Blog Category: Read It

New Book and New Normal

By meggin,

It’s beginning to look as if many of us are journeying out of the darkness . . .

And into the light!

Spring is here at last, and so many good things are happening:

Here in the US, we’re entering a new normal…

(Part of entering the new normal is remembering not to wear see-through shirts in public.)

…and learning to re-enter society!

Since I last posted here, I celebrated my 28th wedding anniversary (He Who Shall Not Be Named in This Blog and I eloped in Italy on April 1,1993) in an actual restaurant (outdoors of course)!

(If you’d like to read a fictionalized account of our wedding, grab a copy of Every Boy’s Got One)

Aaaaaand I turned in No Words, the third book of the Little Bridge Island series! Here’s the official cover. I love it!

Click here to see a larger version and read a synopsis!

I talked here to the fabulous Maureen Lenker at Entertainment Weekly about it.

The inspiration for No Words (which is about two authors **who can’t stand each other** trapped at a book festival together) was missing book festivals during this pandemic. Since we didn’t get to go to any book-related events this year (except virtually), I wanted to write about one.

So I did!

No Words will be out at the end of September 2021. I don’t know if we’ll be back to doing in-person events by then, but I hope so. Otherwise, I’ll see you at some virtual events!

What else is happening? Well, I’ve been getting lots of exciting looks at the script for the Mediator movie that’s been optioned by Netflix!

For those unfamiliar with the Mediator series, it revolves around sixteen-year-old Suze, who has the ability to see ghosts (and mediate between them and the living).

The script closely follows Shadowland, the first book in the series …except for a few things, since a lot has changed since the year 2000, when Shadowland was first published!

Nothing has changed, however, for Jesse, the guy Suze slowly develops feelings for during the course of the series. That’s because Jesse died in 1850 and has been rooted to the same spot (which just happens to be Suze’s new bedroom) ever since.

I feel like In a way, we’re all a little like Jesse right now: Not that we died in 1850, but that we’ve been cooped up in the gloom for a really long time, and someone’s finally come along, thrown open all the windows, and let the light back in.

I know some of us are more ready for this than others. I personally have a lot of questions. Now that I’m vaccinated:

  • Is it okay to hug people I haven’t seen in a long time?
  • What if they’re not vaccinated?
  • What if we’re both wearing masks?
  • What if we’re standing outside?
  • What if one of us has just been on a plane?
  • Do I have fatty liver disease from drinking so much wine during the pandemic?
  • When exactly are we getting the second half of Lupin?
  • How does SNL know so much about me?
  • Why is Bucky kind of hot when he’s the Winter Soldier as opposed to when he’s normal Bucky even though we know he’s mentally tortured and we should all hope he gets help for his PTSD and finds a nice peaceful job as a barista somewhere on the Oregon coastline and takes up surfing?

These are things that are so confusing, they make me want to continue to sit on my couch and stream endless amounts of murder/cult shows rather than deal with them.

But we have to deal with them because knowing the answers will make us stronger (except for maybe the last one). It’s always better to go out into the light than sit in the gloom.

So I hope you’re busy trying to find what light you can, and getting out into it. In the meantime, know that I am right there with you (spiritually. I’m not stalking you. Probably).

More later.

Much love,


  Filed under: Meg's Diary, Read It
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Corona Princess Diaries Day 3

By meggin,

Welcome, everybody! I hope you’re staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you.

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

I hope you enjoy this third FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

Corona Princess Diaries Day 3


Grandmere (also known as the inFLUENZer) is demanding to know why the Royal Yacht Club is closed.


“Because, Grandmere,” I said. “In case you haven’t noticed, there is a global pandemic going on. Did you not read my proclamation closing all non-essential businesses?”


I handed her a copy but she only crumpled it up and tossed it aside without even reading it.




We just had the following conversation:


Grandmere: This is absurd. I go to the Royal Yacht Club every single day for lunch! Rudolfo, the maitre’d, knows me and always has my Sidecar ready for me the moment I walk in. And the chef has been preparing my lobster cobb salad exactly the way I like it for years!


Me: Well, too bad. The Yacht Club is closed, along with every other restaurant in the country. They’ll do takeout, though. Want me to phone in an order for you?


Grandmere (tossing her head so dramatically that her chignon almost collapses): Takeout? Royals don’t DO takeout, Amelia.


I could have given her plenty of examples when our family had, in fact, “done” takeout, including the InFLUENZer herself, but I’d learned from long experience not to argue with her—at least over small things.


