Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bookanistas: Are You Going To Kiss Me Now?

Before we begin, I'd like to state for the record that there is absolutely no way I'll be able to do this book justice. My reviews are just never that good. Just know this will be the funniest book you will read all year. I say that with the utmost confidence. Moving on...

What the back cover has to say:

Being marooned on an island somewhere off the coast of Madagascar with five celebrities sounds romantic and glamorous, right?


You couldn't find people with fewer survival skills if you tried. Seriously. Cisco may have centerfold abs, but he can't even spell SOS. At least super-sexy Jonah seems to have a clue (too bad about the purity ring). If I'm stuck here much longer, these self-involved head cases might drive me crazy-assuming they don't insult each other to death first. It's like a group therapy edition of Survivor.

At this point, I'm pretty convinced that all celebrities should be caged in Hollywood and confined to the pages of US magazine. And, btw, if you're there, God, it's me, Francesca, and I really want to go home.


What Lila has to say:

Oh, you guys, this book was written for us. And it pretty much cemented the fact that we need to become best friends with Sloane Tanen because she is freaking HILARIOUS. I can't count the number of times I laughed out loud--many times with tears in my eyes. And I think things are funny, but rarely do I ever think things are this funny. It's on the same level of Lisa and I seeing Bridesmaids and crying because we laughed so hard. But do not be mistaken. This book isn't just made up of hilarious one-liners. There's a solid plot, which keeps the pages turning (I mean, how are they going to make it through this???) and extremely well-fleshed out characters (some you might recognize from Us Magazine) especially one incredibly witty, red-headed main character, Fransesca, who has the ability to send the best text messages EVA throughout the course of the book.

Exhibit A: When is my mother going to LEAVE??? She's so obviously stalling. Next she'll ask me if I have a boyfriend or if I'm doing drugs. Isn't it obvious that I'll never have a boyfriend? And wouldn't I be in a good mood at least some of the time if I were doing drugs?
Page marked, line read aloud to Lisa who wants to kill me because I keep taunting her with the hilarity. The premise is what also launches this book into best-book-ever land. Fransesca manages to get herself stranded on an island with celebrities. For us Us Magazine-obsessed nobodies, this is best case scenario. And then comes her hilarious descriptions of said celebrities.
Exhibit B: A moment later I heard a loud crash. As I opened the lavatory door, in the aisle, sprawled out on the floor in front of me was what I assumed was Milan Anderson. She was facedown, encircled by long, fried platinum hair. From where I was standing, I could see a good two inches of dark brown roots. She was wearing leggings, a fur vest, and three-inch heels, one of which was broken off and in her left hand. The contents of her bag were splayed all over the place: pills, gum, little bottles of vodka, tampons, an iPod, a latex glove, Purell, two half-empty water bottles, condoms, three tabloids (two of which she was on the cover of), a few loose cigarettes, a lunch cup of tapioca pudding, cereal, mascara, an umbrella, a few stray credit cards, receipts, super glue, and about fifteen dollars in loose change.
I mean...COME. ON. Just take my word for it. Buy the book. You'll die laughing. It is the absolute perfect summer read and I've already purchased this for multiple friends as it has huge crossover appeal. If you are even semi-interested in the insane lives of celebrities (especially making fun of them) or reality TV, you need this book. Once you have it, please, please, please email us with your favorite lines. They are just begging to be discussed.

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

Elana Johnson
 adores A Need So Beautiful
LiLa Roecker is gaga for Are You Going to Kiss Me Now?
Christine Fonseca interviews YA Fiction for Dummies author Deborah Halverson – with giveaway
Beth Revis interviews A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie author Matt Blackstone
Carolina Valdez Miller is wowed by Wildfire – with giveaway
Shana Silver gushes over Hourglass
Jen Hayley delves into Divergent
Rosemary Clement-Moore thinks Chime is divine
Stasia Ward Kehoe has applause for Trauma Queen
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, June 29, 2011

Cover Lovin'

Some cover eye candy for your viewing pleasure. Look! Drool! Pre-order!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday: The Race Issue

It all began with stickers. It's a paperdoll concept in the form of stickers and my daughter LOVES to play with them. There are shirts and skirts and shoes and dresses--all stickers. And the girls come in every nationality...also cool. But what I thought wasn't so cool was when my three-year-old daughter pointed to the African American girl and asked for the "chocolate" one. She requested "vanilla" next.

Lydia loves sweets. LOVES. So it didn't surprise me that when noticing differences, she made a connection to food, specifically chocolate and vanilla--her favorites. But, I wasn't comfortable with her terminology, so I explained that every person in the world comes in all different shades. There's brown and dark brown and beige and light beige, etc., etc.--all different colors, all the same on the inside. But it's not nice to refer to people as chocolate or vanilla. End of story, moving on, let's choose a skirt.

