Monday, May 31, 2010

I Love Books... And They Love Me Back

I love books. And recently I've been thinking about how much they love me back. I commented on a Facebook status featuring a display of Julia Quinn's novels about how I spent a four day weekend at our lake-house in Maine reading her Bridgerton series from start to finish-- I think there were seven of them at the time-- while the scabs on my bald head healed. I'd just finished treatment for the worst of my cancer battles and was getting the worried, sideways glances. Nobody was sure I'd make it. I swear to you, I believe losing myself in that gloriously warm, funny, wonderful series was healing, nurturing, and helped me turn the corner.

I actually look back on that particular weekend with great fondness. Reading good books is, for me, a lush experience. Give me that lovely, earthy smell of the lake and pines. Give me a blanket over my legs on the dock, one pug nestled across a thigh, and a cold drink within reach. Give me the words-- a book open in my hands into which I can tumble. I may be the only person alive who would, knowing how it will end, gladly tumble right into Tom Riddle's cursed diary just because the thrill of it makes me shiver. Voldemort can do his best-- the idea of actually somersaulting down, down, down into the pages-- HEAVEN!

I've always loved books. I've always taken solace and comfort in their pages.

This past week I was feeling down, and once again crawled into one of Julia Quinn's universes. I read Ten Things I Love About You in a greedy, delighted rush. I'm also finally getting to the latest House of Night book. The experience was so delicious I have decided, very soon, to re-live my Bridgerton marathon.

Is there a series you wander back to re-read when you need to feel loved and comforted? I have so many-- but I'd love to add even more to my list! So what books do you love, and more importantly, which ones love you back?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Funny

Ever wondered how to make a baby? Not to worry! The Fictionistas cover all aspects of life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My magical summer of adventure

I'm pretty sure this is going to be my magical summer. I have tons of stuff planned--not just for booksignings, but vacays!

In two days, I'm going to Kalahari, a water park in Sandusky. It will truly be a thing of wonder. I haven't been to a water park in forEVER. You guys, I even bought a bathing suit for it. That's how awesome it's going to be.

In June, I'm doing a signing in Columbus, OH. I'm also going to visit my sister in Louisville, KY--we're going to get into some crazy shenanigans!

In July, I'm going to Disney with the whole family (kids, parents, sister). I'm doing a signing in Hudson, OH. And I'm going to NYC for an awesome writer's retreat/signing!

In August, I'm going to Salem, MA with the kiddies. I haven't been to Mass in so long, and I'm looking forward to walking around and soaking in the rich history of the area.

In September, I'm going back to Toronto for a signing.

What plans do you have for the summer? Doing anything fun?

Monday, May 24, 2010


I need some good YA recommendations. (Besides our own Rhonda Stapleton's Stupid Cupid, Flirting with Disaster, and Pucker Up. I'm all about those!)

I recently just finished Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella and I'm currently reading On the Steamy Side by my friend Louisa Edwards as well as the soon to be published Boyfriend of the Month Club by my friend and crit partner Maria Geraci.

But I need some good YA recs. So hit me with your best shot.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pucker Up People

Rhonda's book came out this week and we're all very excited! Leave your first kiss memory in the comments and I'll randomly choose a winner Sunday night.

And what will you win?

I'm glad you asked that.

Pucker Up by Rhonda Stapleton

Felicity can't believe her luck. Her longtime crush is now officially her boyfriend, and just in time for prom. Felicity isn't just smitten with Derek, she's head-over-heels in love. So when she learns that her boss at Cupid's Hollow used cupid magic to make Derek fall for her, Felicity is devastated. What will happen when the magic wears off?

Felicity has only two weeks to win Derek's heart for real—no matter what it takes!




Barnes & Noble




Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What Are You Reading?

It's almost summer, so that means summer reading! Laying by the pool, relaxing with a good book, and a nice cold drink...ahhh...

It's been months since I've really read anything other than board books or books on baby development, so I'm looking for some reading suggestions!

I plan to hit up Borders this weekend to buy Rhonda's latest, so I'm looking for some other suggestions.

Speaking of Rhonda, the last installment of the STUPID CUPID trilogy hit the stores yesterday. Go pick up your copy!

And Mel's new book will be available in July.

If it's ebooks you want, be sure to check out Kristen's and Gwen's latest!

Other than these awesome titles by our Nistas, what is on your summer reading list?

