Karen Quinn's Blog
Welcome to my little corner on the web!

Order my novels at the links below:

Wife in the Fast Lane:

The Ivy Chronicles:

Nothing Special... 

I'm exhausted. Stayed up past 1 last night making corrections on my manuscript (mostly grammar and mispelled words). Then up at 6:30 to get the kids ready for school. Schuyler has a dentist appointment this afternoon, then Sam's game, then my writing group. It's so much work to be a parent. And it's tough when your kids become teenagers because you get no appreciation (in fact, you get just the opposite) for your efforts. This weekend, Sam said "Mom, would you stop asking me 'did you have a nice day' after school? Why do you want to know anyway?" But the hardest is Schuyler at 13. I love her dearly, but at times I want to strangle her. I offered to pick her up from the bat mitzvah Saturday night and she was horrified. "Mom, people will think I'm a loser!" Where did I go wrong with this parenting gig? I expected my kids to think I was a cool parent, but they think I'm just as hopeless as a grown-up can be. Okay, I'll stop whining now.

I'm sad to report that my body pillow has been a bust. It's so big and heavy that I end up throwing it on the floor every night. If you want to turn in bed, you have to resituate this enormous, twenty pound pillow with you. It's just too much work and you wake up with sore muscles. I think I'll give it to Sam to use when he plays video games. And I had such high hopes for that pillow.

Leaving for the UK in a week. I'm very excited about that trip. There's going to be a poster campaign in the tube (or toob???) for my book. I'll take pictures. Hope to do some media over there, while also bonding with Schuyler. I suspect we'll be good friends travelling together (because there will be no one to spot us together and brand Schuyler a 'loser'). We'll do theater, tea, and that big wheel where you get such great views of London. Shopping but very little buying is planned due to the value of the dollar versus the pound. That's it for now. I have let everything in my life go to pot as I've tried to finish the second book, so this is the week to get my life back in order. Attending the big book exhibition at the Javitz Center on Friday, including going to a snazzy industry party that night. My friend Bonnie Marson (Sleeping with Schubert - an excellent novel) invited me. Then entertining my good pal Kathleen Stowers and her daughter (Lauren) for the weekend. We'll be attending an art exhibit on Sunday, along with Schyler's ballet recital. Kathleen and Lauren are travelling with us to London. Cheerio.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Bat Mitzvah 

Attended the Rachel Jones bat mitzvah today at Brotherhood Synagogue on Gramercy Park. The synagogue looks suspiciously like the meeting house for Friends Seminary (Quaker) and I'm sure there must be some connection. I liked the vibe at this temple, very low key. People coming in and out. Moms breastfeeding. Okay, one mom whose baby was given her Hebrew name today. Someone even brought their bike into the sanctuary with them. But I must confess that there was so much Hebrew being spoken that my eyes glazed over. I finally hid my advanced copy of Lipstick Jungle (Candice Bushnell) in my prayer book and read it instead of listening to the service. I am Jewish, but never went to Hebrew school. I hope God forgives me for this. Reading about an art exhibit of giant vaginas with dolls coming out of them while the cantor was singing the sh'ma felt almost wicked. Although, I suppose they represented birth which I know God is a big proponent of. The bat mitzvah girl did very well (yes, I paid attention when she was on). I've known her since she was three and was very proud of her today. After, her parents put on a beautiful party at the Knickerbocker, which is the restaurant that her dad owns. I set an important scene in The Ivy Chronicles at the Knickerbocker. I'm hoping they really shoot it there so I can be an extra. They did shoot a Hugh Grant movie in there. It's a great restaurant. Good food and they have music on weekends (just like I said in the book). Rachel did the special candle light ceremony where she recognized all the people she loves, including us (I was touched). Tonight, Rachel is having the kids party. I took Schuyler to buy a new dress, shoes, jewelry, etc. She's going to get her hair blown and nails painted before the big event. Let me tell you, my social life at thirteen was nothing like my daughter's. In fact, my social life was never ever as vibrant as Schuyler's is. Lucky girl.