This was all well and good until we were out in public and Lydia pointed out an African American person. "What color skin do they have, Mommy?" I told her again that all people have different colors of skin. She then proceeded to say, "It's not nice to call people chocolate face." And I wanted to crawl into a corner of the store and die of humiliation. My goal was to raise colorblind children. And now, my daughter was saying "chocolate" and "face" in the same sentence. We were past the point of ignoring, of hoping that if we didn't talk about it, it would just go away (like many embarrassing things kids do). In fact, it became apparent that we needed to talk about it. That Lydia was beginning to notice differences and that this would continue--and not just with skin color, but with heavy and thin and boy and girl and glasses and hair (or lack thereof) and any and all differences out there. And I was responsible for helping to guide her through the process to understanding.

So, I began the search for picture books. Because skin color was the particular difference she had landed on, I decided to start with that topic. And you know what? I didn't find a whole lot out there. There were a few picture books, one by an author Lydia loves, but after reading the description of the book, I wondered if it would send the right message. There were all sorts of comparisons to skin and food! Granted, the comparisons were to yummy food, but still! Call me crazy, but I don't want my daughter walking around comparing people to melted chocolate. I did, however, find a few new favorites. ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTHSHADES OF PEOPLE, and THE SKIN YOU LIVE IN (what a beautiful message!) are at the top of the list.

When Lisa and I talked about it, we realized we struggle with essentially the same issue in our own writing. As we were writing THE LIAR SOCIETY, we wanted race to be a non-issue. We created Pemberly Brown as a diverse school, but when describing the diversity, we seemed to fall short. There's nothing worse than reading a book and not properly imagining a main character. Ditto to book covers  that feature a character completely different than described in the book; it drives us crazy. If a main character is black, I want to see them that way in my head. If a main character has red hair, I want to imagine it. If a main character is a boy, I want to know. But here, as writers, we lacked the right words. We used words like "caramel" and "mocha" to describe Bradley Farrow's skin and explained that Grace Lee's eyes were shaped like "almonds." Here we go with food again. WHO AM I TO JUDGE?

What's the answer? How do I raise a child who ignores differences, but instead focuses on what makes us the same? Or is it okay to embrace our differences? After all, those differences are what make us unique. The world would be an awfully boring place without them. Obviously, this isn't just a hot topic in parenting, but in publishing as well. With cover-controversies like LIARMAGIC UNDER GLASS and the re-designed SILVER PHOENIX cover (to name just a few), it's clear that our differences aren't always handled very graciously. But we'd love to get YOUR opinion today. Any advice for an embarrassed mom?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today is the Day...

Ben is 3 days away from his 9 month birthday.

And today is his first day at daycare.

Now, when I say daycare, I should mention that I was incredibly lucky to find the single most amazing childcare center in the world less than a mile from my house. Laura went there with me for the first time almost 6 years ago. We took the tour, talked with the owner and Laura instructed me to sign Jack up. And even though I like to pretend to be the bossy, older sister, when Laura tells me to do something, I always listen. And she's always right.

Jack went there for 3 years, Mia went there for 3 years and now it's finally Ben's turn.

And I'm so torn.

On one hand I know it's going to be really good for him to be around other children. And it's only part time. And I'm really, really excited to have a quiet house to work in.

But I'm going to miss my baby.

I'll miss his ridiculous attempts at crawling. His endless supply of drool. How happy he is to see me when he wakes up from one of his marathon naps.

So, yeah. If you see a semi-crazed woman sobbing in a bright red Mom-mobile, it will be me. But don't feel too sorry for me, 10 minutes later that same semi-crazed woman is going to be sipping a latte and takin' care of business on her laptop in a completely silent house.

*Sob* *Cheer* Repeat.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Friday! Let's Celeb-brate

Wow, do you see what I did there with that title? Hilarious, right? Fine, maybe not. But I'm out of good blog post titles, so you'll just have to humor me.

Moving right along....

Here's what caught our eye on US Weekly this week.

I'm not gonna lie, every time I see a pic with Madonna and her adopted son I think to myself, "Oh, right. There's Madonna and that kid she stole."

This girl looks like the robot version of Megan Fox and it's totally freaking me out. I've never once seen her use a facial expression. Not. Once.

Oh Tom, you do realize this hat only makes you look MORE crazy, right?

I think this might be one of the most uncomfortable pictures I've ever seen in my life. JT has that constipated, "I'm going to $*#&%*& kill my publicist" look on his face. So awesome.