With my grandmother, it’s always best to save the arguments for bigger things. Like her continuing to want to go out DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, for instance.


Me: Fine. Well, we happen to have a royal chef. Would you like me to ask him to make you some lobster cobb salad?


Grandmere looked as horrified as if I’d suggested she go out in public without her lipstick on.


Grandmere: You can’t possibly expect me to stay cooped up in here, eating palace food every day.


She said “palace food” like someone else might say “prison food.”


Me: I can and I do. I shut down all the restaurants because of you, Grandmere. What were you even doing on the yacht yesterday? Someone caught you on video, you know, and posted it all over the Internet.


Grandmere (glaring): If you must know, I was dancing with Chad and Derek.


Me: Chad and Derek? Who are Chad and Derek?


Grandmere: They’re my new friends from Gainesville, Florida. They go to a very fine college there. It’s number one in the US.


Me: You mean the University of Florida? You were dancing with Spring Breakers from the University of Florida?”


Grandmere: Well, I wouldn’t know anything about them being Spring Breakers. They said they belonged to a fraternity, but whether or not they belonged to a band—


Me: Grandmere! You know perfectly well that Spring Break isn’t the name of a band. It’s when all the colleges go on vacation for the second semester! Why were you dancing with these boys you don’t even know? And by the way, the University of Florida is a fine institution, but it is not number one in the—


Grandmere: Because they asked me to, Amelia! I could hardly say no. It wouldn’t have been polite.


Me: Oh, I bet THEY were the ones who asked you to dance. They were just strolling along the marina, saw you and your friends on the Royal Yacht, asked you to dance, and the Royal Genovian Guard just let them onto the boat like it was any other gala to benefit the needy.


Grandmere: Those poor boys are needy, Amelia. Now that you’ve closed the borders, they have no way to get back to Florida. They were going to take the train to Paris to catch their flight home. Now they can’t. And because you’ve closed all the hotels, they have nowhere to stay here.


Me (not believing what I’m hearing): The borders are closed to people who want to enter Genovia. Anyone who wants to can leave. That was the whole point of the closure!


Grandmere: But it’s very, very cold in Florida right now. Poor Derek has asthma—although you wouldn’t know it to look at him, with those biceps.


Me (in shock): Grandmere. It is not cold in Florida right now. And are you honestly asking if these boys could come live here at the palace?


Grandmere:  Of course not! I’ve already invited them. They’re getting their things from the hotel. They’re going to stay in—


I’d heard as much as I could stand. Grandmere has done some ridiculous things in her time, but this took the gateau.


Me: No. Absolutely not. You’re going to call them and tell them they are disinvited.


Grandmere: What? Amelia! I can’t do that. What kind of hostess would they think me if—


Me: I said no. No more inviting frat boys to the palace or dancing with them on my yacht, okay, Grandmere? You are a member of one of the most at-risk populations, you know, and you need to—


Grandmere: At risk population? What does that mean? What are you even saying, Amelia? Don’t try to talk to me like I’m one of your subjects. I’m your grandmother. I taught you everything you know about being a royal, and don’t you forget it!


Me: I’m saying that this is a serious crisis. My husband is in self-isolation because he may have come into contact with someone who has the virus, and he doesn’t want to spread it to us or the children. He’s making the ultimate sacrifice!


Grandmere: Well, that’s very noble of him. But I’m making a sacrifice, too, by offering my private quarters to two very young, very vulnerable students from a far away—


Me: OH MY GOD GRANDMERE! Fine, do you want me to say it? I’ll say it: You’re old! I don’t know how old since you’ve destroyed all copies of your birth records, but you brag about fighting with the Resistance during World War II as a teenager, so you have to be in your nineties, at least! In addition to which you smoke, drink what I can only call excessive amounts of hard alcohol, and you never, ever observe social distancing, most especially with strangers, all of which makes you in the most at-risk category of anyone I know. And because I care about you—but also because I care about my own family, especially my babies—I am ordering you to stay here in the palace, without any college boys to keep you company, and act like what you are — an elderly woman!


Grandmere’s drawn-on eyebrows had raised to their limits.


Grandmere: Elderly? You’re calling me ELDERLY, Amelia? How—how dare you?


Me: How dare I? Because I may be your granddaughter, but I am also your sovereign regent and your princess, and you will do as I say! Now get out of my room! I have work to do.


Grandmere: Gladly!


Grandmere gave another toss of her chignon—this time succeeding in dislodging it—and did as I asked, slamming the door behind her.


