Friday, December 31, 2010


I do not intend on making a best of list for this blog.  I am not the kind of person who makes best of lists based on years.  Probably because I forget lots of things, and I couldn't tell you most of the goodies I watched and/or read this year.  Perhaps that's why I keep a blog-- to remind me.  I also do not make resolutions.  Making a resolution to me feels like you were doing something that you were unhappy about, so you are planning to change it just because it's the new year.  Why not just change it NOW?  It reminds me of when I was a chubbier person, and I was eating some Dots.  I turned to my friend, Liz, and said, with a green one in my mouth, "I eat all the ones I don't like first."  Liz said to me, "Why don't you just not eat the ones you don't like?"  Genius.  On the same tip, why wait until the beginning of a new year to do things you feel good about?  So that's why I don't make resolutions.  I'm a relatively proactive person, and I like to get it done, good or bad.  Speaking of bad, I am on the verge of a cold, so I may or may not be able to taste tonight's celebratory ice cream cake.  Wouldn't that be a shame?  And I also may not be able to stay up until midnight, as I recently promised my husband.  I hope everyone out there has super fun, exciting plans that will trump my ice cream cake and falling asleep ones. 

I still have more to say about sexy stuff in books, but I think I'll wait until another day.  I wanted to talk about how being home from work has now allowed me to read books for older teens, thus reintroducing me to the possibility of sexuality in teen books.  And I want to talk about a survey of sorts I sent to a group of my past students, asking them how they would have felt if their librarian (me)wrote a book with sex in it while they were in middle school.  I've gotten some amazingly thought out replies.  Also, this weekend I'm having lunch with another local YA author, and I'm stoked.  Matt, my husband, has recently built up a rock star group of local illustrators (we're talking Caldecotts and accolades, people) to hang with, and I would love to do the same with YA authors.  It's been hard to find takers, though.  I can't wait to hear about her process, chat about the business, and get any good gossip she wants to share.  If I forget to blog about these things, remind me.  But above all, Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do You Want It?

After yesterday's post, I've had more considerations about sex in YA books and it concerns me.  No, wait, it doesn't concern me.  I meant how it relates to me.  Interesting.  Anyway, I am now wondering what my readers will think of the change.  Will they notice it?  Will they welcome it?  Will they shun it?  Will they CHALLENGE it?  Bring it on.  Will it be that much different?  I can tell you that the writing process has already been very different for me.  I would love to sit down with authors who regularly write sexy scenes into their books and find out what their experience is like.  And not a watered down version, either.  Not that that will ever happen.

My other thought, or fear really, is that when my editor gets off from vacation on January 3, she will read my email where I tell her all about this fabulous new book that is spilling from my pen and she will tell me she is not interested.  Because that would really suck.  The only book I have started and never finished for my editor was a zombie novel (I know, it sounds cliche, but what's a horror fangirl to do?).  And that was just one chapter.  I am already 32 pages into the new book after writing for two days.  I feel like I could finish it in about three weeks, if I am given the time to work (which involves a combination of a)my husband taking over for parts of the day, even though he has his own work to complete, b) my daughter actually going back to her nap schedule instead of screaming bloody murder for an hour and then us having to force her asleep in the car, and c) my mom coming over multiple days for multiple hours.  Will the stars align and allow me to finish this book in the speed that my brain and body want to write it?  Will my audience applaud the new additions to my writing oeuvre (a word I have not used until now)?  Will my editor tell me to bring it on?  The new year promises many exciting, unknown things.  Just the way I like it.  As long as it doesn't involve nap times.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Dead and the Sexy

I posted on facebook yesterday about how I was writing a new book, and I was probably going to put a sex-ish scene in it.  And since I knew that scene, or possibly scenes, would be in the book, I wanted to skip writing the other parts of the book and get to the sex-ish part (I keep writing sex-ish because I don't know if they will actually do the deed.  We'll see how much they like each other).  Maybe my readers have noticed that I haven't had most of my book characters go very far sexually, and even when they participate in a sexual act, I haven't written a scene that shows the actual act taking place.  The reason I've used throughout my four novels for doing (or not doing) that is because I am a middle school librarian.  I'd love to be able to have my books in my library and for my students to read them.  And how weird would it be if they were reading these sexual scenes written by their librarian?  I just couldn't do it.  So I didn't.  But now here I am on my year off, and I finally feel liberated enough to write a sexy book.  Not the whole thing, mind you, but appropriately placed sex-ish moments.  Sex-ish is starting to sound hilarious to me, by the way.  What happens when I get back in my library?  If I get back in my library?  Who knows?  But the time has come to find out.

