Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy (Almost) New Year!

We've got big plans for 2010 my friends. It's a critical year in our epic plan for world denomination domination and as a result we've got lots of resolutions to share. So many resolutions that we're going to be running a Random Resolutions Contest beginning on Monday January 4th.

The Contest:
  • We're going to post 10 resolutions for 2010.
  • Three of them will be Lisa's personal resolutions, three of them will be Laura's personal resolutions and four of them will be LiLa's Resolutions for World Domination.
  • In the comments you have to correctly match the resolution with their resolvers. (Is that word working there? No? Well, you get the idea, right? Good.)
  • The person who guesses them all correctly wins. If we have more than one winner we'll let the random number generator decide.
  • Oh, and the winner has to be a blog follower, so follow away friendies!
The Prizes:
  • We'll be giving away an ARC of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain with matching purple nail polish (ooh! pretty!)
  • And also a random melange of holiday presents that we've decided to regift to the universe. You'll have to trust me when I say there's some pretty fabulous stuff involved because we can't list it publicly as there's a small chance that the person who gave us the fabulous stuff (i.e my poor-hapless-incapable-of-giving-a-decent-gift-husband) might be offended.
Get excited and stop by on Monday January 4th to join in the random resolution madness! Have a safe and Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Let's Rhyme!

The following poem was written using most of my leftover celebrity pictures from the past year. Truly random at its finest.

2009 has been quite busy,
it’s hard to find the time,
but it’s almost the birth of a new year,
what better day to rhyme?

I’ve browsed through the Us Weekly website,
dug deep through “celebrity poem” files,
dusted off the unused, old and forgotten,
I sure hope they bring you some smiles…

Your hooker tights take my breath away,
sweet, sixteen-year-old Taylor.
They make me fear for Lydia’s future,
as I reach for my inhaler.

I'm shocked to see that Lo can read,
and that she’s surrounded by little ones.
I can’t think of a better role model,
kids can pick up morals from Hills re-runs.

This pic is quite alarming,
Octomom’s gone off the deep end.
Her face is green, the milk looks pink,
to her litter of kids, my deepest sympathies I extend.

If dogs could talk, I’m sure they would
when held captive by Speidi in the raw.
“His beard is scratchy,”Her pants are fugly,”
“Oh sweet Jesus, I don’t think she’s wearing a bra.”

Jon Gosselin’s officially too cool for school,
with his sk8er cap and “shaka” sign.
If only Kate could see him now.
I’m sure she'd be reaching for the wine.

Rhianna I’ve never really liked you.
You’re always so angsty and mad.
Your clawed apart cat suit is scary,
especially the prehistoric shoulder pads.

I’m embarrassed for Doug on many levels,
he looks rather suicidal and sad.
Paris appears right at home,
for they both are so scantily clad.

Kim, don’t you dare move an inch,
the last thing you need is a slip.
I can’t imagine you have much wiggle room,
for flashing your privates and a nip.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my leftovers,
I'm sure 2010 will bring more stars to jeer.
I’ll keep trolling Us for fun pictures,
in the meantime have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gonna Have to Face It, I'm Addicted to Blogs

People always ask me why I decided to start writing and usually I tell them that I was bored at my job (true), I've always loved to read (also true) and I figured that if we published a book it might help solve the whole healthcare crisis (um...totally not true, but it would be nice, right?).

While (most) of those things contributed to that fateful night Laura and I decided to start writing books together, none of them are the real reason I started writing.

The real reason I started to write books is so I could start blogging.

Whew, I'm so glad I got that off my chest.

The thing is, I LOVE blogs. I've always loved blogs. Go Fug Yourself was seriously the only thing that got me through my life as a corporate cog. The Pioneer Woman actually inspired me to start cooking. And I'm convinced that if Ted Casablanca met me in real life, he'd totally be my gay husband.

Way before I ever even dreamed of writing a book, I dreamed of having a blog of my very own. I'd see something funny on TV and write out an entire post in my head. I even tried to start a blog a couple of times. I'd open up a blogger account and sit down to write something witty. Something entertaining. Something worthwhile. But when it was just me and that flashing cursor I came up blank. The truth was I had nothing to write about. That flashing bastard of a cursor taught me something: My life was boring.

And that, my friends, is why I started writing. I wanted something to blog about dammit.

And here we are today. I promised myself that I'd take a blogcation over Christmas and I was true to my word. My computer was shut down completely on December 23rd and I managed to stay away for five long days. But the last couple days I've started showing signs of withdrawal. I've been listless and cranky. I was just a little bit off and I couldn't figure out what was wrong until finally this morning I cracked and opened up blogger. I clicked on a few links, read up on what my friends had been up to over the long weekend, wrote a quick post and I felt better. I felt like myself again. I'm back baby!

God bless the blog.

Monday, December 28, 2009

And the winner is...

T. Anne

According to the random number generator you are our lucky winner of Otto Grows Down. Send us an e-mail with your address and we'll get the book out to you ASAP. I'm sure your family will enjoy it as much as we have!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. I'm still recovering from Christmas, but I'll do my best to work up the energy for some entertaining posts this week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buon Natale!

