Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. There's a slim chance that I cyberstalk the people who come to visit our house. I like to pretend that I'm doing it in the name of personal safety, but we all know that's a complete and utter lie. I'd happily sell my house to Voldemort if he offered asking price.

2. The house I've fallen in love with in such a desperate state of disrepair that if we end up buying it, I'll refuse to give the address to friends until after I've gutted the entire thing.

3. Ben has pink eye and I sort of love putting the drops in his eye. He looks so cute when he blinks in surprise.

4. I'm reading another adult book right now. If this trend continues I might start to actually (GASP) mature.

5. Laura has a new idea for a Wednesday blog feature that almost made me pee my pants. Stay tuned for WHA? Wednesday. The fun begins tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

LiLa Quotes of the Week

"I honestly have no idea how to use a ruler."
- Laura

"I feel like my bangs are like that time when Mom had a mullet and no one had the heart to tell her."
- Lisa

"Um, like two notches past 8?"
-Laura when her husband asked her how long the wallpaper panel measured

"When she wets the bed I feel like it's her way of saying $%*% off."
-Laura on her daughter Lydia wetting the bed every single night

"I promise you, the girl in that car commercial is going places. She's going to be a BIG DEAL. You heard it here first."
-Mike Roecker on a random girl in a car commercial


"Facetime is the devil."
-Laura after fielding hundreds of Facetime calls from Lisa's neglected children


"When we're decrepit, old widows we're going to have the cutest apartment ever."
-Laura


"No Lisa. Lisa go home."
-Stacey's son Will the moment Lisa walked into the Vaughan house


"Braces are medieval."
-Laura on orthodontia

"J'a-freakin'-dore."
-Lisa on Midnight in Paris (God, I love me some Woody Allen)

Just so you know, posting this may or may not result in me losing my parents as overnight babysitters on Saturday. Proof that there is nothing I won't risk for a good blog post. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The evolution of a smile...

I am a very emotional person. Always have been. When I cry, I cry hard. When I laugh, I laugh so hard I cry. BUT I create VERY stoic children.

Lydia spent her first 9 or so weeks looking like this:

Big ole blue eyes, flared nostrils, serious, serious stuff.

And now James? He makes us work extra, EXTRA hard for that smile. And just so you know, I've worked extra, EXTRA hard trying to get him to smile. If I put half as much effort into keeping my house clean or writing or exercising or...well, pretty much anything, I'd be a new woman. But who needs any of that stuff when you get that smidgen of a smile that makes everything, EVERYTHING worth it? Exactly.

Here's what I've got so far:





But the reality is, James spends most of his time looking like this:


So, I guess you could say he's emotional after all. Plus, rumor has it I was a terrible baby and my mom always said I had it coming. Sensitive or not, he's worth it. But for Lisa's sake, I hope he decides to hand out a few more smiles. Our writing career depends on it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. Laura had the cutest post ever about baby James and Blogger ate it. (Or I deleted it out of spite because I'm jealous of baby James - you decide.)

2. I'm currently in the middle of a summer camp stand off with my husband. This has resulted in a good old fashioned e-mail fight. Gotta love technology.

3. I find it fascinating that almost every single HGTV show is filmed in Canada. Are Canadians more handy? Do they care more about real estate? I need answers.

4. I'm feeling slightly stressed about whipping up a fabulous dinner for my mother-in-law's birthday this Sunday. I was thinking of making homemade spaghetti or lasagna but that sounds kind of boring. Maybe chicken parmesan? Definitely Italian. Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas.

5. I should be taking a shower, but instead I'm writing this blog post. I'm not sure if you should be honored or appalled.

Monday, January 23, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons

It's happened to all of us.

You spend hours, days, weeks preparing for THE EVENT.

You primp and you preen and you rush around making sure everything is absolutely perfect.

And then you wait.

Five minutes go by.

Then twenty.

And before you know you've spent two hours on the couch waiting for someone who is clearly never going to come.

Now that I'm old and married with 3 crazy kids I was under the misguided impression that my days of being stood up were long over.

And then I hosted my first open house.

And no one showed.

And it sucked.

But there's a silver lining. (Isn't there always?)

I get to channel all of this angst into one of our books. Whether it's a huge zit, the perfect song blasting on the radio on a spring day or getting your ass handed to you by the real estate market, every day we get little reminders about what it was like to be 15. Most 32-year-old women probably ignore these adolescent aftershocks, but I'm not most 32-year-old women. One of my favorite shows is MTV's Awkward and I typically have more in common with the nannies at the playground than the moms.