I'd also like to mention a comment on that facebook post by my writer friend, Andrew Smith, that said, "I think that makes you a man."  Now, Andrew has this whole tough guy, writer dude thing going, and he likes to talk about boys and writing and manly things.  Which is obviously important and warrants discussion and thought, especially in the hands of a talented writer like Andrew.  But I would like to point out to Andrew, and all people who think that sex is a predominantly male-brained phenomenon, how many books are written by women for women (young and/or otherwise) that make it perfectly clear that females think about sex just as much as males.  Me?  My first self-published works were soft-porn stories I wrote for my friends in high school.  Not that I would have classified them as that at the time, but we were all thinking about it, so I wrote elaborate, graphic fantasies where my friends managed to nab such fine (at the time) men as Michael Hutchence (RIP) and Bono.  The difference is, just like with much of what men do (and I'm not going to turn this into a political rant, but I have many thoughts on men and, oh, the state of the world), women don't have to make everything they do about showing it off to other people.  Maybe it's because we don't have appendages hanging off the front of our bodies.  Wait a sec-- we do, don't we?  They're called breasts.  And somehow men seem to think those are for them, too.

My point was not to dog men out for thinking they are the only gender allowed to have sexual thoughts (well, maybe it was a little), but to explain that women enjoy reading and writing a good sex scene, too.  In fact, maybe I'll just skip ahead and write the scene in advance.  Or maybe I can start a side career, penning sexual fantasies for women involving their favorite dead and/or washed up rock stars.  Any takers?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Welcome back!  (Am I welcoming myself back, or my readers back?)  I got home yesterday from my annual Christmas journey south to hang with the in-laws, and I'm raring to go.  Where, that remains to be seen.  What was interesting about the trip (there were, of course, many interesting things, but this is the interesting thing I'm choosing to blog about) is that for a while now, or ever since I finished and emailed my sequel to GET WELL SOON off to my editor, I've been wondering if my inspiration for writing books came from my job at the middle school library.  Not necessarily directly from the job or the kids, but just being away from writing for a school year and then coming back to it each summer.  That concerned me, since I have this year off from work and was hoping to write at least two novels during that time (one down, so at least one more to go, right?).  But then there was that period of time where I wasn't writing, didn't want to start another novel right away, and didn't even really know what I wanted to write.  I had ideas, but nothing that screamed, "Write me!"

During our trip south, Matt and I spent a lot of time driving around while Romy napped.  This was the only way to get her to nap, and it gave me a lot of thinking time.  Reading signs, looking at southern things, whispering to Matt about places he had been, sparked something in me.  And just like that, I was ready to write my next book.  I started it this morning.  It's off to a surly start, but I think that's sort of the point of the thing.  Or not the point, just maybe a place the narrator can move away from.  Wow.  The narrator.  She doesn't even have a name yet.  I'm only four pages in, but I know where it's going a bit.  And just like that, here comes novel number two of my year off.  All I needed was a little change of scenery.  And a Moon Pie.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Happy!

Since I figure not many people are reading my blog during the holidays (or maybe you are, although turnout didn't seem huge for my last post), I'm not going to post again until next week after the big X-Mas shebang.  Wishing everyone safe and happy holidays and travels!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Music as Religion

This past week I watched the film Away We Go twice, once by myself and once with my husband.  I enjoyed the movie, although I found it incomplete and inconsistent (particularly in its mood, that jumped from solemn to slapstick to realistic to over-the-top).  It brought back a lot of my feelings of the period of my life when we were trying to get pregnant.  It also reminded me of something I'd been meaning to blog about, which is music as religion, because music is used somewhat heavy-handedly in the film.  You will soon see how the two topics go hand in hand.  Just an FYI: this blog post may border on the TMI, although if you've read Get Well Soon, one might say you already know TMI about me.