So, I'm feeling pretty good about Christmas this year. I'm finally done with all of my shopping after a last minute trip to the mall yesterday that ended with Mia and I taking an uneventful ride down the escalator while Jack screamed hysterically at the top by himself, too scared to step on. I mistakenly assumed that at four-and-a-half-years-old and with numerous practice trips up and down escalators across the greater Cleveland area under his belt that he'd be ready to ride down without a death grip on my hand. I was wrong. Thankfully one of my fellow shoppers (obviously a super mom in disguise) scooped his 53 pound butt up and carried him down to safety. Merry Christmas Super Mom, here's five Percocets for your trouble. Trust me, you'll need it after hauling Jack down a flight of moving stairs.

Anyways, now all I've got left to do is wrap presents and wait for the inevitable Christmas plague to manifest. You know, the one that leaves your kids glassy eyed and infected just moments before you leave for church on Christmas Eve. Can't. Wait.

But tonight everyone is in bed and I've taken the night off which translates into me watching my favorite Christmas movie of all time, Love Actually, and eating caramel Hershey Kisses. I'm sure you remember why we're all out of Twizzlers.

In just under 48 hours my children will be completely delirious from lack of sleep and over-stimulation, and I'll most likely be administering twice daily doses of Ammoxacillin while threatening to take all their presents back. But until then, I've got this to get me through:

And yes, it's in Italian. (For the record, at the end he says: Enough. Enough now.) I couldn't find an English version that would allow embedding, so...Buon Natale dear friends. And remember, it's not Christmas unless you're half-wishing some adorable guy would come to your door with poster sized flash cards to save you from eating yet another tub of candy cane ice cream. XOXO

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Past

In honor of the impending holidays I'm reposting one of our favorite Christmas posts from last December. And by "our" I mean, me, Laura and my mom because we were the only three people reading this blog at the time. Sad, but true.

***

So, those of you who know me, know that my dear husband has a horrible track record when it comes to giving gifts. His heart is always in the right place and he really does try to pick out things he thinks I'll like, but it's inevitably all wrong.

Here's a little Christmas gift timeline for you.

1995 - This is the first Christmas we were dating and I was 16-years-old. I got a HUGE bottle of Eternity perfume and a plaid Gap button down. Size Men's Large. Yeah, just for the record, I'm 5'3. The sad reality is that this actually one of his better Christmas gifts. I actually liked the perfume and let's face it, the grunge look was totally in, so a ginourmous shirt wasn't that horrible. Although I think I might actually have returned it. It was THAT big.

1996 - An opal ring. At the time I totally loved this gift. Opal was my birthstone and it was heart shaped with some itty-bitty diamonds on the side. In my 17-year-old mind it was the epitome of style and class. Unfortunately my tastes have evolved over the years and I just had my mom liquidate the thing at one of those gold parties where they pay you for your old gold jewelry. Yeah, I'm not exactly the sentimental type and I made $189! Of course that included the opal earrings he got me too. And the heinous heart shaped diamond necklace. In my defense, I saved the bracelet, ok?

1997 - Now this is the year things really started to go downhill. I'll never forget Ken coming over on Christmas morning with a huge garment bag with the words "Petite Sophisticate" emblazoned across it. I remember thinking, well at least he's realized I'm a small person. That's got to be a good sign.

And then I opened it.

"It" was a pair of brown corduroy pants, completely tapered at the ankle, yet loose through the hips and thighs. I think they used to call this a relaxed fit back in the day. They looked a little bit like textured, brown, Hammer pants and they were practically guaranteed to add about 20 pounds.

Sexy!

There was also a matching corduroy, brown blazer that hit at about mid-thigh, last seen in the closets of substitute teachers across the country. To top off this dung-colored ensemble, he had purchased an over-sized brown, striped, button down shirt and a pair of matching brown socks.

After Ken left I tried the whole outfit on for the fam and Laura and Stacey almost peed their pants.

1998 - 2005 - These years are all sort of a blur. I think there was a cashmere sweater somewhere in there that I actually liked. Oh and who could forget the cooking lessons! That was the first year we were married. Nothing says Merry Christmas (now get your ass in the kitchen and make me some meatloaf) like cooking lessons.

2005 - This was Jack's first Christmas, my first official Christmas as a mom. And what do I find under the tree? A Victoria's Secret, hot pink, velour sweat suit with the word "Sexy" emblazoned across the butt in rhinestones. Can't you just picture me showing up at playgroup in that get-up? Hilarious. TGFGR. (Thank God For Gift Receipts)

2006 - A cashmere poncho. Fuschia. Returned at Nordstrom's the very next day.

2007 - Umm..can't remember. But I'm sure I returned it. He got me a barn jacket that I've since seen Laura's MIL banging around in for my 30th birthday, so that should give you an indication of what his gift must have been like. Not. Good.

2008 - TBD. I can't wait to see what he comes up with this year. If I was picking out my own gift there would be one of these or maybe these and if I was really lucky one of THESE underneath my Christmas Tree. But I know Ken, and I'm not holding my breath.

The truth is holidays are actually more fun this way. I never know what I'm going to unwrap Christmas morning, and you know what? That's just the way I like it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Otto Grows Down


I love to read. I've always loved to read. For me, there was always something magical about words printed on a page. Reading was a like a secret I couldn't wait to figure out.