Cutest. Babies. Ever.

Feel free to chime in with your own commentary in the comments. Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Awkward Tween Challenge: LiLa vs. L'Adele

As some of you may or may not have noticed, we recently updated our Twitter profile picture to THIS:

Thanks to Stacey, we have an entire flash drive FULL of awkward childhood pics and we're not afraid to use it. Our goal in this instance was to find one of the most awkward and humiliating and post it for public consumption. Please note the virgin brows, matching letter jackets and most tragic of all, Lisa's clear braces and mock turtleneck with tiny little leaves painted on.

Adele Griffin (who may or may not be a long lost Roecker christened L'Adele) claimed on Twitter that she could out awkward us with THIS:

Admittedly, she's sitting on Santa's lap wearing plastic earrings and a Mona Lisa smile. Awkwardness abounds, but I honestly think our triangle hair cuts have her beat.

We agreed to put it to a vote, dear readers and that's where you come in:

Who was the most awkward Tween?

And for the record, we have PLENTY of awkward in our archives and we'd love to make this a regular feature. SO...if you have a childhood pic that you think can outawkward LiLa send your picture here . We'll feature you on the blog and let the readers decide.

The Awkward Tween Challenge: LiLa vs. L'Adele

As some of you may or may not have noticed, we recently updated our Twitter profile picture to THIS: 

Thanks to Stacey, we have an entire flash drive FULL of awkward childhood pics and we're not afraid to use it. Our goal in this instance was to find one of the most awkward and humiliating and post it for public consumption. Please note the virgin brows, matching letter jackets and most tragic of all, Lisa's clear braces and mock turtleneck with tiny little leaves painted on.

Adele Griffin (who may or may not be a long lost Roecker christened L'Adele) claimed on Twitter that she could out awkward us with THIS:

So...the real question is: 

Who was the most awkward Tween?

And for the record, we have PLENTY of awkward in our archives and we'd love to make this a regular feature. SO...if you have a childhood pic that you think can outawkward LiLa send your picture here . We'll feature you on the blog and let the readers decide.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THIS is why I haven't written my chapter...

Does this make anyone else laugh as hard as it makes me laugh? It's okay to tell me I'm weird. I had tears. Actual tears.

It's even funnier the 23rd time you watch it. In your double pajamas (pajamas you never changed out of from the previous night). Without your teeth brushed. Or hair combed. Scratch that. Those are tears of shame.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating A Need So Beautiful with Random Acts of Kindness and EPIC Giveaways

I fell in love with A Need So Beautiful. Suzanne Young has a completely fresh, heart wrenching take on paranormal romance. Instead of dangerous love triangles or damsels in distress rescued by the bad boy du jour, A Need So Beautiful focuses on love and sacrifice and the inevitable collision of the two.

Charlotte is one of the Forgotten, an angel who sacrifices herself to help people, only to disappear when her work on Earth is done. But she's also a teenage girl with a best friend and a boyfriend she loves. And she's forced to choose: Embrace her Need to help others or partner with dark forces to fight her destiny and stay with her loved ones.

Charlotte's choice left me thinking about the strangers in our lives who have gone out of their way to help us. People who didn't know us at all, but took the time to give us a helping hand and a little bit of encouragement when we needed it the most. And you know who we thought of? 

Literary agents.

As you may or may not remember we queried over 100 agents with our first doomed manuscript. Every morning we'd wake up and refresh our Hotmail account, praying for good news. We'd stare at our cell phones willing them to ring with THE CALL. We hung out on the Absolute Write and Query Tracker forums drooling over success stories and obsessing over writers who heard back from agents before we did. 

We had the same conversation every single day:

Lisa: Did you see that rejection from [Insert Pretty Much Any Literary Agent Who Reps YA here]?
Laura: Yeah. That blows.
Lisa: Yeah.
Laura: Are you refreshing our email right now?
Lisa: Sure am. You?
Laura: Yup.
Lisa: This sucks.
Laura: Yes. Yes it does.
Lisa: I'm not sure we're cut out for this.
Laura: Me neither.
Lisa: We could just give up?
Laura: Nah, let's just send some more queries.
Lisa: OK.

And so we sent more queries and the cycle started all over again. Eventually we would have just given up. I mean, there's only so much rejection a couple of sister writers can take, right? But we didn't. And the reason we never gave up is because we got one rejection that looked like this:

Dear Lisa and Laura,

So I've finally had a chance to review THE NORTH SHORE in full. You guys really know YA voice and some of your narrative is so strong, and I especially enjoyed the excerpts from the Modern Socialite's Handbook. All of that being said, I think that this story needs too much work at this time.