You probably know I have a two year-old daughter, but you may not know what a difficult time I had getting her.  The process was a two year roller coaster ride that included one miscarriage, hours of needles and testing (and, again, if you know anything about me, you know this is my phobia), and a complicated pregnancy with Romy.  Some of you may ask, why look back if you have a beautiful, perfect daughter now?  To that I answer: it is not something I will ever forget.  My friend, Cheryl, has twin girls, one of whom was in the NICU for just a few days.  Her twins are now in grade school, and Cheryl said she still cries when she remembers it.  Infertility is horribly painful (which was a piece of Away We Go that definitely got to me) and traumatic, and it is still fresh in my mind.  By the way, after all of the testing and the ridiculous infertility specialist we saw (one day she came to the office wearing a sparkly dress, the next she was in jeans, her hair piled atop her head because she couldn't bother to fix it), we ended up getting pregnant the natural way.  It just took a very bumpy road to get there.

Now- on to the music!  I used music as religion as a teenager.  I'm thinking most of us did/do.  But now I recognize that there were specific songs throughout my life that really were The Gospel.  Since this post is already too long, I am going to name the three songs that have been religious experiences for me during the last five years of my life.  Away we go:

"Let It Be" by The Beatles - I remember this song coming on the radio frequently when Matt and I would drive home from my mom's house during the trying-to-get-pregnant era.  The darkness, combined with the passing stripes of the road, elevated this song to a mantra.  I now sing along with it loudly to remind myself of Paul's wise words.

"Let's Go Crazy" by Prince -
Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here 2 tell u
There's something else
The afterworld

A world of never ending happiness
U can always see the sun, day or night

So when u call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
U know the one - Dr Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

'Cuz in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You're on your own

I cut and pasted these lyrics from a website called  I am not a huge fan of people posting lyrics on their blogs, so feel free to skip, as I usually do.  This is from the beginning of the song, where it's like a sermon (forgive me if that's not the right term.  I am a Jew), and I always just used to think of this song as a weird Prince dance/rock jam with a funny church theme.  Back up the sixth week of my pregnancy with Romy when I found out we were having twins.  Six weeks later, I was driving home from the hospital by myself after learning that one of the twins stopped developing at seven weeks.  A relatively common event that many women don't even know happened to them (we just happened to have an early ultrasound because of all our complications), but upsetting nonetheless.  Matt and I drove separately because I was coming home from work.  On my drive, this song came on.  And all of a sudden I got it.  I was in Prince's church.  And at the end of the song, where the guitar builds to heavenly heights, and he screams "Take me away!" I was changed.  I still get chills even thinking about it.

"Falling Slowly" from the Once Soundtrack - I know there are variations of the names of the band who wrote this song, so I could have written The Swell Season or their names, but it really started from when I saw it in Once.  I am assuming the lyrics to this song are about something going on between the couple in the film (and if you have not seen it, please do.  It's magical.), but I found that they worked for me as I failed to get pregnant.  The first lines of
I don't know you
But I want you
All the more
For that
choke me up to this day. 
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Yeah, I'm crying now.  But here's the kicker:
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won
I'm pretty sure this song was not written for people trying and failing to get pregnant, but damn if it didn't feel like it was for me.

So there you have it.  Those songs hit me with religious fervor and still inspire awe every time I hear them.  There have been more in my life, like "Alive" by Pearl Jam when I was a clinically depressed teenager, but I think I've shared enough for one blog post.  Probably enough for more than one.

If you've stuck with this long post and you'd care to share, what are some of your songs-as-religion choices?

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Do Not

It's time to talk about marriage.  Not NORMAL person marriage, but celebrity marriage.  What is wrong with celebrities, you ask, that they cannot stay together?  This is in the wake of multiple celebrity break-ups in the past few weeks, including the as expected one of Ryan Reynolds (who I will never see as an action stud guy, no matter how much he works out) and Scarlett Johansson (who also does not appeal to me at all).  In my humble (and often right) opinion, I think it boils down to three things: 1) Acting, 2) Time intensity, and 3) Money.  I shall explain. 

Acting.  That's what they do for a living, so I can't imagine it's so easy to turn it off when they go home at night.  Like when you're a teacher, and you have to go home and grade.  Or that one kid who did something awful that day won't get out of your head.  I'm sure all careers have this to some degree, so why not acting?  I figure actors have this warped sense of reality, so when they come home to their spouse, or soon-to-be spouse, they act like what they think a happy couple is supposed to act like.  And that works.  For a short amount of time.