Finished book #2 and will give it to my agent on Tuesday. Very excited about this! Now I have to come up with an idea for book #3.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Amanda's party, Richard & Judy 

I don't have a lot of time to write today as I'm trying to finish my last draft of book #2 before leaving for Sam's Spring concert at Friends this evening. Hoping to get home in time to find out who won American Idol. Last night, I went to a divine book party for Amanda Fillipachi who wrote Love Creeps. It was at The Ballroom on Union Square. The food was delish. Drinks were free. The atmosphere was lovely, illuminated by hundreds of flickering candles. A bouncer with a list guarded the door. Lot's of important literary types were there, although I didn't recognize any of them. Except Tama Janowitz and that's because I heard someone say, "Look, there's Tama Janowitz." If you'd like to see pictures from the party, there's a link at http://www.patrickmcmullan.com/website/pmc_screens/event_Selects.aspx?Event_Id=2781. I never get invited to such hip parties, most likely because I'm not hip, as evidenced by the fact that I actually left early so I could see Bo and Carrie compete in the American Idol showdown. That's not something your classic downtown hipster would do. But I had fun, and I especially enjoyed the mini-cheese-quiches they served.

Also, big news that I totally forgot to mention. The Ivy Chronicles was selected by the Richard & Judy show as one of their summer reads. I'm so excited about this. When I was first told, I didn't know who Richard and Judy were and what it meant to be on their show. I doubt if people in the UK know who Regis and Kelly are either. I have since learned that they are a married couple with a talk show at 5 p.m. It's the program all the big stars go on to promote their movies. And, their book club is a big favorite among viewers. The books chosen for their club do very well in England. Special displays right up front, that sort of thing. Advertising and promotions on the show, etc. So, I'm extremely lucky that they chose the Ivy Chronicles and I can't wait to watch the program they devote to the book. What will people say?

P.S. If anyone out there is actually reading this, would you do me a HUGE favor. Please go to the Amazon web site and post a nice review of my book. I'm assuming you'll be nice if you've gone so far as to read my blog. There's this horrendous, cruel review written by a woman who obviously has too much time on her hands (otherwise, why would she bother to finish reading a book she hated?). And it's right on top!!! I need a few good reviews with lots of stars to counterbalance this mean-spirited posting. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I confess... 

Confessional time. I had a business meeting today, which I don't normally have, so I had to put on real clothes. There was a pair of black pants that I wanted to wear and I couldn't button them. In February, these pants were too big for me (I'm pretty sure these were the pants that were too big). Then I tried on my pants with the elastic band waist and THEY were tight. Ugh! The humiliation. Dowdy housewife pants don't even fit. I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed a very big stomach has suddenly materialized. Huge. Almost pregnant-like, which I'm definitely not. My first thought was that I must have a large tumor growing in my stomach and I've only just spotted it (that happened to a girl on an episode of "House" two weeks ago - she died). I poked the growth a couple of times to see if it felt like a tumor, but it's soft and flabby, a good sign as far as tumors go. I'm going to assume that I've put on weight since I fit into those pants in February. This calls for immediate action - a low calorie diet - which I'm going on. The only time I won't diet is when I go to Denver (tomorrow through Saturday), London (in June), and when I have lunch at Fred's (the restaurant in Barney's that has wonderful chicken liver and profiteroles - also scheduled for June). Other than those days, I'll be eating lite and working out. If my stomach doesn't go down, then I'll follow up on the tumor theory. For now, we'll assume I'm suffering from too much good eating.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Love Creeps 

On Friday night, I saw Amanda Filipacchi read from her new book, Love Creeps. Of course, I bought the book and I've started reading it. I just want to say that it is terrific and you should run out today and buy it. It's just hitting the shelves. Amanda is such a wonderful writer. She has the most surreal imagination and such a brilliant way with words. Her humor is dry, but hysterical. Her first two books, Vapor and Nude Men, are excellent as well. I don't usually get this excited about the books I read, so you can take this recommendation to the bank. Love Creeps is a great read.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel 

