New paperback, new cover
13 Apr 2011

The paperback of This Is Where We Live will arrive in bookstores in just a few weeks. You may recall that the hardback cover was dark and ominous: Black, with dying tulips in a shattering vase.

Well, here's is the new paperback cover, and there's not a dot of black to be seen:

This is


Familiar? Yes. Those who read "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" may find the cover eerily similar, in fact. (There is, for example, a dessert theme going on). Does it make you want to eat strawberry shortcake? Hopefully. But hopefully it will make you want to read even more. 

Personally, strawberry shortcake is one of my very favorite desserts. This cover is going to be a form of torture, because every time I look at it I'm going to want to pick up a fork. 

In any case, it's out in stores on May 17. (Though why wait? Buy it now at your favorite online retailer. Really, no need to wait. Seriously. I mean it.) And even though the cover is different, the content remains the same.

When content has no value anymore....
26 Jul 2010

... What will happen to the creative class? Music is being given away for free, filmmakers have to fund their own movies, authors are watching the value of a book drop from $25.99 to $9.99 or less, journalists are getting paid $15 for an article. Eventually, no one is going to be able to make a living making art -- or anything vaguely like it -- at all.

Read more of my thoughts on this in the editorial that I wrote for Huffington Post, decrying the trend of devaluing "content." 

Five great California novels
19 Jul 2010

Last week, I wrote a post for the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy Blog about my five favorite California novels. (Click here to check it out). It was nearly impossible to limit myself to just five, so I thought I'd offer up a few more that didn't make the short list, but should definitely make it to your bookshelf:

- Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold. A sprawling epic based on the life of the stage magician Charles Carter, set early 20th century San Francisco 

- Liars and Saints, by Maile Meloy. A quirky multigenerational soap opera, which takes place during WWII in southern generational.

- Jamesland, by Michelle Hunevan. A great contemporary LA novel, inspired by the theology of William James.

- Less than Zero, by Bret Easton Ellis. Still his best book, so dark and damning.

- Oh The Glory of it All, by Sean Wilsey. A memoir by the son of a narcissistic San Francisco socialite. Very Mommy Dearest.

Odds and ends
21 Jun 2010

 -- Slate's Double X anointed "This Is Where We Live" as their book of the week, dubbing it "enthralling." I'm flattered, ladies. Thank you!

-- The San Francisco Chronicle ran my review of Bret Easton Ellis' "Imperial Bedrooms." In a nutshell: "Ellis is either so deeply enmeshed in his own creepy little insular world that he can't write his way out of it, or else he is such a genius that he's created an entire parallel universe that folds and unfolds on itself like some kind of Escher print."

-- I've added a reading in Laguna Beach, at the wonderful Laguna Beach Bookstore. July 28, 7 pm. If you live anywhere in the vicinity, come say hello!

"I put my characters through hell"
14 Jun 2010

 ... this is what I told Steffie Nelson, a lovely writer for the Los Angeles Times, who proceeded to write a very nice profile of me regardless of my authorial cruelty. I also told her that I like "putting characters in moments of moral ambiguity and seeing what they do." My poor characters should probably get together and form a support group.

The photographer spent about a half hour snapping pictures of me in my garden, in which I was smiling about 98% of the time. The photo they chose, naturally, was one of me looking extremely serious. Pensive. Ruminative. Perhaps -- you might even surmise -- feeling a tad bit guilty about my crimes against my characters. 

Don't be fooled. Deep down inside, I was laughing.

Back in the New York Times
9 Jun 2010

A long, long time ago - as in, three years ago - I used to write frequently for the New York Times. I took a little hiatus, partly because the grind of journalism was, well, grinding me down to nothing; and partly because I wanted to focus my creative energy on my second novel; and partly because I got pregnant and had a baby and, well, nothing makes journalism more challenging than a screaming infant who interrupts your interviews just when you're getting to the good part.

But eventually I finished the novel, and the baby got old enough to make it easier to work, and I began to have wistful memories of chasing deadlines and hacking my way through phone interviews. All of which is to say -- I'm back! On Sunday, I had a feature in the New York Times Style section, a profile of the blogger and (former) Senate candidate Mickey Kaus, who is a very colorful character. (Go ahead and read it online for free.) It turns out I kind of missed journalism. Sort of. A little. It's more fun than changing a dirty diaper, I'll tell you that; and almost as fulfilling.

Housekeeping updates
14 May 2010

A few items of note: 

-- I've added a new event, a reading at the brand new bookstore Pages in Manhattan Beach on June 17.

-- Early coverage of "This Is Where We Live" has appeared in Real Simple (a "withering satire" that will keep you "pinned to your beach chair") and Angeleno ("measured yet acerbic"). Thank you, shiny shiny glossy magazines, for the kind words. 

-- I have joined the 21st century and am now twittering. I've been wondering: If you tweet and no one is listening, does that make you a twit? Please don't condemn me to such a depressing fate: Follow me!

New year, new book, new Web site, new posts
4 May 2010


My new novel, This Is Where We Live, comes out on June 15. That means that I'm currently in the twilight period between finishing the novel and its publication: I've edited and proofread and given a final once-over to the layout. I've approved the cover, the marketing copy, and sent out advance readers copies to editors and critics. I've picked out a new author photo, and redesigned my Web site. Now I enter the waiting period, an unpleasant span of time where there's not much to do except for wait for the reviews to start rolling in. And fret.

Which means it's as good a time as any to try to start blogging again. 

I used to run half-marathons, up until the point when I got pregnant. After I gave birth to my daughter, last August, my first few runs were slow and brief, more like aimless speed-walks around the block than actual runs. Consider this post to be my equivalent of a post-birth jog -- attenuated, slightly pointless, more about getting back in the practice of blogging than actually having much to say.

Keeping it simple, I'm just going to start with a photo: The cover of "This Is Where We Live." It was a challenge to come up with an image that was as compelling as the melting sundae on "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything." (People sometimes tell me they bought the novel solely because of the cover. Thanks, I guess?). We went through roughly a half-dozen attempts, before landing here. I think it's striking.

Come chat with me on GoodReads
9 Jun 2009


It’s a summer Wednesday. You’re halfway through the week. Deadlines are piling up; emails remain unanswered. The weekend is too far away on either side. What better way to procrastinate away the worst day of the week than to come talk book with me?

Every Wednesday this summer I’ll be chatting up a storm with fans and friends on GoodReads, discussing not just All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, but the writing process, the joy of reading, favorite books, and pretty much anything lit. Come probe me with your most challenging questions!

click here to join me!

NY Times Extended Bestseller List
30 May 2009


The novel debuts at #30 on the New York Times Extended Bestseller List!