Time Intensity.  This isn't the greatest way to phrase what I'm thinking, but Romy is up in her crib and I am (as always) rushing to finish this post.  What I mean is that when you work on a television or movie set (which I can say from experience, since I was an intern on The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and I know what a 16 hour day can do to your personal life), you see the same people for a very intense period of time.  You have your own little trailers.  Junky food is spread out for you.  You all know and hang around the same people.  So it's like your own, special world.  But when the television show or movie stops filming and BAM you are in the real world with lots of other people, and then suddenly you are on a whole new set with completely different people than your newly made spouse, those people are the ones that get the time intensity instead of the new/old beau.  Did that make sense?

Money.  This one's huge.  For real people, we have to think a lot about money a lot of the time.  Weddings cost a shitload.  And so do divorces.  Real people have to think about the money they spend on their big day, and they also have to think about what would happen to their money if they divorce.  It causes people to think more about why they got into their marriage in the first place and hopefully helps a lot of people work through their marital problems instead of taking the easy and quick way out through divorce.  By no means am I saying that some couples don't need to get a divorce.  I'm just saying that celebrities seem to think marriage has little meaning and that getting out of short-lived marriages instead of working through is the norm.  Or maybe they just jump into marriages too quickly because, again, they don't have to worry about throwing away a ton of money if the marriage doesn't work out.  Most stars' engagement rings cost more than I will make in my lifetime.  I'm guessing.

I have no idea how I chose this for a blog subject.  I just thought it was weird when I saw people posting on facebook- in shock!- that ScarJo and RyRen were getting divorced.  Really?  And is it sad that I, and I'm sure loads of others, predicted it would happen?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I am an Author

It took me writing four novels to realize that, indeed, I am a writer.  Or an author.  Is there a difference?  Whatever, I am both.  For a long time, with Get Well Soon and Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, I felt like sort of a sham.  Not like I couldn't write or that my books weren't good because I don't believe either.  I think my books are very funny, and if not great literature at least well-written, with excellent characterization and dialog (ha!  I just critiqued myself!).  But I still didn't feel like a writer.  Then I finished my third novel, the forthcoming Don't Stop Now.  Actually, I still wasn't feeling all that writerly.  But about the time revisions came around, and my editor and I needed less than a handful of revision passes between us, I got the sense that I was doing okay.  I read blogs of other writers- HUGE ones (not necessarily in size, of course, although some may be.  I don't know what all authors look like in person)- talking about their revision process and things they struggled with-- things I didn't.  And I though, huh, maybe I am a writer!  With the sequel of Get Well Soon in the hands of my editor, and with much confidence from me (although the self-loathing and terror will most definitely come later), I feel like this is it.  I have found my calling.  I used to think the only job I was meant to do was that of a librarian.  I already knew I was damn good at that.  But I'm very happy to find another career, calling, that suits me.

I have no idea why I just wrote some absurd mission statement/daily affirmation blog post.  That's not what I sat down to write at all.  Perhaps I just needed to tell myself this, as I'm in between books and buying shoes obsessively online, wondering whether or not I'll wake my daughter up by playing my Deathly Hallows computer game upstairs, and thinking I'll wait until after the holidays to get back to writing books.  Other writers have these problems, too, right?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Part (two) of that world

I can't say I'm not disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm about yesterday's post.  Did you just miss it because I posted in the afternoon?  I thought you would be all over it!  Isn't it fun to pretend?  I'll just keep doing it for myself then.
1.  If you had to live in one world purely for its fashion, weaponry, and/or gadgets, which would you choose?
Hmmm.  I am curious as to how the hairstylists on Buffy managed to make her brown hair blond and still look so soft and shiny.  But I don't think I'd look very good as a blond (which is another blog post I intend to tackle someday: celebrities who are natural brunettes who look better as blonds AND those who look awful as them).  It's ridiculous that I keep asking questions I can't answer.  At first, I thought I might want to be in Willy Wonka, so I could go into the magical room where everything is food.  But I'm so germaphobic, that the concept now grosses me out.  Ooh!  I know.  I would want to be one of The Pink Ladies!  But in Grease or Grease 2?  I mean, who doesn't want to be Stephanie Zenoni?  Am I right?  Hello?  Is anyone there?  For weapons and gadgety stuff, I think Star Trek: TNG is pretty awesome.  I could probably spend all of my days in the Holodeck, thus allowing me to live out any fantasy I have.  How does anyone in the world of TNG not spend all of their time in the holodeck?  Plus, I think I remember that they never had to have blood drawn in the awful way we do, just a little reader thing held over their skin without puncturing it.  I would remember that .
2.  If you had to actually BE a fictional character, which one would you embody?
I'm pretty sure I'll go with Buffy on this one.  She's super strong, has great hair, is witty and charming and lovely.  I really admire her.  It would be a hard life, but I'd have my Scooby Gang to help me out.  It would be an amazing power to walk down the street and know you could kick anyone's ass.

