flight, everyone got what they asked for at baggage claim!), I wouldn’t have known what to say to Santa! Because I truly have everything I ever dreamed of . . .

Well, except this unicorn from the movie Legend.

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I wish the same for all of you in 2014, and much, much more!

More later.

Much Love,

Meg

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23. 1O Tips for an Amazing Spring Break

I love Spring Break so much that I moved to Florida so I can have Spring Break every time I step outside (except during hurricane season, of course).

But that doesn’t mean I had great Spring Breaks as a kid/teen/twenty-something! Quite the opposite.

That’s why I’m posting some tips on how to make the most of your break (assuming you’re going somewhere . . . and even if you’re not, there are still some valuable insights here). I hope after reading this you’ll avoid the mistakes that I, as a rookie Spring Breaker, made. Good luck!

Tip #1:  Make sure you’re traveling with someone who likes to wake up early so he/she can go down to the pool/beach to reserve a sunny spot for you. Preferably a place like this:

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Tip #2: Don’t waste your money on a rental car (there’s never any parking near the beach anyway). The best way to get around is by renting bikes (or walking). That way you can work off all those nachos you had last night (mmm, nachos).

If you rent scooters (like Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal in that 80s cop classic, Running Scared), take corners slowly, or you’ll end up spending your vacation with road burn in the local ER. Ew!

Click here to view the embedded video.

Tip #3: Nothing spoils a vacation faster than sunburn (except road burn), so use sunscreen! You’ll still get a tan.

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Use biodegradable sunscreen if you’re going snorkeling. SPF is good for us but not the coral reef!

Tip #4: Do creepy crawlers love you? They definitely love me (remember when I got lyme disease?).

Always check your beach chair, hat, and towel for living things that might have crawled into them while you were in the bathroom/surf/bar. Nothing’s worse than putting on your sun hat only to have a tick/snake/crab crawl out from under it and into your face (except sunburn and road burn).

Tip #5: Insects aren’t the only creepy crawlers who might try to sneak into your personal space(s)! While there’s always a chance you’ll meet your one true love on vacation, remember what Mom (and the Lifetime Movie Channel) said about strangers with candy (or PBR).

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So just like you should remember to check your sun hat for snakes before putting it on, remember never to drink from an open container that’s been out of your sight, or accept a drink from someone you don’t know well. Take it from a former assistant dorm director (yes, all those stories from the Heather Wells books are true)!

Tip #6: Leave the local wildlife where you found it so others can enjoy it after you (unless of course you have a license to kill it for food, like this guy):

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Tip #7: Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing it, if you’ve spent the past few months studying (or shoveling snow), you NEED to relax with a new read!

Only what?  Click here for a breakdown of the most popular books by state, according to Scribd’s e-book library. (I love that  The Princess Diaries is the most checked out Scribd library e-book in Missouri.)

Interested in reading other books based on (fictional) people’s diaries or emails? (I know I can’t resist.) Then you might enjoy:

Daddy Long Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (only $3.99 for both on the Nook!)

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Daddy Long Legs is about an orphaned girl who’s required to write monthly letters to her rich benefactor, whom she’s never met. (You can probably guess what happens from there, but it’s HOW it happens that’s so great.) Dear Enemy is the pseudo sequel.

Along that same vein, an HR rep and a corporate lawyer hate each other in my epistolary novel told entirely in letters, emails, instant message conversations, minutes from meetings, and diary entries in Boy Meets Girl.

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Did you know the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands in World War II (just outside England)? You can learn history while being uplifted and entertained at the same time with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. (I promise you there is so much humor and romance in this book that you’ll forget the  strange title, and even the Nazis.)

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Do you like re-tellings of famous stories? Epic Reads posted a great chart the other day featuring 162 retellings of fairy tales, classics, myths and more (although they skipped a few of my favorites, including one I wrote,  Avalon High, based on the myth of King Arthur).

They also didn’t include a cool new re-telling of Sleeping Beauty that I just read, While Beauty Slept, (but that’s because While Beauty Slept isn’t YA, it’s adult).

