Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last year I wanted MORE

This year I want LESS.

Less bullshit.
Less procrastination.
Less stress, for sure!
(One less job would be great!)
Less self indulgence.

Time to prioritize, reshuffle, re-evaluate, redo.

Other than meeting Rosanna Braccioforte, my boss and new best friend, 2009 was a bit of a disappointment.

So time to trim down, cut the deadwood, and wake up. Time is limited.

Take less for granted.
Worry less
Envy less
Doubt myself less
Waste less time
Consume less
Spend less

I can only have more if I first balance it out with less.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Facial a Day

My surgery went fine and am now on the road to recovery. I can't do a whole lot still so I am writing, organizing and giving myself a facial a day. Why?

I dunno. It's something to do.

Plus I had my birthday and I feel like my skin is in pretty good condition for my age, so I wanted to reward it after years of neglect. Here's what I have done so far:

My Orgins clay mask. I started out with this since I had some left over. It's always nice, but I know I can't spend that kind of money for everyday, so I decided to go the homemade route. So then I tried...

Olive oil and sugar. Mostly because I had the ingredients! My daughter has a facial brush and I used that. You mix equal amounts of evoo and plain sugar and apply to the face. I lightly scrubbed my face with the brush and rinsed with warm water. then I washed my face. My face felt nice and clean and moisturized. The weird thing is when I went to put on make up later that day, I had big rolls of dead skin coming off on my foundation sponge. GROSS! Obviously, I need to exfoliate more.

So today I used the Miracle Whip mask. Basically, you put a think layer of Miracle Whip on your face, let it dry and then massage it off. The product picks up all the dead skin as it rolls up in little rubbery balls. So disgusting, but my skin felt fabulous after I washed it.

Tomorrow I am going to try the avocado mask. Take half an avocado and mash it add a couple of tablespoons of evoo. Chill. Apply to the face, wait 15 minutes and then wash off. (I think I'll eat the other half in a salad.)

After that I'm going to make up an antioxidant/antiwrinkle mask from on tablespoon of fresh orange juice and 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. I'll let you know how it goes.

Hopefully when I go back to work, I'll look like I've gone to a spa instead of having an organ yanked out of my body!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Night's Party or Reliving the Eighties

Behind every responsible parent of older teenagers lives a party animal waiting to get out. It got out at my unbirthday party last night.

A little backstory: I called it my unbirthday party because tomorrow I go in to get my gall bladder brutally yanked out. Apparently, I don't need it. Since tomorrow is my real birthday, I decided that the 20th would be my unbirthday and I was going to have a party, dammit.

I bought goodies at Trader Joes, mucho liquor and my husband called his friends. His friends because my friends are all running around making Christmas happen while their husbands attend unbirthday parties.

The nice thing about parties now as compared to parties in the eighties, is that the guests all bring booze and ice. No freeloaders. Nice. It also meant that we had an inordinate amount of booze to person ratio which set a nice tone for the evening.

So we drank. And drank. And then we drank some more. We drank irresponsibly. GREAT WHITE WAS PLAYED, PEOPLE. My young adult children, who were coming in and out doing their own thing, were astonished at the goings on. My daughter was disgusted by the ribald comments and jokes. Much hilarity was made of my husband, who'd just had hernia surgery, having to wear a panty liner against his wound to stop the seepage. One witty partier called it his manpon. The guitars were pulled out and my husband jammed at mach volume. So did others who had never picked up a guitar in their lives. New hits, like C*&% and B*&&S, were created.

After one of my daughter's "I can't believe you are all so classless and crude" comments, I pulled her aside and explained that this was our generation. This was how we partied. Well, minus the big hair and narcotics lined up on the back of public toilets.

The next morning, my husband and I woke up with our hangovers, cleaned the house, went out to breakfast and proceeded to do all the things grown ups do like make lists, run errands, and worry over bills and kids.

But last night we PARTIED!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WOW

I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged! I plead insnaity, as in my life is insane!

1. Still working two jobs. Black Friday was intense as no one in the free world knows how to refold a sweater.

2. I won nano with 50,120 words, or something like that. The book isn't finished, but have got back and started revising because I know the ending will change as the book takes shape. Plus, it's just such a relief.

3. My husband goes in for surgery tomorrow and I go in the week after that to get my gallbladder taken out. So basically, Christmas has to be done NOW. I'm doing okay, Tree is up, Cards are almost ready to go out, shopping is almost done. It's the almost that worries me.

4. Waiting to hear on Excessive Speed. Figure I will have to wait until after the New Year, but hey, at least I have something out!

5. I miss my friends. I never get to see anyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Have a Dream, Too

This is hard for me to articulate, because it's been percolating in my head for so long... I'm not sure it's going to come out right! I just know I've been training my whole life for this project, this dream. It's as if I had to have the experiences I've had in order to be worthy of getting to this point. So here goes, I'm throwing this out into the universe!

I want to run a non-profit. I want to bring music, Portland's at-risk teens and words together in ways that will have long lasting impact. I want to run an organization that combines free writing and music workshops and teen events. The workshops will run, like, four times a year. The events will meld the inspiration of words and the inspiration of music together to change lives. In my dream, Portland based bands like Floater, Everclear and others will play and Northwest authors such as Stephanie Meyer, Sherman Alexie, and others will give readings between sets.

That's my dream and I'm sticking to it. The how is whole nother ballgame. But I'm working on it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Husband is a big A** Baby

And I don't care who hears me say it.

For the record, I love this man. He has worked for his family harder than any man on the face of the planet,(just ask him). How could you not love a man who grocery shops, keeps my car running, fixes stuff and does laundry? Seriously. Plus, he has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh more often than not.

But.
No, make that BUT.

He is a baby. What's that baby chant we used to taunt little kids with when we were bigger kids, but not big enough to be totally secure in our bigness? Kind of like neener, neener, baby needs a binky, or something like that? That's the kind of BABY I'm talking about.

I've always known this. He is NOT a good patient. (He will admit this himself.) At twenty he ruptured his appendix and by the time his mother got there, the nurses were all like, "Oh, Thank GOD, she's finally here!"

So this shouldn't be news. I've nursed him through many an illness, after all.

But now he has a hernia and the end of the world is AT HAND. When he told me on the phone that he had to have surgery, and would be down for a month, I ALMOST HAD A HEART ATTACK. I thought, if that man is going to be sick for a month, I'm outta here. Whatever sick, sadistic S.O.B. wrote the vows in sickness and in health never had to take care of MY husband. Turns out, he would only be down a few days and would be on light duty for a month, but that is the kind of EXAGGERATION I am dealing with.

I'm trying to be sympathetic, really I am. But a hernia is NOT that big of a deal. MILLIONS of people get them and have them FIXED. I understand it is a big deal to him and I'm trying. God, am I trying.

But for the love of all that is good and holy, he's whining to a woman who had TWO children without the benefit of drugs, a twelve hour BRAIN SURGERY, BRAIN RADIATION, and had a blood vessel in the back of her sinus CAUTERIZED with VOLTS Of ELECTRICITY! WHILE CONSCIOUS.

I could SMELL my own BURNING FLESH.

Ahem. So I am really struggling with being as sympathetic as he needs me to be. Possibly because there isn't ENOUGH SYMPATHY IN THE WORLD that would satisfy.

There. I just had to get that off my chest.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Nano and Other Crazy Things

Yep, I'm doing Nano. For the first time in like seven years, I had the concept and the motivation at the same time on the first of November. This idea might be THE high concept, break out novel I've been waiting for. So I went to a nano write-in last night and I can't believe how tough it is to just write and not edit. I've done it before, usually at the end of the book as I'm trying to finish, but never at the beginning when I am trying to lay a good foundation. All I have to say is December is going to be FUN.

Speaking of Nano... I went to the meet and greet last Thursday night. So I am sitting at Powells, chilling with my peeps and I hear loud applause behind me. The woman across from me says, “Some really popular children’s author is in there. Some guy named Eoin Culfer? I guess he wrote a series called Artemis Fowl?” I freak out, text my son, and run over and buy his latest and stand in line for an hour to get his autograph. I get my pix with him and bring the books home to my son, who actually gets teary-eyed! There are two authors in the world he would die to meet: one is JK Rowling, the other is Eoin Culfer.

Serendipitous!



Off to add to the 1800 words I wrote last night! (After midnight, of course!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Been so Long

Since I blogged. Sorry about that, but life has been a whirlwind of nonstop activity. The new job/promotion has been taking up quite a bit of time, but I love it, so all's good.

I think I'll wait to reveal my other announcement. That's just the way the cookie crumbles, or the ball bounces or whatever homily/cliche you want to toss into the mix.

On the good news front, my agent is back into the swing of things. Love her to pieces!

Actually got to write this week. WOOT!

Went to the eye doctor and now need bifocals, which makes me officially old.

Haven't seen my friends in far too long.

