Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We Heart Indies!

We've always loved bookstores. The feel, the smell, the rows and rows of books. We smile like a couple of goons every time we walk into one because the possibilities are endless. And then, clutching our paper or plastic bag, filled with final decisions, we're overwhelmed with hope and excitement. The only thing more exciting than the bookstore itself is heading home to tear into all of our new adventures. 

Or something like that.

But there's a special, special place in our hearts for independent bookstores. They're local and unique and entrenched in the community and usually cozy and inviting and have staff members with years under their belt who hand sell books, who care (not to say employees at other bookstores don't care, but you know what we mean). Breezing through the doors of an Indie feels different, magical even. Like you couldn't pass by if you tried. There's just something magnetic about a neighborhood bookstore.

So today's post is devoted to two of our favorite Indies so far. The Learned Owl Bookshop is nestled into a historic building in downtown Hudson, Ohio, which may be one of the cutest towns on earth (Biased? Who? Us?). From the second we walked into their bookshop many moons ago, ARC in tow, nervous about the speech we'd practiced about how to approach booksellers, we were embraced. Calendars were whipped out, a launch party was set and Liz and Mary said they couldn't wait to read the book. And it actually felt like they were telling the truth! Then, not too long after, we received emails about what they enjoyed, why and how they couldn't wait to recommend the book to readers. Doesn't get much better than that. The launch was incredible, the staff beyond welcoming and their support throughout this entire process priceless. They spread the word in the papers on their website and beyond and we can't thank them enough.

And we were overwhelmed all over again a few months later when we stepped foot in Anderson's Bookshop in downtown Naperville, IL that *gasp* rivals Hudson's, it was love at first sight.  Publisher's Weekly named Anderson's bookstore of the year, which was not surprising after stepping through the door and meeting everyone. They rolled out the red carpet for our author panel and put up with all the craziness that happens when you get 10 young adult authors in the same room. And for that, we'll love them forever. 

So today is about thanking independent booksellers across the country for their unwavering support of authors and books. We aren't the only ones overwhelmed by independent awesomeness which is why we've banded together with a bunch of other writers who feel exactly the same way. 

Check out all of the Indie-love and if you have something to add, send us your link and we'll tack it to the list! You can also follow us on Twitter using the tag #iheartindies. Because today is all about spreading the love. In fact, one lucky commenter will win a book of their choice ordered from the Learned Owl and another commenter will win a book of their choice ordered from Anderson's. 'Cause we love you and we love them.

Sarah Frances Hardy
Shana Silver
Elana Johnson
Stasia Kehoe
Shannon Messenger
Carolina Valdez Miller
Mundie Moms
Myra McEntire
Sara Bennett Wealer
Janet Gurtler
Joy Preble
Ty Drago
Kate Walton
Julia Karr
Randy Russell
Adele Griffin
Helen Landalf
Andrea Higgins
Beth Revis
Tess Hilmo
Sheela Chari
Gail Handler
Crystal Allen

Christine Fonseca
Lee Nichols

So, go ahead and tell us about the Indies in your neighborhood. And while you're at it, let's join arms, sway and maybe light a lighter or two. Kumbaya bitches. 

PS: Check out what Randy Russell's got cookin' in his neck of the woods. Because it's cool. Like $2500 in support of schools, libraries and Indies cool.

PPS: Equally amazing is what Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Lit is planning to help all bookstores. Check it out!

Friday, May 27, 2011

iClue WINNERS and Indie Awesomeness

We had a so much fun with iClue. Thank you so much to all of you who played along and helped us spread the word.  Today we are beyond excited to finally announce the winners!

Drumroll please...

The winner of the 6 autographed books is....

Melissa Wheelock!

Congratulations Melissa! We'll be sending you an email shortly to get your address.

iClueAnd.....now for the grande prize. The winner of an iPod Touch donated by The Reading Room, loaded with six AMAZING mysteries is...

Jasmine Miller!

Congratulations Jasmine!!!! We'll be in touch shortly to work out all the logistics.

And now for even more awesomeness...

We are officially declaring May 31st We <3 Indies Day. Want to help us celebrate? Click here and we'll link to you. It's going to be EPIC!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Bookanistas: DIVERGENT

I'm not gonna lie, when I first read the cover copy for DIVERGENT I was a little confused. The front cover didn't exactly clear things up. A burning symbol? A creepy skyline? When I first saw it I sunk down on my knees and raised my hands to the sky and screamed, "WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!?!" Ok, not really, but I totally thought about doing it.

