Sunday, May 31, 2009

MTV is a Feast of Random or I Still Can't Quit the Hills and Andy Samberg is a Comedic Genius

In an effort to prove that we don't just write Young Adult, we LIVE Young Adult, I spent the night with MTV.

Ok, fine, so I haven't missed an episode of The Hills or The MTV Movie Awards since they've been airing. But still, now that we're officially writers that totally makes my obsession legit, right? It's like...research!

Ok, here are my random thoughts on the evening's festivities in chronological order. Keep in mind I forgot about The Hills finale and missed the first 36 minutes. I think the universe was trying to tell me something...

*I love that the finale provided us with a classic Justin Bobby moment with him stumbling into the ceremony looking like a hirsute jackass. Ok fine, that link really isn't a pic of JB, but that's seriously how he looked. And Audrina still couldn't take her eyes off of him. Or wait...maybe that's just the way her wonky eyes work? Hard to say.

* Bravo for whichever producer instructed Lauren and K. Cavalleri to show up in the exact same shade of blue. Made for an awesome entrance. Note to K. Cavalleri, bras are your friend. Don't be afraid to break one out every once in a while. The "girls" will thank you.

* Love that Spencer nods at K. Cavalleri from the alter. Does anyone else think that Spencer is the (not so secret) mastermind behind the Hills? I swear, in 10 years we're going to be reading his tell-all book about how it all went down.

* Andy Samberg's opening was sheer genius. "If you're sleeping with Zack Effron throw your hands in the air" + Vanessa's awkward wave = awesome. And the final intervention gag with Dr. Drew really got me laughing. Well played, Andy.

* Fine, I'll admit it. I'm adding The Real World Cancun to my TiVo schedule this summer. So sue me. Wait, didn't we decide to call this research? Nice.

* Another commercial for The Hangover. This looks like the funniest movie EVER. I laugh at the preview every single time I see it.

* Robert Pattinson has that aura about him that says he's getting laid. A lot.

* 2nd confession of the night: I like Eminem's new song. BUT then he went all crazy when Sasha Baron Cohen flew down from the ceiling and put his butt in his face. Wow, can't believe I just typed that. This kind of thing only happens at the MTV Movie Awards. Anyways, way to be a spoil sport Eminem. So the deal is that you get to rip on people in all your witty little raps, but you can't take a joke yourself? Eew.

* This faux New Moon clip was hilarious. Teenwolf kicking a garbage can in the street is always funny.

* Could Kristin Stewart be more high?? She was seriously so bizarre the entire night and then she dropped her award. Yikes. No clip of this, which makes me even more suspicious.

* Ben Stiller's Lifetime Achievement Award was awesome. The panel of presenters included Kiefer Sutherland, Triumph the Insult Dog and Zach Effron. I seriously don't know how he kept a straight face.

Well, now that you know how I spent my Sunday evening, onto the big news....the winner of our book giveaway is Sara! She's not a lurker, but she sure is lucky! Send us your address and we'll send you the books ASAP.

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's Friday...you know the drill

Ok, so here's what we've learned this week:

1. Do you think the people who found our blog by searching for "Payback is a bitch poem" or "How does Justin Bobby make his money" were disappointed? Yeah, me too.

2. Turns out TV does get trashier than The Real Housewives of NYC or am I the only person watching The Real Houswives of New Jersey? Wait, don't answer that.

3. BEA = a fabulous event in NYC that we're not allowed to attend that basically shuts down the publishing industry indefinitely. Ouch.

4. Never, ever let a stylist that you've met for the first time anywhere near your bangs with scissors. Just trust me on this one.

5. The Duel 2 is this show on MTV where former roommates on The Real World go to some exotic locale, drink excessively and try to justify their eternal joblessness by competing to win an obscene amount of money. Oh, and judging by the opening credits, they take themselves pretty seriously. See below for unintentional comedy at its finest.



6. OK, so there are loads of people lurking on our blog (you know who you are), and we want to know you too! So, in honor of lurkers everywhere, we're giving away two books this week: The Season by Sarah MacLean and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. All you have to do is leave a comment AND if this is your first comment on our little blog, we'll enter you twice! The winner will be announced on Monday.

Good luck and have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just out of curiosity...

So many questions for Ms. Barrymore...

What year is it again? 1988?

Are your leggings vintage?

What happened to your hand? Did you sprain it trying to get your time machine to work?

Are you going to the beach or is that your actual bra?

What is hanging from your neck? A second pair of sunglasses? An amulet containing a vial of Justin Long's blood?

Have you ever heard of a brush?

Do you have any friends and if so, why don't they tell you that you look like a discarded extra from the 80's Gossip Girl Spin-off?

Any more questions for Ms. Barrymore? Ask away in the comments.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This just made my day..

