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True Lies of a Drama Queen

True Lies of a Drama Queen

3.3 3
by Lee Nichols

Some true lies of a drama queen:

* My name is Elle Medina. (Absolutely true!)

* I'm a professional psychic. (Completely accurate. Except for the "professional" part...and the "psychic" part.)

* I'm planning my best friend's wedding. (Maya only thinks she's planning it.)

* I'm a serious journalist. (I cover crystal therapy for the local weekly rag.)



Some true lies of a drama queen:

* My name is Elle Medina. (Absolutely true!)

* I'm a professional psychic. (Completely accurate. Except for the "professional" part...and the "psychic" part.)

* I'm planning my best friend's wedding. (Maya only thinks she's planning it.)

* I'm a serious journalist. (I cover crystal therapy for the local weekly rag.)

* I live with my boyfriend, Merrick. (I'm pretty sure he's still my boyfriend.)

She may be lovely and talented but Elle Medina's phone psychic business is sputtering, her boyfriend thinks she's attending graduate school (not exactly) and she's about to ruin her best friend's wedding. Things can't get worse. Can they?

They can and do when Elle's innocent dressing-room striptease (oh, like you've never!) ends up on the Internet, and she sets out to find the cyber-creep who put her there. Elle knows coming of age is not a destination but a journey...she's just having a little trouble staying on the road.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Drama Queen Elle is back (Tales of a Drama Queen) with more problems than ever. Her illegal phone psychic business is floundering, her best friend won't let Elle plan the wedding, and a video of her in a dressing room is making the rounds on the Internet. What's a drama queen to do? Not a bad afternoon read, but not an essential purchase. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Red Dress Ink
Publication date:
Red Dress Ink Series
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)

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Read an Excerpt

The groom is perfect this time. His white Hugo Boss suit is crisp, his gray eyes are solemn and joyful and all mine. The palm trees sway in the Santa Barbara ocean breeze like a heavenly chorus of tall skinny angels with green hair. The nomadic tents match the linen napkins, the silver is antique and the orchids are pale green. Everything is discreet. Tasteful. Flawless.

Oh, and I got a big honking diamond. The thing's like a glass doorknob, I can barely lift my hand. Though somehow, I think I'll manage.

I also got the Luna flatware from Pottery Barn, the lead-crystal Bordeaux glasses,and a year-long subscription to flowering plants from Smith & Hawken. I even got a KitchenAid Mixer in Majestic Yellow — I never mix,but Maya wants one, and I knew she'd be jealous. (As a married and established matron, I will be less petty...but I remain single for another seventeen seconds.)

The justice of the peace murmurs something about loving and cherishing, and when he comes to the "I do" part, Merrick politely agrees. But I...well, I'm too busy worrying that Maya — best friend and maid of honor — is so poisoned by envy she can't enjoy the ceremony. Okay, actually I'm worried that's she's not envious enough. I won't be happy until she matches the pale green of the orchids. Maya is the sweetest, kindest best friend anyone could want, but if she has a single fault it's that she's so much better than I am. She doesn't get petty, she doesn't get jealous, not even now, on my perfect wedding day. Doesn't she know this means I've won?

In fact,not only does she lack all human (I mean negative) emotions, but she's chatting away in the middle of my vows. "So we're settled on April."

"What?" I say."What?"

"We decided April."


"What do you think of the song?" Maya asks.

A cruel jolt and my daydream vanishes. There are swaying palm trees and Maya is clearly present, but there is no wedding — not mine, at least. We've met for lunch at Lead-better Beach on a pristine sunny January day in Santa Barbara, and we sit at one of the tables out back, our bare feet drawing patterns in the sand. Makes me feel like I'm vacationing in Mexico. Maybe after lunch I'll have another margarita and a siesta.

No, after lunch I'll have another client and a headache.

Because my perfect best friend has told me she and her perfect boyfriend, Brad, are getting married. And they'll have the perfect wedding and the perfect marriage. And I'll be happy for her. Really. Because I love her. And it's not like this means she won or anything...it's not really a competition. Is it?

"Right," I say."The song."

"It's Sting," Maya says."Everyone loves Sting."

"Is it off his first album?"


"The second?"


"Then I don't know it."

Maya grimaces."You could at least be a little more excited. Aren't you happy for us?"

"Of course I'm happy! You know I'm happy. I'm thrilled and happy and...happy! So an April wedding. Where?"

"In Santa Barbara.Brad's parents want us to have it in Vegas." Perfect Brad's parents had retired to Las Vegas last year and hadn't stopped extolling the virtues of low-cost housing,the senior discount at Caesars and the wonders of the Hoover Dam. They were convinced they could persuade Maya and Brad to move there, if only they explained how really affordable the buffets were.