Every single day I try to figure out a way to instill my love of words into Jack and Mia. We read together a lot and as a result we have hundreds of picture books. Some of them are great...some are not. Most of them don't have a lot going on in the plot department. I love Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? as much as the next mom, but I know them by heart and occasionally they make me want to gouge my eyes out.

Lucky for me, a friend gave us a copy of Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman, a story about a 6-year-old boy who wishes his new baby sister Anna had never been born. The good news is that his wish comes true, the bad news is that the his days suddenly start moving in reverse.

When we all sat down to read it together for the first time I was surprised to catch myself rushing through the book so I could find out what happens next. Newsflash: This is a picture book with a plot! I honestly had no idea how Sussman was going to resolve Otto's predicament.

Jack and Mia enjoyed the book as much as I did. Mia insists on reading it every single night and she gives Otto and Anna a kiss before she goes to bed. Girl after my own heart.

Jack is a tougher sell in general when it comes to books. He's known to get fidgety and one time when we were reading Green Eggs and Ham he kept putting his feet in my face. I never thought I'd have to say the words, "Do not make me use this copy of Green Eggs and Ham to remove your left foot from my cheek because I assure you it won't be pleasant for you or your toes." They just don't teach you this stuff in those dumb birthing classes.

Anyways, Jack fell in love with Otto. I think he could relate to him wanting to get rid of his sister and he was fascinated by him getting younger and time going backwards. The morning after we read it for the first time I caught him trying to read it to himself. He was very engaged in this book and it has lead me to think more carefully about the books we read together. I think he's definitely ready for books with a little more substance.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with young children, particularly those of you expecting a new brother or sister or those of you with a pair of siblings who don't always get along well.

In fact, we liked this book so much that we'd love to share it with one of our lucky readers! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment in this post with the title of your favorite picture book. We'll leave the comments open for the week and will announce our winner on Monday December 28th. Good luck!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Remembering...

This day will always bring sadness.

Every year.

Every Christmas.

But it's getting a little easier to look back on all the good times.

We'll never forget.

We'll never be the same.

We will always remember.

For the record, I totally blame you for Jack's attitude problem.

When he gets arrested for public indecency (because let's face it, it's really only a matter of time) I know you'll be laughing your ass off.

I miss you, Mike.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lisa Roecker and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Let me preface this by saying there were a lot of events leading up to this day. First off, my friend and I took our sons to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox the night before. In retrospect it probably would have been a good idea to do some research around the plot and to consider going to an earlier showing.

Here's a transcript from my hilarious friend recapping the evening for you. Keep in mind that her husband was already semi-annoyed that she chose to keep Jack's bestie out this late "on a school night."

Dad: How was the movie?
Jack's bestie: Good.
Dad: What movie was it?
Jack's bestie: Don't know.
Dad: Well, what was the movie about?
Jack's bestie: Don't know. Ask Mom.
Dad: You don't remember anything about the movie? What was one thing you remember about the movie?

*dramatic pause*

Jack's bestie: There was this really good part where the farmers got their shooters and started shooting at a tree and the foxes. There were lots of guns and it was really scary and they were really bad men.

*dramatic pause*

Dad: Great.

Fast forward to the next morning.

8:00 AM - Jack drags himself out of bed. Gets very excited to learn that he can wear his pajamas to school for the big Snow Day Party. He refuses to go to the bathroom, but I decide to call it even since I don't have to force him out of his pajamas and into his school clothes.

8:51 AM - Drop kids off at school and find out that several parents sent in their money for the class gift a day late which leaves me about two hours to buy additional gifts for the teachers. Being the room mom really is a bitch.

9:05 AM - Arrive at mall to purchase gifts for teachers only to find out the mall doesn't open until 10 AM.


Stacey: (sounding hoarse and groggy) Hello?
Lisa: Hey. How long does it take you to make stationary?
Stacey: (sounding suspicious) Why?
Lisa: Just wondering...
Stacey: I can make it quickly. When do you need it?
Lisa: In an hour.
Stacey: *coughs*
Lisa: Did I wake you up?
Stacey: I was just taking a little nap.
Lisa: Crap.

9:30 AM: Arrive back home to place PayPal order for the stationary to make sure Stacey actually accepts payment. She's notoriously bad at cashing my checks.

9:39 AM: Check Jack's class list to see who paid for the gifts and who didn't. Realize that I gave Stacey an incorrect spelling for one of the teacher's names. Swear profusely and call Stacey immediately.

Lisa: Have you already printed Mrs. D's cards?
Stacey: Yeah....
Lisa: $%^&
Stacey: What?
Lisa: I spelled her $%&^*(& name wrong.
Stacey: %$#&
Lisa: I know. Just forget it.
Stacey: No way, I'll print new ones.
Lisa: I love you.

9:55 AM - Leave my house, double check the door is locked and head to my car. Reach into my pocket for my keys only to find they're not there. %$#&. Check under the door mat for spare key, not there. %$#@.

9:56 AM - Cry a little.

9:57 AM - Grab the Little Tykes slide from the garage and drag it around the perimeter of my house trying to break in through one of our windows only to find they're all locked.

10:05 AM - Notice that I can't feel my hands anymore.

10:06 AM - Find Jack's Lightning McQueen gloves in the trunk and stuff my hands into them.