Yesterday morning, I had breakfast with my publisher from the UK - Suzanne Baboneau from Simon & Schuster. She is a lovely lady, a working mom like me who struggles with the same competing demands. She's delightful to talk to and very supportive of me as an author. We ate at the Peninsula Hotel in the Fives Restaurant. Very chic. $85 for breakfast which is why, as a rule, one should never eat breakfast at a hotel restaurant. We could have gotten bagels and coffee at the deli next door for about $5. But of course that wouldn't have been nearly as glamorous or civilized. Ah to live like that every day. Wouldn't that be lovely? She told me they are printing 100,000 copies of my book in the UK. That just blew me away. For a new author, I think that's a large first print run. I'll just have to work extra hard when I go there to promote the book.

That evening, I went to see Joseph Kanon speak about his new book, Alibi, at Barnes & Noble. Joe is my agent's husband. A wonderful guy. Very smart, funny, and warm. I'd heard of him before I ever met Robin, his wife. Mom is a big fan of his book The Good German which I intend to read as soon as I finish the ten books currently on my nightstand. I bought a copy for myself, one for Bev, and one for Mom. He signed them all. It's fun to experience an author signing from the other side. He spoke about why he wrote the book and what was behind it. All very fascinating. He's an excellent speaker. The audience asked such smart, savvy questions that I felt very ill-informed and simple minded for not knowing as much about current affairs as everyone else did.

Mark's on his way to Phoenix for a week. He has his company's sales meeting. I'll be attending a party at Sam's school this afternoon. He wants me to bring bacon as our family's culinary contribution. Then, Sam has a baseball game and after, I'll attend a reading at the National Arts Club by Amanda Filipacchi (Love Creeps) and Richard Hine. Amanda bought my old apartment and we've since become friends. She invited me to join her writing group, of which Richard is also a member. It has been a great learning experience. Plus I've gotten to know some bright and lovely people. Have a good weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Cancer Benefit, Kelly Ripa, Pickpocket & 40% Off at Saks 

I wanted to report on yesterday's City of Hope Luncheon. To my surprise and delight, I enjoyed it tremendously. Until I was pick-pocketed, but that comes later. It was held at the Waldorf Astoria on Park and 48th. The women were as beautifully dressed and well put together as they always are at these things. Many wore those fancy hats that you always see in the society pages at garden parties and horseraces. I don't think I could ever bring myself to wear one of those unless I was attending some English tea party where no hat is as frowned upon as no underwear. Anyway, when we arrived, we bought funny money - I spent $300 and bought ten play ten-dollar bills and 8 play $25 dollar bills. There were all these amazing packages that you could put your money in to bid for. The smaller ones cost $10, the bigger ones cost $25. I bid for a complete face and neck lift (3 times), a trip to Miravel Spa in Arizona (2 times), a Judith Leiber bag, a trip to Paris, a trip to Italy, diamond earings - can you believe the donations they got! I also bid on lesser gifts - an ipod, a football signed by the Jets, turquois earings, a Prada bag, etc. Totally amazing loot. Sadly, it wasn't my lucky day - I won nothing in the drawing. I especially wanted to win the face lift because then I'd have no excuse for not getting one. Hey, it was free! I had to do it. But no. My friend Candice would have killed me for getting a face lift from a doctor I'd won it from. She's totally against discount cosmetic surgery and God knows what she'd say about free cosmetic surgery. Still, I can't complain. The $300 donation goes to a good cause. The City of Hope hospital is quite a place.

As mentioned yesterday, Kelly Ripa was honored. Before she spoke, I introduced myself and gave her my book. There were so many people vying for her time that we didn't get to talk much, but she acted very appreciative and promised to read it. I have to say, Kelly Ripa was exactly the same in person as she is on her show. She was funny, friendly, gorgeous, thin - just as gracious as she could be. After accepting her award, she walked around from table to table introducing herself and talking to everyone, like a bride at her wedding. I admire her now more than before if that's possible. Okay sue me for thinking Kelly Ripa is genius, but I think she is.