I had heard a few things about the book before I read it. I knew it was dystopian, I knew it was set in Chicago and I'd heard it was ten kinds of amazing, so naturally I was curious.

Thank God my curiosity got the best of me, because DIVERGENT is one wild ride.

Here's what the back cover has to say (Editorial Note: It's not nearly as confusing to me now that I've read the book. Do others find the copy confusing or am I the only easily confused idiot?):

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

What Lila has to say:

Wow. DIVERGENT is the kind of book that reels you in and never lets you go. I vividly remember reading a scene where Tris is on a ferris wheel and I had to put the book down because I was so nervous about what was going to happen next. So. Much. Tension.

Tris is a fascinating. She's just so incredibly tough and brave and I am such a complete and utter wimp. If faced with leaping onto a moving train or begging for food on the outskirts of society, I'll choose begging every single time. I'd rather be hungry than splattered somewhere underneath an El train, but that's just me.

And then there's Four. To quote Sarah Dessen (I'm in the middle of THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and holy crap, The Dessen is my idol), Sa-Woon. Four is hot, loyal and has the whole tough love thing down to a science.

I was hooked on DIVERGENT from the very first page. It's one of those books where you can't imagine what's going to happen next and you can't stop turning the pages to find out. Order your copy immediately. And then send us an email so we can discuss.

Here's what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to this week:

P.S. Be sure to join The Bookanista Book Club over at The Reading Room. We're going to be working very closely with them to bring you even more Bookanista awesomeness that you will not want to miss.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The cooler sister...

It's no secret that Stacey, the youngest Roecker, is waaaaaay cooler than we'll ever be. That's why we spend all day loitering on her fancy new blog.

And then, since the link is just begging to be clicked, why not kill some time obsessing over her Pinterest? Ya know, 'cause we were already there.

Only then can we mosey on over to the design blogs Stacey haunts. Wait a second, there's a world outside of writing? And it's going to make us feel depressed about our own, uninspired homes?

Why yes, yes there is.


PS: We're announcing our exciting Live Event for June over at WriteOnCon today! Don't miss it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kate's Belated Spring Break

Most sasstastic, pink haired, girl detectives would opt for the predictable Spring Break in Cabo. But not our girl, Kate....

Just what we needed. More proof that our readers are FAR cooler than us.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Harry Potter Project

I think we're all aware that my parenting techniques are questionable at best, but I love my kids and I'm doing everything in my power to ensure they grow up to be exceptionally attractive, fully potty trained, well read, fully functioning members of society.

And then I spent a day with my kids.

And decided it might be best to focus on 1 out of 4.

Naturally I decided to start with reading. I mean, I'm an author, spreading my love of the written word should be easy, right?

Um...sort of.

Jack just turned 6 and I decided that in addition to reading picture books every night before bed, we should also start a chapter book of some sort. We'd read a chapter a night and I would magically pass down my love for all things literary to my son. WIN. Even better, he's been BEGGING me to watch The Harry Potter movies, so I made a deal with him. We read the book together first, then we get to watch the movie. Done and done.

He was sold. And so was my 4-year-old, Mia.

Mia: "Pleeeze, Mommy. Can't I read about the wizard too? And Vlammamort?"
Me: "You're too little. We'll pick out a special book that we can read together too, ok?"
Mia: "NO! I want the boy with the lightening on his head."
Me: "How about a princess book?"
Mia: "HARRY Spotter!"
Me: "How about a book about dogs? You love dogs."
Mia: "Maybe."

And so we all headed out to the bookstore Sunday morning and came home with two copies of Harry (S)Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and a copy of Magic Puppy. Mia walked around with Magic Puppy all day long, BEGGING for me to read chapters. We're already half way done.

Meanwhile I had to physically restrain Jack to get him to sit still for 20 minutes to read a chapter. After we finally finished he only had one question:

"Can we watch the movie now?"

So, yeah. I have no idea if they're absorbing any of this or even enjoying it, but I'm bound and determined to do everything in my power to create a family of READERS. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Five

1. I just finished THE DEMON'S COVENANT and holy wow. I really enjoyed THE DEMON'S LEXICON and I have to say I think I liked the second book in the trilogy even more. Loretta Nyhan sent it to me last summer and I'm actually really glad it took me so long to pick it up because now I only have to wait a week for THE DEMON'S SURRENDER. Whut. Whut.