Yada, yada, yada.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What I've been doing other than blogging

Basically working. 11 hours a day five days a week. More news:

1. Got a huge promotion at work that comes with a hefty raise.
2. Book club started last night. I missed my girls so much! We are starting with the Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading. So good!
3. Am settling into the afterschool job and falling in love with the kids.
4. Am settling into the Penneys job and am actually getting useful.
5. One of our best friends came down with colon cancer.
6.My agent is back and reading the revisions of Speed. We hope to go out with it soon.
7. I have another announcement to make shortly that I am really excited about. Have to wait to say anything though. No, it isn't a book deal.
8. Am trimming down everything because I have time for nothing. Am learning to multitask. Hence the lack of bloggage.

Miss you all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boooks, Books, Books!

When I get stressed, as I am now, I read. Luckily, since everyone has been sending me books for the book club, I have a lot of new stuff! Because I've been so busy, my reading has been done in sips rather than gulps, but that's okay, as long as I can do it!

Books I've read in the last couple of weeks:

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

Melissa has been wonderful to our book club and even made a Vlog answewring the girl's questions. She sent Lovestruck Summer and I dove right in. Love the indie music vibe it has and loved the growth of the main character. My girls are going to adore this book!

The Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance.

Wow, this was so good. Very different and I loved the main character. Totally sucked me in.

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle

What's not to love. Witches and magic and romance set in Regency England. What a fabulous debut. Am jealous, I am!

What I'm reading now: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

My gorgy niecy girl gave me this one to read. Am totally sucked in and am reading when I should be writing!

God, I love books!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I forgot

I found the antidote for a very bad day... A bottle of wine and hot tubbing with a good friend. So nice!

Today I start my new job while still working my old one. I'm scheduled for 11 hours between the two of them. Writing? What writing?

Actually, I have a feeling that I will be probably write more because I will force myself to write whenever I have a free moment. Can't wait till next weekend! I wrote a lot over the holiday weekend and finished one proposal. The next item on my writing to do list is to finished the edits my agent wants on my full ms. Had a couple of breakthroughs last night as I was falling to sleep... and miracle of miracles, I still remember them!

Onward, people!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Teri's Very Bad Day

Warning: Whine acoming.

1. Wake up to dh throwing the overhead light on at 3:am with "An animal puked all over our new couch."

2. Children left house a dive last night. Dirty dishes everywhere and a dishwasher full of clean dishes. Consider killling them, but decide the funeral cost would wipe us out.

3. Husband very ill and whiny. Had to go to doctors.

4. Discover that uniform is still in the washing machine and wet.

5. Don't have time for a shower. Opt to curl hair instead. Find out there's no hairspray.

6. Don't have time for breakfast. Discover it's gonna be a long day at work.

7. Get massive headache. Beg son to bring Excedrin to work.

8. Have to put away three hundred bras.

9. Old lady patially disrobes so I can fish the tag out of her skanky old bra and tell her what size it is. I kid you not.

10. Accidentally scrape hard, brown old lady bump on her back with my fingernail. She gets upset. I wonder if I now have old lady skin under my nail and what that might do.

11. Husband goes to doctors and is diagnosed with diverticulitus. Which gives him a real reason for whining. Now I HAVE to be nice to him.

12. Children fighting over who gets my car. Everyone but me, I guess.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Jobs No Waiting

Has it really been a week since I blogged? Where has the time gone???

I've been writing a lot in preparation for starting my new job next week... while keeping my old job. So my days will start about 3:30 am and end at 6:00 pm, with a few hours off mid-day for good behavior. Don't know when I'll find time to write which is why I am on a writing marathon. After feedback from a couple of editors, I am doing some major revisions on my WIP and also getting another proposal ready to go. I've pinpointed some weaknesses in my writing, namely emotion and scene anchoring. I've learned a few things:

1. Emotion is key, but emotion without reason is a cheap writer's device that cheats the reader. It's action, then emotional reaction to that action. Trying to squeeze anything else in cheapens the story and the character arc. I've learned that one the hard way... by doing it and then realizing that it was stupid and pointless.

2. I have a hard time with descriptions and find that I mostly skip them... which leads to a story that has no depth. It's the transitions that get me. How do you go from storyline and dialogue to describing what someone is wearing and what they look like without slowing the pacing? Someone who is fabulous at that is Rachel Vincent. I devoured her new YA, My Soul to Take, in about a day. Now I'm reading it as a writer and found that she anchors the scene and gives descriptions without missing a beat. Been studying her technique in hopes some of it will rub off on me.

3. Scene purpose... wow. This lesson came about when my agent told me that an argument scene needed to be rewritten. I tried, but it still didn't work. Then I realized it was because I hadn't figured out the purpose of that scene. It was not meant to up the tension between the protagonist and another character, it was meant to create internal conflict while also developing the relationship. Once I had the purpose clear in my mind, the scene came more easily.

It's one of the things I love about writing that I lost in my quest to get another contract... there's always something to learn and I love doing it. Funny how I figured that out just as I'm about to lose my writing time! HA!

I told my husband I was going to continue to write even if I did have two jobs and someone else was going to have to do the cooking and the cleaning. That went down like a lead balloon. (Sorry for the cliche, but it's so apt!)

We'll see how that goes down for everyone!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The YA Angels Who Made it Happen

The response to my shameless begging was incredbile and I feel blessed to be a part of the young adult writing community. We have eight months spoken for and I am going to go with that as we usually don't meet in December. These are the books we have lined up for the year:

(In no particular order)

My Soul to Take, written by and donated by Rachel Vincent
Lovestruck Summer, written by and donated by Melissa Walker
Bewitching Season, written by and donated by Marissa Doyle
The Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading, written by and donated by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
The Emerald Tablet, Written by and donated by PH Hoover
Hugging the Rock, written by and donated by Susan Taylor Brown
Frindle, written by Andrew Clements donated by Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.
A book of our choice, donated by Cherlyn Michaels, author of the adult book, Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window and First Fridays.

Kay Cassidy also said she would let us choose a book if the kids already read Frindle in school. My friend Ann, gave me a check for twenty dollars to help pick up extra books if we run short.

What an amazing list of books and an amazing list of authors.Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am hoping to put together a montage of pictures and will post soon! Muah!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Girls I Love and Shameless Begging

As most of you know,(I've mentioned it enough!), I run a book club for teen and tween girls at a low income community center. Actually, it's a low income housing project and the community center is located at the apartments. Many of the residents are transitioning out of homelessness or other bad situations. The center is a meeting place that provides after school and summer programs for the kids, parenting classes, and meetings for those who had had alcohol or chemical dependencies. It truly is a place that fights generational poverty on all levels. You can check it out at www.cpahinc.com.

Last year I worked as an after school tutor, but finances reared its ugly head and they had to let me go. Sob. However, the book club lives on!!!!

There are eight hardcore members (and a couple who show up intermittently) who love their book club and want more than anything to have it continue this year. For that I need some very special authors who are willing to give of their books. There is NO money to buy books. I had a fabulous list of authors and books last year! All sent books, some came to visit, others made a vlog and sent gifts. Out of the eight members who attended faithfully, I had three who were already readers. Now I have eight! That is HUGE!!!!The connection with the authors is key. I need that again this year! If you are an author or are someone willing to help out, please contact me. Remember, I need eight to ten of the same book and that can be a challenge! Now I'm going to share some pix of my most fabulous and lovely girls!



April, Kamiliah(MeeMee!)and Ana



Jenny doesn't know I took this pix!



Shamsa and Jaeteonna being silly and shy. I think that's Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro that they're looking at!

Monday, August 17, 2009

GCC Presents The Lost Sister by Megan Kelly Hall

This sounds like a fabulous premise!





THE LOST SISTER takes a chilling look at what happens when hazing pushes someone too far.

Sisters are born, not chosen…
Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery—an insidious clique of the school’s most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights…

Beware the sister betrayed…
Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts , Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won’t stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne—a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials—Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past...and the wrath of the sister she wronged.


A character driven tale containing a deep Gothic feel and haunting foreboding atmosphere that hooks fans of all ages....With strong ties to the late seventeenth century Salem Witch Trials, THE LOST SISTER is a super thriller. -- Harriet Klausner

Hall will have your heart racing and you will not be able to put this book down. With historical allusions to the New England witch trials and a touch of the paranormal, THE LOST SISTER is a thriller in a league of its own.
-- TeensReadtoo / Awarded THE LOST SISTER the Hall of Fame Gold Star Award for Excellence

Blown away... The suspense, mystery, intrigue, and drama steadily build up throughout the novel, making it impossible to put the book down. I would recommend it to almost all book lovers. It has made me hungry for more of Ms. Hall's work! - Mrs. Magoo Reads


AUTHOR BIO:
Megan Kelley Hall, 35, freelance writer and literary publicist living North of Boston, is the author of the SISTERS OF MISERY series. Her first novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, published by Kensington in August 2008 has received rave reviews by reviewers and readers alike.

She studied creative writing at Skidmore College under the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Steven Millhauser. Megan spends most of her time promoting her clients as a partner and founder of Kelley & Hall Book Publicity and Promotion, which she opened with her mother, Gloria Kelley, and sister, Jocelyn Maeve Kelley, over a few years ago. The company has run successful campaigns for authors, including New York Time's best-selling authors Jacquelyn Mitchard (Deep End of the Ocean), Michael Palmer (The First Patient and Extreme Measures), Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader) and Lisa Genova (Still Alice).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No News is No News

I don't have a single coherent thought to make a blog out of,(probably because it's 3am.!) so am just going to ramble.