"Vegas," I say. "Some of those chapels are really nice — they're not all cupid-themed, you know." Plus, I wouldn't be so jealous if she got married in Las Vegas. "I'd get married there in a second."

"Elle, you would never."

"Well, no. What about San Ysidro Ranch?" Because I shouldn't be such a bad friend. "Gwyneth Paltrow got married there."

"Gwyneth Paltrow makes fifteen million a movie."

"I know it's expensive, but you're only going to do this once. You and Brad —" I roll my eyes."You'll never divorce."


"Who's going to cater?"

Maya shrugs."There are listings in the Yellow Pages."

"The Yellow Pages," I say faintly. Does she have any idea how long it took me to settle on a caterer when I arranged my almost wedding to Louis? "Well, at least you've got over a year to plan."

"No," she says."April."

"Yeah," I say."April."

"This year."

A sudden chill rises from the sun-drenched beach."Maya, that's three months away."

"That's why I'm starting now," she says, clearly pleased with herself.

"You can't plan a wedding in three months."

"Why not?"

"Because it's never been done,not in all of human history. Because it takes a minimum of four months to select, buy, write and mail invitations.Because all the caterers and venues have been booked since April of last year."

She appears unconcerned."We'll find someplace."

"Like the Tiki-Tiki lounge at a motel in Goleta."

"Elle, you've gotta get over your Goleta-phobia. That's so early nineties.Goleta's 'The Good Land'now.Brad and I want to buy a house there...if we can afford one."

"If you do, I'll never visit."

"And there are other reasons Goleta is wonderful, too."

I make a face, but bow to the inevitable."Okay, I'll do it."


"Visit, we'll see. I mean plan the wedding."

I detect a flicker of concern."Great. That'd be...great."

"Three months!" I say, staying chipper. "This is gonna be fun."

"I mean, if you want to, you could help with the, um..."

"More than help! I'll be your wedding coordinator. Leave everything to me." I beam, thrilled to finally be giving something back to Maya. She's better than I am at virtually everything, but now I can finally help her. "What are best friends for?"

"Well,I wouldn't want to...I know you're busy with your, um, career?"

Because I am a good friend, I pretend not to hear the question mark after "career" and simply say,"I will organize an elegant, classical, understated affair..." She looks so unconvinced I can't help adding, "I was thinking a Western theme, "Jackie O meets rodeo." Or have you considered a Hawaiian luau?"

I'm still in a wedding planning daze — the flowers, the band, the maid of honor dress — so when my client phones, exactly on schedule,I chat on autopilot until the woman tells me she thinks her boyfriend poisoned her.

"And for a free copy of my newsletter,"I say,"all you need is — what?"

"I, like, think my boyfriend poisoned me."

I dart into the kitchen and throw open drawers, rummaging for my phone book. I need the number for Poison Control. Is there a national number? Why is she calling a psychic when she's been poisoned — she wants to know if she'll live? I have a list of Important Numbers — domestic violence chief among them — but who knew I'd get a poison question? "How exactly did you ingest the poison?" I ask calmly, hurling open a cabinet. "Are you sure you're poisoned? Did he cook something for you?"

"He doesn't cook."

"Make you a drink?" Staying calm, staying steady...but where the hell is that phone book? "Bring you a glass of water?"

"Not that I recall. Should he bring me glasses of water? Do they do that?"

"Well, relationships are all different, you have to — but you don't sound worried, how are you feeling?"

"I feel fine. Never better."

"So —"

"Except for the puking."


"Yeah, like every morning for the last three weeks. And my boyfriend's acting all suspicious, asking how I feel, if I'm okay, do I want anything. I'm gonna start asking for glasses of water."

"Sick every morning? Like...morning sickness?"

"Exactly! Omigod! There's a name for this?"

"Well, it's not so uncommon, many women —"

"Is it girlfriend poisoning? Is he like Scott Peterson?"

"Let's back up a second. How are you fixed for birth control?"

"You mean like rubbers?"

"Exactly like rubbers."

"Oh, yeah, we use them every time, unless we get all, y'know.Caught up in things.You think he poisoned me with a rubber?"

"I think he poisoned you without a rubber. Did you have sex prior to feeling sick?"

"Omigod!" she says, seeing the light.


"He did poison me with a rubber."

"Um, no. Let me put it this way — you're pregnant."

A slight pause."You're good," she says in a low voice.

"Thank you," I say."But the question is, how are you?"

"So he poisoned his pregnant girlfriend? Wow, that's low. That's daytime TV low."