10:07 AM - Begin trying all the windows again. One last try before I call Stacey and beg her to drive me to Jack's school. The grip on the McQueen gloves gives me just enough leverage to pop open one of my family room windows.

10:08 AM - Marvel at how easy it is to break into my house.

10:09 AM - Try to squeeze past Christmas tree in my huge down coat.

10:10 AM - Fail. The entire Christmas tree comes crashing down.

10:11 AM - Cry a little.

10:20 AM - Cards have been picked up and I'm off to Jack's school.

Editorial note: Loyal readers will remember that there is a bat shit crazy woman in Jack's preschool class who insisted that all of the food at the school party be made of fruit and air. Just a quick reminder as she proved to be yet another leading factor in Lisa's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day.

10:46 AM - Arrive in Jack's classroom and witness bat shit crazy mom flipping out at one of the other parents for bringing cupcakes.

10:47 AM - Hear bat shit crazy mom telling another parent about her son's clown phobia. She just wanted to verify that no one was planning on hiring a clown for the end of the school party in JUNE. JUNE!

10:48 AM - Bite my tongue so hard that I taste blood.

10:49 AM - Help the children make Marshmallow Snowmen.

10:50 AM - Stress eat a Twizzler.

10:55 AM - Try to assist the kids in getting their snowmen into little personalized bags to take home. As I'm helping Jack he bites the head off his snowman and laughs at me.

10:56 AM - Practice yoga breathing.

10:57 AM - Stress eat another Twizzler.

11:09 AM - Treats have been distributed and Jack eats them all within seconds and wants more. I quietly tell him that he's had enough and he screams "This is the worst party ever!" and throws his juice box across the room.

11:10 AM - Do the walk of shame across the room to pick up the juice box and practice my yoga breathing.

11:11 AM - Stress eat another Twizzler.

11:12 AM - Teacher asks me if I'll be taking Jack home after the party and I smile brightly and say "Oh no, he has extended day today. Remember?"

11:13 AM - Teacher cries a little.

11:30 AM - Call my husband to inform him that I'll be enrolling his son in military school and he reminds me that it was my decision to keep him out until 9:30 PM the night before.

11:31 AM - Cry a little.

11:32 AM - Stress eat all of the remaining Twizzlers.

11:34 AM - Call the aforementioned hilarious friend to relay the events of the party, specifically the new information about the clown phobia. Hilarious friend claims she's going to start doing carpool dressed as a clown.

11:35 AM - Come dangerously close to peeing my pants.

11:47 AM - Back home. Assess damage to our Christmas tree.

11:48 AM - Cry a little.

11:49 AM - Remind myself that at least I'll get a decent blog post out of this.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Author Branding by Daisy Whitney, New Media Queen

We'd like to welcome Daisy Whitney to LiLa Land as our very first guest blogger!

*Insert applause here*

By day, Daisy Whitney is a producer, on-air correspondent, podcaster and raconteur in the new media business. At night, she writes novels for teens and is the author of The Mockingbirds, to be published by Little, Brown in Fall 2010.
***

Elaine Benes' Words of Wisdom -- Be Interesting. (And then leave a trail of Google Crumbs behind you)

Online branding and marketing for authors is a lot like that "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book. Here's why -- each and every thing you do online leads to something, then another thing, then something else. And in the end, all your actions and activity online can lead back to you and to sales of your book.

That's why I believe authors can and should cultivate their own personal brands. And in our ever-fragmenting Internet age, the tools to do so are free and at anyone's disposal.

I'm writing this post because in addition to being a teen lit author -- my novel THE MOCKINGBIRDS releases from Little Brown in November 2010 -- I am also a reporter, podcaster and producer covering new media, online trends and marketing. That translates loosely into "knows enough about marketing to be dangerous."

From where I sit online marketing goes back to what Elaine Benes proclaimed in an episode of Seinfeld while struggling with a bout of writer's block. Her conclusion? Make it interesting. Because, as she said, "People like interesting writing."

Branding then at its core is simple. Be interesting. Be compelling. Be you. That means on your web site have a blog and maintain it. Blog daily or several times a week. Link your blog to your Facebook page and your GoodReads page. Make sure the blog is more than what you ate for breakfast. But if the blog is what you ate for breakfast, then make me laugh or make me cry or make me cringe when you tell your breakfast story.

Make sure the blog fits you. What do you stand for? What is your personal brand? When I think of an author like Kay Cassidy, who's involved with the Living Your Five blog, I immediately identify Kay as someone who is warm, giving and who gives back. That is what Kay stands for -- positivity, energy, grace. She maintains that identity on her blog, on her site, and in her tweets. Take young adult author Courtney Summers. She has crafted her own brand and her brand is her. She hates werewolves, loves Lady Gaga and constantly breaks up and makes up with her manuscripts. She is funny as hell and she makes me laugh with the rhythm of her words and the way she uses ALL CAPS and italics. Lisa and Laura too are developing their own brand with irreverence, self-deprecating humor and the ease with which they can work references to Spanx and Uggs in their blog entries.