2. SUPER excited for a mega surprise party tonight.  My husband finished his MBA last week so the kids and I have spent all day making him ridiculous signs and all of his favorite foods and we're all going to yell surprise when he walks in the door. That's the part the kids are the most excited about. Worried that I'm totally blowing the surprise by blogging about it? Don't be. The blog completely freaks my husband out. He's all, "Who are all those people who comment and do you really need to be telling people about our son's poop?"

3. I have a lot of required reading this weekend and I'm so pumped. There's a very small part of me that fantasizes about deleting our blog and twitter accounts, deactivating all of our email addresses and pretending that we never, ever decided to write books. And then I would go to the library and pick out a HUGE stack of books, all written by authors I've never met and never intend to meet. I'd devour them all and never write a single book review. But then I remember how much I love reading books by friends and blogging and tweeting and emailing and writing and I realize my fantasy kind of sucks.

4. I start my job on Monday and I'm slightly terrified. What if I suck? What if my kids hate their camps? What if I don't have time to work out or read or watch Happy Endings? What if I cry? What if people I work with read this blog? *cue head explosion here*

5. Laura has agreed to fill in as interim childcare until camp starts. I'm scared for the children. I'm scared for me. But most of all, I'm scared for Laura. Giddy. Up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bookinistas: POSSESSION

Just over two years ago something amazing happened to me and Laura. We posted the query for Liar Society in the Query Tracker Forums praying for some gentle, constructive feedback and lo and behold, someone named ElanaJ completely ripped apart our query in the best way possible. But AFTER she ripped it apart she said this:

"Very nice! Hmm...you don't need anyone to read this, do you?    Check for commas, that kinda thing..."

And then I called Laura and said, "HOLY CRAP. Elana Johnson is not only TALKING to us, but she wants to read our manuscript. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. YES!"

And that's how Elana ended up reading the first draft of Liar Society and we got to read a very early draft of POSSESSION. And...now it's a book. A real live book that will be on bookshelves June 7th. I get all shivery when I think about it. 

Naturally we have a LOT to say about Elana's book and because we're totally superficial we'll start with the cover. Isn't it pretty? Bravo, designers, bravo. This is one you can't pass up. And we haven't even seen it on shelves yet.

What the back cover has to say (if you can bring yourself to turn it over):

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

What Lila has to say:

You'll start by falling in love. Zenn is exactly who you need. He's safe and cute and like-minded. The right choice. But then you'll dig a little deeper and figure out that much, much more is at stake than a harmless relationship. Enter the rules. Enter a world where being controlled is the name of the game and thinking for yourself is taboo. Independence? Think again. And what if the love of your life is involved? At risk? Controlled? Then what?

Well, then comes Jag. Jag was written for anyone who loves a bad boy or a good old fashioned a challenge. He brings out the badass in Vi and even though she's still pining for Zenn Jag starts to grow on her when he takes her on an action-filled adventure to the Badlands. Turns out the Badlands aren't so bad, but for a girl who was raised/brainwashed to be good, it's a tough pill to swallow. Not to mention the fact that Zenn has a way of continuing to pull on Vi's heartstrings. Oh, and there's some major tugging going on by the "goodies" to get her mad skills over on their team, a heartfelt reunion and some kickass technology as well.

And then comes the ending. Buckle. Up. We never saw it coming and had to take a few deep breaths before diving back in and re-reading and marveling at Elana's genius. So, go forth and read preorder and then read ASAP, so we can actually talk about it. Because we've been waiting months for this moment.

Of course, this review would not be complete without a single tear moment for Elana.  She's one of the most selfless people we know and she deserves everything that's coming her way. We'll be cheering from the sidelines!

Here's what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to this week:

Elana Johnson
 marvels at Moonglass
Christine Fonseca  raves about It’s Raining Cupcakes
Shelli Johannes-Wells  chats with Pure and The Summer of Firsts & Lasts author Terra McEvaoy
LiLa Roecker  and Carrie Harris have a passion for Possession
Beth Revis admires the audiobook of Anansi Boys
Carolina Valdez Miller is giddy over Moonglass – with giveaway
Megan Miranda  swoons over Strings Attached
Shana Silver delves into Divergent
Sarah Frances Hardy gabs about Gossip from the Girls Room
Matt Blackstone is tantalized by Bad Taste in Boys
Stasia Ward Kehoe  glories in a guestanista review of The Rendering

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Stop what you're doing.
Pick up the phone.
Call your best friend.
Establish a meeting time.
Book a babysitter if need be.
Prepare to laugh your ass off.