The moral of the story? The next time life gives you lemons, write YA.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Nolan

Here's a Friday truth for all of you: We still read reviews of The Liar Society.

Yeah, I know it's tacky to admit it in public. Cool authors always say they never read reviews, but clearly our coolness factor was voided long, long ago so this shouldn't really be a shock to anyone who knows us. We normally follow the whole never publically comment on a review deal, because publically commenting on reviews gets authors in big, big trouble. But this review was too awesome to ignore.

From Nolan on Amazon:

A five star review:


5.0 out of 5 stars excellente, December 4, 2011
This review is from: The Liar Society (Paperback)
i think the title attracted me the most becuase pink hAIR is awesome. the mystery is great and it reminds me of the secret that we as a society keep from others to protect us.

Thank you, Nolan for FINALLY noticing the intricate layers of The Liar Society. It's totally an allegory for the pathetic emptiness of their meaningless consumer driven lives. (Gold star for anyone who can identify the movie from which I borrowed that quote.)

I took a look at the rest of Nolan's reviews and I'm impressed with his/her ability to concisely get right to the heart of whatever it is he/she happens to be reviewing.

On Elizabeth Scott's wrenching LIVING DEAD GIRL:
4.0 out of 5 stars sad, January 9, 2012
This review is from: Living Dead Girl (Paperback)
i think that this book teaches a lesson that we never know how lucky we are to have loving parents. we should also be aware of our surroundings and be on guard all the time and find someone we can trust no matter what thew situation is.

True that, Nolan. Being aware of your surroundings is ALWAYS a good idea.

On the DVD of the hit movie Stick It:

5.0 out of 5 stars #1, December 4, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Stick It (DVD)
this movie is grerat and no scratches so i am excited about that. i recommend buying this movie if its on sale. this really gets you in the mood for exercising

Puts you in the mood for exercising? Sign me up!

So, bottom line: Nolan - You are awesome. Thank you for taking the time to review books/items that you enjoy on Amazon. Even though we avoid commenting on reviews, I can't even begin to tell you how much every single review means to us. Each review has given us something to think about, made us smile or inspired a long conversation between Laura and I making fun of ourselves and our writing. Because in this business the only thing more obnoxious than being nasty to reviewers is taking yourself too seriously.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bookanistas: Austentatious

A warm welcome goes out to a few new Bookanistas up in here! Don't forget to check out their reviews! 

Now, if you're like me and watched the movie Notting Hill more times than you can count in college, read on about AUSTENTATIOUS...

What the back cover has to say:

While browsing in an Austin shop, Nicola James finds a blank vintage journal hidden among a set of Jane Austen novels. Even though Nic is a straight-laced engineer, she's still a sucker for anything Austen-esque. But her enthusiasm turns to disbelief once she starts writing in the journal - because somehow, it's writing her back...Itching for a bit of excitement, Nic decides to follow her "Fairy Jane's" advice. The result: a red-hot romance with a sexy Scottish musician who charms his way into Nic's heart in about five seconds flat. But a guy like Sean doesn't exactly fit into her Life Plan. With no one but Fairy Jane to guide her, Nic must choose between the life she thought she wanted - and the kind of happy ending she never saw coming...

What Lila has to say:

If you've followed our blog for long enough you're aware of our embarrassingly epic failure of a first novel entitled THE NORTH SHORE. And some of you may remember the premise of the book, which was, in our naive opinion, gloriously original and marketable--an update of Pride and Prejudice for young adults! But not just any update, an update that remained steadfastedly true to the original, which loosely translates into boring, boring, BORING. Trashed, unoriginal, unmarketable novel aside, Jane Austen-esque books are still very, very close to our hearts, which is why we fell head over heels in love with AUSTENTATIOUS by Alyssa Goodnight.

Bottom line: if you're going to read an Austen-inspired novel, do yourself a favor and choose this one. First of all, it takes place in one of the best cities ever, Austin, Texas. I absolutely loved Austin when I visited and equally loved imagining myself back there while reading. Such a charming setting. I loved Nicola from page one because she embodies so much of all of us and she's hilarious. Sure, she wants nothing to do with love, but I want nothing but for her to fall in love! It's truly the best combination. I love rooting for my main characters. Finally, I have to thank Alyssa Goodnight for singlehandedly launching me out of my reading rut. I do not have a ton of time these days. And the time I do have is literally spent two inches away from James's face in an effort to get my serious little boy to SMILE. Picking up a book lately sends me straight into that eyes rolling, I-will-not-fall-asleep state, which is kind of the equivalent to torture. But not true for AUSTENTATIOUS. It was pure, much-needed fun with a huge helping of romance, which for my sleep-deprived, post-partum self was so, so appreciated. I absolutely recommend you pick it up. If AUSTENTATIOUS were a movie, Hugh Grant* would play Sean. Enough said.