1. Got my hair colored yesterday. It's dark. Very dark. I likey.

2. Spent Sunday night in the Er. Possible gallstones or gastritis or an ulcer. All I know is it hurt WORSE than CHILDBIRTH. Oh, and the medication they mainlined in my arm was fabulous. Also, I seem to have the magically exploding veins and my arms now have as many tracks as an addict. Another thing I have to thank my mother for.

3.Am waiting to hear some news on something. Have been waiting for eight weeks. Shoot me.

4.It's raining outside. I love the rain. LOVE it. It's soft and moist and, well, wet. All the stuff rain should be. My skin is sighing in relief. As are the roses.

5. Watched Breakfast at Tiffany's last night with daughter and her fiance. She's an Audrey Hepburn fanatic. She once dressed up as Holly Golightly for Halloween. He sat through the whole thing. He sure does love her.

See, I told you I didn't have enough for a whole blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GCC Presents Stephanie Kuehnert



I loved Stephanie's book, I Wanna Be your Joey Ramon and I am looking forward to getting my hands on this one! Check it!

In high school, Kara McNaughton helped maintain the “Stories of Suburbia” notebook, which contained newspaper articles about bizarre and often tragic events from suburbs all over, as well as personal vignettes written by her friends,which Kara dubbed “ballads”. Ballads are the kind of songs that Kara likes best.

Not the clich├ęd ones but the truly genuine, gut-wrenching songs that convey love, loss and an individual’s story. Those “stories of Suburbia” were heartbreakingly honest tales of the moments when life changes and a kid is forced to grow up too soon. But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she was leaving town after a series of disastrous events at the end of her junior year of high school.

Four years later, Kara returns to face the music, and tells the tale of her first three years of high school with her friends’ “ballads” interspersed throughout. Among them are her best friend Stacey, who dates guy after guy trying to find the one who will take care of her the way her parents never did; Cass, who copes with her mother’s mental illness and her older brother’s abandonment by doing copious amounts of acid; Adrian the creator of the “Stories of Suburbia”, who has “Thrown Away” tattooed on his forearms to express how he feels about his
adoptive parents and his birth parents; Christian, who seems like the nice guy type that Kara belongs with, but has a violent streak; Kara’s little brother Liam, who idolized Johnny Cash as a preschooler and has idolized Kara all his life though she lets him down again and again; and Maya, an eccentric but beautiful redhead who refuses to talk about her mother’s suicide.

Then of course, there’s Kara. She begins high school as a loner, who copes with her lack of friends and her rapidly unraveling home life by going to concerts with Liam, smoking the occasional joint, and cutting herself when things get really bad. She’s reluctant at first when she tags along with Maya to Scoville Park, where the "misfit" kids hang out, but she really wants “a life.” The summer after junior year that life nearly ends with a heroin overdose, the event that triggers Kara’s exit from Oak Park.

All the things that happen in between make up the ballads of suburbia.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Bad!

A few months ago, I wrote a post called Butt Rock Friday in which I called someone from my teenaged past a scumbag. I just received an email from his sister telling me that I should think about what I write before posting and her brother was not a scumbag. My bad.

In truth, he wasn't. He was just a gorgeous seventeen year old male doing what gorgeous seventeen year old males are wont to do.

Alfalfa was a weird place to grow up. I've actually thought many times about writing a memoir called "Surviving Alfalfa", but am afraid of getting sued if I wrote about the inhabitants of that wonderful, backward community.

When I remember Alfalfa, it's with both a pang of longing and a shudder of revulsion. But isn't that the normal way to remember the place where you came of age?

I didn't fit in, but Lordy, did I try. And we had some major fun, as well. We snuck out a lot, drank a lot, and got into trouble, but what else was there to do? The stories I could tell... but I won't!

Anyway, my apologies to the nonscumbag and his family!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heat, New Jobs and Alibi Junior High

After a winter with the biggest, longest snow fall Portland has ever seen, we have one of the longest, hottest heat waves we've ever seen. Here in Tigard, we've reached 110 degrees two days in a row. Our house has been dark for so long, I could have giant dust bunnies getting ready to attack and I wouldn't know it. Pretty bad when today it's going to cool down... to 100! Watering our plants and keeping them alive has turned into a full time job.

Speaking of jobs, I scored TWO in the last week. One teaching in a brand new afterschool program and another stocking at JC Pennys. Don't ask me how I am going to get any writing done, but I'm sure it'll all sort itself out. The stocking job ends about the same time the other begins, which works out nicely.

Now check out this book! I love boy books and will be sure to pick this one up!



Thirteen-year-old Cody Saron has never lived in one place longer than a few weeks, and has never attended a regular school. Growing up on the run with his father, an undercover agent for the CIA, Cody has traveled the entire globe; he speaks five languages, and he has two black belts. What Cody isn't prepared for is...junior high.

When the danger surrounding Cody's dad heats up, Cody is sent to stay with the aunt he's never known, Jenny, in her small Connecticut suburb. Cody has no idea how to fit in with other kids, how to handle his first crush, or how to make it through a day of classes.

As Cody struggles to adapt to the one thing he's never experienced -- a normal life -- he starts to fear that his father's world has followed him and no one he loves is safe. Greg Logsted weaves together action, humor, and heart, building to a surprising revelation about what Cody has always believed to be true.

Friday, July 24, 2009

GCC Presents Jennifer Banash



(How did I miss this series? Where was I? Check it! )

Life in the Big Apple for Midwesterner from ‘Normal’ is definitely ‘no place like home’

Long Beach, CA, May 1, 2009 - Third and last in The Elite book series – Jennifer Banash brings us more adventures from the spoiled, rich teens in Manhattan who nearly ate Casey McCloy alive when she first arrived in the Big Apple from her small town of Normal, Illinois. Casey learned very quickly after she moved in with her grandmother at The Bramford, the most exclusive luxury apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side and got into the prestigious Meadowlark Academy on a full scholarship, that it’s not who you are but who you know!

Simply Irresistible (Penguin) brings us a whole new set of adventures now that Casey has had a big city-haute makeover, courtesy of her classmate and neighbor Madison Macallister – part teen icon and part queen diva-bitch. Wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people, has given Casey the look and the attitude – she’s “in” and loving it! Much to Madison’s dismay, her rival is climbing up the social ladder in a big way and could end up just as popular as Madison now that the two are set to star in their own TV reality show, “De-Luxe.” Yes, showbiz came knocking on two of The Bramford’s most illustrious doors and, as much as Madison thrives on the attention the show brings, she’s not thrilled about having every bit of her life of privilege caught on tape. However, fame comes at a price and Madison is one chick who is willing to pay anything…especially if it means becoming the next reality “it girl.” Casey, on the other hand, is realizing that Reality TV can sometimes beunreal, causing her to wonder if she even knows who she is anymore. With her relationship with Drew, Madison’s ex, currently more off than on, she can’t help wondering if everything i n her life is really just an illusion – and how much longer the illusion can last….

Although The Elite series is obsessed with fashion and glamour, Branash does an impressive job of examining real issues that teens face, such as cutting, divorce, infidelity, and drug addiction. Having personally attended high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan provided the author with the background for her ample insight and imagination portrayed in The Elite Series.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer of Accomplishment

Just in case you all thought I was in a deep blue funk from my summer of fail, I decided to list the things I managed to get finished the last couple of months. And no, unfortunately, it doesn't include a book, though my fabulous CP did manage to finish her book in the time it took me to write two chapters. Go Kerensa!

1. Boat pad. By utilizing the joys of Craiglist, my husband and I managed to gravel in a boat pad for the boat, as well as the quicksand in front of the woodshed for FREE. SCORE!

2. A drainage trench. Our water box was always full of water and, (after several threatening notes from the city of Tigard,) we put in a french drain. Again, due to Craigslist, we managed to get the gravel for free and the pipe (with sock) for 15 bucks. Another SCORE!

3. The unsightly stump in the front patio is GONE, thanks to a group effort from myself, our son and my husband. It is also filled in and ready to be graded and the flagstone laid. That means no lake in front of the home this winter!

4.The back patio, which was two slabs of unsightly concrete has been stained a beautiful warm shale and coated with four coats of wet look sealer. It now looks like something out of a magazine. Seriously, I should get an award for this.

5.Garage is cleaned out. If I had before and after pix, you would be amazed at just what a hurculean task this really was. It's a huge load off our backs, both literally and figuratively.

6. Bark dust is finished, weeds are gone, lawn has been weeded and feeded, new flowers planted and formal rose garden is almost ready to be dug out. (Will plant this fall when it is safe to move roses.) Our yard has never looked more lovely.

So you see, I've done TONS this summer and feel pretty darn good about it!

Note to those who didn't really get the "That SUCKED" comment from my blog on motherhood... Actually, I LOVED raising my children. They were some of the greatest years of my life and are now two of my best friends. But motherhood, just like every other worthwhile venture, is COMPLICATED. And I use humor to deflect the painful parts and it IS painful. Loving human beings that much hurts sometimes. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On Motherhood and Curses

As I near the end of my Mommy years, I've come up with a few thoughts on the process that may help young women. (Or send them screaming into the night.)

