I’ll Take Three Scoops

Grace Hammond, the main character in my new novel, happens to love ice cream. (Don’t we all?) My publisher in Germany, part of Random House, held a huge promotion for my book, in conjunction with 82 ice cream parlors in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and five other cities. The ice cream parlors sold their ice cream in paper cups with the Sommer der Sternschnuppen (Summer of Shooting Stars) book cover motif on them and gave our free excerpts of the book.

Thinking About My Next Novel

imagesWell, my second novel, The Rules of Love & Grammar, just came out this Monday in Germany (the title there is Der Sommer der Sternschnuppen or The Summer of Shooting Stars) and I’m VERY excited to report that by Wednesday it was number 25 on their paperback bestseller list. On May 31 the book will be published in the U.S. and I’m really looking forward to that.

The book has been out of my hands for weeks now, while my publishers in the U.S. and Germany have been doing what they do to get it ready to send it out into the world. It’s kind of like going through an “empty nest” syndrome for me, similar to how people feel when their kids go off to college. So I’ve been thinking about my third novel.

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Flower Power

Because a bicycle plays an important role in my new novel, I’m always keeping an eye out for cool looking bikes, and this is definitely one. The Brazilian Court Hotel, here in Palm Beach, is offering these Lilly Pulitzer-inspired Martone bicycles to guests, as part of a special package or to rent separately. What a great way to pedal around the island! Photo: Brazilian Court Hotel

Love Those Apples

_DSC2049-edited-and-cropped.Apples feature fairly prominently in The Rules of Love & Grammar. There’s an apple orchard in the town of Dorset, where the story takes place, and all of the local restaurants try to outdo one another with their own versions of apple pie.

When I was growing up in Connecticut, we had a couple of old apple trees in our back yard. The apples that came from those trees were tiny, green, and extremely tart. Against what seemed to be all odds, my mother somehow turned those apples into pies. She would scoop them up from the ground and pluck them from the branches. I have no idea how many apples she had to collect to make one pie, but I’m sure she needed a lot. When the pies baked, the fragrance of apples and cinnamon that filled the kitchen was heavenly.

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German Edition Arrives 4/18/2016

Der Sommer der Sternschnuppen or The Summer of Shooting Stars, the German translation of The Rules of Love & Grammar, will be on sale April 18. It can be pre-ordered now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. It has an earlier publication date than the English version (which is coming out May 31), so if you can read German you’ll get a jump on everybody else. My publisher in Germany, Blanvalet, did a wonderful job on the cover. I just love it.

At the Miami Book Fair

Yes, here I am, proudly displaying my author badge at the entrance to the Miami Book Fair, which is an amazing annual event. Mitch Kaplan, who started the fair and runs it every year, is a true book lover if there ever was one. He also owns Books & Books in Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and other locations. The store in Coral Gables has nine thousand square feet, with endless rooms of books, a café, and a restaurant in an open air courtyard, all in a gorgeous, historic Mediterranean building. If you’re in the Miami area, don’t miss it.

Blueberry Cafe is Number 1

My book is number 1 on Germany’s mass market best-seller list! I’m pinching myself to make sure this is real, but I know it is because my editor there, Eva Schubert, has been tracking the book’s progress ever since it hit Germany’s best seller list, at number 44, in April. Here is part of the message Eva emailed to me this morning: “Dear Mary, This is a very special moment for me: I’m about to give you the best news an author could possibly receive from her editor: YOU’RE NUMBER ONE IN GERMANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Move over John Green, Elizabeth George and many, many more ….” I love this photo of Eva (right) with Nicola Bartels, Publisher, and a “Number 1” blueberry … Read more

Making a Scene

Jardin-a-Giverny-Claude-Monet-reduced-for-blogWhen I was a child and I found myself in a museum, I’d start fantasizing about walking into the paintings, as the characters in Mary Poppins did when they jumped into the sidewalk art that Bert, the Chimney Sweep, created. I didn’t want to be with dancing penguins and galloping carousel horses, though. I wanted to walk beside the purple irises in Monet’s garden at Giverny or climb the red mountain peaks Paul Gauguin painted in his Tahitian landscapes.

Maybe this wish to immerse myself in a painting is what led me to fall in love with writing and photography, because the act of writing about or photographing something does, in a way, let you walk into a picture – you’re capturing that scene on your own terms.

Photography is only a hobby for me, but it’s a serious one. Since the age of six, I’ve had one camera or another in my hands, from the simplest of Kodaks to the string of Nikons that’s carried me through my adult life.

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Thank You, Jim

Mary-and-Jim-P-at-Classic---saved-for-webI met the author, Jim Patterson, and his wife, Sue, a number of years ago when our children were young and began attending school together. Sue and I became friends after being room mothers at school, working on the book fair committee, and getting involved in the kinds of things you do when your kids are small.

Five drafts into the writing of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, I mentioned to Sue that I was working on a novel. When I described the plot, she said it sounded like a story she’d love to read, and offered to look at my manuscript. I immediately accepted.  About a month later, after I finished the fifth draft, I dropped a copy at the Pattersons’ home. Soon after, Sue told me that not only had she read it, but she’d passed it on to Jim to read as well. Trust me when I tell you I was close to passing out from excitement when all this was going on.

“You’ve got the gift,” Jim said, when I went to their house to talk to him a couple of days later. I’ll never forget those words. He gave me some great suggestions for the manuscript, suggested the title (my working title was The Letter – blah!), and said he’d take the book to his publisher if I wanted him to. It was all I could do not to leap out of my chair and scream, “Yes! Yes!” Somehow I managed to contain myself and tell him, in a more civilized way, that I would be thrilled to have him show my book to his publisher.

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Irresistible Blueberry Muffins

Here’s a simple recipe that makes great blueberry muffins: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3/4 cup whole milk 1 egg, slightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1 heaping tablespoon sugar (optional, for tops) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Reserve one tablespoon of the mixture to coat the blueberries. In a smaller bowl, combine melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla, and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula or whisk until just blended (the batter can be … Read more