*Hugh Grant circa Notting Hill and Love Actually

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Christine Fonseca is wild about WOLFSBANE
Stasia Ward Kehoe gives cover love to GETTING SOMEWHERE
Nikki Katz takes a shine to UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Katy Upperman is dazzled by A MILLION SUNS
Shannon Messenger welcomes four wonderful new Bookanistas
Gennifer Albin joins the Bookanistas with a great giveaway
Tracy Banghart is wowed by ON FORTUNE’S WHEEL

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. We've seen the cover for The Lies That Bind and all parties are in agreement - it's AWESOME.

2. Kate may or may not be rocking a new hair color.

3. It's taking every ounce of my willpower not to post the fabulous comp from editor Leah.

4. I'm reading a book for actual adults this week and I sort of love it.

5. I cracked the plot for our shiny new idea WIDE OPEN and yet, Laura refuses to return my phone calls.

6. I suspect this guy is driving a wedge between me and my personal slave sister writer.


Laura is screening my calls in favor of spending time with this kid.* I just don't see it. I mean, honestly. The kid cries all the time, barely smiles and has a nasty reputation for being the slowest bottle drinker on the planet. It would be one thing if he was sleeping through the night or doing back flips or something, but THIS is who she ditches me for? Unbelievable.**

*Truthfully, I suspect Laura is screening my calls because she's sick of long conversations filled with deep sighs followed with, "Sooooo...do you really think my house is going to sell? Like soon? I mean, do you thi
nk we even have a chance of getting asking? Should I have priced it lower. I totally priced it too high, didn't I? Laura? Laura? Are you there? Oh really, James is crying? Funny it sounds so quiet over there...."

**Ok fine, baby James is freaking adorable. He's super serious and now he's finally cracking these tiny little smiles and his feet are huge like a labrador. I'd totally ditch my neurotic, HGTV crack whore of a sister for this little puddle of cuteness. Can you believe how much he looks like Laura??? It's both creepy and awesome. I'm still super bitter though. 

So....what's your truth this Tuesday? Do YOU think my house is going to sell? Do you have a Magic 8 Ball that will confirm that? No? Crap.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nerves

When writers go out on submission they're not really supposed to talk about it. You suffer in silence when your agent sends you the list of amazing your editors your manuscript is going out to. You cry a little when you get your first rejection. And you weep openly when you get your 9th.

And selling a house is a lot like going on submission. I had that same pit in my stomach when I submitted my MLS listing. I cried a little when I got the call to schedule our first showing. I called my husband approximately 5 times to get details on what the people looked like:

Me: So how old do you think they were? 

Him: Hard to say.

Me:  Did they look like they'd like my crazy decorating?

Him: Well, they weren't wearing yellow.

Me: Crap. Did they seem nice?

Him: Sure, for the two seconds I saw them.

Me: Isn't there anything you can tell me about these people? You've gotta throw me a bone here.
Him: The wife was pretty hot.

Me: .....

So, yeah. I suck at selling a house in exactly the same way I sucked at going out on submission. I'm a little in love with my house the same way I was a little a lot in love with The Liar Society. It's hard sending something you love out into the world and inviting people to judge it, to put a value on it.

And it's even harder when the only response you get is silence.

So, authors and amateur realtors take heart. You're not alone. The pit in your stomach can almost always be quieted by ice cream and the sting of rejection will subside to a dull ache if you drink enough wine. These things have a way of working themselves out. In retrospect there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that The Liar Society found its rightful home at Sourcebooks Fire. Sure, it took 5 months of torture to get there, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm sure things will work out the same way for our little house. The right buyer will show up. Eventually. And in the meantime, I'll be here. 

Waiting. 

With ice cream. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Celebstalking by LiLa


Is anyone really buying this?



Or this? I mean, honestly, I know that the American public often gets a bad rap for being complete dumbasses, but we're not THAT stupid.

Well, at least when it comes to celebs.

