As long-time blog readers may remember, there was a day when I would go to any book club, coffee klatch, mah-johng club or compulsive-gambling support group that invited me. I was a single lady, with one book and no kids, and if you wanted me, I was there.

Times have changed. Now, I have two little ones, plus a serious addiction to reality TV. If I said yes to one club, I reasoned, I'd have to say yes to them all...and so, reluctantly, I decided that, at least until the kids got bigger, I'd have to refuse all invitations.

However! In preparation for the new book, and to boost the all-important pre-sales figures (Stacey Ballis does a better job of explaining why they matter than I ever could), I am giving myself away to one lucky book club.

Here's the deal. You pre-order THE NEXT BEST THING.

You email your receipt to, along with your name and address and an email address where we can reach you.

On July 1, some random name-picking computer program chooses one lucky winner, and I will visit the winner's book club on a mutually agreed-upon date within the next 12 months.

The winner has to be in the continental US (I figure, if the winner was in Hawaii, people would figure I was cheating). In addition five runners-up (runner-ups?) will receive tote bags loaded with signed copies of my backlist and some extra, fun Philadelphia-centric treats. The full rules, complete with legal language that I barely understand, are right here. (Please note -- I know right now the fine print says the winner is responsible for my transportation and accommodation. That is not true! I will pay my own way and put myself up!
I do, however, reserve the right to use your guest-bathroom towels.
The good ones).

Q: But I ordered the book weeks ago!

A: No worries! Just dig up your receipt and send it in! (And if you can't find it, the honor system applies -- I am prepared to take your word that you have, in fact, ordered THE NEXT BEST THING).

Q: Do e-books count?

A: But of course! Order a hardcover, order an e-book, order the audio version (do you know that Olivia Thirlby, from "Juno," is reading it?). Whatever you prefer -- it all counts.

Q: But I don't belong to a book club!

A: No worries! Enter anyhow, and if you win,just round up five of your friends. We'll go out to dinner at a mutually agreed-upon restaurant and drink wine and talk about "The Bachelorette."

Q: But I'm broke!

A: I hear you. There is a "no purchase necessary" option, which means you can enter the sweepstakes by sending your name without a receipt to You can also email me a copy of your name on your local library's waiting list, and not only will you be entered, I'll ship your library a few extra copies of THE NEXT BEST THING after it's published.

Q: Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of winning? (In other words, can you be bribed?)

A: It's the random-picking computer, not me, that you'd be sending delicious baked goods or attaching flattering Amazon reviews won't help. However, if you want to send a picture of your book club with your entry, I'd love to see it, and I'll post all the shots on a Pinterest board. Fun!

Q: Is this book even any good?

A: Well, Time Magazine says it's "utterly engaging," and I'm very proud of it. It's the story of Ruth Saunders, star of the short story "Swim" (you may remember it, and her, from "The Guy Not Taken.") Ruth is twenty-eight when the show she's written gets the green-light, and she gets to cast, shoot, and, eventually, run her own sit-com before It All Goes Horribly Wrong. Plus, Ruth has a crush on her boss to contend with, her grandmother's impending nuptials to consider, and a cute little dog named Pocket. I think it's a return to GOOD IN BED form -- in both cases, the heroines are bright, damaged, smart-mouthed young women, dealing with physical issues (weight in Cannie's case, a badly-scarred face in Ruth's), cripplingly low self-esteem, dysfunctional families, professional success, romantic failure, and a lively, loving circle of friends and colleagues.

"Swim" is available for free wherever e-books are sold. You can find it at Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Sony e-bookstore, on iTunes and on Kobo.

You can also read the first chapter of THE NEXT BEST THING here.

So, once more, with feeling: pre-order the book from the retailer of your choice. Email your receipt to Full rules are spelled out here. Then sit tight and wait for July 1!

And please stay tuned. In the next few days, I'll be posting my summer reading list, with some great new authors you might not have heard about yet, so your beach bag need never be empty!