1. Drugs and partying are wasted on the young. Moms need it more than anyone. In fact, it's the only sane response to motherhood. Don't be afraid to get a sitter and tie one on. Two tips: One, make sure the sitter stays overnight so you don't have to get up in the morning and two, don't drink and drive. Undoubtedly, you have at least three appointments for each child the next day and who is going to drive them if you lose your license?

2. Children are a strange mix of egotism and insecurities, but that's the human condition and there's nothing you can do about it.

3. You can't stop genetics or curses. I thought if I just worked at it hard enough, my children would have none of my bad traits. But I've learned if you have two parents who have to get in the last word and love to argue, chances are, you WILL NOT have a child who meekly does everything you ask with no verbal response. In fact, I think that children end up combining everything bad about you and your spouse into one person. Remember that curse YOUR mother whispered fervently at the kitchen table? "I hope you have a child just like you?" Your spouse's mother said the same thing. That's a DOUBLE MOTHER CURSE, and as such, you are DOOMED. This goes all the way back to ADAM AND EVE.

4. No parenting book in the world is going to give you perfect children, (see number 3,) so you might as well just burn the books and roast marshmallows over the coals. The best you can hope for is that they will leave the house as fully functioning human beings and DON'T MOVE BACK IN WITH THEIR CHILDREN. If you manage that, you have done your job.

5. Make up with the man you married around the time the kids get old enough to vote. They're going to be leaving alone you ALONE WITH HIM soon and you might as well be friends when they do. Don't worry about being friends with him while the babies are young, he did this to you, after all. And the middle years are when you realize that old adage you learned in Kindergarten is true-- boys are dumb. But when the kids leave the nest, you discover that he still has the same traits you fell in love with, albeit less hair and more belly. ( And God knows, you don't look the same either.) So it's time to kiss and make up--might as well, you both survived the same shipwreck.

6. Work for that guilt free retirement. Be the best Mom you can be so when they leave, you can ride off into the sunset with a bigass margarita, saying, "Wow that sucked!" And you won't feel guilty about their choices. Save all the pictures, vacation memorabilia, museum brochures and event programs you can, so that if they do end up screwed up, you can reassure yourself that it wasn't anything you did or didn't do.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A tribute to my dad

My dad turned 93 on Friday and the family celebrated by having a large family reunion on Saturday. My brother Jerry put together an amazing collage of my dad's life and I was wowed by it.

Imagine for a minute living 93 years. One of my nephews who is packing as much adventure in his life as possible said, "I'm modeling my life after my fantasy of Grandpa's life. Look at how many phases of life he packed into one." Looking at the pictures, I got what he meant. He was in the 3C's during the depression, a Corporal in WW2, worked in the canneries in Alaska, worked picking fruit in Eastern Washington during the dust bowl years, became an executive at Boeing when the 747's were just coming out, bought a farm in central Oregon, opened his own auto parts business and volunteered as a park ranger at Lake Mead. (Not to mention adopting me when he was in his fifties and married my mother!) What an amazing full life he had. Here are some pix. Can you tell during which phase he was called the Clark Gable of Alaska? LOL













Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Summer of FAIL

So you all know that the hubby and I are redoing our yard. We've been digging, pruning, weeding and graveling. Because of our renewed interest in having something besides a jungle surround our home, the fates have decided to play small head games with us. It all started with water in our meter box which precipitated the drainage trench in our front flower bed. Things just escalated from there, both inside and out.

1. Car Fail. From knocking to backfiring to flat tires, all of our cars have had something wrong with them this summer. My son's Honda left him stranded after he went and picked up his best friend from camp. My husband's truck inexplicably had the mysterious loosening spark plug. The Suzuki is STILL in the shop after 16 days due to a ghostly whining coming from the transmission!

2. Garbage Disposal Fail. It took two trys to fix this one. And without the disposal, you can't run the DISHWASHER!.

3. Dog Fail. After ten years of being skunk free, my Scrappy Doo has been hit by a skunk twice... at three am.

4. Health Fail. Had to take darling daughter to the doctors yesterday after a night of uncontrolled vomiting and found out she has Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. Huh, well, that explains a lot. Turns out CVS is related to her motion sickness, migraines and fainting spells. And we thought it was just because she was a diva. (Okay, she's still a diva, now she just has more to diva about.)

5.Washing Machine Fail. This oh-so-important piece of household machinery failed five hours BEFORE my dog got skunked. Wonerful, wonerful.

6. Coordination Fail. This summer, I have fallen, hit myself with the butt end of a shovel and wrapped a rose vine around my bare calf. Yesterday was the ultimate in coordination fail when I dumped a Starbucks with a faulty lid down the front of my shirt. In public.

6. Soap Fail. My left hand still smells like skunk.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Best Fourth Evah

Had kind of a neighborhood block party. An impromtu one, which is the best kind. Made a pitcher of Mojitos. (As an aside, a fifth of rum is too much for a gallon jug of mojitos. I'm just saying.)

We started the evening at my house, moved to the street for the fireworks display put on by neighbors, then went across the street for a spur of the minute jam session, (my dh still has it). We then ended the evening in another neighbors hot tub. (Note to self: score hot tub.)

I'm really overjoyed that I'm in my forties and can still have the best day ever. YAY!

Oh, also had a garage sale over the holiday weekend. Very profitable, and my poor OCD husband got his garage back. My daughter and I started cleaning while he was at work last Monday and the poor guy had a full blown anxiety attack when he got home. It was like we had entered and defiled the Holy of Holies. The amount of stuff he managed to squirrel away in the past ten years is incredible! Who needs thirty cleaned out butter tubs? Magazines dating from 1997? After three ten-hour days of cleaning, organizing and THROWING AWAY, we had a huge garage sale and got rid of even MORE stuff. Then my dh, who never tosses anything, actually loaded almost everything left into the truck himself! BREAKTHROUGH! He LOVES being able to move around. I am SO PROUD OF HIM! He's like a recovered junk .... well, junkie.

Of course, I had like five hours of sleep, which is not enough to run the day on, but it was worth it. Hope everyone else's fourth was as fab as mine was!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Notes

1. Michael Jackson's death. So conflicted about this. On one hand, I danced to his music in the eighties and adored his style. On the other hand, repeated accusations of pedophila and other bizzarre behavior will just not go away in my mind. For me, the MJ I loved has been gone for a long, long time. As someone on Twitter put it, "I wish I could take that talented and handsome young man and put him into another dimension before it all went wrong.

2. Son went to a party last night and texted me to say he wouldn't be home. He's 19. I'm so thankful he's mature enough to know ahead of time that he won't be driving. I'm so thankful he doesn't do even a quarter of the stuff I was doing at 19. So how come I still couldn't sleep???

3. How come now that I'm jobless, I'm so busy I have no idea how I made time for an actual job?? I can't seem to find time to write, let alone work. The yard, the house, my family and my parents take up SO MUCH TIME! There is always something that needs to be washed, weeded, trimmed, taken to the vets, taken to the doctors or cleaned. WTH?

4. Tomorrow is our last book club Starbucks/B&N trip until fall. So. Much. Fun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My New Project

As many of you know, I put together a teen book club through my former job at Community Partners of Affordable Housing. I love me some book club girls... they're funny and insightful and all the things you would expect girls ages 11 to 15 to be. I'm not doing book club this summer, but will start up again in the fall. But one of the girls wanted my RACE for the CURE T-shirt and an idea was born.

So now we are doing a running club and hopefully will all run the 5k race at the Komen race this fall. I'm doing this for many reasons,

1. Self worth. Completing a 5k gives you a huge sense of self accomplishment. This is something I would love these girls to have.

2. Health. The statistics on low income teens and obesity is through the roof. If only a few of these girls learn good nutrition and how to care for their bodies, it will be worth it.

3. I miss them like CRAZY!

I plan on talking about nutrition and self care during our training sessions. We'll meet once a week through the summer to train. My biggest concern is not only the money it takes to enter, but also lack of good running gear. We are meeting today to talk about our schedule and the kind of equipment they have... I don't know if they have shoes or running bras, because a few of them will definitely need running bras!

So yeah, I will probably be hitting you all up for clothing later in the summer once I ascertain what they actually need. You all have been so great about sending books for their library and the book club, that I am sure I will have no problem getting the right gear for them. I also plan on putting up some pictures so you can meet my girls... Shamsa, Kameellia, Jennifer, Ana, April, and Jayteanna are all in and I am trying to get a couple of the others, as well.

I wanted to change the world... I just didn't know I was going to do it a few girls at a time:)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just Call Me the Gravel Queen

The last two weeks have been all about gravel. Big gravel, little gravel, in-between gravel. I had no idea how much gravel one yard could hold. And they measure gravel by the yard and no, one yard of gravel does not finish the yard. Fancy that.