I'm going to leave today's blog at two questions, since no one fully answered yesterday's three.  If I don't get any real answers today, I'm changing subjects.  Sigh.  What do blog readers want from me?  I'm so confused.  I bet Buffy could figure it out.  Or at least Willow could.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Part (one) of that world

I have been in mega Buffy mode lately (which often alternates with Harry Potter mode), maybe due to my recent acquisition of the first few comics from the final installment of Season Eight.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I feel sad for you.  Not in a cultural snob kind of way, but in an I love you guys, so you should really have Buffy in your life kind of way.  And it got me thinking about WORLDS, like, fictional worlds that I would or would not want to live in.  Because I love a good survey, questionnaire, or Favorites list, I have one for you, dear readers.  At first, the question that popped into my head was a singular one: If you had to chose one fictional world to live in, which one would you choose?  But because I would also have to answer this question, I knew that wasn't going to be an easy task.  So think of this as a series of questions about living in fictional worlds.  Because, how can you choose just one?  What are we basing this on?  The world itself?  The characters?  Romantic possibilities?  Fun vs. coolness?  Realism vs. fantasy?  And would you be one of the characters in this world, or yourself?  Today's entry in the Part of That World Blog Series I just created asks three questions.  Answer carefully.  You never know when you may be sucked into a parallel universe.  For the span of these posts, and unless the question specifies differently, you are answering these question as YOURSELF in these other worlds.  That doesn't mean you can't be yourself and have super powers or magic or whatever, but it is you, not you inhabiting the body and mind of another character.  That comes later :)  See my answers directly after the questions.  You answer in the comments.  Have fun!  Oh, and these can be book, movie, or TV worlds.  And they don't have to be obvious, fantastical choices, either.  If you want to hang with the gang on How I Met Your Mother, that's your prerogative.  I'm not picky.  Well, at least not about that.

1.  If you had to choose one World to live in, which would you choose (in a general kind of way)?
My answer may seem obvious, but the world of Harry Potter.  I'd be a wizard.  Gryffindor, naturally.
2.  If you had to have one romantic interest from another world, who would it be?
This is a tough one, so I'm going to narrow it down to three (yeah, you can do that).  These are off the top of my head, so I'm sure the longer I think about it I'd come up with some ridiculous ones (Like, say, Atreyu from "The Neverending Story" all grown up or something): 1) Ron Weasley, 2) Daniel Dessario from Freaks and Geeks, and 3) Spike from Buffy.
3.  If you had to inhabit one world based on the other people inhabiting it, which would you choose?
Buffy for me.  They are smart and funny, and I just would love to be their friend.  Plus, I'd have my own, personal librarian on hand almost all of the time!

Tomorrow brings more worldy questions, including clothing and other character embodiment.  If you have any ideas for addition questions, do tell.  My mind is a mushball even as I type this.  I was much funnier and interesting this morning when I wanted to write this, but I had to be in mom-mode.  Hopefully you'll like thinking about this as much as I did.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Hodgepodge

We put up our Christmas tree yesterday, and only a tiny part of me deflated when Romy got so excited about it (the part that wants her to be just as excited about Hanukkah).  But I realized that, since we are raising her Jewish, and we celebrate all Jewish holidays locally with my family, that Judaism isn't competing with Christmas.  Instead, Christmas is a fun, food-filled, Southern family-visiting, bright lights holiday that we celebrate.  And Romy loves the tree!  How could she not?  We have a most excellent collection of pop culture ornaments.  I was going to reference a blog post that I swore I published last year about all of our ornaments, but it turned out the post was from THREE years ago!  And poopily, the pictures don't show up anymore (something to do with the blog having to move).  I took a few new pictures of some of the faves:

