Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Good Read

EVERYONE SHE LOVED is just out in paperback, so if you've been waiting, now is the time.

Sheila has more to celebrate than her latest release. Read all about it on her blog and be totally inspired.

Here's a peak at the origins of the book.

Books are born in strange places. Sheila Curran’s latest was conceived in the front seat of a car while her friend drove and their daughters chatted in the backseat. The women were discussing an article Curran had written about two young girls whose parents had died within months of each other.
While talking about the tragedy, Curran realized that choosing the perfect guardian for her kids—one that would raise them as she would--would be next to impossible. Even tougher to swallow would be the possibility that if she died first, her husband might marry someone awful, and then she’d have no control at all. Unless, she mused, she could get him to agree that if he remarried, her sisters and friends would have to agree to his choice of bride, just to prevent some wicked stepmother from moving in.

You can get a sneak preview of the book here in the first chapter. I guarantee if you read it, you'll want to finish it!

I don't know a mother who hasn't thought about these things. Can keep you up at night, actually, if you lean toward the neurotic as I do....

The author of Diana Lively Is Falling Down, Sheila Curran lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband and children.

After you read the book, tell me what you think!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let Them Potty-Train Themselves

While slaving over a hot stove the other day, my toddler called to me from the bathroom that she needed to go potty.

"Really?" I called back. "What do you need to do?" And kept on cooking. Generally speaking, if someone tells me they need to go potty, it probably has more to do with looking at the potty than needing to pee in it or possibly competitiveness (if say, her older brother has just peed), or jealousy (if I have just peed), and precious little to do with the bladder.

When I finished up my kitchen tasks, I headed to the bathroom. I found, in this order: my daughter standing on the stool, washing her hands. Pee, in the little potty. A diaper, lying on the floor. Then I went back to my daughter and pulled her pants down. No diaper there.

Like a good detective I put all the pieces together. My not even two-year old child went into the bathroom, took off her own button-down jacket and button overalls, removed her diaper, sat on the potty, PEED in it, pulled her pants back up and preceded to wash her hands.

Well, clearly, I'm not needed any longer except for cooking. I have successfully raised my children. Which leaves me quite a bit of time to finish raising myself. A good thing as I seem to need it.

(On the flip-side, I may be needed for the other variety of diaper change. As my daughter pointed out to me while I was cleaning up her messy backside.

"No work, Mama," she said, when I told her the following morning the babysitter would be there for a few hours while I worked.

"Mama can't work? What should I do then?"

"Change my diaper," she said, with a smile on her face.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Winging It

Here's Jenny Gardiner, author of Winging It, and fantastically subtitled A Memoir of a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me.

Now do I need to say anything else? The book
screams buy me now. I'm always on the look out for humor and this is it.

But since Jenny's touring around, we'll let her say a few other things.

Have you had a “rock star” moment regarding your writing career?

Well, maybe a peripheral one. I had the wonderful fortune of having Winging It be selected as a Pulpwood Queen’s book club book for this year, and that meant attending their awesomely fabulous Girlfriends Weekend in January in Jefferson, TX. The keynote speaker was an author whose writing I revere, and I thought at best I’d get a glimpse of him. But instead I got to join the other 30-odd writers who spent the weekend in the company of Pat Conroy, who is one of the most talented authors alive today, in my opinion. He was charming, gracious and thoughtful, he regaled us and the Pulpwood Queens with fascinating tales of his life as a writer and just funny personal anecdotes, and he even made a point of purchasing and having signed books from each author there. How cool was that?

If Oprah invited you on her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of that show be?

Um, how about What Took You So Long??? Actually I think I’d be so overwhelmed with undying gratitude I’d have to bring along a carload of food treats because I know Oprah would appreciate some homemade banana cream pie, maybe some amazing pound cake, I make a kick-ass pumpkin bread, too. The theme would be about plying people with food to please them…

What was the most fun scene in your book to write? The most difficult?

I enjoyed writing the scenes about crazy things Graycie has done–and she’s done plenty. Like when she’d snuck off the cage and I was trying to get her back onto it and using a broom to sort of “direct” her and she kept biting the broom and my ankles while repeating (in my voice) “Hello, Gray chicken!” (a little term of endearment I have for her).

The most difficult had to do with things that happened along the way. In my mind this was a story about Graycie but her life and ours are inexplicably tied together, so it became a memoir of my family as well. And it’s tricky writing about family without invading their privacy, so that was hard for me to strike a balance. And hard to revisit some of the tough things we’ve dealt with over the years.

Do you have a muse, good luck charm, writing vice?

Peanut M&Ms used to be my writing vice, but then I gave them up last year for Lent. Somewhere along the line, Mint M&Ms became my writing vice this year, but I gave them up for Lent. Today, it seems that Thin Mints are my writing vice. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? (I should definitely write at coffee shops, rather than at my desk right in the kitchen!)

(A woman after my own heart!)

You can see a great video of Graycie and enjoy her gift as a mimic!

Jenny Gardiner is also the author of the award – winning novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver. Her work has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, and the Washington Post. She writes a column of humorous essays for Charlottesville, Virginia’s newspaper, the Daily Progress. She lives in central Virginia with her family.