Ok, so it's pouring down rain here and it's Wednesday and I feel like the entire publishing world is having fun and getting ready for BEA except me. Yeah, suffice it to say that I'm feeling a little crabby.

Anyways, I was desperately refreshing my e-mail when I came across an old e-mail from our fabulous baby sister, Stacey, that I never bothered to read. (Sorry Stace! I love you, you know that, right?) The e-mail had this video in it and it made me laugh so hard I cried. I'm so glad I ignored her the first time around because this thing seriously made my day. I have no idea if you need to live in Cleveland to get the joke, but this is a feast of random. Enjoy!




I think my favorite part is the train taking jobs away from Cleveland. Genius.

Update: If you enjoyed the first one, here's the sequel. I'm seriously thinking about e-mailing these guys and inviting them to start a book club with us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Book Club Fail

Laura and I were the honored guests of my mom's book club tonight. They had read The Book Thief, which we had recommended for two reasons:

1. It's an unbelievable book and one of our all-time favorites; and
2. We got to do a little bragging because Major Agent just happens to represent Mr. Zusak. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyways, we had a great time discussing Zusak's beautiful prose and hanging out with some cool ladies. All in all, it was a pretty great evening.

Afterwards Laura and I were lamenting the lack of a book club of our own. A group of fun, young-ish women who get together once a month to drink wine and discuss books. Sound fab right? So why is it so hard to make this happen?

I was in a great book club back in my Chicago days and was really eager to find a new club once I moved to Cleveland. I finally found a group that was supposed to meet once a month and couldn't wait for the first meeting.

We were supposed to read Angels and Demons. Ok, so warning bells should have been going off at that point. Not like Angels and Demons is the most provocative book club book and this was like 5 years after the book was out, but whatever. I was keeping an open mind.

Sadly, I was the only one.

I showed up to the house for the club only to find out that it had been cancelled and no one had bothered to call me. The reason for cancellation? "Us moms just don't have time to read."

I cried all the way home.

And yes, I might have been a little bit post-partum-y at the time. But it was just so depressing to find myself in a new city with no friends and a group of women who don't make time for books. I mean, I don't have time for lots of things. Scrapbooking, for example. No time for it. Or cleaning my window screens. Yup, no time for that either. Or even returning phone calls. I almost never do that. But, no time for reading!? Seriously? Do they realize what they're missing?

So, tell us dear readers, are you in a book club? And if so, how did you get things started? We do (shockingly enough) have friends, but most of them claim they don't have time to read. It's sad and frustrating at the same time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer Reading List

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Now that we're all allowed to wear white without fear of being pulled over by the fashion police, we figured it was time to share our summer reading list.

It's sort of like Oprah's Favorite Things, only with books and minus all of the free stuff. Ok, fine, it's not like Oprah's Favorite Things at all, but you have to admit that made a good hook, right?

Ok, moving right along, here's a little preview of books we can't wait to get our little hands on this summer:

1. South of Broad by Pat Conroy




(August 11, 2009) Beach Music is one of our favorite books of all time (seriously, don't get turned off by the cheesy cover, it's AMAZING), so we're eagerly anticipating Conroy's latest effort. According to Booklist, "Conroy fleshes out the almost impossibly dramatic details of each of the friends’ lives in this vast, intricate story, and he reveals truths about love, lust, classism, racism, religion, and what it means to be shaped by a particular place." Yes, please!


2. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins.



(September 1, 2009) If you haven't read The Hunger Games, (*ahem* Laura!) do yourself a favor and READ IT. It was one of the best books I've read so far this year and I can't wait to see what happens to Katniss and Peeta next.

3. The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich.


(July 14, 2009) Um...sex, money, genius, betrayal and Facebook!? Yeah, we're in. Plus this comes to us from the guy that wrote Bringing Down the House. This one is a no-brainer.


4. Just After Sunset by Stephen King.



He's the master. I've been saving his newest collection of short stories for summer reading and I can't wait to pick it up. I'm sure I'll read it and then weep for all the things my writing will never be, but it will be worth it. It always is.

5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.


Ok, so we're totally biased because Becca is a friend and agent-mate, but how amazing does this book look? I mean, seriously. The book doesn't technically come out until October 13, 2009, BUT Becca is going to do an ARC giveaway for people who register for her newsletter, which may or may not be rigged to ensure we win. We're still trying to convince Becca that it's in her best interest, but she keeps throwing out phrases like "being fair to other readers" and "restraining order."

So, what's on your reading list this summer?

Friday, May 22, 2009

You Learn Something New Every Week (vol. 2)

Wow, lots of life lessons learned this week...