A few questions to ask yourself. Did you like Superbad? Who didn't? How about Knocked Up? One of Laura's favorites. Or 40-Year-Old Virgin? A total classic. Well, Bridesmaids is even better because it's a predominantly female cast and everyone knows girls are funnier than boys. So there.

Throughout the movie, Annie is kind of a train wreck. She's single, but stuck in a crappy one-sided friends-with-benefits situation with none other than Jon Hamm and when her best friend is engaged to be married, she's asked to be maid of honor. Unfortunately for her, one of her best friend's other girlfriends is lobbying for that very position. They basically compete to fill the role and hilarity ensues.

We were crying at parts, Lisa snorted throughout and we consumed entirely too much popcorn making this one of the best nights out we've had in a long time. We declared this movie the kind that only gets better every time you see it and predict many viewings of Bridesmaids in our future. All of the ladies were funny in their own right, but we have to say, Melissa McCarthy had it going on. From the very beginning, she cracked us up with her description of falling off a cruise ship, thus securing a place in our hearts forevermore.

Save for one exceptionally disgusting scene in a bridal store, it's a true A+ from the Roecker sisters. This just makes my standards for The Hangover Part II soar through the roof. Those boys are in trouble.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday School Visit Style

How many times did my eyes well up with tears during our first official school visit to Glen Crest Middle School? Let's break it down...

1. Upon driving up and seeing this sign.

2. After walking into the building and being reminded of my teaching days. Lisa said it smelled like hormones, but to me it smelled like growing up. And a gym, but mainly growing up.

3. When we finally got to give publicist extraordinaire Kay a hug and saw that she had sprayed her hair pink for us.

4. After the nicest librarians in the world revealed that they had purchased multiple pounds of Twizzlers and 12 packs of Diet Coke just for us. In addition to their thoughtfulness, I may have been misty-eyed because I knew that those Twizzlers would at some point end up in my belly and around my thighs.

5. Over lunch when Lisa and I looked at each other and began discussing the fact that we're living our dream. The jury's still out on whether or not it was the delicious Jimmy John's sub that did it or the talk about how much fun it is to write together, but it was a total single tear moment. I was sure to look away before Lisa could make fun of me.

I'm an emotional headcase who has been known to cry during the opening scene of The Lion King. What can I say, all those animals coming together to celebrate the birth of a lion cub gets me all verklempt.

Are your truths today as pathetic as mine?

PS: Bonus tear-jerking truth. This made us want to cut someone.

PPS: We're doing one last #askiclue Twitter chat tonight at 8 PM EST. Don't miss it--you can ask us ANYTHING!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Weekend of EPIC Poportions

Our trip to Chicago was AMAZING. Here's a break down by the numbers:

100: 8th grade girls we got to talk to on Friday afternoon.

75: Red vines in the jug we lugged around with us to the school visit and the book signing.

32: Number of times we got lost in and around the Chicagoland area.

9: Outfits we each packed for a three day trip.

4: People who assumed we were married when I took Laura to my college roommate's wedding as my date.

3: Awkward encounters with dudes in elevators.

2: Dairy Queens that were closed when we desperately wanted a crunch coat twist.

1: REALLY bad spray tan.

So, yeah, we've got spray painted pink hair, stories detailing all of our awkward encounters and a killer review of the Bridesmaids movie coming all this week. In the meantime, here's a pic of us at the wedding on Saturday night. We totally cropped out the yoga pants.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


on a jet plane in a Corolla. We're off to Chicago for a school visit, the Lucky/Unlucky signing at Anderson's, drinks/dinner, a wedding, a brunch and whatever else we can shove into one weekend! We'll be live-tweeting throughout today, so tune in!

See ya on Monday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bookinistas: TIGHTER

In the copy of the ARC Adele signed for us, she wrote "Hold on..." Best advice we ever got before diving in.