We bought this at the German Christmas market they have in Chicago every year.  It's a shiny cowboy.
We call this one "The Maestro."  I don't think you can see his wicked, scary legs very well.
The Bumble tops our tree every year.
We have a lovely section of Futurama ornaments.  They are constantly losing limbs.  This year, Romy popped off one of Bender's arms.
I purchased this box back in my QVC-watching days.  Inside are the breakable, collectible ornaments that have no boxes.  We didn't put these out this year because Romy is still very playful with everything on the tree.
This picture is hilarious.  That's Xander and Giles from Buffy in a stare-off.
Please comment if my pictures take forever to load.  I haven't been shrinking them at all in size, so I know they are huge files.  But if it makes it slow, I'd like to know and I will stop being lazy.

In completely unrelated news, please look at this website of awkward pregnancy photos. Damn, it's funny.  I guess it's sort of related, what with the TRASHY holiday cards.  Thanks to Claire Zulkey for sharing.

Oh, and I bought the boots :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lower Body Solution

Many of you must wonder how I stay so svelte (Ha!  I am very much kidding because a) Most of you probably have no idea what shape I'm in, b) Even if you did, why would you be wondering about it? and c) I used the word "svelte").  I owe it all to Jane Fonda.  Seriously.  As most of you know, or at least those of you who read GET WELL SOON and understood that it was based on my life, I was once chubby.  In college, I started working out to Jane Fonda's Lower Body Solution.  And it changed me.  Yes, the way I looked, but it changed the way I understood my body.  Like, I could do stuff with it.  I was strong.  I had energy.  It had an incredible impact on my life (and we're not just talking lo-impact here).  If I ever met Jane Fonda in some weird Jane Fonda/YA crossover situation, I would probably hug her and cry and tell her what she did for my self-esteem.  Because of her, I became a worker-outer.  Years ago, I was a regular at the gym and one of the stars in my step aerobics classes.  Not that that's important, and not that I am in that kind of shape anymore, but it is so empowering to be able to do those kinds of things with your body if you are so inclined.  These days, I only work out at home about three days a week to help keep my energy going.  And lately, because I missed my weird exercise buds Laurel, Mark, and Jeanne (Jane's lackeys, I guess.  Her AWESOME lackeys), I've been doing the old video workout again.  Not that I need the video.  I have the darn thing memorized.  Now, everyone reading this should get off your buns of steel right now, and give me a little attitude, okay?  Now march six, and cha cha!
[Sadly, I couldn't find any video footage, but I did find this excellent webpage!]

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Period

I forgot that I do not like to not have things to do.  Not that I don't have things I can do, but aside from feeding and clothing my child, there is nothing I HAVE to do.  My book is in my editor's hands, and I have nothing assigned to me as of yet.  Not that I get assignments, but since so much of life has been spent in schools, I tend to look at it as being full of assignments.  Sometimes it's the only way for me to get things done.  The funny thing I am noticing, not for the first time, is that I SUCK at relaxing.  Like, I could totally be vegging out until after the new year, when I can buckle down and give myself real assignments.  Instead, I'm fretting about not having anything to do and what people are going to think about my new book.  I hate this time in a book's life: a few galleys are out there (my publisher is waiting to send out more until after the holidays, so they don't get lost in the hustle and bustle.  Which makes sense.), but they won't be in the hands of teen readers who almost always say positive things, until June, or reviewers, who may or may not influence the shelf life of a book.  It's a scary, self-doubting time for me.  For all authors?  With every book I go through periods of elation and pride, as well as periods of self-doubt and hatred.  The book sucks.  My second one did better than I thought for a sophomore slump, so the bad book must be my third, right?  These are things I think.  Especially when I have nothing concrete to do to fill my brain's time.  But, most importantly, what do you think of these boots?

Kind of weird, kind of cute, right?  But they're $250.  I will not spend that on shoes.  Now that I have the whole feeding and clothing of a daughter to think about.  I do like them, though.  Does Cole Haan stuff ever go on sale?

Oy.  I better get on a new project quickly.  It's only 8:23 AM, and I'm already chewing gum.  Not a good sign.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Don't Panic!