1. People found our blog this week by googling "opera tights" and "cameltoe overalls 2009." Nice.

2. This exchange between George Costanza and Newman perfectly sums up my feelings about laundry. Just replace "mail" with "laundry" and "Publishers Clearing House Day" with "time to potty train a two-year-old." Behold:

George Costanza: Let me ask you something... What do you do for a living, Newman?
Newman: I'm a United States postal worker.
George Costanza: Aren't those the guys that always go crazy and come back with a gun and shoot everybody?
Newman: Sometimes.
Jerry: Why is that?
Newman: Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming. There's never a letup, It's relentless. Every day it piles up more and more, but the more you get out, the more it keeps coming. And then the bar code reader breaks. And then it's Publisher's Clearinghouse day.

3. You can get a really good bottle of white wine from Target for $10.99. Seriously.

4. Center Stage isn't nearly as entertaining as I remembered it being in college. Is it possible that being hung over made the movie better somehow?

5. It's almost never a good idea to send yourself e-mails. Laura and I often send e-mails back and forth to each other via our joint account, and tonight I sent her an e-mail, and then got really excited when I saw we had a new message in our inbox. When I realized that I had sent the e-mail myself I felt like one of those birds that runs into a freshly cleaned window. Ouch.

6. I hate publishing conferences. BEA most likely means that we'll get no news next week (boo!) and I'm so jealous of all of our writer friends who are meeting up at conferences this summer. We want to play too! Oh well...maybe next year?

7. My e-mail response time is down to like 30 seconds. It's more like instant messaging than e-mailing at this point. Wait do you smell that? Yeah, that's the stench of desperation.

8. My life feels very empty now that all of the season finales are over. Note to the gods of network television: I'm now unemployed. I really need some quality television. Work it out.

9. Confession of the week: Laura and I have never watched Veronica Mars. Rumor has it that we'd really, really like it. We're thinking of doing weekly viewings during nap time at the weekly play date.

10. It's never a good idea to delay beauty treatments. I'm a hot mess right now, and no, I'm not referring to my mental state. We have a wedding this weekend and I've conveniently scheduled any and all beauty appointments for this Saturday. This seemed like a really good idea a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the current reality is that I have eyebrows like Peter Gallagher, 3-inch roots, and a DIY pedicure that's at least a month old. This is seriously not good for the self-esteem. TGIF has a whole new meaning for me this week.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Latifah vs. Lyrca

Not sure if any of you watched the hot mess that was the American Idol finale last night, but Queen Latifah opted to wear a unitard.

In case you're unfamiliar with the atrocity that is a unitard, here's a little Wiki-help for you:

A unitard is a skin-tight one-piece garment with long legs and sometimes long sleeves. It differs from a leotard in that a leotard does not have long legs. The garment can be considered to be a combination of a leotard and tights. It should not be confused with a wrestling singlet.

I don't care what you look like, how big, how small, head-to-toe Lycra is just a bad idea. Not to mention super-hot. As in toasty. Although maybe that's why the costume-designer left one arm off the suit?

And no queen should ever be caught dead in something that could potentially be confused with a wrestling singlet.

Check it out...





Questions? Concerns? Conjectures about potential diseases that might result from wearing clothing this tight? Please share in the comments.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ants in My Pants...

Life as I know it is officially over. Yup. You heard it here first. My life is completely changing and I'm sitting here drinking wine and watching P.S. I Love You. Again.

So, here's the scoop, my monkey work days are coming to a premature end. That's right. I've been laid off. Now before you start to feel sorry for me, let me tell you that this really isn't a terrible thing. And actually, I think it might be a really great thing. I mean, I haven't loved my job for a long, long time now. In fact, that's why I started writing in the first place. I just wasn't happy anymore. Before I had kids I was turbo corporate America, but after...I don't know, my priorities changed and I changed and my job changed. Everything changed.

So here I am. No job. Two kids. This is it. I'm officially a stay-at-home mom and it's a little terrifying. So much of my identity was tied into my craptastic job. I wasn't just a mom, I was a working mom. I love my kids, but I'm not crafty. I'm not one of those moms who's good at keeping kids entertained all day. I have no patience. I'm horribly selfish. I just don't know if I can do this.

So, I'm going to pour myself another glass of wine, take a deep breath and hope for the best. Change is always scary, but it's not always bad. I feel like this is the start of a new chapter.

I guess I just wish I knew how it was going to end.

P.S.
I REALLY want a cigarette right now. Is that so wrong? Oh, and I want to be smoking it at a train station in Luxembourg. That's all.

Old Kids on the Block

Before I even begin, let me apologize to all of those New Kids fans out there. I was a quasi-fan when we were little, mostly to be like Lisa. I pretended to like Joe, but I'm pretty sure I didn't even like boys then.

So, I don't get it. Yesterday, I was driving to the store and I could have sworn that between my daughter's screams, I could hear, "Step by Step" in the background. When I turned up the radio, sure enough, the New Kids were playing. So, this might be a Cleveland thing--the next song that came on was by Nirvana, so that should indicate the quality of Cleveland radio (again, sorry to any Nirvana fans)--but I have a sinking suspicion that the New Kids are trying to make a come back.