What the back cover has to say: When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

What Lila has to say:
TIGHTER is the real deal, you guys. The cover is fabulously creepy, the characters are perfectly flawed, the setting is beautifully drawn and the plot is full of psychological, thrilling, terrifying, can't-turn-the-pages-fast-enough goodness. I had a hard time sleeping while reading about Jamie and the cast of characters in her crazy, mixed up world.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was trying to distinguish fantasy versus reality. Jamie, the main character, abuses pain killers and her world is fuzzy. Our eyes are Jamie's eyes, so you're right there with her, trying to squint through the fog. This is my first YA experience with an unreliable narrator and it was absolutely fascinating.

And then there's the creep factor. I devoured the book during a weekend away and was staying with a friend in a very old house. Needless to say, I didn't do a whole lot of sleeping. The plot, which is an update of the classic The Turn of the Screw (which I'm ashamed to say, I have not read), has some fantastic twists and turns that keep you guessing right up until the bitter end. And oh, what an end. It's seriously mind blowing.

Adele is unbelievably talented. I love how you can read one of her books, say THE JULIAN GAME, which we loved, and pick up another and have both be so incredibly different and unique and compelling and rich. They're the kind of books you finish and wonder if you'll ever get to that place as a writer. We tried to be jealous, but  Adele is too cool to hate, so we settled on being inspired. TIGHTER is the kind of book that makes you want to grow and develop as a writer.

Think we're biased? Go read the starred Kirkus review. Yeah. That's right. Even the scary reviewers at Kirkus loved this book. GO BUY IT NOW.

Check out what the other Bookinistas are up to this week!

Elana Johnson  turns you on to Divergent
Christine Fonseca  gets giddy about Moonglass – with giveaway
Shannon Messenger is mesmerized by Imaginary Girls – with giveaway
Kirsten Hubbard has double the love for Rival and Moonglass
Carolina Valdez Miller  vaunts Divergent – with giveaway
Megan Miranda devours Bad Taste in Boys
Bethany Wiggins and Shana Silver share their passion for Possession
Gretchen McNeil rocks out with The Anti-Prom
Carrie Harris reads along Blood Red Road
Stasia Ward Kehoe  shines a spotlight on Dramarama
Myra McEntire announces the Bookanistas Give Back Run For Your Life contest winners!

GIVEAWAY: 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids

Today we're welcoming the amazing and wise Christine Fonseca to discuss her latest book 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. As most of you have probably inferred from reading our blog on a semi-regular basis, we're pretty much clueless when it comes to raising children (gifted or otherwise) so Christine's books and practical advice have come in pretty handy over in LiLa Land. Lucky for us we managed to pin down Christine for an interview.

1. Give us your best piece of parenting advice in 140 characters or less.

Oh man, 140 characters or less? Okay, here it goes:

Never do for someone else what they are completely capable of doing for themselves. Instead, remind them just how capable they are.

That works, right??

2. The jury's still out on whether or not our kids are gifted, but how can parents/teachers apply your research to the average Dora-obsessed toddler?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students is full of advice that can be applied to almost any child – things like setting a solid foundation at home, one that included rules, consistent consequences, unconditional love and non-emotional parenting (yea, that IS the hard one!). Furthermore, coaching your child to learn to discern the difference between what they can control and what they cannot control is advice for any parenting scenario. The big thing, which I mentioned earlier, is to focus on teaching self-sufficiency. Never do for the child what they can do for themselves. Let them make mistakes, and learn that it is through those mistakes that learning takes place. Let them become empowered by learning they can push through things that are hard without needing to be rescued!

3. What do you think is the most surprising piece of research you've come across?

For 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids, I interviewed nearly 1000 gifted kids from several countries. What I found the most interesting or surprising were their comments about expectations. Pretty much every kid I interviewed stated that they felt undo pressure from their parents and teachers – pressure to get straight A’s, to always be on top, etc. Interestingly, the parents I interviewed all said the thing they worried about the most was the pressure KIDS put on THEMSELVES to perform. Talk about interesting – neither side saw themselves as a piece of the problem!!!

The truth, in my opinion, both sides apply pressure.

4. Are there things that we as authors can do to better reach gifted children?

The GT kids I spoke with are all readers – but they like complex plots and complex characters. The younger kids liked complex plots as well, and liked characters they could identify with. To reach GT readers, we need to appeal to that desire for complexity, while delivering stories that are rich in both character and storyline.

Another thing – help those GT kids that want to write. I met a lot of would-be writers on my journey. So many, in fact, that I will likely start a writer’s club for teens this summer. These kids have questions, tons of them, on how to break into this industry. We, as authors, are in a great position to mentor and guide them.