But building the brand isn't enough. You have to seed it. You have to be found. You have to leave a trail of Google crumbs behind you. And that, my friends, is where the work comes in. It's not enough to just blog or tweet or have a Facebook page. You need to go out and get known. You need to visit the blogs and sites that matter and READ what they say. Leave reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. While on blogs, comment on their entries. And not spammy comments! But ones that matter. You don't have to write essays, but show you care. Many bloggers click through to their commenters and visit their sites too. Meaning they return to YOU. Blogs also are visited regularly by Google's spiders, which is another good reason to blog and to visit blogs. Then you should build out your own Google profile. Because you want to be found. You want to be reachable.

By doing this, you are leaving a trail of bread crumbs on the Internet. And those bread crumbs are a path back to you. And once people find you on YOUR site, make sure you give them a reason to stay. By giving them a reason to stay, they might -- just might -- buy your book. And tell a friend. And another friend. And five more...

To learn more about Daisy Whitney and her New Media empire check out her website, blog and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's not you, it's me...

Are you sitting down?

Good.

We need to talk, StatCounter.

It's over. For real this time.

I know you've heard it all before, but I'm finally at a point in my life where I just don't have time to obsess over how many times random high school frienemies are looking at our blog on a day-to-day basis. [Note to random high school frienemies: GET A LIFE.]

It's time for us to start seeing other people.

The truth is, I've already got a new boyfriend, Command + R. He refreshes my e-mail with just the click of the button. Well, two buttons if you want to get all technical on me.

I'm sorry, what's that? You think I'm getting a little loose with my interweb dalliances?

Well, you should also know that I have a rather torrid affair going on with my Blackberry. He's got this little red light that blinks when I have a new e-mail and a Twitter app that's absolutely divine. He makes me feel things I've never thought were possible...

Oh, er, sorry, got a little distracted there for a minute.

Anyways, I just can't be tied down like this anymore, StatCounter. I hope we can still be friends.

P.S.
If you're interested I'll totally hook you up with my friend Sarah. Something tells me you two would totally hit it off...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tell the Truth Tuesday

1. I've stopped wearing my pink Uggs, but I'm still sort of mad at the world. Or more specifically...Crap, never mind. I'm still on the freaking high road. I will get over this eventually, won't I? Turns out I suck at being the bigger person. I guess that's sort of obvious though.

2. I'm in the middle of a war between parents in my son's preschool classroom about cookies. Ah, the glamourous life of a room mom. It's probably inappropriate for me to tell the crazy woman who wants the entire holiday party to be gluten free, egg free, and dairy free to go screw herself, right? Right.

3. I'm going to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox tonight. And I'm way more excited about it then my son.

4. I still haven't seen any of the Twilight movies. I'm waiting until they come out on HBO so I can watch them with a huge tub of ice cream and snarf at the sparkles in the privacy of my own home. Is that so wrong?

5. I'm thisclose to being done with my Christmas shopping. But I, um, never actually made a list so I'm only 90% sure that I'm almost done. This just reeks of disaster, doesn't it?

6. I still regularly get lost in Cleveland. My sense of direction is that bad. It probably doesn't help that I'm incapable of reading a map. I have to pretend that I'm Joey in that episode of Friends when they're in London for Ross' wedding and he has to make himself a tiny little person inside the map so he can navigate the city. And yes, in case you're wondering, I know how pathetic that sounds.

7. Speaking of Friends, are you watching Cougar Town? I am. (Shocking, I know.) It's actually pretty entertaining. Not as funny as Modern Family, but hilarious in its own rite. Plus Noel Crane just did a guest spot last week and totally reminded me of why I was on Team Noel in the first place. Bliss.

8. I really wanted to get to 10 things, but I want to finish When You Reach Me more....So, you tell me: What's your truth this Tuesday?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cocktail Conversation


It's that time of year. Holiday parties abound and if you're anything like me you're pouring yourself into a brand new pair of Spanx (For those of you who are still ignorant about the miracle that is Spanx you need to check them out. They will change your life. Seriously.), slipping into a hot dress and getting ready to make awkward conversation for hours at a time.

This past Saturday it was my husband's work party and I was doing my best to pretend to be a normal wife. You know the kind of woman who discusses preschools and playdates rather than blogs and bad reality television.

And then it happened.

Someone brought up The Jersey Shore. Just like that my cover was blown.

I spent the rest of my night discussing The Situation (yes, there is a character on the show named The Situation because of the situation with his abdominal muscles. You just can't make this shit up.) and his anger over Sammi Sweetheart's hook-up with Ronnie.

I think my husband's colleagues were most impressed when I was able to quote J-Woww from memory:

“I left the club early because I didn’t want to cheat on my boyfriend. And I felt like eating ham and drinking water. Ham.”

Who needs obscure Shakespeare quotes for cocktail party conversation when you have J. Woww's words seared into your brain? Not me.

Guess there's something to be said for letting it all hang out. And I mean that figuratively, not literally. I wear the Spanx for a reason.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Agent Day!

So when we got wind that the fantabulous Kody Keplinger was organizing something called Agent Appreciation Day, we knew we were in. Not only do we love our agent, but you just don't argue with the 18-year-old genius who wrote The Duff.