Although flippant POV and long backstory really worked for Jane Austen, it does not work in today's market and especially not in YA. Flipping from the parent's POV to one of the kids back and forth, from Lauren's to Mr. Bennet' completely keeps the reader from connecting with your main, YA characters. It also takes too long to get to the real story, which is when the Bingley's show up. You're trying to set the reader up with too much back story on the Bennet's and their lifestyle. Although it's all written well and even really funny at parts, it just isn't necessary.

I did really enjoy THE NORTH SHORE and I'm sorry to be passing. But I would look at future work from you two...there is definitely something there in your writing. If you decide to revise NS to make it from only a couple POVs and the pacing is picked up, I'd like to take another look as well.

I'm sorry I don't have better news at this time. Good luck with all of your submissions and keep me posted on its progress!

So, instead of giving up, we kept on writing. And because one very busy literary agent took some extra time out of her day to encourage a couple of newbie writers, we're now published writers. That agent had a profound impact on our lives and we will never, ever forget her.

And today to celebrate A Need So Beautiful and random acts of kindness we've partnered with bloggers and authors across the country to give away a chapter critique. There are TONS of other amazing prizes including 3 signed copies of A Need So Beautiful and signed books and critiques from Kimberly Derting, Daisy Whitney, Lisa Schroeder and Keri Mikulski. Check out A Good Addiction to see the full list of AMAZING prizes.

The contest will run June 21 - 28. There will be 1 winner per item, and then three people will also be chosen to win a signed copy of A Need So Beautiful in addition to their other prize. The signed A Need So Beautiful copies will be US only. 

Here's how you can earn entries:

Earn one extra entry for each of the following:

  • Take a picture of an author's book in the wild and tweet it to us and the author
  • Post a positive Amazon review for a book you loved
  • Donate a book to a library or classroom
  • Tweet a good deed you plan to do this week, using the #ANeedSoBeautiful hashtag

Earn 10 extra entries for each of the following:

  • Take a picture of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL in the wild and tweet it to us and Suzanne Young
  • Post an Amazon review for A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL
  • Donate a copy of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL to a library or classroom
  • Click here to enter the contest and please wait until you have completed all of your entries to enter. Multiple entries will be deleted.

Good luck and have fun!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

THIS is Why We Write...

Some authors start writing to win awards.

Some authors start writing to get famous. (HA!)

Some authors start writing to get rich. (Double HA!)

But THIS is why we started writing.

We are so grateful for supportive friends like Steph and for 4th graders everywhere who just haven't found the right book yet.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Your Weekly Dose of Celebrity Commentary

 I'm putting Selena Gomez on Weekend at Bernie's Alert. Poor girl collapsed, spent like 12 hours in rehab and then they have her on stage again. We're like two weeks away from seeing her in sunglasses with the Jonas Brothers propping her up.

Has anyone tested R. Patz for anemia? He needs a neck to suck stat.

I'm scared of Kirstie Allie. Also I have no idea how to spell her name and I'm way too lazy to look it up, but I'm 99% sure she's thinking about eating someone's face in this picture.

I'm not gonna lie, for a second I thought Drew Barrymore was dating Prince Charles and I thought to myself. "Holy crap. That is so random. But kind of awesome she'll be Kate Middleton's stepmom," because let's be honest, Drew would be a killer stepmom. There's a Disney movie in here somewhere. They've probably already attached poor Selena Gomez.

No snark here. Just pure happiness. I love Pacey. I'm so happy that he's happy. Also...HOT.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Thursday made of random...

1. We are in the process of planning WriteOnCon 2011 and we're so excited about it. It's going to be epic, EPIC and we can't wait for all the big reveals!

2. If you were the kid in elementary/middle school who brought soup in a plastic thermos (preferably the ones that matched the hard, plastic lunchbox) as a part of your lunch, I wanted to be you. I would stare longingly as you slurped up your hot deliciousness. That's all.

3. I just ruthlessly purged my closet of 3/4 of its contents. I'm thinking I'll never shrink back small enough to make what has become a crop top not a crop top anymore.

4. I was doing said purging when I was supposed to be involved in a chat. I always miss things. Especially when they're scheduled after 8 PM at night. All bets are off when the sun goes down.

5. I apologize that our blog posts are written primarily in list form (and tend to morph into Tell the Truth EVERYDAY when we're finished with them). It's as though we use up all of our paragraph-forming abilities in our books and can't bring ourselves to write ONE more for the blog. Lists are also universally satisfying, no?

What's your random today?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shameless Agent Love

We are represented by Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.