I'm sure my mother would have an appropriate anecdote, as she watches a lot of Oprah, but I explain from the beginning. The sex without protection. The sperm and egg. The fertilization. The hormones. When realization finally dawns, she's thrilled, "So that's why he keeps bringing home stuffed animals." We spend the rest of the session discussing midwives and pain medication and Desperate Housewives. She's amazed when I tell her the child will definitely be the same sex as one of the grandparents' children.

Before the phone hits the cradle,I shoot into the bathroom to check that my birth control pill prescription is current. This surge of activity rouses my dog Miu — though she slept through all the banging around in the kitchen. She's a boxer I adopted from the local shelter as a bald and sickly skeleton (her, not me — I have good hair, and can never lose those last ten pounds) and is now my official babygirl.She lifts her head and yawns at me and I discover the phone book is half-eaten under her ectoplasmic jowls. She still has separation anxiety sometimes, but I know how that feels, so I don't get mad. Not even when she ate the Marc Jacobs handbag I accidentally bought with my credit card, which led to an uncomfortable conversation with Carlos,my credit counselor.Well, he says he's just my creditor, but I need the therapy.
• * *

My boyfriend, Merrick, lives perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, in a little gem of a house he designed himself. He's an architect, which is one of the better jobs for a boyfriend, and has some issues with perfectionism, for which he claims his treatment is me. At six o' clock, I pull my car — a BMW, 1974, pumpkin-orange, which Maya says looks like a Halloween float — next to Merrick's Volvo station wagon and walk down the lavender-lined stone path to the front door. I'm a little surprised, when he opens the door, that he's not wearing Hugo Boss, but kiss his sloppy jeans-and-T-shirt self anyway.

He steps back when Miu scampers inside, and eyes me. "You look extra-delicious."

This is a loving lie, I look like I always look: a strong seven out of ten, with a bit too much chub and a large head, but good hair and nice eyebrows. If I made enough money to afford Kiehl's for everyday use, maybe I'd be an eight. If Visa and Mastercard weren't so shortsighted, and let me buy Theory,I'd be a strong eight."On a scale of one to ten?"I ask.


"You're not supposed to say ten," I tell him. "Ten means you're just making me happy. Nine makes me think maybe you're telling the truth."

"Then nine. How was your day?"

"A strong seven."

"That's pretty good," he says. "That's the 'sweet spot," a strong seven. Anything better, you get spoiled, anything worse, you've missed out."

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True Lies of a Drama Queen 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was bright and charming, quirky and hilarious. The dialog is fantastic, the plot as warm as a cup of hot cocoa (with whipped cream) on a chilly night. I am such a fan of Lee Nichols, I love everything she writes.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Santa Barbara Intuitive Counselor (some would say phony phone psychic) Elle Medina is stunned when some diabolically clever depraved predators film her stripping in a dressing room she is the current rage on the Internet. Outraged she plans her style of vengeance on these miscreants, but is unaware of whom the cameraman is, but does have a nagging suspicion as to the identity of the pervert. --- Elle is more concerned that her best friend Maya is getting married to the right guy, but in the wedding gown from hell. She needs to take charge of the nuptials though she and Maya disagree on everything. Her own love life is okay as Merrick is a fine young man, but she worries that he is in Manhattan seeking a glamour queen and that he will learn she lies about graduate school and her profession even as she considers sharing an abode with him. What is a psychic who cannot see present and future and is unable to learn from her past mistakes do? She starts with eluding her houseguest, the groom¿s sexy sibling and keeping away from the wedding Rabbi who wants her, but after that who knows because as everyone knows, nobody could truly predict the future. --- As with her first appearance (see TALES OF A DRAMA QUEEN), Elle¿s latest tale is all over the place, but ultimately ties together through the wedding. The chick lit story line has the phony psychic in a panic over the Internet strip, the wedding, and her relationship with Merrick as readers follow the latest capers of the flawed screwball Elle. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elle is just your average fake psychic who has achieved a modicum of fame thanks to a lucky, intuitive break or two. Then, she gets a most unlucky one. Perverts film her in a dressing room, posting the video on a website, and she launches a one woman quest to take them down. That's only one of her problems. Her neighbors don't like her, her best friend is getting married in a nightmare gown, her credit is bad, her boyfriend has more than one reason to be ticked with her, and a freeloader thinks he has more right to her home than she does. Even the positive elements in her life come with barbs. If only she was really psychic and could have seen this coming! .............. Meandering realism creates a world that could almost be true. At times, the plot seems to vanish, even. Elle is a frankly flawed heroine, and not everything works out for her. Some things do, and in that, there is hope.