I'm so happy to share that my second novel, The Bungalow, which will be out in December, has been picked by the lovely Kathy Patrick, who runs one of the biggest (if not the biggest!) book movements in the country, The Pulpwood Queen Book Club, as a book pick for 2012! Here's the official seal (so fun!): Kathy wrote to share this with me today, and I was so excited and honored! She has impeccable taste, and her selections are always so fantastic. (And, I almost fell out of my chair when she said that she thought The Bungalow would make a great movie---fingers crossed on that front!) I'll also be making an appearance at Kathy's big event in Jefferson, Texas, in January: The 2012 Girlfriend's Weekend! I'm really excited---and I'm bringing my baby, who will be 11 months then, and my mom too! My mom and I are calling this our Thelma & Louise adventure (the mom, daughter, baby, literary version!)

This vintage (circa 1970s) houseboat book just came in the mail, and I can't wait to dig into it! It's loaded with stories, history and photos of houseboat living over the years. Why the sudden interest in houseboats, you ask? Well, my fourth book is set on a houseboat, and I'm doing my research! I know, I know, I was formerly writing a book set in Paris, and I assure you that story is still alive and well---currently simmering! My process as a writer is to explore many story ideas and settle on the one that captures my heart most. And guess what? Houseboats and their inhabitants have fully captured my heart! I'm completely smitten with the characters and story, and have always loooooved houseboats (hello Sleepless in Seattle!), so it's pure fun to set a novel in one. Stay tuned for some exciting updates on this new story. And, help me, um, write it by telling me what you'd like to see in a book set on a houseboat! Character ideas? Names? Plot developments? I'm open to your ideas, readers!

The Bungalow is out on December 27, and I've heard little whispers that if you pre-order it from your favorite online retailer (you can find it here) there's a chance that Santa may tuck it into your stocking on Christmas morning. No promises, but sometimes Amazon and other e-tailers are able to ship pre-ordered books a little early, and it's always a fun surprise when they do! And, here's a little taste of Bora Bora for you (courtesy of Pinterest): Ahhhhhh.

In the last few days, my editor and agent have sent over a few fun things in the mail, and I had to share: 1. The audio CD book for VIOLETS (I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but I can't wait! And, I love that they used a photo of real wood violets on the cover!) 2. The hardcover edition of VIOLETS, which was a special printing for book club orders (it was so fun to see my book in hardcover!). 3. The hardcover version of my book in German (it's sooo pretty, and really lovely in person!) Such exciting surprises for an author to receive in the mail!

Hello lovelies! I was so excited when I heard from Tracie, a reader in Connecticut, who tweets here, about how her book club had read The Violets of March, and how they had planned an all-violet book club party for their discussion (think: table decked out with violets and purple food!). She even sent me a photo of the fun, with a bunch of gals sipping a blueberry cocktail! Love! This got me thinking about putting some ideas together for other book clubs who might be interested in hosting a Violets night similar to these trend-setters. And, here are my Violet-y suggestions: The food: Go blue and purple! Think eggplant Parmesan and maybe these yummy mini blueberry cheesecakes! For the cocktail: a lavender martini, of course! Here's an interesting recipe. (Photo credit) For music: Think 1940's of course---the era when Esther and Elliot fell in love! Have Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller and other big band tunes playing when guests arrive. For the decor: Violets of course, and maybe some sassy textiles/prints in violet shades for the table. Or you could go all out and do this (!), or, um, not!: And, I will be most happy to call in and chat/answer questions! I love book clubs.

That gorgeous, delicate blossom? It's a blackberry vine! Yes, the wild, gnarly weed of the Northwest has a great moment of beauty in the late spring/early summer and if you blink, you'll miss it. Have you ever seen a blackberry blossom? I strapped the baby in the Bjorn carrier and took the kids out to the alley behind our home in Seattle and photographed the blackberries in bloom. Why, you ask? Well, they play a vital role in my recently completed third novel (I'm so excited about this story--can't wait to share more!), and I wanted to document them in bloom. The kids were also thrilled to go on an adventure in the alley. They love the alley, especially Russell (2) who loves rocks, and dirt, and mud puddles (are you seeing a theme here?). Look at those delicate, soft blossoms! You'd never know that they're attached to vines thick with thorns! P.S. I'm craving blackberry pie!

So, even though I'm running around like a madwoman prepping for the launch of The Violets of March (it's out next week! Can you believe it?! And have you pre-ordered? Thank you so much!), I've still been keeping up with life as normal, which means the usual drill: taking care of little boys and a baby and forging ahead with all my magazine work, including my beloved (three years now on the job!) Glamour.com health and fitness blog, Vitamin G. And, I recently had the chance to interview Gwyneth Paltrow, a truly memorable moment. Gwyneth has a new cookbook out, My Father's Daughter, which I think is pretty great. It's packed with delicious and healthy (for the most part---the brownies don't count) recipes and memories of her late father. So sweet. A funny story to share: I'd set up a phone interview with Gwyneth on Friday for a time when I'd have childcare, but due to a scheduling mix up, she called two hours earlier---at 7:45 a.m. when I was in my bathrobe nursing my baby. The 2-year-old and 4-year-old were watching Sesame Street, and I was simultaneously spooning cereal in their mouths. Yeah, not exactly great timing! Gwyneth's PR rep said it was her only window to do the interview, so I had two choices: a.) cancel, or b.) figure out a way to plow through, with a baby in my lap. Yup, you guessed it---I did the interview! When Gwyneth came on the line, she was kind and lovely and assured me that she's been in my situation many times when she had to do an important call while bouncing a baby or while her kids ran around in the background. She was so reassuring and fun, I felt like I was just talking to a fellow mom who is so used to the chaos of motherhood. So, as the baby nursed (you can imagine how awkward this was), which was my way of pacifying him while I talked, I took notes. I should also add: I'm a third-time mama, so I'm skilled at the art of multi-tasking while nursing, but that still didn't make it easy. Colby---2 months old---didn't really want to play along, so he fussed a bit as I took notes (wiggling around in protest) and asked questions as quickly as I could. I will always remember the time I interviewed Gwyneth with a baby in my arms, and I hope it will be a reminder to others (and to myself) of what we can accomplish as mothers. :)