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Like any book nerd, I wondered how Elizabeth Blackwell was going to pull off a historic re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and still have “Beauty” (who is not the narrator) sleep for a hundred years. Well, she does it in an intriguing way. I just noticed People Magazine gave this book a rave review. Great as either a beach or fireside read!

One last Spring Break rec:

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Random House is releasing a special edition of the amazing Harriet the Spy, with tributes from many authors who adore both Harriet and late author Louise Fitzhugh, including Judy Blume, myself, Lois Lowry, Rebecca Stead, and many more.  If you haven’t read Harriet in a while (or never met her), pay a visit.

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Tip # 8: Obey local laws, even if you don’t understand them.  They’re there for your safety.

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Danger! No pushing over rocks at the beach!

Tip #9: Don’t let your dentist convince you that Spring Break would be an excellent time to remove your wisdom teeth. This actually happened to me. You can read a fictionalized account of it here.

Tip #10: Island style is casual. No need to dress up . . . unless you want to!

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HWSNBNITB and I went tropical style to this year’s Oscar party

Whether you’re stay-cationing (like me) or vacationing this Spring, hope these tips help!

I also hope that all your Spring Break dreams come true, no snakes or ticks crawl out of your hat, and that you get to keep your wisdom teeth. Unless of course you don’t want them.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

 

 

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24. The 95%, or Where the Rest of Us Went to College

Well, it’s that time again: High school seniors have found out where they’re going to college next year, and are either celebrating, or filled with despair (or maybe somewhere in between).

I certainly hope you (or your loved ones) fall into the celebration category.

But if you don’t, you aren’t alone. Thanks to the easier to submit “electronic” Common App, more people than ever applied to “elite” or top tier colleges.  This has led to more people than ever–95%–getting rejected. (Source: The New York Times)

I know not making it into your dream school (or even your second or third or fourth choice school) hurts. But fear not if you or your loved one is among the 95%, because I have good news:

Everything is going to be fine.

How do I know?

Because most of us fall into the 95%.  And because of facts.

Fact #1:

Did you know that in a new Gallup poll given to business leaders, only 9% ranked where an applicant went to college as “very important”?  They were more concerned with the applicant’s “knowledge” and “applied skills.” (Source: Inside Higher Ed)

Personally when I’m hiring someone (and I’ve employed a shockingly high amount of people in my lifetime), I rank “fashion sense” and “humor” as most important. But we all have our foibles.

Fact #2:

Just because your friend Tara got into your dream school and you didn’t doesn’t mean Tara is smarter or more talented than you are. Maybe Tara’s mom knows someone, or Tara got an interview, or Tara said something that really clicked on a personal level with someone reading her essay.

(As someone who worked in a college for 10 years, I can assure you that this happens A LOT. When any kid wrote/drew something on a form that made me laugh, I gave that kid anything he/she wanted. Work is boring.)

Do NOT take rejection personally. Make like Elsa in Frozen and let it go.

Fact #3:

“I don’t care where someone went to school,” says Warren Buffett, richest man on the planet (who attended University of Nebraska-Lincoln). “That never caused me to hire anyone or buy a business.” (Source:  The Wall Street Journal)

Warren prefers to work with people who make him laugh, too.  See?

Fact #4:

A vast variety of schools have yielded Fortune 500 CEOs. They include Southern Methodist University (#10 on the list) Texas A&M (#13), San Diego State (#16), Purdue (#18), University of Michigan (#18), and University of Kansas (#20). Indiana University tied with Northwestern (6 MBA  grads each). (Source: Poets and Quants.com)

Fact #5:

“You can go to a top-end school and end up dramatically underperforming, or you can go to a place that cares, and blow away what everyone thinks,” says Bill Green, retired CEO of global Accenture management consulting firm.

Green feels angry when he encounters “parents who are afraid or ashamed to say their son or daughter is attending a community college,” he says. Green attended a very small private college (Dean), and was very close to his professors there. (Source:  The Wall Street Journal)

Fact #6:

While I can completely understand the appeal of the Ivy’s since they’re so heavily endowed that they can offer free tuition to students from low-income families, and I know people think that going to a top tier school is necessary for networking, networking (and financial aid) is also available at state, technical, and community colleges as well. So are scholarships.