So, Catherine Drayton, how do we love thee? Let us count three ways (she'll be happy we're keeping it to three; she appreciates brevity...):

1. Catherine uses words like "wet" when describing our titles. Yeah, we know it's not a compliment, but it's kind of hilarious, not to mention honest. Catherine is tough and fun, which is a pretty fabulous combination.
2. Catherine has a knack for making the submissions process a whole lot easier on authors.
3. Before we even knew that Agent Appreciation Day existed, she was #3 on our Top 10 Things We're Thankful for This Year List.

Catherine has been an unbelievable advocate for us and we'll never be able to thank her enough for helping us make our dreams come true.

And we're not the only authors who are having an agent love fest today. Check out this amazing list of authors who are appreciating their agents today:

Finally, some Tenners will be posting their appreciation here, enjoy!

Total writer porn, right? We'll be adding more links as the day goes on so be sure to check back. Happy Agent Day everyone!

Why my agent, Jen Rofe, is Awesome by Crystal Allen

Crystal Allen is one of our fabulous fellow Elevensies. Well, I guess it goes without saying that she's fabulous because all the Elevensies are fabulous. Anyways, here's the PM announcement for her debut MG novel:
Crystal Allen's HOW LAMAR'S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY, in which a 13-year-old vows to spend the summer changing his image from dud to stud, to Kristin Daly at Harper, at auction, in a six-figure deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2011 and 2012, by Jennifer Rofe at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).

Amazing, right? It probably goes without saying that her agent rocks too, but just in case you had any doubts here's what Crystal has to say:

Jen, you are a fantastic agent and a wonderful person. I wonder if you really know how much you’ve changed my life. You inspired and challenged me to keep trying and keep writing. You’ve kept me focused and never injected your words or your voice into my story. You allowed me to figure it out and responded quickly when I did.

You’re awesome, Jen, for editing my work and making sure it was perfect before allowing it to be seen by editors. During my tough emotional times, you took off your agent hat and became my friend. Without your helping hand, Lamar would have never come alive. You’ve taught me so much. You still have a schoolteacher’s heart. Thanks, Jen. I appreciate you so much.

Last, but definitely not least, there’s a new hope in the African American writing community. Heads are lifted. Enthusiasm and rejuvenation rings through telephone conversations and emails.

For bringing hope, for jumpstarting dreams again, and for doing all of those things because it’s just a natural part of your heart, you are beyond awesome, and I’m so blessed that you are my agent.


AMAZING. Now that is how an agent/author relationship is supposed to work. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Crystal! We can't wait to read all about Lamar and his bubba sized trophy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Electric


Ok, Lisa is still wearing her angry Uggs and after her happy song ended up involving someone scattering ashes I decided it was time to ban her from the blog until the peppermint ice cream has had time to do its work. In the meantime, I went to see Wicked with my mom and managed to find the one person in the universe who is more pissed off than Lisa right now. Shocking, I know. Here's how it went down...

Shortly after the "Popular" song (one of my favorites), an annoying alarm-type sound began blaring backstage. At first, I wondered if it was apart of the show, but the sound continued. And the show went on, of course. Anyways, people were getting a little annoyed, looking around, etc., but nothing extreme.

Then Elphaba (played by an understudy named Meredith Kaye Clark, who was amazing) broke into her "I'm Not That Girl" number...you know emotionally-charged, on the stage alone, spotlight, etc.

And that's when the obscenities began ringing through the back of the theater.

It sounded something like this, "THIS IS NOT F****** FAIR! I DID NOTHING TO DESERVE THIS! LET ME GO! I WILL NOT F****** LEAVE!"

The woman's tirade continued throughout most of Elphaba's big moment and she continued without a hitch as practically everyone in the theatre turned around to see what was happening. Many audience members shouted out for the woman to stop, and the red coats (senior citizen volunteer ushers) struggled to wrangle the woman out of the theater.

I sat with my mouth open willing the crazy woman to shut the (insert obsenity here) up and get the (insert obsenity here) out of the theatre. We felt really bad for Elphaba, but were happy to give her a standing ovation after her song was over and the woman was escorted out.

During intermission, the red coats were all talking about the bat-shit crazy woman. In fact, everyone was. During intermission we gossiped with a girl in the bathroom (who we initially thought could see all the goings-on in the theatre because she was so freakishly tall, but in reality was just seated very close to the aforementioned pissier-than-Lisa-girl). She told us that the crazy girl was drunk, calling out (probably during the annoying alarm sound) and was asked to leave. But she had other plans and would not budge or shut the (insert obsenity here) up. Red coats called the police, who resorted to TASERING her and eventually arresting her crazy ass. Yeah.

See, even theatre is more exciting and way classier in Cleveland. Who's coming to visit!?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Still Wearing the Pink Uggs but...

I'm also listening to this song on repeat and (dare I say it?) I'm starting to feel slightly better. My friend Carly (who occasionally reads this blog and makes fun of the amount of prosecco I ingest) put this on a mix for me. And it just makes me happy, so I thought I'd share.



Sorry for all the negativity lately. Hopefully this will make up for it. You literally can't be in a bad mood when you listen to this song. Also, Laura is putting me on blog probation because I'm in such a craptastic mood.

How about one more day of pouting and then we all get happy? Maybe then Laura will let me have the blog back...

So you've had a bad day...

You know what? I'm having a really, really craptastic day (and I'm not alone...). My problems are really lame and minor in the grand scheme of things, so please don't waste your pity on me. Unless as a result of your pity you'd like to send Twizzlers or prosecco. In that case, e-mail me for my address and let's throw a pity party!