Just don't ask me any questions about geography.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bookanistas: FRACTURE

Remember this? Well...it's here. Almost. January 17th, people.

What the back cover has to say:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

What Lila has to say:

Do yourself a favor and pre-order right now. Sure it comes out on Tuesday and of course you'll remember to head to the bookstore to purchase in person, but life gets busy and has that tendency to get in the way and who doesn't want this beautiful, shiny cover waiting patiently on their doorstep after the click of a button. Right? Right. Delaney will suck you right into her story and you'll have to drink up the book in one sitting to figure out what happens next. So prepare yourself. You won't be able to put this one down. So cancel appointments, take rainchecks, clear your calendar. You know you want to.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca introduces some fabulous reads for 2012
Stasia Ward Kehoe takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS and UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Veronica Rossi adores EVERNEATH
Debra Driza is in a frenzy over LARKSTORM with giveaway!
Katy Upperman sings the praises of BEFORE I DIE
Shannon Messenger delves into DOUBLE with an arc giveaway

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DONE!

Well guys, my epic house staging project is finally complete.

Just a little refresher, here's what my house looked like before:







In retrospect, it was a sad, sad little home. Between my pathetic photography skills and piss poor decorating we weren't exactly open house ready.

But after two months of paint, semi-successful sewing projects and one very long trip to Ikea, we have this:

Editorial note: THAT is my un-mitred mirror project. Not bad, right? My dad's forehead still wrinkles up I mention it.












And, yeah. Stacey's amazing photography skills definitely help. I tried to convince her to start a house staging business, but she wouldn't bite. Guess she'll just have to settle for creating gorgeous, custom stationary for the rich and famous. Sigh.

So...I'm done. And now I guess I'm technically supposed to put my house on the market. Good lord, this feels like going out on sub with a manuscript. TERRIFYING. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Good Enough

I am not an overachiever. I never have been, never will be. I'm not patient. I hate taking my time. I'm the worst kind of procrastinator because I wait until the very last minute, but when I finally get around to doing something I want results and I want them NOW. Some might call me lazy, but I prefer to think of myself as efficient.

This particular quirk of mine usually has mixed results. Back in 8th Grade I was supposed to be working on my project for the science fair for an entire semester. My hypothesis involved the impact of acid rain on plants. Much to my father's immense disappointment I ended up doing the entire project one week before the actual science fair. This may or may not have involved me using a safety pin to prick tiny little holes in plant leaves that I had recently purchased from the grocery store. My science teacher must have smelled the stench of bullshit from about a mile away because he gave me a C+. Lucky for me the state judges were quite impressed with my presentation skills and I got an honorable mention from the State of Ohio.

Suck on that Mr. Oster.

Fast forward 20 years and I'm still an instant gratification kind of gal. Lately I've been driving my father insane with my little DIY projects. The thing is, Mike Roecker is Handy (note the capital H). He knows how to hang dry wall, install bathrooms and fix broken furnaces. Unfortunately, doing something with Mike Roecker means no shortcuts. Everything must be done exactly the right way. If you're installing a new light fixture and a wire gets twisted, you will untwist that wire and reinstall the entire fixture and get it right even if that means you can't feel your hands at the end of the project. That's just how Mike Roecker rolls.

So, you can imagine the look on my dad's face when he got wind of the fact that I was planning on framing my bathroom mirror with crown molding. He started throwing around words like "mitre saw" and "math" and I just nodded along like I was in complete agreement with his super complex plan that involved tape measures and special saws and a lot of work. And then I went home and slapped up that crown molding using some glue I bought at Lowes. No mitre saws or fractions necessary. A little glue, some hammering and voila - an upgraded mirror.

It's definitely not perfect. I'm sure it would look way better if my dad helped. But it's done. And there's something to be said for done. Sometimes I think we procrastinate on stuff because we're trying so hard to be perfect, to do it right. How many of you are sitting on half finished manuscripts because you just couldn't find the perfect word to end chapter 5?

Today I'm here to tell you that sometimes it's ok to half ass it. After all, you can't publish 5 perfect chapters and that crown molding isn't going to hang itself. Even with a mitre saw.

P.S.
Dad, If you're reading this, I take full responsibility for all those wrinkles in your forehead. Also, please don't ever go in my upstairs bathroom. I think my un-mitred mirror would probably give you an anxiety attack. However, there's a distinct possibility that I'm going to wake up in the morning to find 4 pieces of molding littering my bathroom floor, so, um, just pencil in dinner at my house Tuesday night. And plan on bringing your mitre saw. You know, just to be safe. Love you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Celebstalking by LiLa

I've scoured through over 200 celeb photos on US Weekly, but there's only one thing worth reporting this week.