Just check out this picture. Those are some sad-looking fans. And I really hope that that big dude is a body guard. Do the New Kids even need body guards?

I get that hearing/seeing the New Kids again brings you back to your glorious teenage years, but they aren't even any good (again, sorry to fans). When I was looking for pictures to add to this post, women were leaving comments like, "Can't wait to see NKOTB in October, hubba hubba," and "Love you guys, *drool*." I mean, that's just embarrassing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Breakthrough

It happened. This morning on the phone Laura and I were doing our usual Monday morning ranting about how sick we are of waiting, wondering what editors are thinking about the MS and re-reading Major Agents old e-mails like Tarot Cards. And finally we made a decision.

We must start a new project.

Yeah, we're going a little crazy with all the waiting and it's either write or take up scrapbooking. And I think we all know how I feel about scrapbooking.

We've been talking about starting the next book for a few weeks now. But we've been a little stuck. We don't want to start Book 2 of the Kate Lowry Mysteries just yet because the editor we (hopefully) end up working with might have a completely different vision for the book and/or series as a whole. Plus, we're just not ready to dive back into Kate's world. It just feels like she's stuck in submissions limbo right now. We have the book outlined, but it's just not time to start writing. Yet.

SO, we're back to Pride and Purity. But we've been sort of stuck with that too. We were missing that one tiny little thing that most writers refer to as a plot. We needed conflict. But today, we nailed it. We figured out exactly what the major catastrophic event is that throws all of our little characters into a huge tizzy and rocks their world.

Good. Times.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

P.S. I Love You


This was originally going to be a post about books and the movie versions of books and how the movie version usually sucks (I watched The Nanny Diaries last night, so this is sort of the weekend of books-turned-movies for me). I was going to compare and contrast two movies-turned-books and it was going to be very smart and pithy. Ok, am I ever smart and pithy? Probably not. No wonder this whole thing went off the rails.

But then I watched P.S. I Love You and I sort of fell in love. I read the book a few years ago, so I remembered the gist of the story, but I didn't really love it. And when I saw the book was being made into a movie I remember thinking "meh," especially because I really don't like Hillary Swank. It all goes back to her being in that movie about being an inner city school teacher when in reality she doesn't even have her high school diploma, that just bugs.

Anyways, tonight I randomly stumbled across P.S. I Love You on cable and figured I'd give it a shot. I sort of wanted to hate it (mostly so I'd be able to maintain my eternal disdain for all things Swank), but I loved it. Really, really loved it. The writers stayed true to the book much of the time, but all of the changes they did make created a more powerful story.

And Gerard Butler...he's just...dreamy. I'd always kind of wondered what all the fuss was about, but *ahem* now I know.

This movie makes me want to go to Ireland and get lost, and you know what? The book didn't do that. It was entertaining and moving and funny and beautiful and I kept rewinding and watching this scene. It just makes me happy and it makes me remember what it's like to fall in love for the first time.

Dreamy.

While I typically have a bias against the big screen versions of books, this was a very rare exception. Well played, Swank. Do you see how she mocks me from the movie poster?

Do you guys have any movies that you prefer to their book versions? If so, I'd love to hear...or if you just want to discuss Gerard Butler's general dreaminess, I'm up for that too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

You Learn Something New Every Week...

So here's what I've learned so far this week:

1. 90% of the people who randomly find our blog stumble upon us by googling "Bitch Please." And there was one person who found us by searching for "overalls cameltoe." Nice.

2. I REALLY hate those Old Navy commercials with the mannequins. Seriously, Old Navy? You can't think of anything better than talking, potentially knocked up, mannequins?

3. When given the choice between refreshing e-mail and sleep, I'll almost always choose refreshing e-mail.

4. Watching the season finale of Lost gives me a gnarly headache. What's going to happen when I watch the series finale next year? Spontaneous head combustion seems like the most likely scenario.

5. Waiting makes me crabby. Really crabby.

6. I sort of want Izzy to die on Grey's. (Note: This is not a spoiler. Haven't even watched the finale yet.) I'm not sure if this statement reflects on me as a person or more on my current state of mind. See, I told you waiting makes me crabby.

7. I wouldn't mind it if people assume that Laura and I are life-partners instead of sisters. I mean that would be WAY more interesting than the reality, right?

8. When you're really desperate for any kind of news, things like asking your younger sister who's never even read a book, let alone attempted to get a book published ("That's like my worst nightmare. Ever." Direct quote.) how soon she thinks you'll hear back from editors seems like a really good idea. And then when she answers "I bet you'll hear back soon, like Friday," you find yourself really wanting to believe her.