It wasn’t until just now that I realized she took my last bottle of Italian pinot grigio with her. Now I’m going to have to ring for more, which means the staff is going to notice my alcohol intake. UGH!!!!


Come back for the next entry of THE CORONA PRINCESS DIARIES tomorrow!

  Filed under: Meg's Diary, Read It
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Corona Princess Diaries – Day 2

By janey,

Hi, everybody! I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you.

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

I hope you enjoy this second FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition. If you missed the first chapter, you can find it here. 

Corona Princess Diaries – Day 2

– Royal Bedroom –

After a long nap and a viewing of The Secret Lives of Pets 2 (to calm my nerves, and also because the twins and Fat Louie adore it), I thought of something I could do to help during this worldwide crisis. Something that is probably more helpful than my composting program (although I will return to endorsing composting for every household in Genovia when this is all over).

Of course I had to think of my idea on my own, with no help from anyone, because my entire family is so angry that I closed the schools and borders . . . .

Except for Michael, of course, who remains a bastion of strength, but is locked inside one of the guest rooms, self isolating and trying not to be a vector of infection.

“But I had an oral report due on the life cycle of the iguana,” cried my half-sister Olivia when she learned there’d be no more school.

Honestly, I’ve never seen anyone more disappointed that school’s been canceled in my life. If it were me, I’d have been turning cartwheels around the Portrait Gallery (which my little brother Rocky was, in fact, doing).

“You can give your oral report to me,” I said. “I’ll listen to it.”

“It’s not the same.” Olivia is too old now to pout, being a teenager, and isn’t the sulky type anyway. But she looked as close to pouting as she could get. “You don’t like iguanas.”

It’s true I did try to have all the iguanas—an invasive species to Genovia, with no known predators—eradicated from the palace grounds, but that isn’t because I don’t like them. I simply got tired of hearing Grandmere complain about how they were eating all her roses.

My father was even more disappointed.

“What about the Genovian Grand Prix?” he asked. “How are drivers supposed to get their cars here if the borders are closed?”

I took a deep breath and broke the bad news: “There isn’t going to be a Grand Prix this year, Dad.”

He looked as if I’d stabbed him through the heart. But instead of saying anything more, he merely pushed away his (royal chef made) duck confit uneaten, and walked dejectedly from the table.

“I suppose the Annual Spring Art Fair is canceled, too?” Mom asked, quietly.

“Not canceled,” I said. “Postponed. Postponed until we get a handle on this thing.”

Mom nodded with acceptance. As an artist, she’s more used to disappointment, rejection, and loss than Dad, and can handle it better.

Of course I understand their feelings. It’s always disappointing when something you’ve been looking forward to doesn’t happen. How do they think I feel about my composting program?

But this is a global pandemic, and they’re worried about oral reports and car races? (Not to minimize their concerns. Oral reports on the life cycle of the iguana are important. I will make sure that Olivia is able to give hers to her class via some sort of video technology. I’m sure Michael knows of something).

Only my good friend Tina Hakim Baba, when I called her, seemed to understand. She is in New York, doing her medical residency. This thing hasn’t hit there yet, but she’s heard of it.

“Shut it down,” she said, when I told her about seeing my grandmother cavorting on the deck of the royal yacht where I frequently play with my children.

“Really? Do you think I should? Because everyone is so–”

“I’ve seen reports coming out of other countries. SHUT IT ALL DOWN NOW, MIA.”

So I called the Prime Minister. I told her that now that the news is out that we’re closing the schools and borders, and everyone is already thoroughly annoyed, we should also close the beaches, hotels, casinos, bars, and restaurants.

The prime minister was quite shocked. “Your Highness, are you sure?”

I said, “Absolutely,” and sent her the video of my grandmother, the inFLUENZer (as I now like to call her), prancing around the marina outside my palace wearing hardly any clothing and without practicing any social distancing whatsoever, as is — it must be admitted — her wont.

“Innocent citizens are going to get sick because of people like her,” I said. “It’s up to us to stop it.”

“But,” the Prime Minister said. “It’s high season. If you close the beaches, hotels, casinos, bars, and restaurants, the tourists will leave, and the Genovian economy will suffer.”

“Yes.  You and I will have to take the responsibility for that. But I also have millions and millions of Euros worth of crowned jewels I can sell or pawn to help my people if I need to.”

She gasped. “Your Highness! You wouldn’t!”

“How many tiaras does one princess need? Prime Minister, now is the time to ask yourself, do you want to be the mayor from the movie Jaws who kept the beaches open when there was a killer shark out there? Or do you want to be the sheriff who turned out to be right about the killer shark, and saved thousands of people’s lives?”