It's also been about paint. Spray paint and regular paint. Finished painting the caulk on the front of the house and will hit the back this week, so our house will no longer look as if it were held together with Elmers School Glue. Spray painted the shelf in the bathroom. Who knew that spray painting would hurt so much. My forefinger had a crater sized hole in it by the time I was done.

Am still plotting my WIP. The story is told from the POV of four different girls and I can admit I am floundering a bit. I'm getting the hang of it, but it is different. Am experimenting with different plotting techniques to see if any fit this particular book. None of the techniques I've tried--colored stickies, index cards, standing on my head and talking into a recorder, seem to be helping. Going to experiment with an excel sheet at some point. I really need to see how the plot strands hold together. Any pointers would be great!

Okay, must run. Taking my car in to be serviced then making two more gravel runs. Hope everyone else is having a good summer!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Blogger Break

I think I'm going to take a break from blogger for a week or so. I hate leaving it lie fallow, so to speak, but honestly, I need a little perspective right now. A wee break that will hopefully leave me fresher and ready to write.

I'll probably still twitter because I can't help myself... plus, oneliners come easy to me.

Hugs!
Teri

Friday, June 05, 2009

We Done Been Skunked

For the past few mornings we've had a skunk nosing around the greenspace next to our home. You all remember my dog, Scrappy, right? Well, Scrappy does take offense to any creature roaming to close to our back yard, hims does.

This morning at 3AM, my exhausted Dh let Scrappy out to go to the bathroom.

Scrappy is part Dachshund, part Beagle and ALL HOUND. The skunk had the audacity to actually come INTO the backyard and Scrappy went ballistic in an effort to drive him out. Woke me out of a sound sleep. I sat up and thought, S&%#, he's got a coon cornered.

Nope, just your average, ordinary skunk. I don't know what actually happened out there in the dark--some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon crap, no doubt, but I do know who won. Scrappy got a full frontal skunk assault. So DH lets him into the house and says inanely, "He got sprayed."

No shit, Sherlock. Ya think? I'm running around in my old stripped nightgown, trying to function, my son is yelling from his bedroom to get the dog back outside and my daughter has slipped on a gas mask.(WTF? Does she keep one under her bed in case of a random mustard gas attack?) Dh just stands there, blinking wildly, while Scrappy rubs his offending face all over the couch.

Chaos. Mayhem. Bedlam. Confusion in the ranks.

So far, we have washed him with vinegar and shampoo, Hydrogen Peroxide and dishsoap, and then used degreaser and a bounce sheet on his head where we could actually see the skunk oil. We've set out bowls of coffee grounds and vinegar and sprayed the house with Febreze. Now DH is headed to the store for a Massingill Douche. Yes, I will be douching my dog at 6AM.

Sorry Ann, I don't think I'm going to make our Starbucks chat this morning.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Out of Commission

The yard finally got the better of me.

After more weeding, staking, snipping and trimming, the husband and I decided last Saturday to buy a couple of loads of bark mulch to spread. I mean truck loads because we have more flowerbeds than the queen does at Buckingham Palace. I went ahead of him and prepped the beds while he unloaded and spread the mulch. Sunday morning we got up and found free gravel on Craigslist. FREE! We made two trips during which we shoveled, loaded and dug like mad people. But it was WORTH IT because we finally got the area in front of our woodshed graveled. Which is a good thing because in the winter, people could actually disappear in the mud trying to put another log on the fire. In fact, I think that's what happened to my great Aunt Agnes.

Now this is all good stuff because we are spitting distance of being done with the yard. Which means all we have to do is maintain the darn thing while we work on other projects like the front patio and the side fence. It made me very happy and I went to bed Sunday night, sore but satisfied.

Too bad I woke up a cripple yesterday. Not only could I not move without pain, but I had to take my parents to the doctors. And wait for three hours. And then go to work.

After another restless night last night, I have come to the conclusion that I am old. And not only am I old, but I no longer want to take care of a yard that boast 13trees, 15 rose bushes, a pond and 12 flower beds. I want a hot tub for my back, huge patios, hammocks and lounge chairs, an outdoor kitchen and maybe a potted plant or two. HGTV needs to come and give me a yard makeover. I'm desperate.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Surprising Things about Almost Grown Up Children

My kids constantly surprise me. Both of my young adults are still living in the home (I was banking on at least one of them going off to college, but nooooo!) and this basically means we have four full sized people living in a house that was meant for two adults and two little ones. Or just two adults. And honestly, at 6'3, my son is like two and a half people.

Beyond the normal insanity, (like sharing one bathroom among four people that all need showers before work,) there are a lot of things that totally blow my mind. I didn't know that young adults could still be so... weird. Here's a few things that happened recently.

1. My son wore a Burger King crown all morning. He's nineteen.

2. My daughter spent all afternoon talking like Borat. "I have to go to the library and study till my brains fall out," isn't funny... unless you sound like Borat. To hear that voice coming out of a pretty, blond girl's mouth is... unsettling, to say the least.

3. My son now bbq's his own hotdogs... for breakfast.

4. On her way out the door, my daughter turned to the family and said, "Do you know this porch light has been on all day? I've been watching and waiting to see if someone would turn it off, but NO! It's five PM and still BURNING electricity! Money, people, money!" (At this point my eyes popped out of my head and rolled helterskelter across the floor.)

5.My son is perhaps the pickiest person on the face of the planet. Honestly, this kid eats nothing with actual FLAVOR. Yet he watches Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern religiously and says Zimmern has, "The best job evah." Huh? He won't eat anything white (like mayo or cream cheese, etc.,) but wants to fly across the world and sit in some dive eating deep fried monkey testicles?

Sometimes I look at these people and think, I did this? How?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Perfect Day

This isn't the perfect career day. Oh, no. That would be if my agent called me up with a three book deal and an option for film. This was the perfect personal day.

After working twelve hours in the yard that would not be done on Sunday, fisherman and myself decided to get the hell out of dodge before the yard sucked us in again and head to the beach on Memorial Day. Memorial Day weekend in Oregon is usually wet and cold. Think of the moors in Wuthering Heights. But not this one. In fact, some of the weathermen, (people, if that's how you roll) said it was the best memorial day weekend in recent history. A memorable Memorial Day, if you will.

So fisherman and myself headed to the beach. No children asking if we were there yet and could we go to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for candy, (A place in Seaside where the children were convinced the oompa loompas lived), no teens asking for money, just us.

Because it was just us, we went to Cannon Beach instead of the teen hangout, Seaside. We poked around galleries and shops and then headed on to Manzanita for lunch at the San Dune Pub.

Epic Burger. Epic beer.

We sat out on that patio and soaked up the sun, (and the beer) for hours. Much later we stumbled, er walked, out onto the beach. I actually talked fisherman into taking his shoes off and walking in the sand, something he hasn't done since he was a child because he has, as he puts it, "feet softer than a princess's cheek."

After that, we drove around the coast for a while before heading home. On the way we stopped at Krispy Kreme for doughnuts and coffee. Mmmm Doughnuts.

All in all an absolutely perfect day. The only downside was the yard didn't finish itself while we were gone. Sigh.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Communication Texting Style

Being a batshit crazy American family with absolutely no time to breathe, let alone eat dinner together, my husband, two teens and I have resorted to communicating by text. Some of my texts:

Son: Two famous donuts meet in the bar and have coffee together.
Me: What???
Son: Exactly.

Daughter: Old Navy is having a huge sale on flip flops! A dollar each!
Me: No money, Honey. Buy them yourself.
Daughter: Shoot me. I can't even afford a pair of flip flops at OLD NAVY!Remember when we used to go to Nordies and Hollister?
Me: Those days are gone. U a big girl now.
Daughter: Being a grown up sucks.
Me: You have no idea.

Hubby: You at Kaiser?
Me: Yeah. Boob squish appointment.
Hubby: Oooh. Sexy. What are you wearing?
Me: Old bra turned gray from too many washings, holey underwear, limp tee shirt and jeans. You?
Hubby: Same thing.

A few minutes later: Minus the bra.

Well, Thank God for that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Melissa Walker and Lovestruck Summer

I am so happy that GCC is presenting Melissa Walker this week. Not only because I love her books, but because Melissa is an amazing person, as well. She was one of our first book club picks and she not only sent my girls free books, but made them a vlog and answered all their questions. She is a SUPER PERSON! Check out her new book and then go buy it!



Lovestruck Summer
by Melissa Walker

LOVESTRUCK SUMMER (HarperTeen; May 5, 2009; $5.99) is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name “Party Penny.” Their personalities clash, big time.

But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang?

Sebastian is the kind of guy Quinn wants, but is Russ the guy Quinn needs? One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A former editor at ELLEgirl and Seventeen magazines, Melissa Walker knows her indie rock. She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She loves talking about books, fashion, magazines and all kinds of pop culture. Visit her at melissacwalker.com or on iheartdaily.com.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I wonder

1. I wonder: why my 19 year-old-son has yet to master the art of turning anything off. You would think a boy who can beat Call of Duty could figure out how to turn off the TV or the stereo or the stove. But no.

2. I wonder: why my daughter keeps a planner more religiously than anyone I have ever known and yet still misses appointments.