9. My husband wants to watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I don't really want to get into what this says about him as a man (I'd tell you exactly why he decided to watch, but it would be pushing our PG-blog rating) or what it says about me as a wife that I could care less about the reason. I'm just really excited to have a partner-in-viewing-crime.

10. Patience really is a virtue and it's something I seriously need to work on. And not only for things like waiting to hear back from editors on our manuscript, but the important stuff like being more understanding of people in general. Ugh. Me = patience fail.

Have a fab weekend everyone! I'm sure we'll be drinking enough wine for all of you combined.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale


This book was published in 2006, but we are just now reading it for my book club (we're a little behind). I'm sure many of you have already read it, but I'll be interested to see what you thought. It looks like this book earns mixed reviews.

The Gist: Biographer Margaret Lea receives a letter from famous author Vida Winter who is on her death bed. Throughout her career, Vida has written many famous stories, but is most famous for her collection of twelve. Whenever anyone interviewed Vida, she would make up elaborate stories about her childhood/life. She never told the truth. Now, about to die, she calls upon Margaret to tell the true story of her life--the thirteenth tale. The book flips between Margaret's experiences with Vida as she tells the story, Vida's experiences as she researches information in the story and Vida's actual story.

Bottom Line: I couldn't put the book down, after getting into it. It took a little while though. I think the writing is beautiful. My favorite line was when Setterfield described a character who was not at all attractive but had a very beautiful laugh. "But she had that laugh, and the sound of it was so beautiful that when you heard it, it was as if your eyes saw her through your ears and she was transformed." I love that. I was a little annoyed because I couldn't figure out the time period. Vida's story was a bit of a mystery, which I liked, so I was always trying to determine who fit where. It mostly comes together at the end (Setterfield leaves a few things left open for the reader to assume on their own), but some parts of the ending seemed a little too neatly/conveniently wrapped up. But the reality is that I skipped all of my shows (well, taped them) to read this book--yes, even Gossip Girl. So, according to our rating system, that would fall under the 4 Star rating. And I think it deserves it. I really enjoyed the book. Can't wait to hear what you thought/think!

4/4 Stars. I skipped Gossip Girl to keep reading (but will watch ASAP).

Our Ever-So-Sophisticated Rating System:
4 Stars = I skipped Gossip Girl to keep reading.
3 Stars = I watched Gossip Girl, but I skipped Bravo reality TV to read.
2 Stars = If the only thing left on my TiVo was the Hills, I'd read this.
1 Star = I'd actually rather watch the Hills than read this book.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Revision Grief - A 5-Step Process

Ok, we've all been there. You get a particularly tough critique from your beta reader, agent or editor and you just sort of want to crawl into the corner, maneuver yourself into fetal position and cry. Wait, you don't do that? Oh...er...nevermind.

I think all writers have the tendency to grieve the loss of the perfect manuscript. Accepting that there are flaws and that it needs work is a process. A 5-step process. Oh yes, I think you know where this is going...

The 5-Stages of Grief - writer style

Stage 1: Denial
Whatever [insert agent/beta/editor name here]! You jackass! I can't believe you think our book is not perfect, because it totally is. I mean, all those adverbs = genius. Genius I tell you! And I can't wait until our book is on the best seller list and I can send you an e-mail telling you to suck it.

Stage 2: Anger
Why didn't we do another round of revisions before sending this out? WHY???? This is all Laura's fault. I hate the stupid publishing industry. Who needs books anyways? Books are so lame.

Stage 3: Bargaining
I'll totally swear off Gossip Girl forever if you just publish our book. Ok? Ok? Publishing Gods are you even listening to me?

Stage 4: Depression
Who needs to get dressed in the morning? Not me. Just fine in these PJs, thankyouverymuch. *hiccup* *hiccup* What? Don't give me that look. So I've had a little wine? Didn't anyone tell you 10 AM is the new Happy Hour? *sobs* My writing sucks. My life sucks. I suck.

Stage 5: Acceptance
Ok, I sort of see what [agent/editor/beta reader] was getting at. In fact, I think I might even know how to fix it. Omigosh, this is totally going to make the book about a million times better. I can do this!

So, next time you find yourself working through revisions, remember - it's a process. Let yourself work through it. And don't knock the whole sobbing in the fetal position in a corner thing. It works. Seriously.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Top 10 things to do while you're on submission...

1. Look into getting our computers surgically attached to your body.
I bet it's cheaper than a tummy tuck.

2. Obsessively refresh our e-mail. We'll also be verifying that our phones are working properly. This needs no explanation.

3. Cyber-stalk any potential editors. And no, we're not going to send them stewed bunny rabbits or anything like that. Our current plan is to google their names over and over and over again. Just to keep busy.