The good news is that I'm pretty good at cheering myself up.

This little clip is a pretty good start:


Add in a carton of this:




And a few pages of this:


And then I slip my feet into these:


And I usually start to feel a little bit better.

And yes, I'm fully aware that no one over the age of six should be wearing pink Uggs. My friends have staged interventions trying to get me to throw them out, but I love them. They're my depression shoes. You see me in them and you know I'm in a pissy mood. Personally, I think it's good for people to have a little warning.

So, dear blogosphere, (Wow, even when I'm depressed I can still rhyme. Nice.) consider yourself on notice. The pink Uggs are out and I'm all whiney. Feel free to ignore me until I'm back in my regularly scheduled black riding boots.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tell the Truth Tuesday

1. I found Gossip Girl slightly confusing last night. What does that say about my mental capacity?

2. I'm feeling very anti-Christmas shopping this year. What is wrong with me? Where is my capitalist Christmas spirit?

3. My house currently looks like Santa Claus threw up inside of it. Christmas lights of every color are plastered to every available surface. Jack thought it would be fun to have all of our outdoor Christmas lights inside this year and because my house will never look like this, I figured what the hell.

4. I sort of want to do another vlog. Maybe a LiLa holiday special?

5. My daughter now thinks Blake Lively and Laura are the same person. My husband stopped the Saturday Night Live recording to watch his stupid football game in HD, so I was forced to watch clips of the show on-line. Mia crawled into my lap and wanted to know who the host was, so I told her Auntie Laura. She was totally impressed.

6. I sort of want it to snow here. It hasn't really snowed at all in Cleveland yet which is unprecedented for December. I know I'm going to be kicking myself for this come January, but I'd love a little snow. The kids get so excited when they see a few flakes that I can't imagine what they'll do when we have a few inches.

7. Spanx have changed my life. I wish there was some way to have them permanently stapled to my body. I'd consider stitches, but then there's that whole issue with the bathroom...

8. I had no idea how incredible our blog followers truly are. Your comments yesterday were amazing. Even though you're virtual friends, it means a lot that you've got our backs. You guys are going to make great soldiers when it's time for Phase 4 in World Domination.

9. I haven't sent a single holiday card this year. I'm totally planning on sending them...eventually.

10. Santa is going green. Our kids have tons of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who love to spoil them every Christmas, and as a result we end up storing some of their Christmas gifts so we can break out some of the new toys in February after they've gotten bored of the old stuff. Well, last year I sort of forgot about all the toys that we had stored, so I'm wrapping them up and putting them under the tree again. I'm trying to put a green/recycling/eco-friendly spin on it, but really it just feels sort of cheap. Oh well...

So...what's your truth this Tuesday?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Taking the High Road

I'd like to go on the record as saying that taking the high road sucks. Seriously. Everyone always advocates being the bigger person, but it's not even remotely easy for a lot of reasons.

1. Taking the high road typically involves letting other people talk shit about you. Yup, that's right. You get to hold your head up high and not say anything at all while people accuse you of all sorts of terrible things behind your back. Fun!

2. Sometimes having the strength to take the high road means that others just automatically assume you're a bitch. Yes, it's true. Apparently, being strong (and incidentally, right) leads people to believe that you are malicious. And unfortunately when in being-the-bigger-person-mode, you very rarely get to correct anyone about their erroneous assumptions (see #1). Instead you get to wait until they figure it out on their own. Which leads me to #3...

3. Most people will not figure things out on their own. In fact, most people will automatically believe the person who is vocally spreading lies, while you (stupid bastard that you are) are too busy holding your head high to address any of the rumors. Isn't this fun?

But here's the thing, as much as taking the high road sucks it's really the only way to go. I'm not saying it's the easiest route, but at least you'll know that when you're walking it you've done everything you can to do the right thing. At least you'll know you've tried to be honest and stand up for what you believe in.

I guess the good news is that I've met some really fabulous people on the high road. They beat those bitches hanging out on Catty Corner and Liar Lane hands down.

Friday, December 4, 2009

D-Bag-O-Meter: Tiger Woods

Dear Tiger,
We’re not sure if you’ve heard or not, but alleged cheaters? D-Bag-O-Meter no likey. Remember this and this? In the words of DJ Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba (Lydia’s fave), let’s “break it down.”

1. Your wife is gorgeous. She's a former model and a former nanny. Pretty much the perfect woman, right? So let’s get this straight. You allegedly chose her and her and her over the mother of your children who also happens to be a former model? Interesting.

2. You have kids. We know children can sometimes complicate things. They can be needy, demanding and sometimes annoying. But they’re also innocent, loving and really, really cute. Congratulations. You’ve just given them more of a reason to hate you throughout adolescence. Hope you negotiated who pays for therapy in that fancy prenup of yours.

3. You pride yourself on your pristine image. Oh Tiger, you're always so holier than thou. You walk around that golf course like you've got one of your clubs up your...well, you know where we're going with that. So, how's that whole staying out of the tabloids and maintaining a private life thing working out for you? We get that you’re rich and powerful, but did you really think you wouldn’t get caught? And even worse you tried to pretend that your hot-ex-model-wife was using a golf club to break you out of the car? Dude, the American public may be overweight and undereducated, but we've all watched Jerry Springer.