She is 10 flavors of awesome.

So awesome that sometimes we want to walk around wearing t-shirts that say "Team Drayton."

Our road to publication was a little bumpy, but she NEVER ever gave up on us. Even when we wanted to give up on ourselves.

Last night she took the time to hang out with the WriteOnCon Team and answer questions with the equally amazing Becca Fitzpatrick.

There's lots and lots of great publishing advice in this chat.

If you are a writer, you should probably read it.

And then you'll probably want to wear a "Team Drayton" t-shirt too.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. This review almost made me cry. I think it's partly because we're really excited to read Wildefire and partly because we've had a soft spot for Karsten ever since he christened us Team Gemini.

2. Lisa criticized my presentation of raspberries and chocolate from last month's bookclub saying they were just "thrown together" and hypothesized that perhaps that's why they "didn't go." I got shiny eyes.

3. I'm pretty sure that I'm the only person watching Love Bites, but it's absolutely adorable.

4. Turns out I'm still really good at writing human resource proposals. I like to think that my proposals are more suspenseful and written in a more compelling voice than the average benefits outsourcing RFP.

5. I have another Lisa vs. the Universe story, but I'm scared to write the blog post because it seems a little absurd that all this crazy crap keeps happening to one person.

6. On the flight home yesterday, Lydia and I were stuck in the pit of the plane--ie, last seat, in front of bathrooms. There was no window and all the people around me had their windows closed giving me absolutely no frame of reference for take off or landing. I felt like I was going to vomit the whole time and unfairly wanted to take it out on the old woman sitting in front of me. I let Lydia kick her seat. 

7. My only consolation on the plane was that no one was sitting beside me so we were able to eat our bean and cheese quesadilla in peace. Yes, we're those people.

8. The AMAZING Catherine Drayton and uber talented, best selling author  Becca Fitzpatrick are going to be chatting about the agent/author relationship at WriteOnCon at 9 EST tonight and I'm praying that everything goes as planned because holy crap it's CATHERINE DRAYTON AND BECCA FITZPATRICK! They are rock stars. Please come. Even if everything goes down in flames it's bound to be entertaining.

What's your truth this Tuesday? Bare it all in the comments.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Should Be Writing....

But instead, I've....
  • Eaten dark chocolate with sea salt.
  • Researched diet pills.
  • Watched 60 Minutes.
  • Filled up my water bottle.
  • Reviewed the past two weeks of US Weekly pics.
  • Clicked on a feature story marketed as "celebrities without makeup" only to be disappointed by the fact that most of them were wearing makeup.
  • Read the entire #whitegirlproblems Twitter stream.
  • Refreshed my email more times than I can count.
  • Checked Twitter to see if @Scott_Tracey is still wearing Tinkerbell lip gloss.
  • Looked up the number of text messages I've sent this month.
  • Verified our checking account balance.
  • Purchased sports bras.
  • Talked to The Regulator about our plans for the 4th of July.
  • Wrote this blog post.
I suck. 

Happy Monday!

PS: Don't forget to join us for tomorrow night's WriteOnCon chat featuring author Becca Fitzpatrick and her agent Catherine Drayton. Come armed with questions at 9 PM EST!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Congratulations go out to the following five winners!

Kira B


Perla M.
minhchieu tran

You all should have emails waiting in your inbox.

Thanks to EVERYONE for helping us spread the word about the awesome that is POSSESSION. For the rest of you who entered? No worries. Just click and buy to join in the fun! Easy-peasy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's POSSESSION Saturday!

Don't forget, this is day six of the Elana Johnson POSSESSION Launch Festival of Awesome! Today, go to Ali Cross’s site and comment to enter to win a signed copy of POSSESSION and learn the secret time that you need to use the Twitter hashtag #taggedPOSSESSION to win another signed copy of POSSESSION!

We're giving away 17 signed copies of POSSESSION throughout this week's blog tour--be sure to visit and enter to win! Tomorrow, final winners will be announced!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy, happy Friday...

The sisters LiLa are travelling, so just a quickie post today and a bonus quickie tomorrow and Sunday. Not that kind of quickie (get your mind out of the gutter!), just the, um, normal POSSESSION variety. We'll be back on Monday with more randomness!

Have a fab weekend!

Don't forget, this is day five of the Elana Johnson POSSESSION Launch Festival of Awesome! Today, go to Christine Fonseca's site and comment to enter to win a signed copy of POSSESSION and learn the secret time that you need to use the Twitter hashtag #taggedPOSSESSION to win another signed copy of POSSESSION!