5. For parents with younger children, what are some signs that you might be raising a gifted child? (Stealing food? Knowing how to turn on the TV? Constant whining? Extensive building of marble mazes? These are hypotheticals, of course.)

Ha! Many of these things can indicate giftedness. Here are a few other typical indicators that your young child may be gifted:

· Early walkers and talkers

· Very alert

· Gets very fussy if facing in the same direction for too long (in the crib or in a chair, for example)

· Demonstrates a strong desire to explore and learn

· Easily bored with toys and things

· Shows a strong preference for new things.

· Easily frustrated with familiar objects

· Highly intense

· Early reading or math skills

· Demonstrates an early and high interest in numbers and letters

· Lots of "why" questions

· Emotional intensity - may be highly sensitive to their environment, for example

6. Anything else to add?

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids was specifically written for kids as a resource to give them what they need to grow into their full potential. While it is definitely written with GT kids in mind, I have to say I think the advice is good for any kid. And any adult for that matter. I’m pretty sure this is going to sound super embarrassing, but I have mini ah-ha moments every time I read the book. My hope is that anyone can find their own ah-ha moment.

Amazing, right? I love how Christine's advice is practical and can be applied to ALL kids. Lucky for you guys we have a copy of 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids to give away today. All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered! If you tweet or Facebook about the contest we'll give you an extra entry. 

In the meantime, learn more about Christine and her books at her Website or Blog and find her on on Facebook or Twitter. And click here to read an excerpt!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lisa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DRUG TEST

So as you might have read yesterday, I'm heading back into the world of the working. Hoorah! Unfortunately, there's a lot of annoying hoops you have to jump through before you can become all official. One of those hoops just happens to be a drug test.

Let me just say this upfront, a drug test is just about the only test I'm confident I can pass with flying colors at this point in my life. Sadly, I can't say the same for a driving test. Parallel parking is a bitch.

Anywho, last week I reluctantly made an appointment for my drug test at my local testing facility. Hilarity ensued. Here's the breakdown:

6:44 AM: House is completely silent. Everyone is still asleep. This ONLY happens when we have to leave early, so naturally I set the alarm on my phone the night before.
6:45 AM: Alarm on my phone goes off. 
6:46 AM: Hit snooze.
6:47 AM: Listen for children, hear nothing. Curse them for only sleeping in when we have to be at school early.
6:48 AM: Fall back asleep.
6:50 AM: Alarm goes off again.
6:51 AM: Decide to scratch the shower in favor of sleeping for another 15 minutes.
7:15 AM: Finally drag myself out of bed.
7:18 AM: Yank my hair into a greasy ponytail and deeply regret my decision to forgo a shower.
7:25 AM: Wake up all three kids and attempt to get them ready for public consumption.
7:49 AM: Realize I've failed when I see that Mia has her shoes on the wrong feet and Jack's hair makes him look like the fifth member of A Flock of Seagulls
7:50 AM: Pretend not to notice and head to school.
8:08 AM: Arrive at Jack's school brunch 8 minutes late only to find that we're the first people there.
8:09 AM: Curse myself for being the only sucker guilted into dragging three kids out of bed for this crap.
8:10 AM: The second person to arrive is the mom who sent me an email about a play date that I ignored because her son may/or may not be the spawn of Satan. 
8:11 AM: Die a little inside.
8:12 AM: Start shoving food into Ben's face to avoid questions about future playdates and/or speculation that her son is the anti-Christ.
9:15 AM: Watch Jack's music performance and try to pretend that I'm listening to the songs instead of thinking about how badly he needs a hair cut.
9:22 AM: Look down at a smiling Ben in his car seat and congratulate myself for bringing him with me instead of wasting money on a baby sitter.
9:48 AM: Catch an unsavory scent coming from the general direction of my 7-month-old.
9:51 AM: Spawn of Satan's mom tries to corner me, but I gesture apologetically at the baby and make a hasty exit. First time in ages I've actually been excited about a poopy diaper.
9:52 AM: Layer public changing table with paper towels and assess Ben's "situation."
9:53 AM: There's poop everywhere, including (but not limited to) Ben's back, legs, and inexplicably his left foot.
9:54 AM: Die a little inside.
9:55 AM: Regret making fun of Laura for carrying a diaper bag around for 2 years when I realize I don't have a change of clothes for Ben.
9:56 AM: Throw away Ben's onesie, manage to remove most of the large chunks of feces with three semi-wet baby wipes that have been in the bottom of my purse since Jack's birth and put Ben in his t-shirt and a hoodie. 
9:57 AM: Hum a few bars of Pants on the Ground and stuff Ben back into his infant carrier, carefully covering his pantless legs with the cozy attached to the seat.
9:58 AM: Toss the carrier back into the base in my car and head to the nearest drug testing facility.
10:14 AM: Congratulate myself for managing to arrive early for my 10:45 appointment and try to grab the infant seat out of the car.
10:15 AM: Infant seat doesn't budge.
10:16 AM: Remember that the only stroller I have is the Snap N' Go that must be used with the infant carrier. 
10:17 AM: Remove pantless child from seat and place him tenderly in the front seat of the car.
10:18 AM: Attempt to pry the infant seat from the base using various inanimate objects found in my car including, A Glee CD case, a ballpoint pen and a pair of Dora sunglasses.
10:42 AM: Uninstall the car seat from the car and briefly consider kicking it across the parking lot and/or lighting it on fire.

