Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays

Wishing each and every one of you a peaceful and joyous celebration. See you in 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Potty Talk on East Burnside

We were in the car.

Headed home after a long day at camp (kids) and writing a synopsis for the WIP (me). From the driver's seat I asked, "Any ideas about how to follow up my blog announcement that Losing Hope has been released?"

The kids paused in their complicated discussion of Beyblade powers long enough to give my question some serious thought.

"You said the book was kind of sexy. Maybe you should write about that. Like a how-to guide," said Child #1. In the background her brother launched into a version of "I'm Sexy and I Know It," using the "I'm Elmo and I Know It," lyrics.

If Sesame Street were a religion, I'm certain using Elmo as a synonym for the word sexy, as we are known to do, would be a sin. And one we commit on a regular basis.

"Good idea," I said. "But most of my readers are probably past the how-to guide stage."

"Poop! You should write about poop!" said Child #2.

"Or diarrhea!" added Child #1, not to be outdone by her brother. They entertained me for three solid blocks up East Burnside with refrains from the Diarrhea Song, which is something else most of my readers are probably familiar with, albeit from their childhood.

"How about vomit?" screamed Child #2 over the thump-ba-da-thump of the stereo system that I had turned up to drown out the Diarrhea Song.

"How about something that doesn't revolve around bodily expulsions?" I asked turning the stereo back down.

"Snot?" asked Child #1.

Before I could remind them snot is something else that comes out of the body, Child #2 added, "S'not as gross as you think it is. Really Mom, that's what the OMSI billboard says."

"So what's for dinner?" asked Child #1 because in her mind the question of blog topic had been resolved.

"Burritos, filled with squash and broccoli vomit mash."

"Mom! That's disgusting!! Say you're kidding or I really might vomit."

It's been a week full of victories. I released a book and claimed the title of potty-talkingest in the car. I leave it to you to decide which one took more fortitude.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Ballerina Balancing Act

This post has to lead with Losing Hope. Because today is the day. It's available and at your fingertips...just a click away. See, click here or here!

But my guess is your fingertips, brain, and every other part of your body are just as overwhelmed as mine.

It's a holiday circus, and one of my three rings is devoted to a book release, you know, just to keep me on my toe shoes.

There are frantic gift wrapping sessions in the basement where I snarl at the kids to 'stop asking questions before Christmas' then pop up groundhog-like, long enough to realize my inbox is full of last minute changes of the 'could you just take a quick look' variety.

My editor, publisher and I have different definitions of quick look. My definition means five minutes. Theirs is anywhere from five minutes to five hours.

In between wild-eyed, quick look marathons I'll check my email, just for fun, to find, OH MY GOD, is that another cookie party invitation, whew, just a last minute cocktail party except I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR, which means I need to drop everything to make an after dinner trip to mall.

And I know I could politely decline, but isn't January the month to demur and stay home?

"You're not really going to wear that, are you? You look like a crazy ballerina," my husband told me after my frantic mall trip.

"I'm absolutely going to wear this because that's exactly what I am. A crazed ballerina doing a crazier holiday balancing act."

My pirouette is about to get trickier. A book release in the holiday season feels like the equivalent of things I've seen performed on stage, executed by professionals.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't break an ankle or my chin.

And if you, caught in the act of executing your own holiday dance, wait until January to download and read Losing Hope, I'll understand.

From one ballet dancer to another, let's make a plan to meet on the couch in 2013 for some restorative reading time. I'm going to hope that, when we get there, Losing Hope will be at the top of your list.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Hamster Holidays

I've got a serious case of the holiday holy cow it's going to be here in twelve days!

Thanks are owed to the advent calendar for reminding me this morning we are day 12!!! Thanks are also due to Child #1 who did the math and said "Halfway there!!!"

There's glee in her exclamation points. Mine contain something else. I won't go into details, but I can assure you it's not glee.

Still, since we're halfway there and all, I thought you might like a little taste of what Child #1 and #2 have been singing as they deck the halls and do their whirling dervish dance through the Chrismakkah month.

It's an ode to our hamster, Ninjy, set to the tune of the timeless holiday classic, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". And although it's silly, I admit this song just might be my favorite thing about Chrismakkah 2012. Enjoy!

You're a Hamster, Ninjy-boo.
You squeal like a rat.
You have pee-pee in your shavings
You dig them up all day.
And you're terrified of the cat.

You're a Fat One, Ninjy-boo.
You have grippy-grippy hands.
You climb up and down your cage
You run on your wheel all night
And make Fiesta Max demands.
(Given a choice between the two, I pick climbing on your cage).

You're a Brown One, Ninjy-boo.
You camouflage nicely with the mud.
We keep you in the cage.
But we like to take you out.
You're our favorite hamster spud.