We're giving away 17 signed copies of POSSESSION throughout this week's blog tour--be sure to visit and enter to win! Tomorrow's giveaway will be hosted at Ali Cross's blog!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Bookanistas: The Summer of the Bear AND bonus celebrations!

Buckle up. This is going to be the longest post on record.

We were sent an ARC of THE SUMMER OF THE BEAR by Bella Pollen and I was instantly intrigued. The title caught my attention and when I did further research, I learned that the story was inspired by Bella's own experience in Scotland's remote Outer Hebrides islands growing up. I'm a total sucker for a true-life-inspired novel and if I know you like I think I know you, you will be too.

What the back cover has to say:

With her fifth novel, critically acclaimed writer and journalist Bella Pollen takes readers into the private dynamics of a family grappling with the loss of father and husband in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, where between elemental beauty and utter bleakness, strange forces are at play.

In 1980 Germany, under Cold War tension, a mole is suspected in the British Embassy. When the clever diplomat Nicky Fleming dies suddenly and suspiciously, it’s convenient to brand him the traitor. But was his death an accident, murder, or suicide? As the government digs into Nicky’s history, his wife, Letty, relocates with her three children to a remote Scottish island hoping to salvage their family. But the isolated shores of her childhood retreat only intensify their distance, and it is Letty’s brilliant and peculiar youngest child, Jamie, who alone holds on to the one thing he’s sure of: his father has promised to return and he was a man who never broke a promise.

Exploring the island, Jamie and his teenaged sisters discover that a domesticated brown bear has been marooned on shore, hiding somewhere among the seaside caves. Jamie feels that the bear may have a strange connection to his father, and as he seeks the truth, his father’s story surfaces in unexpected ways. Bella Pollen has an uncanny ability to capture the unnoticeable moments in which families grow quiet. A novel about the corrosive effects of secrets and the extraordinary imagination of youth, The Summer of the Bear is Pollen’s most ambitious and affecting book yet.

What Lila has to say:I KNOW I've said this about other books, but I'm going to say it again about this one. This book is like nothing I've ever read before. First of all, there's a bear in the main storyline. That is in and of itself unique. But to consider that this novel is based on actual events that occured in the summer of 1980 was really fascinating to me. Bella Pollen tells this story from multiple perspectives, which I have a total soft-spot for. Even better, all of the perspectives are incredibly unique and voiced to a tee--Pollen is basically a character-genius.

Georgie is the eldest daughter and after the sudden/tragic/mysterious death of her father is trying to navigate the aftermath--a new home, a new mother who has shut herself out and a new adult-like perspective. There's also a level of mystery with her storyline because she once traveled to East Germany with her father during the Cold War and the government is investigating this trip closely after his apparent suicide. The reader is left to wonder if Georgie has the missing piece. Then there's Alba, the middle child, who is instantly unlikeable as her evil streak leads her to treat her younger brother with vicious contempt. But you have to sympathize with her because Alba is on the brink of puberty and is left to fend for herself as her mom is basically out of commision as the result of her overwhelming grief. And then there's Jamie, who has special needs but an entirely different, almost genius-level outlook and perspective. The entire family has kept their father's death somewhat of a secret from Jamie to protect him so he's left searching for his lost father as opposed to mourning. We're also offered Letty's perspective as she sifts through the clues surrounding her husband's death and tries to make sense of who her husband really was. AND the bear. Yes, it sounds strange to read snippets from a bear, but it completely works. The bear was raised basically as a human and after its escape, struggled to survive as it never embraced its wild instincts or had forgotten them altogether. Pollen toys with the idea of a hyper-humanized bear and offers the reader snippets into what this could look like. The result is magical and not in the least bit cheesy.
Whew. That's a lot of character. And I didn't even mention the quirky islanders who are peppered into the storyline and add to the mystique of the story. Because they're awesome. And they bring you straight to these remote Scottish islands and plug you right in. Like I said before, character-genius.
At its core, this story is a coming-of-age/coming-to-terms novel about the breakdown of communication. The Cold War was famous for this and is in the backdrop, but we see the major effects that a lack of communication has on the family itself. Everyone is struggling to understand what happened to their beloved father/husband. But in the meantime, they've forgotten how to understand one another. It's one of the more intricate books I've read in a while and I thoroughly enjoyed being thrown into this unique setting with these people who wanted nothing more than to grow. Highly recommend!

Next...our celebrations.


Don't forget, this is day four of the Elana Johnson POSSESSION Launch Festival of Awesome! Today, go to Jamie Harrington's site and comment to enter to win a signed copy of POSSESSION and learn the secret time that you need to use the Twitter hashtag #taggedPOSSESSION to win another signed copy of POSSESSION!