10:43 AM: Realize that in two more minutes I'll miss my drug testing appointment.
10:44 AM: Briefly consider carrying the naked child into the facility but remember I won't have anywhere to put him EXCEPT THE FLOOR OF THE DIRTY BATHROOM while I'll be peeing into a cup.
10:44 AM: Pop pantless child into the basket of the Snap N' Go Stroller. As you can see from the picture, it looks vaguely like one of those shopping carts that old ladies use to carry their groceries.
10:45 AM: Avoid judgey looks from other people walking into the drug testing facility.
10:46 AM: Push pantless baby into the drug testing office and have this conversation: 

Me: Hi, I have a 10:45 appointment for a drug test. Sorry I'm a little late...
Lovely lady behind the counter: You can't bring your baby up in here.
Me: Seriously?
Lovely lady behind the counter: *Slams the sliding glass window in my face and knocks twice on the glass where there's a picture of a baby with a huge red line through it.*

10:47 AM: Do the walk of shame out of the drug testing facility.
10:48 AM: One of the drug testing patrons gives Ben a disgusted look and I notice a rogue smear of poop on his thigh.
10:48 AM: Die a little inside.
10:50 AM: Get back to the car only to remember that I uninstalled the car seat and can't reinstall it.
10:51 AM: Jerry-rig the car seat in the most unsafe installation job you can imagine and head back to school to pick up the kids.
12:13 PM: Call husband to see if he can be home in time for me to take my damn drug test.
12:14 PM: He can't.
12:15 PM: Nosy neighbor pulls up to see me carrying around a pantless Ben while trying to break up a wrestling match between Jack and Mia.
12:16 PM: She wants to chat. Of course.
12:17 PM: I'm so flustered that I drop a couple of f-bombs.
12:18 PM: Nosy neighbor smiles and I can practically hear her telling everyone on our street about the trashy girl with the three kids who lugs around half naked children and regularly drops f-bombs in casual conversation.
12:19 PM: Die a little inside.
12:59 PM: Beg my friend to take all three of my kids so I can pee in a cup after nap time.
1:00 PM: She agrees.
4:00 PM: Wake Ben up from a dead sleep for the second time in one day so I can get to the drug testing facility before they close.
4:20 PM: Grab a bottle of wine on my way out the door to my friend's house. I figure she'll need it after an hour with five kids.
4:35 PM: Snag the last appointment of the day for my drug test.
4:40 PM: They call my name, I head to the back and have this conversation with THE SAME WOMAN who kicked me out earlier:

Not-so-lovely-lady behind the counter: Put your bag on the chair and pee in this cup. Bathroom's right there. No flushing, no running water.
Me: Um, ok. Thanks.
Not-so-lovely-lady behind the counter: You pregnant? You've got the cutest little baby bump.
Me: Uh, no.
Not-so-lovely-lady behind the counter: I was gonna say, that's a tiny little bump.
Me: Yeah, that's just a muffin top.