4. Re-read any communications from Major Agent to assess any hidden meanings. Conversations will go something like this:

Laura: So what do you think she meant when she said she really liked our new website?
Lisa: Well, I've done some decoding and I'm pretty sure she meant that she thinks we're going to have an offer on the table really soon.
Laura: Seriously?
Lisa: Totally. She used an exclamation mark. She doesn't use exclamation marks lightly.

5. Obsessively monitor any blog/website traffic. Hey, even if we don't see any editors checking our blog, it's always entertaining knowing that someone stumbled upon our blog by googling "Bitch Please."

6. Ask friends and family whether or not they think our book will sell and if so how quickly. This is a really fun exercise that usually involves us forcing our husbands to pause Sports Center and speculate about a process of which they know nothing about. Typically it ends with us storming out of the room to go refresh our e-mail again. Good times.

7. Troll writer forums for statistics on how long most writers stayed on submission. Maybe we'll even put together some charts or something. I've got mad Power Point skills.

8. Watch Gossip Girl. Thank god for Chuck Bass. If anyone can provide some relief from the waiting, it's Chuck. And no, we don't want to discuss the possibility that we'll still be waiting after the finale airs. Just don't go there, ok?

9. Start writing the next book. Honestly, if we don't start writing we're going to go crazy. But this is the fun part. After all of our editing, we're ready to start something new.

10. Find synonyms for obsess. It looks like we're going to be using this word a LOT in the immediate future. Might as well have a few different ways to say it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Virtual Friends

One of the things we love most about writing is the entire community that opened up to us once we started researching publishing. We found websites, blogs and message boards that are dedicated to helping people exactly like us. These sites are full of writers who want to see you succeed. There isn't any sense of competition. Instead there's a feeling of shared success and excitement when you find out someone landed a stellar agent or a book deal because that means it's possible for you too.

So today's post is dedicated to the best resources for aspiring writers. These are the blogs, forums and websites that educated us enough about the publishing industry to land an agent. I'm sure you're familiar with most of them already, but just in case:

1. AbsoluteWrite - This forum is amazing. We met other writers by posting our questions and snippets of our work for critique. The patience of the more experienced members of this community is astounding.

2. Nathan Bransford's Blog - Nathan rocks. His was the first blog that came up when we started researching how to get an agent. His pragmatic and oftentimes hilarious advice for aspiring writers is essential to understanding how publishing really works.

3. QueryTracker.com - This website has contact information for thousands of agents and information on their preferences and publishing history. QueryTracker also reports agent response times, and has comments from other writers about their interactions with agents. And don't forget to check out The QueryTracker Blog and their forum. There are six aspiring and published writers who maintain this blog on a day-to-day basis. Their topics are always relevant to the average aspriring writer and they run some pretty great contests too.

4. Miss Snark's First Victim's Blog - We've said it over and over again, but every aspiring writer should enter MSFV's Secret Agent contest at least once. The feedback provided by the Secret Agent and MSFV's savvy readers is worth its weight in gold.

5. Publisher's Marketplace - Warning: This site is highly addictive and if you are in the process of querying, and you're refreshing your email every 2 seconds, they send a Publisher's Lunch email every day about deals, reviews, etc. Receiving this new email may cause a panic attack and seeing that it's from Publisher's Marketplace and not your dream agent may push you over the edge. Don't say we didn't warn you. A subscription costs $20 a month and is well worth the money. It keeps you current on all new deals and you can obsess over any books that sell that sound remotely like something your writing. It's fun. Promise.

And one last thing...

We want to thank all of you for reading and for all of your support throughout this journey. We've come a long way over the past 10 months and it's all thanks to people like you. This post over at GreyStreetGirl is such a perfect example of how this whole thing works because we never would have met Eva without the fabulous Little Miss J. And we never would have met the fab Little Miss J without the crazy girls over at Plot This.

The fact is that we would never have been able to do any of this without all of you. So thank you for reading our random thoughts and providing feedback and encouragement.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown

Ta-Da! We have a new title, a fancy new website AND we're going on submission early next week.

Holy. Crap.

http://www.lisaandlauraroecker.com/

P.S.
If you notice any typos on the website, please let us know. It's very easy for us to make changes.

P.P.S.
Recognize any of the fabulous photography on the site? Big thanks to Grey Street Girl for generously allowing us to use so many of her gorgeous photographs.

A Call for FAQs

OK, loyal blog readers. We're VERY excited because our website is almost done. The only thing that we're missing are some FAQs. That's where you come in.

Please leave any and all questions you might have for us in the comments section and we'll happily answer every single one in the FAQs on our website. They can be serious or funny and hopefully we'll get some random ones in there, because you know how much we love the random. Heck, you can even ask anonymously if you're too embarrassed to ask as yourself. Don't hold back!

If we get enough maybe we'll unveil the site and our new title tomorrow. Whoo hoo!