We're giving away 17 signed copies of POSSESSION throughout this week's blog tour--be sure to visit and enter to win! Tomorrow's giveaway will be hosted at Christine Fonseca's blog!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WTF Wednesday: In Which the Universe KICKS MY A$$

5:30:00 AM: Mumble something that sounds like "Love you" as the husband leaves for work.
5:30:01 AM: Slap on my sleep mask and fall back into a blissfull sleep.
7:11:00 AM: Vaguely hear the kids fighting over who can pee the fastest.
7:11:01 AM: Fall back into a blissful sleep.
7:22:00 AM: Ben is awake.
7:25:03 AM: Confirm that Ben has a fever of 102 degrees.
Universe: 1 Lisa: 0
7:26:27 AM: Feel Ben's top gums and feel two huge lumps where there will eventually be teeth.
Universe: 2 Lisa: 0
7:28:01 AM: Feed Ben and notice there are huge monsoon like clouds looming on the horizon.
7:31:05 AM: Begin somewhat crazed process of getting the kids out of the house before the rain-pocolypse hits.
7:59:01 AM: Pat myself on the back for loading everyone into the car successfully before a drop of rain hits the ground. It's a tie game, bitches.
Universe: 2 Lisa: 2
8:10:02 AM: On the drive to school realize that Jack is wearing a bathing suit, no underwear, no change of clothes and Mia and I are in sundresses and the temperature just dropped from 91 degrees to 64 degrees.
Universe: 3 Lisa: 2
8:20:03 AM: The rain starts pounding our car so hard that I'm 99% sure I saw the Four Horseman of the Apocolypse galloping next to my mom-mobile.
Universe: 4 Lisa: 2
8:35:01 AM: Successfully make it to Jack's school in time to drop him in the car pool line and avoid getting all the kids out of the car in the rain. Take that Universe!
Universe: 4 Lisa: 3
9:23:31 AM: Narrowly avoid hydroplaning on the freeway next to a huge semi. Worst driving conditions ever, but we're all alive and the Universe is my bitch.
Universe: 4 Lisa: 4
9:33:01 AM: Pull into Laura's neighborhood with my fingers crossed that she's left the garage open so I can pull in and avoid getting the kids soaked in the storm of the century.
Universe: 4 Lisa: 5
9:33:15 AM: Begin to manuever the car into the garage and have an instant flashback to my driving test 16 years ago in which I immediately plowed into all 4 orange cones and failed the manueverability section of the test. In one of the most shocking (and potentially destructive) moves in all of history, the instructor passed me anyway. Frank Mangini (Yes, I still remember his name) should be held personally responsible for every single fenderbender I've been involved in since that time. Including, but not limited to: the time I backed into my Grandfather's car on Christmas; the time I backed into my husband's car and just kept driving; and the time I backed into that lady in the minivan in the parking lot.
9:33:16 AM: We all know where this is going, right? Slam into the side of Laura's garage.
Universe: 101 Lisa: -30
9:33:18 AM: Swear a blue streak and then attempt to back out of the garage without hitting Laura's car. Hear a chunk of my car fall off.
Universe: 299 Lisa: -31
9:33:19 AM: Mia asks, "Mommy why did you say, 'Oh $hit'?"
Universe: 300 Lisa: -32
9:33:21 AM: Get out of the car in the pouring rain to assess the damage. It's not good. Part of my door is hanging off the car and there's an unidentified black chunk of my car in the driveway.
9:33:48 AM: Rest my head on the steering wheel and cry a little.
9:34:00 AM: Get the kids out of the car in the pouring rain and take them into the house. By the time we get inside we all look like we've taken a shower with our clothes on.
Universe: 301 Lisa: -33
9:35:00 AM: Test Laura's garage door to make sure I didn't do any permanent damage. It works.
Universe: 301 Lisa: -32
10:05:01 AM: Rain stops, sun is shining and Laura and I head out to my car to assess the damage.
10:10:02 AM: After a detailed analysis of the damage we feel confident the car can be fixed with a hammer and some super glue.
10:15:56 AM: It works!
10:15:57 AM: Kind of.
10:15:59 AM: We can't really figure out what to do with the mystery chunk of car that fell off and into the driveway.
10:16:15 AM: Agree that this part should be hidden in the trunk until further notice.
10:17:00 AM: Step back into Laura's slightly damaged garage and assess our handiwork.
10:17:30 AM: Congratulate each other and and head inside for some tea.
Universe: 301 Lisa: -31
10:18:00 AM: Briefly discuss opening up our own body shop for women who damage their cars and need to fix them quickly so their husbands don't critisize their abysmal manueverability skills.
10:18:08 AM: Remember we have to finish THE LIES THAT BIND by October 1st.
10:18:45 AM: Realize that we can use this for our blog post tomorrow.