4. You’re a role model. Not only do little kids look up to you, but my husband does as well. First Josh Duhamel and now you? He has a freaking Wheaties box with your picture on it still sitting on his book shelf at his parent’s house and if I would have let him I'm 99% sure he would have hung a poster of you doing your stupid hand pump in our bed room. You've officially crushed the dreams of man-children across the globe. Not cool, Tiger, not cool.

5. Now we have to spend the rest of 2009 suffering through headlines, tweets, Facebook status updates, texts, etc. featuring some combination of the words “Tiger is a cheetah.” Brutal.

I could go on, but the D-Bag-O-Meter is ready to pounce. (See what I did there? Tiger? Pounce? Genius right?)



The D-Bag-O-Meter has spoken. Rumor has it Ed Hardy is coming up with a line of golf shirts in your honor. I smell a sponsorship! Tell Jon we say hello.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

When Writers Don't Write Part 3

My task today was world denomination domination. Thank you Little Ms. J. for the fantabulous (her word, not mine) suggestion.

The truth is we've already sort of put our world domination plan in motion. Phase One involved creating this blog which is great for you guys because once we've obtained absolute power we certainly won't forget all the little people who helped make it happen. Did I mention that we're going to need revolutionaries volunteers for Phase Three? No? Well, I'll save that for another post.

Anyways, part of Phase Two was an interview with the fabulous people over at the QueryTracker Blog. For those of you who aren't familiar with QueryTracker, please, please go and check out their blog, website and forums. Not only do they have a comprehensive listing of all the literary agents in the business they also have some amazing writers who hang out in the forums and take lots of time to help and critique newbies. It's truly a fantastic community.

Big thanks to ElanaJ and all the fantastic people at QueryTracker who have helped us get one step closer to world domination. If we ever get around to launching our world denomination plan (Phase 4 of world domination) we'll totally incorporate QueryTracker's web address in our currency. You can print stuff on Twizzlers, right?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When Writers Don't Write Part 2

Yeah, so a lot of you really thought I should take a nap, and really who am I to argue with advice from people like Little Ms. J, Karen, Rebecca Knight, Confused Homemaker, Stephanie Thornton, Tess and Krispy.

Mia and I had a girls day. We went to story hour and then to a holiday lunch afterwards with a few of our girlfriends. A good time was had by all. The girls had lemonade and when one of my friends ordered a round of prosecco I felt obligated to have a glass. I mean I think we can all agree that it's just wrong to let good prosecco go to waste. So, mother daughter lunch was followed up with a nice mother daughter nap.

Yeah, this whole napping thing is a slippery slope. I could totally get used to a quick hour of shut eye around 2 PM. (I could also get used to a tiny little glass of prosecco with my lunch, but that's a whole different problem...) Let's just hope our edits arrive before any unattractive habits develop.

Thanks for the fabulous advice ladies. Stay tuned as I work my way through some of your other suggestions as the week goes on.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When Writers Don't Write Part 1

Ok, so I've gotten some fabulous time suck suggestions in the comments and I think this week I'm going to try a handful of them. Yes, I really am that desperate. Don't judge me. The City isn't on until tomorrow night.

First up: Knitting.

The lovely Annette Lyon suggested I take up this relaxing pass time and this image immediately came to mind.

That sad picture is a crochet scarf I started in July 2008. I remember it perfectly. We were in Baltimore visiting Laura and crafty little Stacey was knitting a baby blanket. As I watched her needles fly knitting one and pearling two I was jealous. She was doing something. She was creating. Meanwhile, the highlight of my life was reality television and I was stuck working a job I despised.

Watching her blanket grow over the course of the weekend I knew exactly what I needed to do. I had to start knitting. Visions of myself whipping up beautiful sweaters while watching The Real Housewives of Orange County danced before my eyes. Bliss.

My dreams were shattered when Stacey broke the news to me that knitting is like a 9/10 on the crafty scale. Sadly my skill level hovers in the low twos. Like any good sister she knows my limitations. Anyways, she figured crocheting might be more my speed.

Yeah, I think my little picture demonstrates that was clearly not the case.

A week later Laura and I had the big talk and decided to write a book. I haven't touched that wretched scarf since.

Hell. Yeah.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Cry for Help...

We've established that I'm sort of a crazy Type-A control freak, right? Right. Well, She's Leaving Home is now safely in the hands of Major Agent and we probably won't get the edits for The Haunting of Pemberly Brown for another couple weeks.

Yeah, we're officially between projects and it's driving me CRAZY. The truth is we already have an idea for a new project (they don't call me the idea whore for nothing), but it seems silly to start something new when we have so many other irons in the fire. In a perfect world, once we're done with edits on Pemberly Brown we'll go ahead and draft the next book in the Kate Lowry series, so it looks like this fabulous new project that we've dreamed up will have to wait.

As of today, my TiVo is empty, I've cleaned my house from top to bottom and I've read three books over Thanksgiving. Any other suggestions for how to pass the time? I'm sorry, but I refuse to take up scrapbooking. And for the record I've already purchased one Christmas present, so I'm totally ahead of the game there.

HELP!