“I have never seen the movie Jaws,” the Prime Minister said. “I prefer romantic comedies.”

“Don’t we all,” I said. “But trust me. You want to be the sheriff. Close the beaches. Close the bars. Shut it all down!”

Fortunately for me the prime minister also has several sweet young children, elderly parents and grandparents (though hers aren’t inFLUENZers), and a smoking hot husband, so she understood perfectly.

“Done,” she said, and issued the following proclamation before I could pour another glass of wine (honestly I feel like unless you’re a health worker or a trucker transporting important goods like medical supplies or ice dream to afflicted areas, it’s okay to day drink in a time of crisis like this, especially if you have twin toddlers and your husband is self-quarantining in a guest room down the hall and the only way you can see him is to Skype or stand on a tiny balcony and wave).

From Her Royal Highness
Princess Amelia Mignonette Renaldo of Genovia 

In view of the very rapid progression of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Genovian government in conjunction with the Royal Palace has decided to close all non-essential public places. The measures announced by the Prime Minister and Princess Amelia may change as the public health situation develops, but until then:

Food shops and markets, pharmacies, tobacconists and newsagents, service stations, medical and veterinarians offices, pet supply stores, liquor stores, and banks will remain open. All other commercial outlets and public places (including hotels, restaurants, casinos, cafes, concert halls, cinemas, nightclubs and beaches) must follow the directives issued by the palace and remain CLOSED.

If you have symptoms, contact your physician. Do not go to the Royal Genovian Hospital or call emergency services. Your doctor will direct you how to proceed.

Thank you for your cooperation

— Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Genovia


I feel like this strikes just the right tone. I was the one who insisted on adding the part about veterinarian offices and pet supply stores remaining open, because think of the pets! My poor Fat Louie is approximately one million years old and needs little steps to get up on the bed now when he sleeps with me and Michael (and Michael is such a true prince, he says he doesn’t mind sharing a bed with an ancient, hair-ball spewing cat that I’ve had since I was a child).

What would I do if the veterinarian was closed? Or the pet supply shop where I buy Fat Louie’s special food for elderly felines?

And obviously we have to keep the liquor stores open because not everyone lives in a palace like me with a dungeon in the basement that’s been converted into a massive, well-stocked wine cellar.

Really, everything is going very nicely, all things considered . . . .

Except for the fact that my entire family is furious with me, my husband is in self-isolation, and the major domo just knocked on my door to tell me that my grandmother — the inFLUENZer — wants to see me RIGHT NOW.


  Filed under: Meg's Diary, Read It
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Corona Princess Diaries – Day 1

By janey,

Hi, everybody! I hope you’re all safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Weirdly, entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the Princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you.

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the Princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

I hope you enjoy this FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

Corona Princess Diaries – Day 1

– Royal Bedroom-

Just got back from what was supposed to be a routine meeting with the Genovian prime minister.

Instead of talking about my composting program (compost-treated soils helps protect plants from pests and diseases, and, considering the fact that Genovian olive oil is prized throughout the world, it’s something we ought to have been looking into years ago), she announced that there’s a worldwide pandemic.

Excuse me, but what???

I suppose it’s true I’ve been a little preoccupied with the twins, who are adorable but in their terrible twos (it turns out it’s not an exaggeration: the terrible twos really are terrible) and ruling a small European principality and of course my composting program and this thing with Harry and Meghan.

But hello? A global pandemic?

The Prime Minister says our top epidemiologists (good to know we have those) are telling her that the only way to contain it is something called “social distancing.” That means closing all the schools . . . and also the borders with France, Italy, and Monaco, too.

Of course the twins are too young for school (thank God for the nanny), but this might destroy my mother. She’s going to have to deal with my half-brother Rocky full time now.

And so am I, because even though Dad keeps promising that the summer palace is going to be finished “any day now,” and that he and Mom and Rocky and Olivia (who is a sweetheart and actually very helpful with the twins) and — he swears — Grandmere are all going to move into it and finally allow Michael and I to have the main palace to ourselves (as we rightfully ought to have had since Dad abdicated), I’ve seen no sign of this happening. There’s always something wrong: Dad’s contractor can’t find the right roof tiles for the parapet, or the turrets are crumbling, or the moat isn’t draining properly.

I’ll say there’s something wrong, all right. With ME, for putting up with his nonsense.

But I’m sure it’s going to be fine.

