How I Invented the Champagne-O-Meter

There was a MONSTER snow storm heading for Long Island on Tuesday night.  So I put a bottle of champagne out in the backyard. For the obvious reasons:

(Wednesday morning): …because there is nothing like Eastern Seaboard Blizzard-chilled champagne on a SNOW DAY.

It snowed all day Wednesday and, judging by my Champagne-O-Meter, we got about a foot of snow.

I made scones for my 4 o’clock tea. “Scones”, as you may know, is an old Scottish word for “Edible Brick of Flour and Butter”.  And yes, that’s quince jelly.  I take an hour every day to watch Judge Judy, and I like to get cozy when I watch Judge Judy let rip.   But all that comfort food went for naught: Channel 2, the Judge Judy channel, had a ONE HOUR Live coverage Special Program  about the blizzard.  Good thing I had that champagne as back-up.


Here’s my little Valentine to you all — I hope you all enjoy a packet of hearts and flowers, a nice cup of tea, and a romantic Winter sun set.

And I hope you all have a bottle of champagne hidden in the snow drifts for this weekend.


You might want to read my article about How I Got Published    here today (click on this link):

And when I say “You might want to read…” what I mean is: “I FORBID you to read that article.”

It’s called reverse psychology.

11 Comments, RSS

  1. candice

    First of all, how come you don’t have two feet of freakin’ snow on the ground *before* the Tues/Wed storm like *we* did. We may never see the bare ground again . . . Second, do you love vintage linens like me? I have a collection of transfer print tablecloths and mismatched china (I know about your cups and saucers collection). Our 31st anniversary is Valentine’s Day. I should fix us a lovely tea like yours. We’re going to a real tea shop tomorrow to celebrate, but once we’ve had scones and Smooth Earl Grey, we crave more.

    The interview over at Jane Smith’s was great! Here’s my “in” story: years ago, my then-agent told me a famous children’s book editor lived in my town. “Fredericksburg?” I said in disbelief. Turns out, the famous editor lived *one mile* down the road from me. I dithered for months, then finally made an overture. I invited her to a meeting of the Children’s Book Guild in D.C. because she was probably dying for companionship in our field. I know I was.

    I cleaned my house and even painted our porch rocker (a hell of a job) and bought new plants. She came over and never once commented on the freshly-painted chair or the bright annuals. Or anything else except how much she hated Virginia and her son was saying stuff like “them trees,” picked up from the local louts. Well. You can imagine how the loooong drive to D.C. and back went, not to mention the luncheon. I found her the rudest person I’d ever met. Even people who said “them trees” had more manners.

    My native state (talk about staying put, we’ve been here since we arrived, 1711) may have its problems but I’d rather look at them trees than give that person a syllable of my work. She went back where she came from, thank heavens.

  2. I just read the article. Honesty is the word that stands out to me in this experience. Dogged perseverance, too.
    You had a good thing, and you knew it, and wanted to share it. Good thing Bloomsbury had people smart enough to recognize that quirky is good, and it never goes out of style. This book can sell for years and years.
    Those of us who have read it can pick it up 50 times, look at any page and see again, the magic you see in the world. You got happy with yourself, then you found happiness.

    That’s MY take on the article. Insight into what you did to give US this book is a gift.

  3. I forgot to mention.

    CHAMPAGNE O METER. This is a perfect example of how you do things.
    I, too, was disappointed that JJ was pushed aside for yet ANOTHER update on the storm. We didn’t need it, but we need to hear HerHonor wish she was 5’6″ again.

  4. Deborah

    Thanks for the valentines! The article was one — I love the backstories of how works came to be, and I’m hoping Lerner & Bloombury come to their senses soon regarding your Damn France Book.

    And the tea-bag sized paintings. I LOVE the sky & trees one. No one does sky better than you. While I would not buy a book of pictures like you Tramafadoran postcards, the one link to your current work that I found in them was the sky (and I love the idea of the woman in a dress that is literally an evening dress). I would pay good money to own one of your paintings of the sky, providing it’s at least graham cracker-sized (full cracker, not a fraction of one).

    I discovered your book at a Borders, end aisle display in the self-help section. It didn’t occur to me at the time to wonder why it was there (I was too excited by it to wonder), but in retrospect, it does seem like craziness.

    Happy Valentine’s Day & Happy 2nd anniversary of signing a contract for such a wonderful book.

  5. Kim

    What a wonderful interview piece! Keep on keepin’ on, Vivian ~ We all eagerly await your Damn France Book!

    Happy 2nd year anniversary (of your signing) on Valentine’s Day! Cheers, dear!

  6. It’s a wonderful article. You are definitely my favorite writer, whether it’s a book, blog, interview, or just your emails. You always inspire me or just make me laugh. Now will you come over to my blog and see if I can make you laugh.

  7. Janet

    Vivian, I love your champagne-o-meter and I enjoyed reading how you got your book published. It only took you many years and three and a half months to become an overnight mini-sensation. I find myself just picking up your book to wherever it opens and always being happy with what shows up. Quirky is just a synonym for not like everything else — which seems to me to be a good thing.

  8. I wish I could be like Vivian. She really inspires me. But I hope I don’t end up being a copycat. I think we have a similar sense of humor. I’ll never be able to write as well as she does, and don’t even consider myself a writer. But I would like to write a good blog. (Mary, my blog address is

  9. maryann

    Love it! Laughing my head off, as usual! I remember my aunt putting Coke bottles in the snow when I was little and I just didn’t get it. (I lived in CA and she lived in PA.) Now I do, and I wish I had some champagne!
    Happy Valentine’s Day, Vivian!

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