Fact #7:

Half of all college students go to community (or technical) college at some point in their lives. (Source: Business Insider)

So why, when it’s not necessary, and has even been proven to be harmful to them, do kids (and often their parents) put so much pressure on themselves to get into these top tier schools (aside from the free tuition, of course)?

Fact #8:

Some of that pressure may come from the schools themselves. By getting their application numbers up, the schools can advertise the following year about how popular (and selective) they are.

Many schools do this by sending marketing materials to perspective applicants they’re fully aware have no hope of being admitted. (Source: The New York Times)

Fact #9:

I know several college guidance counselors who complain that they can mention all the other many fine schools that are out there until they are blue in the face, but some young people (and occasionally their parents) are still only interested in the more famous “name brand” schools.

These students only want what they consider the “best,” because they’ve been told all their lives by the media (and often their parents) that they “deserve the best.”

But the  “best fit” often isn’t a “name brand” school, just as “name brand” jeans don’t look good on everyone. We all have to find our own style.

Fact #10:

We all know that an education at an elite school is no guarantee of success later in life.  Take a look at some of these Very Bad Ivy League Scandals.

I will close now with these uplifting facts for anyone feeling glum about their educational future:

Uplifting Fact #1:

My idol, George Lucas, who wrote and directed Star Wars, began his educational career at Modesto Junior College (studying anthropology, which makes sense if you consider the Ewoks), and Walt Disney, who won 48 Academy awards and 7 Emmys, went to Metropolitan Junior College in Missouri. Both community colleges! (Source:  Business Insider)

Uplifting Fact #2:

John Grisham went to Northwest Mississippi Community College, then later Cleveland Delta State University before attending Mississippi State, where he studied accounting and then finally attained a law degree. None of this appears to have interfered whatsoever with his becoming the author of A Time To Kill, one of the bestselling suspense novels of all time. (Source: Huffington Post)

Uplifting Fact #3:

Other well known writers who studied everything but writing at non-Ivy League schools include myself (art major, Indiana University) and Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Poisonwood Bible) who studied classical piano and then biology before finally earning a masters degree in Ecology from the University of Arizona.

Uplifting Fact #4:

Sue Monk Kidd got a BS in Nursing from Texas Christian University before getting her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, published when she was 54. 

Uplifting Fact #5:

JK Rowling famously applied to Oxford but was rejected, “only” to go University of Exeter, where she studied French and Classical Literature. (The University of Exeter sounds pretty good to me.)

Uplifting Fact #6: 

Finally, remember: it’s not about where you get your education.  It’s about how hard you study while you’re there, what you do with what you learn, and the kind of person you strive to be after graduation that really matters.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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25. The 95%, or Where the Rest of Us Went to College

Well, it’s that time again: High school seniors have found out where they’re going to college next year, and are either celebrating, or filled with despair (or maybe somewhere in between).

I certainly hope you (or your loved ones) fall into the celebration category.

But if you don’t, you aren’t alone. Thanks to the easier to submit “electronic” Common App, more people than ever applied to “elite” or top tier colleges.  This has led to more people than ever–95%–getting rejected. (Source: The New York Times)

I know not making it into your dream school (or even your second or third or fourth choice school) hurts. But fear not if you or your loved one is among the 95%, because I have good news:

Everything is going to be fine.

How do I know?

Because most of us fall into the 95%.  And because of facts.

Fact #1:

Did you know that in a new Gallup poll given to business leaders, only 9% ranked where an applicant went to college as “very important”?  They were more concerned with the applicant’s “knowledge” and “applied skills.” (Source: Inside Higher Ed)

Personally when I’m hiring someone (and I’ve employed a shockingly high amount of people in my lifetime), I rank “fashion sense” and “humor” as most important. But we all have our foibles.

Fact #2:

Just because your friend Tara got into your dream school and you didn’t doesn’t mean Tara is smarter or more talented than you are. Maybe Tara’s mom knows someone, or Tara got an interview, or Tara said something that really clicked on a personal level with someone reading her essay.