4:41 PM: Die a little inside.
4:42 PM: Slam the door to the bathroom and attempt to pee in the cup.
4:43 PM: Can't pee.
4:44 PM: Not-so-lovely-lady-behind the counter screeches, "TIMES UP! What's going on in there?"
4:45 PM: Die a little inside.
4:35 PM: Reply that I don't have enough pee for the test, she tells me that I have to come out of the bathroom immediately. 
4:46 PM: Based on the look on the woman's face I'm lucky she's not frisking me for contraband urine.
4:47 PM: She deems the tiny amount of urine I managed to squeeze out sufficient for drug testing purposes.
4:48 PM: I drive home from the facility wondering if I've eaten anything that might set off a false positive.
5:05 PM: Finally back at my friend's house. She has Skinny Girl margaritas chilling and I can almost forget that this day happened.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Lots of exciting things going on over here in LiLa Land. Changes are afoot my friends! One of the biggest changes is that my fabulous former employer is in desperate need of a proposal writer so I'm going to have a day job again. Honestly, I was a little nervous about the decision until I had this conversation with Laura:

Lisa: So, are you sure you're ok with me going back to work? I mean I think we wrote more back when I actually had a job, so productivity shouldn't be an issue.
Laura: Well...don't take this the wrong way.
Lisa: Um....that almost always means I'm going to take whatever it is you say, the wrong way.
Laura: It's just that, I remember you saying that you never really thought you were cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.
Lisa: I never said that! sdkgjiejgijvsmskdfcksookfskmdkmcfo
Laura: Huh?
Lisa: Oh, sorry. Jack just body slammed Mia and I accidentally stepped on my computer in my rush to pry their small bodies off each other. Yowsers, I need a drink and a manny. In that order.
Laura: *expectant sigh*
Lisa: Crap. You're totally right.
Laura: I always am.

To be completely honest, I'm REALLY excited to head back to work. I've had the opportunity to talk to a few of the people on my new team and they seem pretty amazing. It was essential for me to find a job where I'd still be able to write, continue to be a hands on mom and make a steady income. I've enjoyed the past couple of years at home with the kids, but this just feels like the perfect opportunity to bring a little more balance into my life.

Lucky for all of you, the new job means new opportunities for me to humiliate myself. Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment tentatively titled: Lisa and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DRUG TEST.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Five!

1. On Monday, we had a premonition that this week would be a good week. Turns out, it was a great week! Good news all around to be shared in the upcoming months--yeah, yeah, we're a bunch of teases.

2. We made a list! Booklist nominated ten books as Top Ten Crime Fiction for Youth: 2011 and we're on it! I thought Lisa was kidding when she called, but she. was. serious. I danced!

3. A fan emailed this week revealing that LS is her third favorite book of all time. And she said she's a picky reader. Who needs 1st or 2nd place? WIN.

4. We're cashing in early Mother's Day presents on Saturday after our library event. Shopping, pedicures, dinner and a movie! It's sad how excited we are. Must get out more.

5. Today is the last day for Adele Griffin's iClue (which, *ahem*, you don't want to miss). Check out the full mystery here. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bookinistas: MOONGLASS

It's no secret that I'm in love with Sarah Dessen. I've been working my way through each of her novels this past year (just finished another yesterday, actually). So when I saw Sarah Dessen's blurb on the front cover and read the name-drop in Kirkus, I was ALL over this book. And, of course, Jessi is one of the nicest people on the face of the planet, so that didn't hurt either.

What the back cover has to say:

When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother's mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love.

Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting a lifeguard named Tyler, she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandoned houses that dot the beach.

But when learning more about her mother's past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire for solitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.

What Lila has to say:

Oh, I loved this one. The setting plays a huge role in the story and there's nothing I love more than a beachfront setting. The fact that the setting is integral to Anna's journey is a huge bonus for me. Not only does it contribute to the memories of her mother, but it plays a very important part in the discoveries she makes in regards to her mother's mysterious death.

And the beach is significant in other ways as well. It's intertwined in her dad's history (one particular scene Jessi wrote involves Anna's parents and the beach and is my favorite of the book) as well as the life of another haunted character, who was absolutely fascinating.

But at its core, this book is about finding your own way, growing up, coming to terms, remembering, moving forward--all of those themes I enjoy so much in a novel. It's sweet, it has heart, it's romantic, it's sad, it's a little bit of everything and I would highly recommend checking it out! You won't be disappointed.

Check out what the other Bookinistas are up to this week!

Don't call this a comeback

So it’s been a minute. Or 10. Or truthfully more like 2,102,400. At least we think that’s how many minutes there are in 3 years, but let...