Still, closing the borders could not come at a worst time. This is peak tourist season in Genovia (when it’s 75 degrees outside, sunny, and absolutely perfect weather for water sports, bocce, and dining al fresco). The Genovian Hotel and Restaurant Association is NOT going to be happy with me if I shut down the borders.

But instead of mentioning any of these things to the Prime Minister, I said, “Okay, then! Let’s do whatever we have to do to beat this thing. Genovia strong!”

“Genovia strong!” the Prime minister said.

Then we elbow bumped one another because the Prime Minister said handshakes are not proper social distancing protocol.

I came right home to the palace afterwards and poured myself a glass of wine, even though it was only noon. But lots of people drink wine and even martinis at lunch. One glass of wine is nothing.

Then I looked at the news.

Big mistake.

The news was so grim that I decided to have another glass of wine. Then another. Then I decided to Google “Genovia,” because people are always saying such nice things online about their trips to my country. It really does make me feel so good!

This was an even bigger mistake, though. Because the first thing that came up was a video of MY GRANDMOTHER and a bunch of her friends and assorted other miscreants I did not recognize dancing on a yacht while wearing very little except extremely large sun hats.

On my yacht. MY YACHT THAT I OWN. On the dock down the beach from my palace. WHERE I’M WRITING THIS RIGHT NOW.

Then I had to have another glass of wine because these elderly women (who, according to the Prime Minister, are at an increased risk of death if they contract the virus due to their advanced age) had been spreading their germs all over the EXACT spot on my yacht where I sometimes take my toddlers to play!

It was at this moment when Michael came home from the hospital (where he’s been supervising the installation of yet another robotic thingie he’s invented to save people’s lives. I’m so lucky to have such an accomplished and handsome husband who also invents things I don’t understand and puts up with being a prince consort and having to walk three steps behind me at all times when in public).

“Michael!” I cried, running to give him a hug and have him assure me that everything the Prime Minister and the news had said was all a big mistake.

But instead he threw out his hands to stop me.

“Not only is everything the prime minister saying true,” he said, looking more serious than I’ve ever seen him. “But you can’t touch me—I’m a vector of infection now, since I’ve been at the hospital.”


My husband is a vector of infection!!!!


So we can’t go near one another!!!!


Or at least not until he’s completely changed clothes, showered, disinfected his entire body, and learned if any of the suspected cases of the virus at the hospital are real or not, which is going to take fourteen days.

I’m sorry, but something has to be done about this! Something more than simply closing the schools and borders.

If only I hadn’t started drinking wine as soon as I got home and saw the news. Perhaps then I could think of a solution as brilliant as my composting program.


  Filed under: Meg's Diary, Read It
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The Boy Is Back

By meggin,

Can you believe summer is over? I can’t.

But I guess I’m glad if it means 2016 is going away.

Not that parts of it weren’t great. Remember how much fun we (okay, I) had when Remembrance came out? And Royal Wedding Disaster?  And the Rio Olympics? And the Rizzoli and Isles finale?

I WILL MISS YOU RIZZOLI AND ISLES. At least we’ll still have the books.

But there is a lot of 2016 I am not going to miss. Such as, the election.

And now the cat has had a “neurological incident” from which she is still recovering (requiring her to use a litter box instead of the great outdoors—a skill which, like driving for me, she has yet to fully master).


Did you know cats could have strokes? I did not.

But, like humans, they can also recover from them, given time, patience, and lots of help  (which she does not appreciate in the least, much like Sylvester Stallone in Creed).

So let’s hope for best.

In the meantime, here are still a few things we’re looking forward to (besides a Rizzoli and Isles reunion special):

One is the release of my newest book for adult readers, The Boy is Back, which will be out in the US on October 18, and available in the UK/NZ/AU November 17. (Check your local publisher for more publication dates!)


This is a brand new stand alone adult novel told ENTIRELY in texts, emails, journal entries, and even Amazon reviews (one character loves cats so much that she not only feeds all the strays in her neighborhood, she buys and sells ceramic cat figurines on Amazon. She would not find it ALL odd that we’ve currently spread blankets and towels all over our floors so the cat can walk more easily: hardwoods are slippery when you’re a cat that has had a stroke).

A scandal brings professional golfer Reed back home to the small town, challenging family, and first love he once left behind. Now Becky and Reed–and possibly the entire town of Bloomville–will never be the same, all because: The Boy is Back!

 (Here is where I tried to find the photo I took of all the ARCs I received of this book, but I can’t find it. So just imagine it, and click here to enter a contest to win one.)