(As someone who worked in a college for 10 years, I can assure you that this happens A LOT. When any kid wrote/drew something on a form that made me laugh, I gave that kid anything he/she wanted. Work is boring.)

Do NOT take rejection personally. Make like Elsa in Frozen and let it go.

Fact #3:

“I don’t care where someone went to school,” says Warren Buffett, richest man on the planet (who attended University of Nebraska-Lincoln). “That never caused me to hire anyone or buy a business.” (Source:  The Wall Street Journal)

Warren prefers to work with people who make him laugh, too.  See?

Fact #4:

A vast variety of schools have yielded Fortune 500 CEOs. They include Southern Methodist University (#10 on the list) Texas A&M (#13), San Diego State (#16), Purdue (#18), University of Michigan (#18), and University of Kansas (#20). Indiana University tied with Northwestern (6 MBA  grads each). (Source: Poets and Quants.com)

Fact #5:

“You can go to a top-end school and end up dramatically underperforming, or you can go to a place that cares, and blow away what everyone thinks,” says Bill Green, retired CEO of global Accenture management consulting firm.

Green feels angry when he encounters “parents who are afraid or ashamed to say their son or daughter is attending a community college,” he says. Green attended a very small private college (Dean), and was very close to his professors there. (Source:  The Wall Street Journal)

Fact #6:

While I can completely understand the appeal of the Ivy’s since they’re so heavily endowed that they can offer free tuition to students from low-income families, and I know people think that going to a top tier school is necessary for networking, networking (and financial aid) is also available at state, technical, and community colleges as well. So are scholarships.

Fact #7:

Half of all college students go to community (or technical) college at some point in their lives. (Source: Business Insider)

So why, when it’s not necessary, and has even been proven to be harmful to them, do kids (and often their parents) put so much pressure on themselves to get into these top tier schools (aside from the free tuition, of course)?

Fact #8:

Some of that pressure may come from the schools themselves. By getting their application numbers up, the schools can advertise the following year about how popular (and selective) they are.

Many schools do this by sending marketing materials to perspective applicants they’re fully aware have no hope of being admitted. (Source: The New York Times)

Fact #9:

I know several college guidance counselors who complain that they can mention all the other many fine schools that are out there until they are blue in the face, but some young people (and occasionally their parents) are still only interested in the more famous “name brand” schools.

These students only want what they consider the “best,” because they’ve been told all their lives by the media (and often their parents) that they “deserve the best.”

But the  “best fit” often isn’t a “name brand” school, just as “name brand” jeans don’t look good on everyone. We all have to find our own style.

Fact #10:

We all know that an education at an elite school is no guarantee of success later in life.  Take a look at some of these Very Bad Ivy League Scandals.

I will close now with these uplifting facts for anyone feeling glum about their educational future:

Uplifting Fact #1:

My idol, George Lucas, who wrote and directed Star Wars, began his educational career at Modesto Junior College (studying anthropology, which makes sense if you consider the Ewoks), and Walt Disney, who won 48 Academy awards and 7 Emmys, went to Metropolitan Junior College in Missouri. Both community colleges! (Source:  Business Insider)

Uplifting Fact #2:

John Grisham went to Northwest Mississippi Community College, then later Cleveland Delta State University before attending Mississippi State, where he studied accounting and then finally attained a law degree. None of this appears to have interfered whatsoever with his becoming the author of A Time To Kill, one of the bestselling suspense novels of all time. (Source: Huffington Post)

Uplifting Fact #3:

Other well known writers who studied everything but writing at non-Ivy League schools include myself (art major, Indiana University) and Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Poisonwood Bible) who studied classical piano and then biology before finally earning a masters degree in Ecology from the University of Arizona.

Uplifting Fact #4:

Sue Monk Kidd got a BS in Nursing from Texas Christian University before getting her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, published when she was 54. 

Uplifting Fact #5:

JK Rowling famously applied to Oxford but was rejected, “only” to go University of Exeter, where she studied French and Classical Literature. (The University of Exeter sounds pretty good to me.)

Uplifting Fact #6: 

Finally, remember: it’s not about where you get your education.  It’s about how hard you study while you’re there, what you do with what you learn, and the kind of person you strive to be after graduation that really matters.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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