So... hi. What's new?
I've been gone from here for a while.
I'm aware of that fact.
I was made even more aware of that fact when a handful of readers saw fit to track down not only my personal email address but also my home address to demand answers on what I've been doing.
(Yes. That's the kind of response that makes me want to come rushing back to my blog.)
So, where have I been?
The short answer is that sometimes I am busy.
That sounds like bullshit, but bear with me. The long answer is that I pledged not to include any blog entries in The Tao of Martha and just about everything I'm doing right now is book-related. Up until Tuesday, everything else taking up my time was election-related, and it's my policy not to write about politics.
(If social media is any indication, I'm the only person in the universe to have followed that policy.)
Point? Long-timey no-writey.
(Worst. Assistant. Ever.)
Over the summer, there was some stuff going on behind the scenes and I didn't want to return with nothing to show for my absence.
Following, you will find the high points.
First, a STARRED REVIEW (my first!) from Kirkus on Here I Go Again:
HERE I GO AGAIN [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Lancaster, Jen
Review Issue Date: November 1, 2012
Online Publish Date: October 10, 2012
Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-451-23672-2
In a whimsical twist on the Back to the Future scenario, a bully returns to her high school days to right some wrongs.
At 17, Lissy Ryder was the Mean Girl of Lyons Township High in suburban Chicago. As head cheerleader and girlfriend of the football team captain, Duke, she had a clique of cool girls in her thrall, and she persecuted anyone who was different or nonconformist. Now 37, Lissy, a publicist, lives only to overspend. After she’s fired by her PR firm for shirking, her husband, Duke, stops covering her massive debts and asks for a divorce. She’s gained a few pounds since moving back to her parents’ house and is not looking forward to the 20-year reunion of LTH’s class of ’92. Hoping to network with her former sycophants, she’s appalled to find that, without exception, her victims have outclassed and outperformed her. Amy, a girl Lissy mocked for her long nose, is now a plastic surgeon to the stars. One-time hippie outcast Debbie is now Deva, a New-Age entrepreneur. Brian, a dorky but attractive neighbor Lissy dumped for Duke, is an Internet couponing mogul. At the reunion, Lissy is the pariah. When Deva gives her a rare Incan potion, Lissy thinks it’s a hangover cure, until she wakes up in her parents’ house—in 1991! Lissy seizes this opportunity to avoid karmic missteps, dialing down the meanness. Back in the future, Lissy is not only happily hitched to Duke, but as the CEO of a thriving Chicago PR firm, is supporting him. She has it all, including the Birkin bag and the Gold Coast town house. However, now her victims are failures: Brian toils in a grim cubicle, the plastic surgeon is a trailer-trash drunk, etc. How can Lissy rectify the unintended consequences of her well-meaning do-over? The answer, while subject to many of the logical sinkholes typical of parallel-universe tales, is still unexpected enough for a fitting and none too treacly close.
Quantum physics was never funnier. A great read.
Badass, amirite? In previous books, Kirkus may have alluded to wanting to kick me until dead (I might be editorializing) (slightly), so this is very, very exciting!
Here's the cover for Here I Go Again, by the way.
The mirror is actually die-cut and the printing on the book itself is a bulletin board. The pink comes from a shot of a prom dress that shows through. Love this so much! We're doing some cool things design-wise to make the book more collectible for those who prefer real pages over ereaders.
(The footnote problem is solved for ereaders in so much as this book does not include footnotes. I KNOW. But my main character Lissy is kind of an asshole and the last thing she'd do is provide chatty little asides to readers.)
(I promise you will not miss them here, okay?)
If the nod from Kirkus weren't enough, I also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who also may or may not have also mentioned how my work inspired them to don their pointiest boots in other reviews.
Can't find the review online yet, but the print version calls this book "Mean Girls meets Back to the Future" and says that "Lancaster's as adept at fiction as she is at telling her own stories -no matter what she's writing, it's scathingly witty and lots of fun."
I loved writing this book and as there's a magical realism element, it's a complete departure from anything I've done previously. The theme is really universal and the characters and situations are entirely new and unique. Which means no one is going to mistake me for the main character. (I realize now how confusing that was in If You Were Here.) (I'm still so proud of that book, but I get why some readers found it disconcerting.)
Here I Go Again comes out on February 5th. Please preorder here:
Target's site still lists the original release date of December 31st, but that's incorrect. Originally, the book dropped then, but we found that bookstores didn't want to hold an event that night, or even that week. Makes total sense to me, but I'm sorry if you were expecting the book sooner. I hope it will have been worth the wait.
Frankly, I'm relieved the publication date was pushed back because I'll be working on The Tao of Martha until January 15th and the idea of writing while touring makes me terror sweat.
And speaking of the book about my year of living Martha, here's the biggest news from Deadline Hollywood:
EXCLUSIVE: After dipping her toe in the sitcom waters with a guest spot on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls last May, lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart is entering the space in a major way with Tao Of Martha, a single-camera comedy she is executive producing for Fox. The project, from Imagine TV and 20th TV, is based on Jen Lancaster’s upcoming book Tao Of Martha, which is in the vein of Julie And Julia, with domestic diva Stewart as a role model instead of cooking icon Julia Child.
The Tao Of Martha centers on a highly disorganized, scattered former party girl who decides she needs to grow up after her husband leaves her because he can’t handle her chaotic lifestyle anymore. She decides to kill two birds with one stone: become a better role model for her daughter and write a new book about changing her life according to the “teachings” of Martha Stewart. Jake In Progress creator Austin Winsberg will write the script and serve as showrunner. He executive produces with Stewart and Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. Stweart is not attached to star but may make occasional, mostly voice-over appearances. The Tao of Martha book will be published next fall. Winsberg is repped by CAA, Underground and Warren Dern. Imagine and Stewart are with CAA.
So... yeah. No pressure here to turn out my absolute best work now, right?
Truly, this is beyond my wildest dreams and I'm so grateful to all involved. Originally, I was just hoping not to be sued by Omnimedia for pursuing the project. (Spoiler alert: I am TEAM MARTHA, so it's in no way disrespectful to her, but you never know.) So now to not only have her attorneys' blessings, but also to be excited enough to stand behind the concept which resulted in bids from Fox and NBC? It's astounding and humbling.
Austin Winsberg, the screenwriter, was the one who figured out how to take my book concept and turn it into a sitcom and I'm awed by his ability. There are lots more steps if and when this will ever appear on your television, but I have complete confidence that Austin will make it great.
Anyway, all of this brings me back to my original point that sometimes I am legitimately busy, and not just sitting around watching Nashville. (Even though it is an outstanding show. Connie Britton is transcendent.) That means if you don't hear from me more frequently, there's no need to call my house.
In non-Jen-related-news, I'm so excited to mention that the Young House Love book is now out! You guys know how adorable I think Sherry and John are and I could not be more proud of them for their efforts! Anyone who's spent two months watching their husband repaint a dresser (ahem) will be exceptionally inspired and motivated by their projects.
Look how cute it is/they are:
Find out all about them here.
Also, my friend Chris Mann (who you'll remember from The Voice) has released his new album Roads! I'm thrilled for his well-earned success! You can download the album here and follow him on Twitter here.
Or you can see him five seconds before Fletch put him in a headlock here:
Personally, I'd go for the album because the music is incredible!
Anyway, that's it for now.
All is well and I'm grateful for your patience.
Except for those who came to my house.
You're just jerks.