This book is as much about the enduring bond of families as it is about second chances at love. (<– Says my editor!)


Enduring bond of families

Check out what some readers have already said about The Boy is Back on Goodreads!

If you want an autographed copy of The Boy Is Back you can get one by ordering it from Schuler Books! (You should really do this because it took me FOUR DAYS to sign these! Don’t make me have done it for nothing!)

Orders received by 10/9 will ship on 10/18!

OR you can visit me on one of the stops I’ll be making during my Boy is Back book tour in October. I’ll be making stops in Indiana, Florida, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Check out my tour page for exact dates and locations!

What else is going on? A LOT.

There are new re-issues of The Princess Diaries in France, leading up to the release of Royal Wedding (and a secret surprise) in December!9782011713506fs

And From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess has just come out in Brazil!


And don’t even get me started about how amazing the Brazilian cover of Remembrance (Mediator 7) is:


There are a LOT of other things going on, but I want to keep them hush-hush for now. We’re trying to take things one step at a time. Otherwise we might get ahead of ourselves and fall into the water bowl.

It is enough to know that we can still find our comfy cat bed at the end of the day . . . even if our mom does accidentally keep leaving it next to the oven.


Hoping your fall is filled with delicious discoveries and plenty of naps.

More later.

Much love,


  Filed under: Meg's Diary, Read It
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Happy Summer Reading

By meggin,

Happy Official Start of Summer (in the US, at least) and welcome back to the blog!

What are your goals for the summer? (If it’s summer where you are.)

Mine are to finish writing and illustrating the THIRD Princess Olivia of Genovia book (yes, I know the second book just came out last month, but that’s how publishing works – as soon as one book comes out, it’s time to hand in the next one!) and then to finish the pass pages for The Boy is Back, the manuscript I just handed in, which will be out in October.

FullSizeRender 2

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, Books 1 and 2, in stores now!

These goals are not so lofty. I feel as if they’re completely attainable. Not like past summer goals I’ve had, such as passing the Florida driver’s exam (written), or getting a dog, at which I failed miserably. I have faith that everything is going to work out this summer.


Not my dog. Keeping it this way.

In the meantime, I had a great time on my Princess Tour! Thanks to all of you who came out to see me. I met a ton of fun new people, especially at Book Con, where I got to hang out with celebrities like the Property Brothers.

OK, lie, I never met the Property Brothers, but a lady popped her head into the Green Room and asked, frantically, “Are the Property Brothers in here? I can’t find them!”


“I didn’t say that!” she cried, and ran out again.


But I DID get to hang out with a lot of fun readers and authors:image001

YA readers in Irving, TX!


Marissa Meyer at BookCon!


In the Escalade with Harper’s Pam Jaffee!

And more!

But ultimately I was happy to come home because as I think I’ve mentioned, the cat has feline dementia (50% of cats over the age of 10 do), so I have to keep an eye on her. There’s no telling what she’s going to get up to at any given time. Mostly it’s sleeping but it could be:


  • Meowing at her own reflection in the mirror.
  • Fighting with Carlos the iguana.
  • Sleeping on anything that remains still long enough for her to sit on, including tourists.


Mainly what I wanted to mention in today’s post is that a lot of you asked on tour what I’ll be working on next after the Princess Olivia books and the Boy is Back are turned in, and the truth is, I’m not allowed to tell.

FOR REAL. It’s a secret.

So instead, I’m going to tell you about the books I would put on a summer reading list for kids if I was in charge of designing one (and also if I had time to read anymore, which I do not, given my busy Netflix viewing schedule  busy writing schedule).

Anyway, a friend of mine told me what was on her kids’ summer reading list, and it was APPALLING, so I volunteered to make a new one for her.

She tried to say, “Uh, no thanks, Meg, you don’t have to,” and “That’s not how it works,” but I’m pleased to sacrifice my time for this cause. I do understand that a lot of careful scientific research goes into what kids are assigned to read over the summer, and also that parents complain a lot about what the kids get assigned to read (and the students do, too).

However, I really think my summer reading list is the best since I modeled it after the kinds of books I would have wanted to read if I were a kid who’d just seen Star Wars: Force Awakens, and then wanted to read some books that were in that vein (you know, adventure-y, or at least fun).

So here it is:

Princes and Princesses:

Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series


This was my all time favorite series as a kid, particularly the books that included Princess Eilonwy, a kick-ass teen sorceress who was always showing up on the adventures that the hero, Taran, had warned her were “too dangerous” for her to take part in. Ha ha, that did not turn out well (for Taran).