Monday, May 17, 2010

TV Addiction

It's possible I'm becoming addicted to television. So I'm relieved, in a way, to have the regular season coming to a close. Frankly, I've never trusted people who claim not to watch much television. I always find myself wondering if they are lying or just weird. How can you NOT want to watch television? They landed on the moon, shot two presidents, had a bunch of wars, shot the guy who allegedly shot one of the presidents... never mind not watching MUCH... I'm afraid to look away.

But yeah... ok, yeah... I need to watch less. And I do go through long periods of reading a lot and turning it off. For months at a time, during the "off" season, I have watched less than an hour a day on average. Only last night was the big Survivor finale, and I actually left the house to buy enough snacks to keep me over-stuffed from 8 to 11 eastern standard. I can't believe Sandra won. I was a rare Team Russel girl.

Except now... NOW we have basic cable and a lot of really good crap comes on just when the regular stuff that is normally awesome goes into re-runs.

DAMMIT!! I was totally going to be good. Survivor, which just ended a tenth season, has two seasons per year. FX has shows like Justified, which I really like. But then, shows like White Collar Crime and In Plain Sight and Psych, which I forget about all-together, suddenly grab hold. It's like... just when I am sure I have the monkey off my back, they pull me back in!!

My obsessions this past television season have been more about nightly marathons. On Wednesdays I was glued to Ghost Hunters and Criminal Minds, juggling to get the second viewing of GH so I could watch CM, which I had never seen until the reruns on A&E suckered me in... now I'm collecting the seasons on DVD. On Thursdays I really hunker down for Survivor (STILL can't believe Sandra won), Fringe, and Real Housewives of New York.

Things are about to change, because most of these series are about to go away for the summer. Castle is another obsession, along with Glee. By June I'll be looking for new fixes. I'll need a new drug to cut the edge off my withdrawal.

It's sick. Yet like all junkies I don't want a cure. I'm trying to be honest about it, and a part of my dirty-junky soul hopes everything they run as a mid-season replacement really sucks. Because I miss daylight, fresh air, and people who are not creepily crisp in high-def. Man... Alec Baldwin has freaking ginourmous pores. I love him in old fashioned plasma, though.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who ever said life was fair?

My husband and I have been losing weight together, using the same diet. Of course, he cheats a lot more than I do, adding extra desserts and other things not on the plan.

We've also both been working out and I don't think it's exaggerating to say my work outs are harder. He does some crunches and push-ups and maybe lifts a few weights or jumps on the elliptical for a few minutes. I spend an hour running/power walking/sweating like a lawn sprinkler, hefting weights, doing lunges, abs until I want to cry, push-ups and plank until my arms give out and guess what?

He's still losing weight faster than I am. Every pound down is a blood, sweat and tears battle for me. He slips up, eats a cookie and still wakes up a pound lighter.

It's crazy making.

But it's also life. There are people who seem to get everything they go after without any real effort - that new job, the awesome guy who adores them, the amazing book deal. You know the type. They inspire jealousy, envy and confusion in us. Why them? What makes them so special? Why don't we ever get a break?

Who knows? What I do know is that kind of thinking can take you off track and make you lose sight of your own goals. Every one of us has a path to travel and no amount of wishing will change it. What will? Hard work. Perseverance. Determination.

Forget what others are doing. Focus on your own goals. It's the only way to get where you want to go.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I have an obsessive personality. This is nothing new to me--I've always been like that since I was a kid. When I find a song I dig, I will listen to it over and over again. If it's an author, I will run out and buy all of his/her books. I stick almost religiously to certain radio stations and even pick out the same food at restaurants every time when I know I love it.

My most recent obsession is browsing Craigslist. I love reading the listings for jobs, especially finding the ones that are creepy or totally scammy. I also LOVE looking at the ads of people looking for romance/love/hookups/etc. My fav to date so far was someone who said he would pay $18 to have a woman come clean his house nude.

Eighteen bucks? Wow, big spender! I'm pretty sure getting your house cleaned costs more than that--and that's with the cleaners wearing clothing.

So, what's your current obsession?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Happy Mom's Day

Even though Mother's Day is one of those greeting card created holidays, I think it's a very important day to celebrate.

Cuz let's face it, we all take our mommas for granted. And even though it sometimes seems we live in a sitcom world, the reality is, our lives are tied up in a neat little bow after 30 minutes (including commercial breaks).