3. I wonder: why editor time is not the same as writer time. It's the same for a deli worker and a customer, A dockworker and a ship, even a doctor and a patient. But some magical space/time continuum happens between a writer and an editor that keeps their times wildly different.

4.I wonder: why dogs are only potty trained in the summer and not in the winter.

I wonder: why, if my husband has asked the same question for twenty years "what's for dinner?" and I keep giving the same answer, "I dunno" why he keeps asking. Like I'm magically going to start planning dinner before dinnertime?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Job Search Update

Dear Ms. Bigwig,

As you can tell from my resume, I have many qualifications that would make me right for your cushy, well-paying job. Thank you for taking the time to consider my resume.
Sincerely,
Teri Brown


Dear Teri Brown,

Thank you for your interest in answering phones, making coffee and coordinating schedules. It looks as if you have all the right qualifications for the job. Unfortunately, you do not have a degree. I understand if you did have a degree you would have received it before personal computers, (or any computers for that matter,) were common and would therefore be out of date, but without that degree you could not possibly know how to answer a phone.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Mr. Bigwig's secretary


Dear Mr. Burger Joint Owner,
As you can tell from my resume, I have many qualifications that would make me a master burger flipper. Thank you for your consideration.
Teri Brown


Dear Teri Brown,

Thank you so much for your interest in the position of master burger flipper. I'm afraid you are over-qualified and would not be happy in this job for the long term.
Regretfully,
Mr. Burger Joint Owner's wife

PS. Can you sign a book for my daughter? I know she would love it.


Dear Perfect Job for Me Boss,

I would be perfect for this position. Thank you for your time.


*crickets*

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Biggest Loser Ever: The Economy

Before I get into the doom and gloom, (Oh, I bet that made you want to read on didn't it?)I just wanted to say congrats to Helen, who won this season's Biggest Loser. Not only is she a woman, but she's also 48. That's what I'm talking about, people! The at home winner was 64! Great season, my favorite so far!

Now for the DOOM: My freelancing writing seems to be slowing down to the pace of a salted slug. (How's that for a visual?) Which is why I am blogging from home instead of S-bux, because my coffee shop money just got reallocated, to, oh, I don't know, ELECTRICITY! FOOD! WATER! As we tighten our belts, I discover that mine is especially tight. Must be all that toast. Hmmm, maybe I should run more.

Now for the GLOOM : Community Partner's For Affordable Housing lost a grant they have been receiving for the last four or five years. It's the grant that pays my salary among many other important things. So the job I adore, the one I have put so much effort into is gone, poof!! No more. What is heartbreaking is how hard it is on the kids whenever anyone leaves. On the upside, I am leaving a wonderful YA library, thanks to you all, and I am still volunteering my time for book club. So all systems are still go on that front. The downside, I have to get a full time job. Hopefully, I will be able to find something that I love as much as I did this one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

TOAST!

Disclaimer: Don’t read the following post if you are carb-o-phobic or trying to lose weight. Toast is many things, as you will see, but weight reducing it is not.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about toast lately. I know, I know, I need to get a life. But if you think about it, toast is one of the greatest foods ever discovered. Bread is important, (you couldn’t have toast without it) but the act of toasting the bread and slathering it with butter takes bread to a whole nother level.

It’s one of the most versatile foods going, (right up there with cheese, but that’s a different blog) and honestly, breakfast would all but disappear without it. If there is little else in the house to eat, you can always have toast.

For instance, are you in the mood for something sweet? Add a little jam, or better yet, cinnamon and sugar. Need something more substantial? Add peanut butter and bananas, or cream cheese. Or take it a step further and have a Hole in One. Add garlic to create a side for spaghetti , (in case you’re like me and always forgetting the French bread!)Are you a purist? Toast with tea or coffee might be more up your alley.

Just the thought of all these toast delights makes me stalk to the kitchen like an automaton and pop some bread in the toaster.

So next time you eat a piece of toast, take a second and marvel over it. Toast. Mmmm. I honestly believe that the manna God dropped from the sky was buttered toast. The smell of toasting bread ranks right up there as the most heavenly smell ever sniffed.

Toast recipe: I developed this recipe when I was a kid. Make toast and spread with butter and then peanut butter. Sprinkle eight chocolate chips on top. Broil until the chocolate chips are melted and then swirl with a knife.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Things I Said I'd Never Do

It's humbling to recall all the things you said you'd never do. You know, the great pronouncements you make that you end up having to take back. This isn't just in teendom either, it's that haughty mid twenties age when you still think you know it all and your opinions are ironclad. The most famous one that most people make is: "I'd never allow my children to do that."

Sure you won't.

Here are some of mine. (The ones I can bear to admit to)

1. I will never buy whole bean coffee. My mother began buying whole bean coffee before I did and I was vocal in my ridicule. Folgers is FINE, I said. I drink too much coffee to pay that much for it, I said. What a pain in the arse, I said. Now I'm fully equipped with a grinder, an espresso machine and a french press. How I ate my words. Or drank them, as the case may be. Now when I go to my FIL's place and he hands me a cup of Folgers coffee, I grimace inwardly at every sip and look at it as if it were an alien, seeking to destroy me. Shudder.

2. I will never spend four dollars on a cup of coffee. Uhhuh. It took me several years to become a Starbucks addict. I refused to step into the place. I laughed at all those espresso swilling people and thought it was just for the local rastas and college kids. Now we BUDGET for Starbucks. How the mighty have fallen.

3.I will never listen to rap/hip hop music. This one took longer. Then I heard Usher and Luda and Lil John do Yeah. Blew my head right off. Pretty soon my daughter was teaching me Soldier Boy dance, bopping my head to Lollypop, and wishing I too, could wear apple bottom jeans and the boots with the fur. (At over forty, I totally can't.) Some of my favorite artists now have the first name Lil.

4. I will never watch reality TV. Now my favorite shows are almost all reality TV. The Biggest Loser, Survivor, The Bachelor... the list goes on.

5. I will never cuss in front of my kids. Yeah. That one lasted until the fourth day after giving birth to my son as he cried in the middle of the night for another feeding. I said, and I quote, "OH sh*&. Not again." It just went downhill from there.

What things did you say you would never do... come on, join the eat your words fest.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Introducing Little Bear Bubbo Brown



Awww, doesn't he look so sweet and innocent? We watched this kitten being born after a stray we took in turned out to be pregnant. Little Bear, as we called him, was the runt and we had to remove the other kittens periodically so he could get food. The other wouldn't let him eat. He turned out to be my daughter's cat and they have been together for the last eight years. Bubbo is a huge black boy (eunuch) with a roundy head,(did you know that you can separate cats into two groups? Roundy heads and pointy heads. Each have their good and bad points. Yes, I am a cat sterotyper.)

Inside the house, Bubbo is as sweet as you would like a cat to be. Affectionate, big purr, willing to sleep in any position as long as he's cuddled. He loves Megan more than life itself and will patter through the rooms screaming, I mean mewling, for her when she isn't here.

A quality cat.

But when he goes outside, he becomes something else entirely. He's the neighborhoods equivalent of feline mafia. A true gangsta. It's like he turns his baseball cap around backwards the minute he walks out the door. He does this hip-rolling swagger onto the porch and curls his little kitty lip in disdain as he surveys his domain. Godfather Kitty. Birds screech off in terror. Other cats tremble and hide their young. Even dogs avert their eyes and walk away from Bubbo. He fights, he sprays the neighbors tires, he kills things large and small, and leaves their heads in tribute outside Meggy's window.

Then he comes in and reverts back into a gentle, loving family man, offering up purrs, gentle paw pats and adoring head butts.(When cats butt their head up against your face because they are so in the mood.)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in feline form.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Late and Vamped

First off, I seem to be late on everything lately. Been thinking a lot about how it's the little things that kill me... like the book that has been waiting to go to a chaptermate for two weeks. The boob squish appointment I have put off making for six months and now the teeth cleaning I haven't scheduled. WTH? Why can't I get it together? To top it all off, my muse seems to have been stricken with swine flu because she is totally absent. Totally.

You know how weird it is to not want to write anything? The ideas are there, but the need to get them all worked out isn't. I hope she gets back in shape soon, cause this is too odd to live with.

Anyway, GCC is touring Lucienne Diver's new book, Vamped. Check it out!



From “Valley Vamp Rules for Surviving Your Senior Prom” by VAMPED heroine Gina Covello:

Rule #1: Do not get so loaded at the after prom party that you accidentally-on-purpose end up in the broom closet with the surprise hottie of the evening,say the class chess champ who’s somewhere lost his bottle-cap lenses and undergone an extreme makeover, especially if that makeover has anything to do with becoming one of the undead.

Gina Covello has a problem. Waking up a dead is just the beginning. There's very little she can't put up with for the sake of eternal youth and beauty. Blood-sucking and pointy stick phobias seem a small price to pay. But she draws the line when local vampire vixen Mellisande gets designs on her hot new boyfriend with his prophecied powers and hatches a plot to turn all of Gina’s fellow students into an undead army to be used to overthrow the vampire council.

Hey, if anyone's going to create an undead entourage, it should be Gina! Now she must unselfishly save her classmates from fashion disaster and her own fanged fate.