FINAL SCORE: Universe: 301 Lisa: 1 (blog post material is worth a lot, people.)


Don't forget, this is day three of the Elana Johnson POSSESSION Launch Festival of Awesome! Today, go to Shannon Messenger's site and comment to enter to win a signed copy of POSSESSION and learn the secret time that you need to use the Twitter hashtag #taggedPOSSESSION to win another signed copy of POSSESSION!

We're giving away 17 signed copies of POSSESSION throughout this week's blog tour--be sure to visit and enter to win! Tomorrow's giveaway will be hosted at Jamie Harrington's blog!

AND now for our winners of a signed copy of POSSESSION!!!!

Congratulations go out to @TheCheyShow and Sarena
Email us ASAP to claim the best prize ever!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Today is THE day! CONGRATULATIONS, Elana. You have a brand new book in this world and she's beautiful. Just beautiful.

So beautiful that we're giving away all sorts of FREE, SIGNED copies throughout the week! In fact, all you have to do to enter is leave a comment in this here blog post. That's right, leave your mark and you might win a copy of your very own! If you're struggling with what to say, tell us which rule you'd most like to break!

If that's not enough, we're also going to be stalking Twitter tonight from 9 PM-10 PM EST searching for folks using the official #taggedPOSSESSION hashtag. If we catch YOU tweeting it, you may just win another FREE, SIGNED copy!

AND, because we enjoy humiliating ourselves in floppy beach hats and smexy shoes, we present the following video for your viewing pleasure. Rest assured, POSSESSION is about 10 bajillion times better than this video.


Don't forget, this is day two of the Elana Johnson POSSESSION Launch Festival of Awesome! Today, go to Lisa and Laura Roecker's site and comment to enter to win a signed copy of POSSESSION and learn the secret time that you need to use the Twitter hashtag #taggedPOSSESSION to win another signed copy of POSSESSION!

We're giving away 17 signed copies of POSSESSION throughout this week's blog tour--be sure to visit and enter to win! Tomorrow's giveaway will be hosted at Shannon Messenger's blog!

It's also time to announce the winners of our We <3 Indies Contest!!!! Congratulations Rebecca Knight and Riv Re! Start thinking about which book you'd like us to order for you and email us to claim your prize!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Backhanded Optimist

I've never really considered myself a glass is half full kind of gal. When bad news comes my way, I tend to react like a soap opera actress, an exquisite blend of tragedy and drama with lots of sobbing and grande gestures thrown in for good measure.

But inevitably as I begin to process the news, things start changing, and within a few days disaster turns into delight. The most recent example of my backhanded optimism in action is when my husband and I decided that it might be time for me to go back to the day job.

Day 1

Husband: Well, if we want to move into a bigger house I think you'll probably have to go back to work.
Me: *Sobbing too hard to respond*
Husband: You worked before, was it really that bad?
Me: Sob gasp sob...writing. Sob gasp sob...neglected children. Sob gasp sob...END OF MY LIFE.
Husband: ....

Day 2

Me: So, I happened to talk to my old manager today and there's a job opening that sounds kind of perfect.
Husband: That's great.
Me: Whatever. I still hate you.

Day 6

Me: The interviews went REALLY well. This is going to be great! It was so nice to catch up with everyone that I used to work with and have a quiet house. I could totally get used to this.
Husband: ....

Day 25

Random friend: So, you're going back to work!
Me: Yeah. I decided that I'd have way more balance in my life if I went back to work. More time to write, the kids are thrilled to be able to go to camps and stuff. I think it's going to be the best of both worlds.
Random friend: Good for you!
Me: I know. Best decision I ever made.
Husband: Sigh.

And, that, my friends, is how you rewrite history. What's funny is that I don't even realize I'm doing it. End up with a book cover you hate? Make a couple of tweaks, write a blog post, add faux pink hair to your profile pic as a joke and take full credit for being a marketing genius! Who needs real optimism when the backhanded version is so much more fun?


Don't forget, this is also day one of the Elana Johnson POSSESSION Launch Festival of Awesome! Today, go to Beth Revis's site and comment to enter to win a signed copy of POSSESSION and learn the secret time that you need to use the Twitter hashtag #taggedPOSSESSION to win another signed copy of POSSESSION!

We're giving away 17 signed copies of POSSESSION throughout this week's blog tour--be sure to visit and enter to win! Tomorrow's giveaway will be hosted at right here!

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...