Neither did the not-so-good Disney movie—The Black Cauldron—that was based on the series and released in 1985. They’re trying again, though, and this time around, they might actually get it right.


Shannon Hale’s Princess in Black (for younger readers) and Book of a Thousand Days (for older readers).


These would be much better books to assign for summer reading than Of Mice and Men. Everyone already knows that people can be cruel and that unfair things happen, because they’ve seen Force Awakens. So let’s just read about the bravery of young royals instead, and forget about those damned rabbits.

Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After series


When a modern brother and sister find a magic mirror in their basement, it takes them on amazing adventures, and they end up improving the lives of characters in fairy tales in hilarious ways, helping Cinderella get a paying job, etc. While of course these books could lead naive kids (like I was) to constantly be looking for magic mirrors in basement, dreaming big is actually good thing. Look what happens to Rey!


Going along with the sibling theme, let’s throw in  Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth.


Only in this book instead of finding a magic mirror, Jarrett finds himself with a foster brother he doesn’t like, Kevon. If you’ve seen Force Awakens, you already know what happens when family members disagree (KIDDING), but this is the child friendly version, with crushes and farting instead of murder.  Anyone who’s ever had to live with a sibling (or a troublesome roommate at camp) can relate to this book, which is why it makes a perfect summer read that Booklist calls just plain “excellent.” Every kid will love you for putting this on their required reading list.

Blubber by Judy Blume


This was my all time favorite book as a child because I could relate to the casual cruelty of the kids it depicted (in a much more realistic fashion than the kids in Lord of the Flies).

Whatever standardized test they give to 4th graders should be abandoned so that teachers have time to read this book out loud to them instead. Because Blubber will prepare them much more for whatever lies ahead. And yes, you know I’m talking about middle school and of course dating after college.

Unfriended by Rachel Vail


I don’t have kids (for which many are grateful) but I do have a lot of nieces and nephews, and all I can say is that many of them seem to experience a lot of social media drama.  So this is a good book to give to any kid you know who might be having the same. And though Rachel is a friend of mine, I can say with total impartiality that because she actually has kids, she has a good grasp on this subject.


Do you know a reader who just wants to read about normal life? How about Alice McKinley?


These books (over twenty in all!) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor follow a young girl named Alice who lives with her dad and annoying (at least sometimes) brother. These books describe the daily ups and downs of Alice and her friends from their pre-teens all the way to college. I got hooked on them in my thirties, and read them all. Look out, or it could happen to you (or a reader you know), too.





Do the young readers in your life like disasters? What about survival stories? What about plagues? YES PLEASE. This is why The Living  and The Hunted by Matt de La Pena need to be on your summer reading list, because there’s nothing more fun that reading about a world in peril while you’re sitting in the sun on the beach. And Matt does disaster (and survival) like a pro.


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


I’ve never read this book, but I know a lot of young people who have, and they tend to give it raves. It’s the story of a sad young man who gets stuck in the woods and survives thanks to his lightcaber–what? Oh, sorry–hatchet.

Hey, if you get stuck in the woods and your kid gets you out of there thanks to his hatchet, you will owe me a martini for recommending this book.



If your reader prefers historicals, I recommend Kathleen Baldwin’s Stranje House series.


It’s a spy school for girls, but in the 1810s! A little something for everyone…danger, intrigue, history, hot guys, romance, fancy clothes, Napoleon, horses, and humor. Kathleen has got you covered.


If the younger reader you know is more into historical with bad guys but no kissing, then the Newberry award-winning Al Capone series by Gennifer Choldenko might be just the ticket.


A young boy and his sister move with their parents to Alcatraz in the 1930s (the dad is working at Alcatraz, not imprisoned there. Duh, that would be creepy). Drama and hilarity ensues.




It’s rare for me to read sic-fantasy these days because I read so much of it as a kid that I burned out on it almost entirely and now can only read books about serial killers, but these authors are so good, they have revived my love for it:



You can’t go wrong with Tamora Pierce.  She is the original gangster when it comes to fantasy fiction, and she’s got something for readers of every age. If you haven’t tried Tamora, you’re in for a treat.


Cindy Pon


Cindy’s writing is lyrical and breathtakingly entertaining at the same time. Plus, she makes drawing look so easy. Sometimes I look at Cindy’s website and get mad at myself for being so lazy.

Malinda Lo


All of Malinda Lo’s books are good but Huntress in particular drew me in. (Full disclosure: I know Malinda and like her – and her writing– a lot so it’s hard for me to be impartial about her…and her great books!) I loved Adaptation and its creepy sci-fi sequel, Inheritance, as well.