About Lucienne!

Lucienne Diver is a long-time book addict who went to work for NYC’s Spectrum Literary Agency fifteen years ago to feed her habit. Recently, she traded in her high-rise for a lake view. She now lives in Florida and works for The Knight Agency (www.knightagency.net). Through various play-dates and in various coffee bars, on the backs of envelopes, carry-out bags and anything else within reach, including, sometimes, her checkbook, she's penned the serio-comic tale of what happens when a young fashionista goes from chic to eek

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Nightmare

So I had this nightmare last night. Seriously. I began recieving rejections from editors we didn't even sub to. My agent and I were standing in front of the computer wondering what the heck was going on and then suddenly we were in a group of editors who were all laughing and pointing. It was like one of those dreams when you're caught naked in school. Totally humiliating.

Someone needs a spa day. Unfortunately, spa days have never been in the budget and with the current turn of economic events, I can't afford to mulch my garden, let alone get a facial.

I knew waiting wasn't good for the writer. Soon, I'll be completely batshit crazy. I have a vision of myself wrapped in mismatched shawls, walking through the streets of Portland, muttering to myself... "Goals, motivation, conflict, goals, motivation conflict..."

Writing careers should should come with a warning label: Caution: Writing novels can cause paranoia, depression and anxiety.

This explains the high percentage of alcoholism in famous writers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Random Friday

Bits o randomness that don't make a full blog:

1. I want to be stranded on a deserted island with all the members of The Ace of Cakes. With ovens. And endless ingredients. I'm just saying.

2. Son's laptop took a major dump while I was at sbux. Thankfully, I sent my wip to my desktop yesterday. How fortuitous.

3. I hate grocery shopping. I have to go grocery shopping today.

4. I hate waiting.

5. I have to wait a lot. In fact, anyone who hates waiting shouldn't be an author. The entire industry is built on it.

6. My skinny pants are getting tight on me. Have to start running again, no matter what foot feels like. Yet, I still feel like cake.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Defense of Agents

Been reading all the blogs popping up for and against literary agents. I'm not posting the blogs here because I'm reluctant to fan the flames, but boy howdy, some people sure have a lot of bitterness locked inside them. Against agents who, as I've learned, hold the keys to the promised land. And, unknown to me, these very same agents are both killing publishing and crushing the hopes and dreams of writers.

Say it isn't true!

I have a couple things to say on the subject. (You knew I did, didn't you?) One, I have never been so happy to have an agent as when I received my contract for Read My Lips. After perusing that monstrosity a couple of times, I was overjoyed to know that my agency's contract lawyer was going over it line by line and was on my side because I couldn't make head nor tails of it. And I consider myself a pretty smart person. In fact, I read it to the eighth graders last week as an example of why I NEED an agent.

Two, having a top notch agent doesn't necessarily mean that your career is going to be peachy. My agent couldn't even sell my first submission and she loved it. My second sub sold, but the third one didn't. So having one, or in my case, two, fabulous agents, doesn't mean I'm suddenly in publishing nirvana. But I certainly don't blame my agents for that.

The query system is what it is. I don't mind a well-trained intern reading my queries because I always do my research before sending them. It's the intern's job to separate the wheat from the chafe and trust me, agents get a lot of chafe. Thousands a year in fact.

I loved my first agent. I love my second agent. They are there to help me. They love books and love to read. It's a tough job--If they didn't love it, they wouldn't be doing it.

Yes, some worthy books will never see the light of day, but whoever said life was fair? Blockbuster books, some good, some not so much, keep the wheels turning for the rest of us. It seems to me that this is just more of the "man be keeping me down" mentality that really never got anyone anywhere.

Write a good book. Write a good query. Pray a lot. Rinse. Repeat.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sign Me Up!

The kids at Walt Morey Middle school were awesomeness personified. They made welcome signs, wrote great reviews of LIPS on the whiteboard and asked fabulous questions. Of course, hucking chocolate at them everytime they asked one helped.

Crazy, crazy fun and so much energy! I felt almost high when I finished and didn't want to go.

I wanna do this for a living. Where do I sign up? I'm actually working on a brochure to send out later in the year, so maybe I'll get some more gigs next year. Loved it!

In other news, my baby is engaged! They went to macaroni grill and her boyfriend drew a ring on the table... Megan started coloring it and he said, "Do you like that ring, or do you like this one?" Then he pulled out the ring from his pocket and opened the box. How sweet!

It's perfect for her:white gold with a diamond... simple, modern and completely Megan. Kid has good taste:)

Since they won't be married for years, I'm not too worried about their age. But we can look at wedding stuff now!

Now if I would just hear good news on some submissions, the day would be perfect!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scrappy and Me

So last night must have been raccoon smackdown in my neighborhood, because the dog would not shut up. I wanted to strangle him. Now, don't get me wrong. I love me some Scrappy Doo. God knows I put up with a lot from that dog. I have loved him through all of it--from "accidents" on the floor to tearing up the garbage all over the house some kind of trash frenzy, so no notes on how politically incorrect it is for me to say I want to kill me some wiener dog, because if I were really gonna kill him, I would have done so LONG before now.

And I can also hear people clucking, saying I should have trained the dog. Trust me, we tried. Hims is a dachshund. A stubborn, underground, pissing, crapping, sleeping hound in miniature. A hound that resisted training. We put him in the kennel at night now so we don't have to worry about his strageically-placed-right-where-we step-on-our-way-to-the-bathroom-accidents. So he barked batshit crazy at the coons from his kennel.

Anyhoo. THAT is why I am blogging at 3:30 am when I should be ASLEEP.

The dog didn't care that I have to finish up a presentation today. The dog didn't care that I have to make a cake for book club this evening, or that I have to go to work, write a chapter or put a roast on. All he knew was there was a RUCKUS out front and, dammit, someone should let him out so he could TAKE CARE OF IT!

Stoopid dog.

Starbucks doesn't open until 5:30 so I can't even go and work. Someone is going to be Grumpy McGrump today.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Economy of Moi

As I was heading to Starbucks this morning, I noticed that another one of my favorite stores had closed it's doors forever. Empty storefronts are becoming more and more common. The beauty shop where both my children got their first haircut, gone. The pet store where we bought our first dog, gone. The ice cream store we used to go to after getting our hair cuts and looking at the puppies in the window... gone.

You get the idea.

I suppose I'm as guilty as anyone in their demise... my children got older and started frequenting salons, we get our dog food at our local grocery store and began buying the cheapest ice cream available instead of splurging on a cone. My family is running scared people. We are watching how and where we spend our money. for us, that means hitting the best sales rather than store loyalty.

The publishing industry has had it's share of ups and downs. Right now, it's in a down. Way, way down. How does this affect me? As my agent goes out with my latest WIP, I hope for the best--editor excitement and an advance that will keep the debts away for another year--but I also prepare for the worst--mass of rejections and the sound of crickets along the information super highway.

But I keep at it. It's what I do.

A great piece on advances can be found in the NY times here.

But no matter how many storefronts are empty in once thriving neighborhoods, I sip my Starbucks, (A business I am personally keeping fiscally solvent) and get ready to open chapter two and write. No matter what the economy or the publishing industry does.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Brilliant

If Homer wrote the Odessy via twitter: Check it out here.

I laughed out loud over this one!

I'm still struggling with the first chapter of my new WIP. It's really high concept and I want to do it justice which means more than one POV. So I am struggling along with third person, trying to get deep, deeper, deepest. I have some really good stuff, it's just a matter of hitting the right note right off the bat and getting the right POV for the beginning. Fun stuff. I love beginnings, even when I struggle. The possibilities are endless:)

Also looking for used copies of Elizabeth Bunce's A Curse Dark as Gold for the last book of book club for the year. The kids have done so well... I can't wait until next year!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Little Suzy's on the Up

So dh and I rode the max train downtown last night. After getting off at Skidmore and rubbing elbows with a large contingent of street people, we found ourselves in front of Kells Irish Pub. Guinness, Lager, Shepard's Pie and an Irish jam session ensured the night started on the right foot. Met our friends in front of The Roseland Theater and much fun was had watching forty year old women manage their eighties finery.

The first band was good, the second band, The Leo Project , was fantastic and Tesla, as always, was phenomenal.

Too many beers, though. Me. Not Tesla.

Last night was a great way to start the week. This morning, not so much.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Henry!

I know it seems like I have done nothing but post fabulous interviews on the blog lately, but how can I resist the next author? Her book not only looks amazing, but she's a hometown author! I can't wait to read this for book club and have her come visit us! This is why-




About the book
When Ellie’s parents are busted for growing marijuana, the FBI gives her a choice: infiltrate the Mother Earth Defenders (MED), a radical environmental group, or her parents will go to jail. At first Ellie is more than willing to entrap the MEDics, but the more time she spends undercover—particularly with Coyote, the green-eyed MEDic that she can’t stop thinking about—the more she starts to believe in their cause. When talk turns to murder, Coyote backs out, but Ellie is willing to risk everything to save her family—even if it means losing Coyote and putting her own life on the line.