You're a Craver, Hamster-boy.
Of yummy Fiesta Max
We tried to feed you Rodent Block.
You hid it in your shavings.
We learned that carrots stop you in your tracks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Art of Double Dipping

 Everyone has holiday traditions. Some of us have more than others.
When Child #1 was a baby I made the rookie parenting mistake of deciding to celebrate my husband's Jewish heritage with eight days of Hanukkah followed by Christmas. This wouldn't be so terrible if I had decided to tie the eight days of Hanukkah to say, doing kind deeds for others.

Instead (another rookie parenting move) I chose to train my children in the art of double dipping.

We have eight days of Hanukkah gifts, candles and the dreidel gambling game followed by the all-out gift bonanza that goes by the name of Christmas morning. I've tried to lower expectations on the Hanukkah front. My kids almost always get a Hanukkah toothbrush. This year its the kind that has flashing lights that don't turn off until you've brushed your teeth for a solid minute.

I know! Exciting Stuff! I might follow it up with new underwear or socks.

Even though we're sort of maxed out on holiday traditions I decided maybe we could squeeze in one more. The goal of this additional tradition is to help my kids understand the holidays aren't all about double dipping for gifts, cookie parties and rides on the Santa train.

In the past we've adopted families who need a little extra help to make it through the season. I've done the shopping and wrapping and the kids have signed the cards. This year I'm asking the kids to make a contribution from their own personal funds.

Because I like to pretend my family is a semi-democracy, I've given them a choice. They can contribute a set dollar amount or a percentage of the total amount spent.

The Hanukkah Mitzvah and being forced to apply math principles on a micro level; it's my favorite new win-win holiday tradition.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Losing Hope: Book Two in the Persephone Campbell Series

Losing Hope, which I've promised and not delivered, is good to go. I received the final email from my publisher!

I'm excited, but like children, Book Baby #2 doesn't have the first-time-at-the-rodeo newness of Book Baby #1. Instead of endless rhapsodizing over the perfect curl of its toes, I've told it it's perfect (aren't all babies) and am hard at work on my next project.

Which doesn't mean I don't love Losing Hope, because I do.

From the gorgeous cover (that's not me curled up nude in fetal position, although I'm flattered by the people who have inquired), to the plot, which picks up creator of, Rudy's story, incorporates a corporate espionage meets social media gone wrong plot line and of course, delves deeper into the love triangle between lawyer Daniel Harnett, Ruler of the Underworld Haden and Persephone Campbell, who is coming to grips with weighty issues like fate, death and her place in the world.

It's semi-paranormal, sexy and dark.

If you're in the market for a light, pretty read, you'll want to look elsewhere. But that doesn't mean it's not fun. It was fun to write and early readers zipped through it in a matter of days and then demanded the third and final book.

Publication of Losing Hope will follow the same format as Losing Beauty. It'll be available for download on December 17th, followed by hard copy at a later date.

If you'd like to read a digital review copy in advance drop me a note.

In the meantime, and with all seasonal appropriateness, I've written my book and am now checking it twice. The angsty writer in me has her fingers crossed and her brow furrowed in hopes you'll like it. The confidence drenched, nothing-ventured, nothing-gained part of me knows you will.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Purposeful Ignorance

As a one-time Philosophy major, my ears perk up whenever I hear people talking about moral dilemmas. I know, it's dorky, but I kinda can't help myself.

The other day I heard a piece on the radio about the concept of purposeful ignorance; or the decision to ignore wrongdoing. The phrase, and discussion that followed caught my attention because it's possible to draw parallels between that concept and the one of suspended disbelief.

Suspension of disbelief is something all fiction writers require from the people who consume their work. Vampires and werewolves aren't real. We know that. And yet, millions of people suspended their disbelief long enough to whip through thousands of pages about Edward and Bella and write countless more pages of fanfiction.

The place purposeful ignorance and suspension of disbelief part ways is the same place that separates fact from fiction.  But, I started to wonder, is it that simple? In many cases the lines between fiction and fact are, at best, fuzzy. Or to put it another way, one person's factual retelling of a series of events can sound like fiction to another person who experienced the same set of events.

Maybe fiction isn't as safe as we think it is.

Is the enjoyment of a novel that describes all kinds of wrongdoing based, in part, on the author's experiences, repurposed and packaged in the guise of fiction, another kind of purposeful ignorance?

 If so, it gives a whole new layer to the phrase 'guilty pleasure'. That being said, I'm pretty sure our societal duty not to ignore wrongdoing (murderers, shoplifters, those inconsiderate people who speed through crosswalks) isn't imposed when we pick up a work of fiction.

In fact, it's the one place where we get to enjoy all that bad behavior without any personal least that's how I'm rationalizing my love of detective novels and twisted family sagas. What do you think?