I love things that make me laugh. Can't wait to read!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


My "baby" has weaned, and practically effortlessly. She will be two next month, and while I am a champion for breastfeeding, especially the health benefits of a year +, I have to say, I was ready to be done. And, apparently, so was she. I had a conversation about it with her one morning, and that was it! So, there are upsides to nursing until your child can understand language very well.

Today, as I rocked her and sang to her before nap time, she moved my shirt out of the way so she could place her head on the skin just below my neck. This is exactly what my son did when I weaned him. He would seek out the one little square of exposed flesh and place his head there. Skin to skin is clearly a comfort. I found it infinitely touching, as well, her little endeavor to be as close to me as possible.

She's a big girl now.

(We told her that stopping nursing meant all kinds of exciting things like: now she can ride on the merry go round and eat peanut butter. Totally unrelated? Not in a child's mind.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hey Fans!

Don't forget to tune in to my blogtalk radio interview tomorrow night with the amazing feminist breeder, a.k.a. Gina (who was just featured on a Discovery Health program).

We'll be chatting books and chicks and literature and MOTHERHOOD!

If you miss the live show, you can always download. Just link to set a reminder!

Can't wait to hear what you think.

In the meantime, for all you social networkers, if you can tweet about the show or post the information to facebook, I will be forever in your debt! (God knows I won't ever get on Twitter of Facebook.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Everyone Else's Girl

It's hard not to love this title and gorgeous cover.

Or the woman behind it, who like me, is a gemini, and (unlike me) uses her many talents to write for both adults and young adults.

USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane has written five women’s fiction novels, many work-for-hire young adult novels, and five category romances (under the name Caitlin Crews) since publishing her first book in 2004. Her novel, Frenemies, was a BookSense Notable in July 2007. She teaches various creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and offline at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes her MA and PhD in English Literature. Megan lives in Los Angeles with her comic book artist/animator husband and too many pets. For more info visit her websites.

I've got the book on my next read list. Here's the scoop:

Meredith does things for other people. She irons clothes for her boyfriend, she attends her ex-best friend’s horrendous hen party for her brother (who’s about to marry the girl) and she moves back to her parents’ house to look after her dad when his leg is broken. She’s a good girl and that matters. But when she gets back home, all is not as Meredith remembered. Especially Scott, that geeky teenager from her old class at school. He’s definitely different now. And so, it seems, is she. One by one, her family and old friends start to tell her some home truths and Meredith begins to realise she’s not so perfect after all. Maybe it is time she stopped being everyone else’s girl and started living for herself…

And here's Megan herself. Prettier than her book cover even.
Tell us Megan, if Oprah invited you on her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of that show be?
The unrealistic expectations women place upon themselves because they think others will only love them if they are the perfect friend, wife, mother, daughter.
Do you have a muse, good luck charm, writing vice?
I am pretty sure my extremely fat and ill-behaved cats feel that they are both muses and charms; they are not. I don’t really have either, I don’t think. Though I have written every single one of my books on this very same desk, and I’m kind of attached to it, if that counts.
Have you had a “rock star” moment regarding your writing career?
If so, what was it?I’m not sure what a “rock star” moment means, but it was pretty cool to hit the USA Today Bestseller list. That still feels great!
(I say that's a definite rock star moment.)
What's your favorite thing about being a writer?
I get to make up stories in my head, and then tell them, and make my living that way. It’s more than a dream come true. And I don’t, in fact, need algebra, as I told my math teacher in high school long ago!
And what's your least favorite thing?
The blank page is usually filled with all my doubts and fears, and that’s not a whole lot of fun to sift through to get to the words I need to write. And you can never really take a vacation, because the work is always in your head. And I become a little bit of a crazy person as a deadline approaches. But I wouldn’t give any of it up.
Here's some of the praise for her Everyone Else's Girl just released in the UK.
“Megan Crane rules! Cancel your evening plans: You won’t want to stop reading until you’ve devoured every delicious word.”—Meg Cabot
“Amusing, heartfelt and emotionally sophisticated chick-lit.” —Kirkus
“Crane prevails with refreshingly real human emotions and reactions. In this book, actions have consequences, and no one gets off easy, despite appearances.” —RT BookClub
I know the Brits will love this book, and the rest of us can pick up the US version.
Thanks, Megan!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Working Hard?

It's amazing how writing a novel can get in the way of more important activities, like blogging.

I am hurrying towards the goal of finishing the revisions on book #2 with some combination of exhaustion and lust. Lusting for it to be over, that is. Lusting to see the thing done. There is some point, in the process of novel writing, when you begin to worry that the book will forever be incomplete. I start dreaming about the last sentence. I see it in my mind's eye. I charge towards it with utter hunger.

The end is very satisfying. Quite unlike the end of reading a novel. I always feel a touch lonely when I finish a good book. I just re-read LADDER OF YEARS by Anne Tyler. I read it so many years ago that I couldn't remember the end. I read it quickly, taking it up whenever I had it a minute. It was even better the second time. I've also recently finished off SHOPOHOLIC AND BABY, which is like a box of chocolates. I decided to bring out some of my old, favorite feminist literature the other day as well, looking into SEX AND DESTINY by Germaine Greer. I adore that woman. The book's outdated now, but fascinating, and reading it reminded me that once upon a time I did things like study and write academically. Blogging couldn't be further from that. In the first place, I'm never required to write complete sentences. Cool.

In between all that reading, I really am trying to finish a book. But it's amazing how many things can get in the way of novel writing.