About the author
April Henry knows how to kill you in a two-dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. April had one detour on her path to destruction: when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children's author Roald Dahl. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.

By the time she was in her 30s, April had come to terms with her childhood and started writing about hit men, drug dealers, and serial killers. She has published six mysteries and thrillers, with five more under contract. Her books have gotten starred
reviews, been on Booksense (twice!), translated into four languages, short-listed for the Oregon Book Award, and chosen as a Quick Pick by the American Library Association.

April writes for both teens and adults. This month Face of Betrayal will be published. It’s the first in a new series for adult mystery series co-written with FOX legal anaylst Lis Wiehl.

What others are saying
Kirkus: "Romance and big explosions … the thrills and action will keep readers interested as she navigates her way between terrorists and self-centered Feds."

Booklist: "The contemporary mix of politics and thrilling action will grab teens, not just environmentalists, as Ellie must decide how to save her parents and save the earth. Romance adds to the conflict as she falls in love with gorgeous MED member Coyote, who is both an activist and an ardent pacifist. Both the MEDs and the FBI have good guys and bad guys, and this suspenseful story will spark discussion about what it means to fight for right “by any means necessary."

Monday, March 30, 2009

GCC Presents Jennifer Echols!

I love Jennifer Echols!




From popular author Jennifer Echols comes a touching and romantic story about a troubled teenager and a rookie cop who just might be able to save each other—if they can save themselves first...

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far… and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge—and over…

Taking readers on an unforgettable journey through the lingering effects of loss and the redemptive power of love, Going Too Far will appeal to fans of powerful and poignant teen novels by Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen.

Jennifer Echols has written two romantic comedies entitled Major Crush and The Boys Next Door. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The best laid plans...

OMG! I just posted a huge blog on how I might have sprained or broken my foot while doing taxes and it just erased everything. Sigh. Suffice it to say, I am in a terminator boot.

Guess who won't be doing yard work this week?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Answer From My Husband

I came out the other morning and found my husband reading my blog, you know, the one where I lambast him for being so hot and hijacking the covers? This is what he had to say:

1. You'd think that someone who comes to bed colder than the polar ice caps and who slides their icy hands and feet onto my body while I'm trying to sleep would appreciate a little heat.
2. I hijack the covers and hold them because I am trying to escape your frigid body with a wall of wool and cotton.
3. I didn't bring that cat home. In fact, I didn't bring any of them home so if you have to get up a thousand times a night to quiet dogs and let out screaming cats, that's your own bloody fault.

Touche.

I'm seriously falling behind on life. I think that's what I get for making MORE my New Year's resolution. Maybe I wasn't cut out for more. I am behind on writing blogs,on reading blogs, on critting, on my house and on promoting. Next year, I am definitely going for LESS.

Enough said. Today, I am going to try to catch up on critting and blogs. Tomorrow, on promotions and house. Thursday is yard and writing.

That's my plan and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Amanda Ashby: Secret Zombie Lover




What if a Love Spell Was More Than You Bargained For?

ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH
By Amanda Ashby



Love spells gone wrong, boyfriend-stealing cheerleaders, and Zombies who want to eat you for dinner. In ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH by Amanda Ashby, love has never tasted— or rather felt— so good.

Tomorrow is prom, and all Mia wants to do is cast a love spell on her date Rob Ziggerman to keep him away from cheerleading goddess Samantha and save him all to herself. But somehow she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class instead. At first Mia loves all the attention her classmates are giving her; treating her like a queen, compliments galore, and all the chocolate a girl could want. But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up. Why? Because in twenty-four hours, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. That’s what being the ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH means. She’s sure she and Chase can figure something out, especially when the alternative means that her classmates and teachers will be feasting on her bones. But in the meantime, she’s suggests that no one wear white to tomorrow night’s prom, because she has a feeling that things could get very messy.


Doesn't that sound fabulous? Now, here's an interview with Amanda...

TB: Why zombies? You have a hidden fear of them, don't you?

Amanda: I have a not so hidden fear of everything scary! In fact whenever my husband tries to watch horror movies, I spend most of the time behind the couch!

TB: What are your favorite zombie movies?

Amanda: Shaun of the Dead - it is just so incredibly funny and if you watch a lot of UK comedy you will discover that the whole cast is made up hilariously funny actors and actresses!

TB: What are your favorite zombie books?


Amanda: You are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay, Happy Hour of the Living Dead by Mark Henry Breathers, A Zombie's Lament by SG Browne and next up on the reading list is Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.


TB: What would you do if attacked by Zombies? Are you prepared for that?

Amanda: I am so prepared for it. First stop I would make sure I don't look like the side-kick because side-kicks always get eaten first (it's the rules). Next I would make sure I have some good running shoes on as well as my handy little Zombie Survival Kit which is full of essential zombie stopping ingredients!!!


TB: What surprised you about writing this book?

Amanda: How much I related to my main character Mia. I never set out to write a blood and guts horror book (see above comment about being a scaredy cat) so really it was just about exploring how it would feel for a regular person to get into a very irregular situation! It was lots of fun!!!!!!!


About the Author:
Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and has spent the last ten years dividing her time between England and New Zealand. When she’s not moving countries, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to watch television, eat chocolate and sit around doing not much, but let's just keep that between ourselves, shall we?). She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two young children. Her debut adult book You Had Me at Halo has been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. This is her first book for young adults. Visit her on the web at www.amandaashby.com.

Reviews
"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is a delightfully fun, fresh, and funny read! Amanda Ashby creates a highly likeable heroine in Mia Everett, who, despite her best intentions, turns her classmates into zombies. And with prom quickly approaching, she must find a way to undo it before, well before she gets eaten! Never again will you look at prom, your classmates, or even zombies in quite the same way! ~Alyson Noel, New York Times Bestselling author of Evermore

"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is a delicious treat! Who knew zombies could be both fun and funny? It's Zombilicious!" -- Michelle Rowen, author of Bitten & Smitten
"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is where popularity can turn you undead (with an unsettling appetite) and Prom will be a little dangerous this year.  Amanda Ashby moves into the YA world with snapping prose and an entertaining high school mix of teen crushes, popularity drama, and a zombie squad. Zombies beware--you'll love to follow the twists and turns of this fresh and fun novel!" -- Kelly Parra, author of Invisible Touch

“Amanda Ashby's book, Zombie Queen of Newbury High, is filled with twists, turns and humor, sure to totally draw you in. I loved the fact that this read was more than your typical high school teen love story. If you're like me and can't get enough of books filled with mystery, suspense, with a dash of relatable relationship and friendship probs on the side, I def recommend picking up your own copy—you won't regret it!” -Jami Katz GirlsLife.com Book Club


Monday, March 16, 2009

Supergirls!



I am pleased to offer up this interview with the fabulous Liz Funk, author of Supergirls Speak Out. I saw Liz on The Today Show a couple of weeks ago and was impressed with her knowledge and sensitivity. Check out this interview!

TB: Why do you think that the pressure to be a supergirl is so persuasive in our culture?
Liz: I think it's a two-pronged problem. The first issue is that there has never been so much pressure on girls, from the media, from their peer groups, and from their schools to be smart, accomplished, pretty, charming, rich-looking, and glamorous. The second issue is that today's young women don't have a sense of intrinsic worth--why they matter outside of what they look like, what they've accomplished, andhow others perceive them. It leaves them very vulnerable to wanting to please everyone and be a "good" girl.

TB: What traits do Supergirls have?
Liz: Supergirls are almost always very type-A, ambitious, goal-oriented young women. I found that frequently, Supergirls were very cognizant of their looks and put a lot of emphasis on having a boyfriend or having guys in their lives. Supergirls seem to have high hopes for themselves and although they're not overentitled, they like to see success come quickly.

TB: What can parents do to avoid having their daughter become a supergirl?
Liz: I think parents need to explicitly tell the young women in their lives that they matter! Girls are constantly bombarbed with unrealistic images of women in the media, and many girls get the message that if they want to be loved or to get attention, they need to be just as perfect as the charming, successful, nice girls they see on TV. As such, girls also need to have a strong grasp of media literacy: that is, understanding that almost everything we see on TV is scripted and airbrushed to perfection, and that girls shouldn't compare their lives to the fantasy lives they see girls leading on TV.

TB: Can you tell me some of the signs of a supergirl?
Liz: Well, that's the thing about Supergirls: it's very hard to tell from the outside if a Supergirl is struggling on the inside, because half of what makes being a Supergirl so difficult is that Supergirls make it look like they have everything under control and that their overachieving comes naturally to them. However, there are some signs and symptoms for friends and family of suspected Supergirls to spot,like excessive caffeine consumption, secret studying and exercising,being constantly exhausted, being irritable, and being obsessed with one's looks.

TB: What's next for you?
Liz: I just got really interested in screenwriting. I actually wanted to be a screenwriter far before I wanted to be an author--in middleschool and high school--and the Hollywood bug just bit me again, so I'm starting to work on some screenplays. Also, I've been slowly-but-surely working on a novel for the past year; it's a novel of social criticism geared towards twentysomething readers. We'll see what happens! My most immediate goal right now, though, is probably to graduate from college in May. I have a major case of senioritis,and I nee