However, we can learn lots about parenting from sitcoms...because I'm quite certain most of these fictional moms were based on someone real.

Here are a couple of quotes from two of my favorite TV Moms (and let's face it, these quotes have shaped me into the awesome mom I am today):

That 70s Show: Kitty Forman: All families are embarrassing. If they aren't embarrassing they're dead.

Married with Children: Peg Bundy: [to Kelly and Bud] Kids, you know the speech, you did a bad thing, blah, blah, don't do it again.

Did you have a great mother's day? Did you get something special or give something special?

The boys and I went to see Iron Man 2 (fantastic, btw) and then had a low key day at home. It was pretty much perfect.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Do the Write Thing for Nashville

Middle Tennessee is suffering from TERRIBLE flooding. A group of authors put together a publishing geared auction to raise funds. You can read more about that here.

I've offered to donate a What Gwen Said mug and a critique of query letter and first 30 pages of a manuscript here.

Awesome items are being put up for bid every fifteen minutes or so, so please go check it out.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In the US, Cinco de Mayo is most commonly known as a day to eat fajitas and drink Coronas and margaritas. Many Americans mistake Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day.

It's not. It's a day commemorating the victory of 4000 Mexican soliders over a French army of 8000 in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. It's not even really considered that big of a holiday in Mexico. It's us crazy Gringos north of the border that feel the need to celebrate it.

But that's not the only thing that ever happened on May 5.

Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile on the island of St. Helena in 1821.

Bob Fosse's baseball musical "Damn Yankees" opened on Broadway in 1955.

Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr because the first American space traveler in a 15-minute suborbital flight in a capsule launched from Cape Canaveral on this day in 1961.

My brother felt the need to point out that political theorist and author of "Communist Manifesto" Karl Marx would be 192 today.

Of more interest to me is that Nellie Bly, groundbreaking female newspaper writer who challenged herself in an around-the-world race, was born on this day in 1864. (She would be 146.)

Today is also the birthday of R&B singer Chris Brown (21), 2009 Grammy-winning Best New Artist Adele (22), rap, R&B, and pop star Craig David (29), former Family Ties actress Tina Yothers (37), NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams (51), First Lady of County Music Tammy Wynette (68), Brady Bunch housekeeper (Alice) Ann B. Davis (84).

Oh yeah. And me. :) I turned 33 this morning.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Bully for Us

My home state of Massachusetts recently passed anti-bullying legislation. A lot of people I know were surprised I wasn't thrilled with this, but I wasn't. Frankly I don't see that it solves much. For it to be active somebody has to have already been bullied. I'd prefer we work from the other end.

There have actually been a lot of studies on bullying, which surprised me when I looked into it. None have come up with solutions that work. In my experience with young people, most of the psycho-babble stuff really doesn't do much good. Sit two kids down to talk it out and they give lip service, walk to opposite sides of the room, and go right back to picking sides and planning revenge.

The ONLY thing I ever found that worked when I was teaching? I was as hyper-aware as I could be of kids who tended to be targets, and I targeted them myself... from the other side. If a pimply kid was getting hammered and had no confidence, I would play him up, give him opportunities to be clever, and talk him up with the cooler kids. I'm still, to this day, surprised that kids like and look up to me. But I tried to live by the adage I stole from Dr. Charles Robinson, "they don't care what you know til they know that you care" and practiced it every day. Thank god it worked. If the cool kids hadn't trusted and liked me pointing out how talented Suzy was, or how funny Sammy was, never would have come to much.

I didn't fix everything, but I think by making it my business to pay attention and care... maybe I fixed a few things.

I do remember a woman coming to a school where I taught Psychology, English, and Journalism. She was there to speak about peer support. The kids hated her. They snickered through her presentation, made fun of her demeanor, and giggled a lot.

They dismissed her as a preachy dork. To be honest, she kinda was.

So how do we solve this issue? My only gut response is to watch, pay attention, and support the kids struggling socially while playing to the crowd at the same time. Don't alienate the leaders, but pick up the stragglers. Try to shove them onto common ground and show them how one can lead with humor, energy, and kindness all at the same time.

Other than that I got nothin... but I'm also certain legislating bullying is a pretty flimsy bandaid. And honestly? I would rather we avoid the wound to begin with.