Ellen OhUnknown-5

OK I haven’t read all of Ellen’s Prophecy series yet, but I have it on good authority that it’s great, so get on it.

And finally, for your more mature readers who are sneak reading the sex scenes in your books behind your back:

Ursula K Le Guin


I honestly can’t remember which specific books by Ursula K Le Guin I loved. I’m pretty sure it was all of them. But I also remember thinking Le Guin’s books were quite racy (in a good way) back when I was 13, so these are good books for readers who are ready for something more adult, but not, say, more ADULT.


The Dragon Riders of Pern series by Anne Mccaffrey


A very kind lady gave me the Harper Hall series when I was 13 and sick in bed with raging poisoned oak (on my FACE) and it definitely distracted me from scratching. A teen girl on a far away planet feels like an outcast and runs away from her cruel parents only to find nine rare baby “fire lizards” that imprint on her and follow her around everywhere (including music school–it’s a long story, but it’s like the Jedi Academy for musicians).

This series (and then the more adult Dragon Riders of Pern) might be a bit dated but will definitely resonate with anyone who might have felt like an outcast too from time to time.


Well, I know I’ve left off a ton of great books, but that’s only because I’ve run out of time and have to get to work on my own books  or I won’t achieve my summer goals.

Have an excellent summer break (if I don’t talk to you before it ends, although I suspect I will) and remember:


Be safe! (Use sunscreen! Stay away from poison oak!)

Be happy! (Read books!)

But most of all

Be yourself!
More later.

Much love,




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Mia is back!

By janey,

Meg Cabot - Royal Wedding and From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

I can’t believe it’s been a decade and a half since we first met that so not-ready-for-royalty princess, Mia Thermopolis, and six years since we last saw a book about about her! She–and we–have come a long way since then, from barely passing Algebra, to that first kiss from Michael, to saving Genovia, her kingdom, from financial ruin!

And now they’re here at last: Royal Wedding, the first adult installment in the series that so many readers have been waiting for (and those who aren’t familiar with Mia’s secret diaries will enjoy, too), along with the first middle grade installment (with illustrations by ME!) for younger readers about a brand new member of the Genovian royal family, From the Notebooks of Middle School Princess.

I hope you’ll enjoy this trip back to Genovia! Long live us all, because we’re ALL Genovian princesses, in our hearts!



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By heidi,

overbiteI can’t believe my new book Overbite is HERE!

For those of you who haven’t grabbed a copy yet, you can find it just about anywhere, (except your local church), from your local bookstore to your local Target . . . . it’s even downloadable in Kindle and Nook format!

Some of you have written to say you’ve already read and enjoyed it (and even posted glowing reviews). Thanks so much for doing your part help to spread the truth about the upcoming vampire apocalypse! … Continue reading

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Q and A with Meg Cabot

By meggin,

Hi, everybody! I’m home from my events in New York! They were tons of fun. Such great turn outs! Thanks to everyone who attended, and don’t forget there’ll be even MORE events the week after next in California, Illinois, and Massachusetts (check out the exact dates and times here).

After my New York signings I took the train down to Maryland to visit my mom and her boyfriend (you might remember him as the teacher from The Princess Diaries. Yes, my mom and my teacher are now living together! How fun for meeeee)!

I used my time on the train (and the plane ride home) to never stop stabbing my eyes out answer some of the questions those of you who haven’t had a chance to attend any of the This is Teen signings yet have been Tweeting and Facebooking me! So, look for yours below (not all questions asked guaranteed answered. More to come): … Continue reading

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Don’t Abandon Hope

By meggin,

A lot of stuff has happened since I last posted. I’m not going to bother giving a recap, since you all keep up with current events. It’s been the kind of month where some of us may have felt the urge to watch way too many Lifetime Movies of the Week in a row (such as Marilu Henner’s Fight for Justice or Angie Dickinson’s Deep Family Secrets) in an effort to escape our own real life problems, or the ones we keep seeing on the news. … Continue reading

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Rapture or Reckoning?

By meggin,

As some of you may know, certain theologians argue that at some point in the future there is going to be either a big party (known as the Rapture) . . .

. . . or those of us who have been naughty are going to be in bit trouble (which will be called the Day of Reckoning) . . .

Many people—such as myself—have been keeping a sharp eye out for signs of either event, and since 2011 dawned, things have been looking promising for a Rapture. I give you the following clues: … Continue reading

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