After the lunch, I decided to go to Saks to see what was on sale. I put my sunglasses on and stuck my new reading glasses into my backpack. Between the Waldorf and Saks (2 blocks), I felt a tugging, whipped around and saw a man going the other way. Something felt wrong, so I took off the backpack, noticed it was zipped open and realized immediately that a pickpocket had taken my brand new, gorgeous, expensive reading glasses. They were in a case which the culprit must have mistaken for a wallet. My wallet was at the bottom of the pack, as was my ipod and palm. I guess I should be happy those weren't taken. I was totally bummed at the invasion and immediately wanted to talk to my mom or husband for comfort. But I couldn't because Schuyler has had my cell phone ever since hers was run over by a car. Needless to say, I won't be using a backpack anymore.

I did go to Saks and they were having an amazing sale - everything is 40% off in case you live in the area. I bought a Moschino jacket - love, love, love their stuff. Mark's going to kill me when he sees the bill, but I wanted to have a new jacket for my trip to London when The Ivy Chronicles launches there. I'll just explain to him that I didn't spend $1,000, I saved $800! Makes sense to me. Lest you think I'm one of those rich bitches I write about who only wears designer duds, let me dissuade you of that notion immediately. I buy clothes so infrequently. But I recently decided that I'd rather buy four beautiful, couture pieces a year than a slew of cheaper things that I don't absolutely love. I found that buying very beautiful jackets works well because you can wear them with jeans and you have a nice outfit, or you can put them over nice pants and you look totally put together. Anyway, that's my clothing philosophy and I'm sticking to it. I do have one rule, however. When I buy a really expensive piece, I can only buy it on sale. It would be cheating to pay full retail. That way, even when I'm spending like a Hilton sister, I feel like a smart consumer.

Today I'm lunching with Murray Miller. Murray is the senior advisor to Ken Chanault, the CEO of American Express. We met about 12 years ago when I was still there. For some reason, the two of us just clicked immediately. It was right when my father died of cancer and Murray just took me under his wing. I'm certain we were married in a past life because I love him so much. He's about 80, so Mark needn't worry. But I always enjoy having being with him and we try to get together every month at least. I feel so lucky to have Murray in my life and I understand why Ken has kept him by his side for so long. The man is a treasure.

That's it for now. Ta ta.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bed, Bath, Benefit, and Book Parties 

Family night. Mother's Day. 2005. As we walked uptown from Tribeca to the Union Square area, Mark decided that he wanted a new pillow. So, we veered over to Sixth Avenue towards Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The kids whined so much about the detour (they were staaaaaaarving) that I promised them each their own new pillow. "Any pillow in the whole store," I said. "Knock yourself out!" When we arrived, each child picked their favorite squishy, whooshy brightly-colored pillows. Sam's was shaped like a football. Schuyler took an orange and red round one. I decided that I'd always wanted one of those body pillows, the kind you can get all entwined in as you sleep, the way you do a brand new lover. So, I picked one up. It was huge. I mean HUGE. Not quite as big as Mark, but a lot bigger than me. It weighs 20 pounds if it weighs a pound. We each bought our respective pillows, then schlepped them over to Park and 20th, to Angelo and Maxi's where we were having dinner. The place was so packed with Mother's Day celebrations that they made us check our pillows. After dinner, we schlepped onward to Whole Foods where we bought fish for Mark, then home via taxi. The pillows were getting so heavy. We could no longer walk with them. At least I couldn't walk with mine. Even though it was Mother's Day, no one would help me carry it. They were punishing me for buying what they feared was a Mark replacement in the first place. Pul-eeeeeze. That night, I put it to bed. It was like we had a third person sleeping with us. So I named it Claude. He created this big, long barrier between me and Mark, so I moved him to the other side. I'd just have to sleep on my right from now on. Mark keeps saying that he can't believe I'd sleep with this...this interloper. But now that I bought him, shlepped him to Angelo and Maxi's and then to Whole Foods, how can I abandon him?

