Fun news to share! Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling novelist (and you may have seen her recent novel-turned-film, "My Sisters Keeper" starring Cameron Diaz) read The Violets of March and shared this beautiful endorsement for my debut novel: "Mix a love story, history, and a mystery and what takes root? THE VIOLETS OF MARCH, a novel that reminds us how the past comes back to haunt us, and packs a few great surprises for the reader along the way. " —Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home & House Rules I think I'll have a smile on my face for the rest of the year about this. An enormous thanks to Jodi for taking the time out of her busy schedule to read!

I'm working with a terrific video production person to create a book trailer for The Violets of March, and I can't wait to share it with you--soon! What's a book trailer, you ask? Think of a movie trailer, but for a book! These little video clips are gaining momentum in the literary world for their ability to successfully (or not--depending how they're done) give a feel for what a story may be like. I was fortunate to get permission from the lovely, and renowned jazz pianist Jessica Williams (who has played with all the greats--Stan Getz, members of the Miles Davis Quartet, you name it) to use one of her gorgeous piano ballads as the backdrop for the trailer. I'm pinching myself! While the trailer for Violets is being produced, I wanted to share a few book trailers from writer friends that I think are fun: The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown: Stay, by Allie Larkin: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman (which I should add, has had almost 25,000 views on YouTube--wowza!): And, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees: Is there a book trailer that you particularly like? Share! I'd love to see it!

The FedEx guy delivered this box today, and when I looked at the label, I nearly kissed the man. My books! Well, my advance reader copies, but they look and feel like the real thing, and I'm am so delighted to have them in my hands! Flipping through the pages was so much fun! It felt a little like looking over your baby after you give birth (OK, maybe too strong of an analogy, but I did have tears of joy in my eyes!), counting toes, admiring eyes, etc. After all, I am this book's mama! Of course, I had to let the boys hold a copy. They squealed with excitement (not really knowing why--they're 1 and 3). Then, this is what happened--total mayhem: A very exciting day. Since I can't toast the occasion with something real (I'm pregnant!), I'm sipping mulled cranberry cider!

I’ve been busy, busy, busy this month, how about you? As autumn rolls in (love this season!), I’ve been working on some new assignments for Redbook, Marie Claire Australia, The Nest, and Kiwi (I feel like I’m forgetting something, but my brain is fried), along with my regular work for American Baby, and Oh, be sure to check out my newest article in Real Simple this month (the November issue)–the Winter Washing Guide (when and how to wash your fave winter clothing staples). In addition, my second novel is moving along beautifully–nearing the finish and so thrilled with this story (if I do say so myself!). More on that as soon as I can share!

Whew–I think I need a nap.

But, I’ve found time for fun, too. For example, my boys and I made these cookies this week. And, let me start by saying this post should come with a disclaimer: Do not make this recipe unless you are fully aware that by doing so, you will not be able to stop yourself from nibbling. Now that you’ve been warned …  I’ve been on the search for the perfect maple cookies for years, and finally, last week, made these. Amazing. Delicious. Satisfying. There are no limit to the adjectives I’d use to describe these beauties. And, my kids think they’re pretty swell too. Want the recipe?

I’m a sucker for compelling new women’s fiction, and when there’s an adorable German shepherd puppy on the cover, well, I’m sold! I recently read, and loved, Allie Larkin‘s debut novel, Stay, a terrific story that drew me in from the very early pages. I highly recommend it and think you should order it from Amazon, or your favorite bookstore ASAP! Ask my husband, the evening Stay arrived in the mail, I was on the couch, book in hand, for hours. What a fun read! And, I met Allie a few weeks ago in Seattle at our mutual author friend Allison Winn Scotch’s reading, and I can tell you the author is as lovely and kind as the book. Turns out, Allie was sitting next to me, and we got to chatting. Allie and I are both Penguin authors, though my book is a few months behind her’s (won’t be out until June 2011, but cover designs are beginning this week, so stay tuned for some updates on my novel!). She lives in Rochester New York with her hubby and two pooches.

I recently chatted with Ali about book stuff, and here’s what she had to say:

This is a question I get asked a lot, so I thought I’d try to sum up an answer. It’s a topic that many writer-mothers talk about. My writer friend Allison Winn Scotch wrote about it here recently. And Christina Katz wrote a whole book on the topic. It’s called Writer Mama, and you should check it out if you’re a mom and at all interested in writing.

But here’s the thing for me: I started my writing career before kids and just didn’t want to set it on the back shelf when the kids arrived. I wanted to both a.) continue writing, and b.) be a full time mom who was there for her kids as much as possible. So far, I’m making it work. Am I tired? All the time. Do I complain? Yes. Do I secretly long for the days of grade school? I’m not going to lie, yes, sometimes. My boys are 1 and 3 and I have a full writing career. I blog for daily (5-7 posts per day), write one to two magazine articles a week, a monthly column, and am now halfway through my second novel. Here’s how I fit this all in with the kids:

These past few weeks I have been using every spare minute of every single day to work on the revise process of my novel. Yep, when you finish the long process of writing a book, landing an agent, editing the book with said agent, and then finally sell it–wee!–you then roll up your sleeves and start a new layer of work on the book. It’s a long process, and not for the faint of heart. But, P.S. I kind of love it! I’ve watched as this book has grown from a little seed of an idea, to a little green shoot, to a bud, and now, thanks to the keen eye of my editor at Penguin, Denise, it is growing into a big beautiful in-bloom flower. (At least, that is our hope!)

As some of you know, my book tells two stories: that of a modern-day woman, and a woman in the year of 1943. As I’ve been living with these characters (really, they’re like old friends), I’ve come to rely on some favorite music to fuel my writing and imagination. And, I can’t tell you how powerful music has been to me as I write, and now, revise. Particularly, for this book, the old songs of the past–the songs my grandparents listened to–and some truly amazing, jazz music as well as modern-day faves, have gotten me in the place I need to be to write well. Here’s my The Violets of March playlist (in random order):