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Thursday, March 14, 2013

I've Been Tagged!

I was very excited to be “tagged” by one of my favorite authors, Jill Smolinski . in "The Next Big Thing Blog Hop."The fact that she even knows who the heck I am is amazing to me.

I first became acquainted with Jill when I interviewed her for a story about her book, “The Next Thing on My List.” I adored the book which I found moving, smart, funny and so well written, and lobbied hard to get to be the writer from my paper to interview her. She did not disappoint. She is as charming and funny as her book, and was incredibly generous to a fledgling author – me!

 I of course then read her first book, “Flip Flopped” as well. I love her work so much I couldn’t wait for another book to come out. Like some hybrid stalker/fan I kept searching for a new title and was thrilled when “Objects of My Affection” was published. As a single mom who has dealt with the addiction issues of a son, I so related to the incredible Lucy Bloom. Jill’s characters are so well drawn, and her stories read as real, funny and incredibly entertaining.

But, enough about the fabulous Ms. Smolinski, let me tell you a little about me and my next book! You can find my first book, “The Best Worst Year” at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes!

1: What is the working title of your work in progress?
“Being Good”
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually came from a bumper sticker! I was driving behind a car one day with a sticker that said, “Be Good. Don’t Be Bad.” I got thinking – can you be a good person, do something bad and still be a good person?
3: What genre does your book come under?
Contemporary Women’s Fiction. I am a huge fan of the aforementioned Jill Smolinski, Emily Giffin, Claire Cook, Nora Ephron…if I could have a shred of their successes I’d be thrilled.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmmm…I would love to see perhaps Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney rekindle their amazing chemistry in “Out of Sight.”
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Claire Eldridge is the classic good girl who has never done anything wrong, until she meets Chris Murdock, a married man who sweeps her off her feet and into a relationship she knows is wrong, but can’t resist.
6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
I have an agent at Trident Media, and my first book, “The Best Worst Year” was published though their new ebook division. We are just beginning the process of showing “Being Good,” to publishers.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Six months. I am a freelance journalist, so during the day I write about fashion, pop culture, entertainment and some news for several publications on Cape Cod where I live, and write fiction most evenings. I have a very patient and understanding boyfriend.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I feel so strange daring to compare myself to anyone. If I dare to compare my book to any it would be “Something Borrowed,” by Emily Giffin, one of my favorite books by a favorite author.
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I have experienced a lot of things that have taught me that life is not black and white. I love exploring the boundaries of what is considered good, or right. I think we all have times when we make choices that might not be considered “good,” but I don’t believe that makes us bad people.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
“Being Good” is about infidelity. I saw while writing and discussing it with friends that people have very strong opinions about people who participate in infidelity. I wanted to try to create a character that women would like and relate to, but see if it was possible for them to still like her when she makes a bad choice.

Now on to the two authors I’m tagging:

Jenny Gardiner is an incredibly witty and gifted writer.  Jenny is prolific and after a long day of writing gives me something to look forward to when I crawl into bed. Some of Gardiner's titles include, “Slim to None,” “Anywhere But Here,” and “Where the Heart Is.”

Judy Mollen Walters has written a beautiful and moving debut novel about the heartbreak of infertility with “Child of Mine.” A thoughtful and insightful writer, Mollen Walters delivers a book that truly shows the anguish of wanting nothing more than to become a mother.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ever Feel Like You're The Bridesmaid and Never The Bride?

As someone who is single and self-employed I sometimes get very scared about what I'm doing. It's risky. There's no certainty in being a writer, it's actually the exact opposite.

Most of the time I manage to keep a good attitude/deny the realities of my life's precariousness, but once in a while it all comes crashing down. Last night was one of those nights. I kept feeling like I wanted to cry, and it wasn't until a phone conversation with my boyfriend that I was finally able to put my finger on it - I was feeling that I keep working my bottom off, doing everything I can to further my career, and it doesn't ever seem to take hold.. Hence, always the bridesmaid never the bride feeling

All of us have been there - we see contemporaries surpass us and don't understand why - we're doing everything right, right? I have just completed my second novel, I have a great agent at a big-time NYC literary agency, I am on the radio weekly, I have regular newspaper columns, but I am always the Rhoda and never the Mary.

This morning when I woke up I checked my email and found a blog post about facing your fears.that so resonated with me it made me want to write this.

The author, Mastin Kipp talked about saying yes to your dreams even in the face of fear. He has talked before about losing everything before it all came together, and keeping on even in the face of what looked like utter defeat.

Even as I tearfully went to sleep last night I reminded myself that it's often when things look impossible that doors open, or at least a window gets cracked a bit. What I believe, even when I am sitting on my bed surrounded by snotty tissues, is that you HAVE to follow your dreams, even when, especially when they seem impossible to achieve. If forging a path was easy, or becoming a successful author, everyone would do it.

I've overcome a lot in my life - debilitating panic attacks, divorce, a son's drug addiction, losing my parents, breakups and setbacks, and I have learned invaluable lessons from every one of those hurdles. This is just another opportunity to grow, learn and stand firm in my achieve everything I dream of.