Can you find the muffin tops?
Yet, I am panicking.  Without the book I already lack focus.  Ah, who am I kidding?  It has little to do with the book and much to do with the fact that having a child has sucked out some of my brain.  I do believe it's true.  I used to be one of those people who ALWAYS had their shit together.  Now, I'm lucky if I remember to wear shoes.  Speaking of shoes, does anyone else have a problem where they always have to have the exact perfect shoes for an occasion, and yet the shoes also have to be practical?  It's ridiculous, really.  I own many, many pairs of shoes, and yet I never have the right pair to wear.  In the end, I almost always go to my Converse or Vans.  Which are cute but kind of predictable and, let's face it, not super comfortable.  Plus, now that it's winter, they are completely impractical.  So what now?  What shoes can I wear when it's Chicago winter-cold outside, hard snow on the ground, and yet I want to feel kind of cute?  Because these hideous monsters, which Matt has christened "Muffin Tops" disgust me every time I put them on.  And yet, they are so easy, I ALWAYS put them on.  Being a mom has already compromised my brain, should it compromise my style as well?  Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi.  You are my only hope.

PS Blogger is making it hard for me to move my pictures around my post.  Otherwise, I would have relocated the shoe picture to the bottom.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Freedom isn't Free

It's done.  GET WELL SOON II is now in the hands of my editor.  I have experienced this with three other books already.  But this time, it's different.  Normally, I finish my first editor-readable draft right at the end of summer, and then BAM! I have to go back to work.  This time around, I was able to slow down and finish on my own time.  Actually, I wonder if that's true.  If I added up all of the hours that each of  my previous books took me to write, would GWSII be any greater?  Aside from the fact that it is my longest book, did it only take a larger number of months to write because I didn't have as many minutes each day?  So I really just wrote it in the same span of time, only with less time each day to do so?  Is any of this making sense?  I'm not fully awake yet.  Because I couldn't think of a reason to get myself out of bed early!  Whoa!!!

So what next?  What do other authors do when they are home all year instead of only the summer, and they have nothing technically lined up?  Do I start on a new book right away?  Do I fritter away my time?  Do I play around with some picture book ideas?  I have NO CLUE.  I hope this is not the part where I drive myself insane.  This is where the real discipline kicks in.  Where I have to create an assignment.  For instance, I really need to add a DON'T STOP NOW page to my website.  But no one is making me do that.  Uh oh.  I'm sensing weeks of crappy TV and eating anything sweet I can find laying around the house (hello, raisins!).

Shouldn't I be happy and relaxed?  I am happy, if course, but I am also very nervous.  Do I need the daily stimulation of school life to inspire a new book each year?  Or can I pull a second book out of my head within the same year's time?  I used to be very confident that I could, you know, write at least two books per year.  And I still think I can, but not with as much confidence.  Maybe I do need a few weeks to gather my thoughts, veg out, and live a lazy life.  Now who wants to share a tub of raisins?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

What to Watch Weekend: Go!

This weekend's recommendation is the 1999 film Go.  Doug Liman, who went on to direct The Bourne Identity, directed this frenetic movie about a bunch of whipper snappers who spend a drug-induced Christmas eve going to a rave, going to Vegas, and getting shot.  I am not doing the movie justice at all.  It has an incredible soundtrack, which makes it one of my treadmill staples, and the cast is great.  Sarah Polley, who I just watched in the freakfest Splice (holy crap! Has anyone else seen this?), is all cool and adorably skinny.  Timothy Olyphant is scary and shirtless, as he should be.  And Katie Holmes is, well, Katie Holmes-y, which is fine for her role.  And it's one of those movies that relives different moments from different characters' points of view, but in a really excellent, fun way, not in a pretentious, confusing way.  GO rush out and watch it!  See what I did there?

And you must also watch this.  My homies over in Norway (Jeg elsker deg!) gathered this randy and RANDOM group of people (I'm talking Judd Nelson, Ray Pruitt from 90210, and Carleton from the Fresh Prince to name a few) to sing "Let It Be."  It's ridiculous and completely Norwegian.  It goes on forever, but the crazy guests just keep coming!  We're talking Peter Falk, Sherilyn Fenn, Freddie Krueger, Tanya Frickin' Harding, Right Said Fred, and many, MANY more!  And the hilarity is underneath their names, they also choose the most random credit for that person.  For instance, "Rick" Schroeder was credited for "The Champ."  Hva?