Today I'm going to the City of Hope Cancer Benefit at the Waldorf. I love and hate these sort of things. All the ladies who lunch go, and they dress so beautifully. They make me feel inept. I don't own fancy, society clothes. I'm not as thin as they are. And they all seem to know each other from the many la di da events they attend. But they're putting The Ivy Chronicle booklets in the gift bags. So I feel I should be there. Plus I paid $250 for a ticket. I'm planning to intro myself to Kelly Ripa, the speaker, and give her a signed book. She's mentioned in one of the chapters so I hope she's amused. I just love that girl. She's smart and funny and pretty. I don't know how she manages to work those two shows, raise those three kids, pay attention to that cute husband of hers, and stay so thin. It just doesn't seem right.

Last night I went to a book party hosted by Carole Hyatt. It was for Joanne Gordon who wrote "Be Happy at Work - 100 Women Who Love Their Jobs, and Why." Many interesting and accomplished women attended, as is always true at one of Carole's soirees. But I also met a fascinating gentleman - Paul Zerler. His wife Nanette was a doll as well. Paul is an older man who is an art expert. Lately, he's been appraising all the artifacts that have come out of the Titanic. But he has worked with some of the wealthiest families in the world, during times of divorce, death - when their stuff has to be appraised and divided. His stories of these families and the artists he has known are just fascinating. So, I asked him if I could interview him for my next book and he said "yes." I'm thrilled!!! I don't know exactly how I'll incorporate him - maybe create a character based on him. Or perhaps weave his stories into the plot. We'll see what comes out of the interview which I'll do in a week or two. No matter what, I've gotten to meet an amazing man. That's the best part of being a writer. When you meet someone interesting, you have a good excuse to call them up, go visit them, and learn all about their life. Can you imagine anything better?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I'm Back! 

I can't believe how long it has been since I've blogged. The month just got away from me. Mark and I went to California for ten days. Then I visited Palm Beach where I spoke (read) for the Palm Beach Opera Guild. It went really well except for the fact that when I talked about how the school admissions process made me feel like a loser, especially after meeting a mom at a Spence event who bragged about her jet and her private island, no one laughed. And it's a funny story. Really, it is. But not a chuckle could be heard when I told the story. Turns out, there were several people in the audience with jets and private islands. Oops. That's a good lessons for speakers everywhere - know your audience!

Yesterday I went to see the allergy doctor. Sadly, I've become addicted to Afrin (the nose drops) and I need help kicking the habit. There's no rehab facitility for this. This is one of those afflictions that no one talks about. Maybe if a celebrity would go public with it, there would be more awareness. But so far, nary a nosedrop addiction has made the cover of People. The doc gave me steroids and a different kind of nose drop to help me through the pain of withdrawel. Can you think of anything more pathetic than being a nose drop addict? I can't.

Today was the Spring Fair at my son's school. It's a great event. I always work rummage and buy the kids' entire wardrobes there every year for under $60. Seriously, today I bought two beautiful leather purses, two pairs of shoes, two coats, seven sweat shirts and four sweat pants, and about 10 cute tops for Schuyler (including Juicy Coutour). On top of that, I purchased about 20 or so adorable baby outfits for Bev (our babysitter), who just had a granddaughter. Oh, and a beaded cell phone purse. All for less than $60. If there's a private school in your area that does a rummage sale, don't miss it. They sell the BEST clothes. Since I work rummage, I put the clothes out the night before and know where all the treasure is buried. People seek me out as their personal rummage shopper. I enjoy it thoroughly.

Exciting news. I'm getting close to finishing book number two. That's another reason I didn't blog much this month. I was writing furiously. I have to turn it in to my editor in the UK very soon. It's called "Wife in the Fast Lane," at least that's the working title. It's about a power marriage - very funny, like The Ivy Chronicles. Speaking of the UK, my book is being published there in about a week. I'm going for the launch in early June. Hoping to appear on some morning talk shows and such. I'm bringing Schuyler because I want her to see me doing something big so she'll know she can do the same when she grows up. I just hope she doesn't wait as long as I did to do it. We'll do some mother-daughter bonding and maybe take in a few shows to boot. Cheerio.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

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