Life isn't easy, but this is our one chance to do what we love with everything we've got. And if it's not coming together the way we hope right when we want it to, we can't give up. We have to believe there is a bigger plan and that behind the scenes things are happening that we don't even realize.

I will always periodically fall apart and wonder what the hell I'm doing. But hopefully I get a little farther down the path each time, a little closer to the dream, and a little smarter as well. No matter what, I love what I do and what it ends up looking like is what its supposed to be. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to fight tooth and nail to get closer to my self-imposed goal every single day. It's how I'm built!

Monday, March 4, 2013

On Class and Status

Class and status  aren't things I have thought a lot about since I became an adult, but as a child it was different. When I came across this article today it got me thinking.

My parents divorced when I was very young, and my mom, needing a way to support my older brother and I, took a teaching job at a small private school. Due to her employment, we received scholarships and were able to attend a school that normally would have certainly been beyond our means.

At a young age I noticed things about my classmates that were small and subtle, but showed me that my family was different. For one thing, I didn't have a dad coming home from his law office or factory he owned, my dad wasn't coming home at all. We ate dinner at 5:30, not 7, like these upper middle class families did, and we didn't take vacations. While they jetted off to ski in Switzerland or to swim in the Caribbean, I was, at best, in for a two hour car ride to my grandmother's house in Western Massachusetts.

We wore uniforms, so the competition for clothes was removed, but still, I knew our lives were very different. They had bigger homes, drove Volvos and Saabs (the cars of old money) and we had a Buick. Even at eight I saw these things.

We were not poor, but money was tight. My mom tutored all summer to make ends meet, but she still managed to buy us a house, clothe us and we never went hungry. She was a good child of the Depression.. She was frugal, but we never went without what we truly needed. Without any real assistance from my father she raised us, all alone.

I hadn't thought much about class of late until a year ago when I met the man I am currently in a relationship with, He grew up in a working class family, and when he met me he joked that I am the first WASP he'd dated,. I never thought about being WASP'y. Having been raised by a single working mom I never felt at all privileged. In my mind, his upbringing and mine were the same. But I see in many ways they weren't. I did have certain advantages that he did not. My grandparents had raised my parents with certain advantages and attitudes about education and success, and I now see I was raised to believe I could do and be anything. I get it that because of my WASP'y upbringing I do believe I can create the life I want and am positive that with hard work and a little luck, I can make most anything happen. My advantage just might be optimism..

My mom looked a lot like Kate Hepburn (which is why I used this photo). We are a tall, lanky, blue-eyed family. We certainly look the part of WASPs. But the thing is, you can't tell everything about anyone from outward appearances. That's the thing about class and status - it's a pretty superficial way to judge people. Once you scratch the surface we're all a lot more alike than we might think.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Women, Competition, and Hating on Each Other

I woke up this morning to hear about the latest war in girl-on-girl world. Get your mind out of the gutter, I'm not talking about "Girl on girl"... this is about how horrible women can be to each other. And now every guy's eyes turn away from this post. Good... they wouldn't get this anyway.

Yesterday, E!News corespondent, Guilana Rancic committed the horrible crime of saying she puts her husband first, ahead of their son. Now I've got the feeling little Duke Ranic is not languishing in his fancy crib unattended to and abandoned. I am sure he is adored and well cared for. Rancic just committed the cardinal sin of saying she loves her husband and makes that relationship a priority, Hmmm,... another woman got in a lot of hot water a few years ago for doing the same thing.

Award winning writer, Ayelet Waldman penned a piece that caused a huge uproar amongst other moms when she wrote that she loved her husband, author Michael Chabon, more than she loved her children. It sparked a debate that pitted woman against woman and caused yet another chasm amongst my gender.

I have always considered myself a woman's woman. I adore my women friends. I cannot imagine a life without my friends. I love the man in my life, but I need the company of women as well. I just can't get how awful we can be to one another. From mean girls as teens (and oh yeah, I know from experience it does not end at high school graduation) to mom's in the PTA judging you it never seems to stop. But why?

I have a theory: We're hard on each other because we're hard on ourselves. I think that women are so hard on themselves that anyone who seems to be doing anything better, and God forbid, look better doing it, has to be knocked down a peg or two. We assume that the mom who looks good when dropping her kids off in the morning is a "bitch" and if, as Rancic found out, she appears to have an active sex life and fulfilling relationship with her husband, she's a bad mother.

We all judge. We couldn't make it through the day without some judgements, but we don't have to be so hard on one another. Men are not nearly as hard on each other as we are. We should be supporting and encouraging each other, not tearing each other apart. We need each other. Being a mom is hard, whether you stay at home, work outside the home, are single or married. Being a woman is delightful. I wouldn't be a guy for anything in the world. For me the clothes alone make it a no brainer.

Let's make a commitment to stop judging one another so harshly and stop comparing ourselves to one another. There's always going to be someone who is younger, prettier, thinner,has nicer clothes and better hair. So? Does that somehow make you any less than who you are? No! I think the best way to solve the girl on girl hate is to just start loving yourself. Just as you are.