Friday, December 03, 2010

A Little Space, Please

I don't know what Romy's deal is.  She started antibiotics two days ago for her first ear infection, and she's been working her way through a cold for over a week.  Because of these things, she is acting very attached to me.  Even while she should be sleeping.  Or maybe her ears hurt, so she can't sleep.  Or her stomach hurts, and she can't sleep.  Whatever it is, and because of it, I can't sleep either.  I also can't find the time to get any work done.  Here is a picture of me, taken this morning, making my way through my final pages of GET WELL SOON II: Electric Bookaloo:

Are there three million other places in the house she could be playing?  Damn skippy.  She could be enjoying her fabulous new digs:
 But, so is motherhood.  And, yes, I did manage to finish my book.  Now, onto my final step of typing in all of my changes, and then it's off to my editor!  And for a little while, it won't matter if my daughter wakes me up or hovers as much as she does.  Which probably means she will be over those phases and on to following her dad around.  All the more time for me to catch up on crappy TV and my Deathly Hallows game. 

Hope to see some of you at the Young Chicago Authors Holiday Book Bash tonight!  Information is in the side bar.  Happy Friday! 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

If Only

The great Rachel Cohn posted a link to this on facebook today:
Michael Cera joins real life indie band
It's an article from The Guardian about how Michael Cera will be the bass player in some new indie super group while they tour.  Stuff like that used to get me really bunged up, like, of course he gets to join a band!  He's FAMOUS.  The band will get mega attention because of  him!  That doesn't make him a musician or anything.  Nowadays, being an old lady of thirty-five, I don't feel quite as worked up.  But it does make me think about if I had any sort of level of fame, such as Michael Cera, let's say, what would I use my fame for?  And what does Michael Cera-level fame get you?  Obviously, it gets you into a cool band.  But could it, say, get you to the front of the lines at Disney World?  Bumped to first class when you fly?  Or do you have enough money as Michael Cera to always fly first class?  Would people give you free food?  Free clothes?  I always loved the idea of being courted by designers during awards season.  Being courted by anyone with free stuff sounds nice.  Anyone reading my blog have Michael Cera-level fame?  Is Michael Cera reading this?  If so, hello.  I hope you have wonderful success in your "band."  Am I sounding bitter?  I don't mean to be.  I'm, as always, lacking sleep and bordering on, but not close enough to taste it, finishing the revision to The Sequel.  You think if I were as famous as Michael Cera, someone would just finish The Sequel for me?  And I could say that I was a real author because, you know, I'm famous?  Only time and money will tell.

P.S. (added later in the day)
I hope it didn't sound like I was knocking Michael Cera.  It's not him that I'm kvetching about, more the whole deal where famous people get so many perks that us regular folk could only dream about.  It probably doesn't feel like that to Michael Cera.  Or maybe it does.  What do I know from Michael Cera?  Rockin' author Yvonne Prinz and I are starting our own band, and we can perform whenever we want at her record store, Amoeba.  Too bad I don't really play any instruments very well.  Or live in California.  Foiled again!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah! It's very early this year, but I think in our family that is a good thing because it gives us an opportunity to introduce Hanukkah to Romy separately from Christmas, so she gets a feeling for how both holidays work. Even though this will technically be Romy's third Hanukkah and Christmas, it will be the first where she is completely communicative and aware of everything. And, dang, is she communicative. She recites passages from books, counts to twelve, sings the alphabet, and speaks in nine word sentences. And she just turned two! She's a smart cookie. Speaking of cookies, I'm going to try and fit in whipping up a batch of sugar cookie dough this morning, so we can make some Hanukkah cookies tonight. Enough of the Hanukkah Mom talk.

Why did only one person comment on the quotes in books post? I really thought people would have stuff to say about it. I am thinking that means no one actually cares about the quotes at the beginning of books. Is that what I should conclude? If I were writing a dissertation on the subject, would that be my final observation?

I guess I'll get back to reading my manuscript for changes. I'm over halfway there. That means all I have to do is finish this step, type in the changes, and it's off to my editor. And then what? What's next? Do I give myself a break and finally play my Harry Potter game? Do I jump into the idea I have? Do I jump into the other idea I have? I think I might wait. It is December, after all. This is a month, at least when you work in schools, where nothing real gets done, and every day is a book fair or classroom party. But I'm not in a school this year. Maybe I'll just pretend. Okay, everybody, I'm bringing the Hanukkah cookies for tomorrow's class party! W00t!