P.S.
Our fabulous agent has everything she needs from us for submissions, so now we wait. We'll let you know when we're officially on sub. Actually we probably won't need to make an official announcement because you're going to see all sorts of crazy/frantic posts from us. Yeah, you'll definitely know when we're out.

The jumpsuit...is baack.

Ahh…jumpsuits. My dad learned the hard way one Christmas in the early eighties. The jumpsuit may sound like the perfect gift—the gift that keeps on giving and giving, but I assure you, it is not, not, not a good look.

Jumpsuits, catsuits, fabric as far as the eye can see.
But jumpsuit plus a visible bra? Fashion no-no of the third degree.

And Kelly, yeah, you avoided the jumpsuit hot seat,
but you’re short, hem those jeans, they look like they ate your feet.


You’re really pretty and skinny and flawless and tall.
But sequins? Slouchy saddlebag pockets? Big, fat fashion recall.


Oh Heidi. A stone-washed short-suit and grizzly-looking husband? Why?
What’s next? Overalls? A perm? A man’s suit and tie?


Tyra, nice try breaking up your denim for miles with flimsy khaki.
Your ridiculous self-esteem and one-piece suit are just plain tacky.


Wowsers Kate, I usually scoff at your weight or lack thereof.
But slouchy, belted, pocket-breasted Capri-suit? I do not love.


And in case you need additional proof, maybe a little bit more,
I dug deep, slapped one on my daughter and even my one-year-old looks unsure. Princess crown, yes, jumpsuit, no.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Confession time..

Ok, I have a horrible confession to make. I didn't participate in Bravo's trashtacular tweet fest last night. I haven't even watched the Real Housewives of NYC finale. I know I've let you all down, but I want you to know that I have a really, really good excuse.

We spoke with Major Agent last night AND she loves our revisions and wants to put us on submission very soon. Like end of next week soon. We've got lots to do in the meantime, things like bios, author photos, synopsis writing...the usual.

But we'll be back over the next couple days with the unveiling of our title for Book 1 and our fancy new website. Get excited.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Breaking News: Trashtacular TV Viewing Party

Don't you just love how in my world, breaking news constitutes a live Tweeting session before and during the Real Housewives of NYC finale. This sort of reminds me about Kimberly Derting commenting that she saw Speidi on the evening news, and by "evening news" she meant Entertainment Tonight. Classic.

Anyways, we also have the ab-fab Kimberly to thank for the info on the tweet fest tonight. Apparently her deal with the devil (she looks ludicrously young for her age, so Laura and I remain very suspicious. Botox can't work this kind of magic, trust me.) includes advance warning of trashtastic Bravo events. Thanks Kimberly!!
OK, so click here to get all the details. I'll be logging in under landlroecker. I have no idea how the logistics are going to work but I'm envisioning some type of Twitter nirvana that is comprised of me and 10,000 catty gay men. It's going to be fantastic.

If you're planning on joining leave your screen name in the comments so I can fully participate in any cattiness going on. And anyone want to take an over/under on how many followers I'll lose after all of these obnoxious tweets tonight? I'm betting at least 10.

Hope to see you there!

Book Review: Cracked Up To Be

Now that we've had some down time, I've finally had a chance to pick up one of the fifteen books on my shelf waiting to be read. I began Cracked Up to Be, by Courtney Summers on Friday afternoon and was finished by Sunday morning. It is now in Lisa's hands and she's probably wrapping up as we speak.

The Gist: Parker Fadley used to be Perfect with a capital P. That is until something awful happens, something that she's involved with. After that, Parker purposefully falls from grace, pushes everyone she used to care about away and destroys her perfect image. When she meets the new kid in school and accidentally strikes up a friendship with him, she is forced to come to terms with who she was and who she has become.

Bottom Line: When a book starts like this: "Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars--every day, a turf war--six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out," how could you put it down? Parker is full of wit and intensity. She made me laugh but also made me frustrated--which I think is exactly what real teenagers have a tendency to do. As I was reading, I wanted Parker to get it together, to pick herself back up, to rise above--I cared. I loved how Summers integrated flashes of the terrible thing--each time you get a little more until the entire awful picture is painted. At that point, the book is woven together and there is an understanding. I loved the writing--it was clever, genuine and realistic. I'm always joking about how the only books I seem to read anymore are YA, but this book, like many others, prove how powerful YA can be. Pick it up...you'll love it.

Thanks for the copy, Joanna!

2.99/4 Stars. (I'd skip most Bravo reality TV, but would probably watch the Real Housewives of NYC Reunion show instead...I know, I know, tough reviewer here.)