Suri Cruise and I have matching jackets. Only mine is faux and hers is probably made from the same special breed of mink that Tom Cruise uses for his hair plugs. Is it horrible that I'm sort of hoping that someone from PETA throws read paint on her?

Don't answer that.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Bookanistas: SHATTER ME

You have no idea how good it feels to write this post. Almost as good as it felt when SHATTER ME arrived on my doorstep. So. Good.

I'm also showered, the house is quiet, I went back to the gym for the first time yesterday and I got four hours of uninterrupted sleep last night. Hey, it's better than three. But now...on to SHATTER ME.

What the back cover has to say:

"You can't touch me," I whisper.

I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.

He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

What Lila has to say:
It's no secret that we're a bunch of suckers for a girl power book. You can thank The Regulator. We were raised on quotes from the book MEN ARE JUST DESSERTS. Anyway, Tahereh nails Juliette. From the first line to the last, you're cheering for this broken girl and all you want is for her to WIN. And how cool is the format? Striking out Juliette's inner monologue is maybe the smartest thing ever. But if you know Tahereh or have read her blog, you shouldn't be surprised. She plays around with formatting in unique and interesting ways that adds even more depth to Juliett's narrative. But even though Juliette kicks ass, Tahereh doesn't forget about the importance of a good old fashioned love story. Oh the tension! I spent the majority of the book flying through words to relieve the tension only to go back and savor them and start the whole process over again. It was really well done.

But possibly the best part about SHATTER ME is that good things are happening to  a good person. Tahereh is one of the best and we couldn't be happier for her. An incredible debut.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Elana Johnson offers musings on her Bookanista moments

Jessi Kirby savors HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Stasia Ward Kehoe delights in FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB

Nikki Katz is crazy for ASHFALL

Debra Driza adores ANGEL FALL

Shelli Johannes-Wells celebrates January Bookanista books--plus a DISCOVERY OF WITCHES giveaway


It feels good to be back. At least today! I make no promises...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It takes a real man...

To go PINK...


This is my adorable brother-in-law with what's clearly the best beach read ever. Somehow I don't think it's a coincidence that this picture was taken in a private villa.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. I singlehandedly talked Laura and the Regulator into taking a road trip to the Ikea in Pittsburgh so I could buy some new toy storage shelves for our basement. We drove there in the middle of a whiteout and returned with a car stuffed with plants and a sofa table. As of 11:19 PM, neither of our husbands are speaking to us. This has nothing to do with our poor judgement in purchases, but rather the driving through the snowpocolypse for Swedish houseplants.

2. After cleaning out the basement in preparation for shelves that I inexplicably decided not to purchase, I had a ton of toys and baby gear to give away. Laura talked me into driving it to a children's resale shop near her house. The first haul went great and ended with a big, fat $150 check. I had to take the second haul to a different store and after driving over an hour and unloading an absurd amount of baby gear, the teenager at the counter told me that all of my stuff was complete crap and they had no use for anything except a toy tool bench and a princess water color set. She handed me $7.10 in cash and told me that I needed to start taking all of the unwanted items back to my car. I pocketed the money, asked her if I could pull the car around and then peeled out of the parking lot. There was no way in hell I was loading all that crap back into my trunk. Came home to a message that they were going to give everything to charity unless I came back to pick it up. Be my guest judgy cashier. Be my guest.

3. I have an enormous crush on The Property Brothers.

4. I'm going to cry if the snowpocolypse results in school being cancelled tomorrow.

5. I purchased (and used) nasal spray from The Dollar General. I'm pretty sure the chemicals are going to eat away my septum and I'll wake up with one large nasal cavity tomorrow morning.

6. I only read one book over my Christmas vacation. Huge, giant FAIL.

7. This is the first time I've turned on my computer since December 20th.

8. Ken got an iPad for Christmas and I have stolen it for my own nefarious uses. Pinterest on an iPad = crack laced with heroin.

9. I purchased a faux fur coat that I like to think of as my Miss Havisham jacket. At first I wasn't going to buy it, but Laura convinced me that I could wear it with yoga pants. It sheds a little, but it's warm and it makes me feel like a well-fed Rachel Zoe.

10. I missed you guys on my internet hiatus, but it feels good to be back! XOXO