Our Ever-So-Sophisticated Rating System:

4 Stars = I skipped Gossip Girl to keep reading.
3 Stars = I watched Gossip Girl, but I skipped Bravo reality TV to read.
2 Stars = If the only thing left on my TiVo was the Hills, I'd read this.
1 Star = I'd actually rather watch the Hills than read this book.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Review: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld



Well, the happy side effect of all this waiting is lots and lots of time to read. I just finished American Wife this weekend. For those of you who don't know, American Wife is a roman-a-clef (a fancy way of saying a fictionalized biography using different character names) of Laura Bush. Honestly, I was a little skeptical when I started reading. I wasn't, ahem, a huge fan of the Bush administration. Anyways, I give you the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good: The book is very well-written. I was impressed with the way Sittenfeld captured the voice of both Charlie (GW) and Alice (Laura). I imagine one of her biggest challenges in writing this book had to be accurately capturing the voice of two very public figures and she absolutely nailed it. I was surprised to find both characters likable, entertaining and sympathetic. The truly incredible thing about this book is that though it follows a couple's journey to the White House, more than anything else it's a love story. And you find yourself rooting for the Bush family...er...I mean, the Blackwell family, the entire time.

The Bad: The book did get a little slow in spots and I had a hard time getting into it at first, but about 100 pages in, it really starts to pick up pace.

The Ugly: I now feel like I know Laura Bush personally. Um...clearly this isn't true and Sittenfeld has gone out of her way to remind readers that this is a fictionalized account of her life, but I want to believe that it's all true. I love the portrait of Laura/Alice that Sittenfeld painted and for me, Laura and Alice are now one in the same.

I'd definitely recommend this book regardless of whether you supported or criticized GW's administration. I also think it would make a fantastic book club pick. So much of this book is about the choices we make as women and how those choices indelibly impact our life and identity.

3/4 Stars.

My Ever-So-Sophisticated Rating System:
4 Stars = I skipped Gossip Girl to keep reading.
3 Stars = I watched Gossip Girl, but I skipped Bravo reality TV to read.
2 Stars = If the only thing left on my TiVo was the Hills, I'd read this.
1 Star = I'd actually rather watch the Hills than read this book.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Time for the May flowers...




ElanaJ over at Mindless Musings has posted a really fun writing prompt and it was the perfect distraction for us this afternoon. You can read her original post here, but basically you just have to write a short story that features a flower. If you decide to participate post a link in our comment section and we'll send them along to Elana for her to post on her blog at the end of the month.

Here's what we've come up with. I think it actually might turn into the start of our next project. It's an idea that we've been tossing around for a couple months now. Let us know what you think...

I was sheer perfection on stage. I’m not telling you this to show off or to brag, I’m stating it as fact. I was perfection. The bright lights of the packed stadium glinted off my bleach blonde hair. My lithe, teenage body was poured into a pair of leather pants so tight it took two assistants to get me into them and the silver sequins on my halter top flashed like beacons on the stage.

I danced, I sang, and I teased the audience with my come hither looks and lyrics. My body made promises my image would never let me keep. The diamond purity ring sparkled on my left hand, mocking the pubescent boys and their drooling fathers. My fans (primarily girls aged 9 – 12 with parents who had a combined income of over $150,000 according to the marketing geniuses who'd pretty much created me) were screaming louder, crying for more.

“Bingley! Bingley! Bingley!” They chanted. They all wanted a piece of me, but for entirely different reasons.

It was time for my slow song. You know, the one where I croon about still being a girl, about respecting myself enough to wait. If only my adoring little fans knew how many boys I’d seduced to this song. I could tell them stories about the heartthrobs whose posters hung on their walls that would probably put them off men for the rest of their lives. I’ve done things that would make their mothers weep and their older brothers beg for more.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me. I'm not a slut, really I’m not. But when you’ve spent your life pretending to be the poster girl for teenage abstinence and in reality you’re just a normal teenage girl longing to do all of the stupid things that normal teenagers get to do, you have to have some kind of outlet or you’ll go crazy. Britney crazy. And don’t worry, it's not like I was stupid. All of those crazy things I did were done under the protection of an iron-clad confidentiality agreement. My PR puppet-master made sure of it.

I was finally wrapping up my song and getting ready to take my bow, when I saw him. He was in the front row and had hair that was too long and hung in his eyes. His worn t-shirt was tight in all the right places and he had that goofy Midwestern farm boy look that totally made me crazy. I’ve been with lots of boys all over our beautiful country and I have to tell you that Midwestern farm boys are the best. They’re sweet and kind and they almost always know how to get a pair of skin-tight leather pants off of a pretty pop princess. Amazing how it takes two pairs of hands to get me into the things and only one strong pair to get me out.

I winked at him and gave my sister, who was waiting just off the side of the stage, a discreet nod. I’d found my man. She rolled her eyes at me and waved the pink peony she held in her hands like a white flag. I moved my hand to gesture for her to hurry up. Sometimes the cute ones left before I did my encore.

She disappeared back stage and I knew shortly, she’d emerge into the crowd to present the fat pink flower to my boyfriend du jour.

It was going to be another wild night.