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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Next Cage Match on Pay-Per-View: Working Moms –Vs- Stay At Homes

I noticed something interesting recently. I live in a let’s-be-friends urban community that throws barbeques on Labor Day and has hayrides for Halloween. Everyone comes out, brings the kids, eats burgers, and meets the neighbors. Yet I find that when you’re toting a baby and go up to another mom toting a baby, inevitably one of the first questions asked is, “Do you work?” And paradoxically, both sides cringe in response.

It’s like the stay-at-home moms are afraid of being judged for not working outside the home and delaying their careers, while simultaneously the working moms brace themselves to defend their choice to earn some money and provide for the little ones. No one wins, yet you still see fear and judgment in everyone’s eyes.

Maybe I notice this more because I work from home. I straddle the line. So when I give my answer, I see the stay-at-home moms sigh with relief that I’m home all day and I see the working moms relax knowing I spend time chained to a computer too.

You know what the men do while we’re having this conversation? Drink beer. They discuss who has the longest commute and “do you know this guy who works at a company sort of connected to your company?”

Why do women do this to themselves? Why do we feel guilty if we go back to work, earn money, and leave our kids in the care professionals who teach them the ABCs and Spanish numerals? Why do we feel guilty if we stay home, record every milestone, make organic baby food, and read books to them on a blanket in the park?

Motherhood 101: Kids = Guilt. No matter what you do.

Monday, October 17, 2011

GCC Member Kristina Springer Spices Up the Pumpkin Patch

As someone who just spent the weekend enjoying autumn in NY, I gotta say, who doesn’t love a good novel about changing leaf colors and rustic pumpkin patches? If either of these things makes you want to curl up with a steaming pumpkin spice latte, then check out GCC Member Kristina Springer’s new novel, JUST YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS out this week through FSG. Isn’t the cover adorable?

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Jamie Edwards has loved everything about growing up on a pumpkin patch, but ever since her cousin Milan Woods arrived, things have really stunk. Jamie can’t imagine it was easy for Milan to leave her life back in Los Angeles and move to Average, Illinois, population one thousand. But it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for her since (a) Milan’s drop-dead gorgeous; (b) she’s the daughter of two of Hollywood’s hottest film stars; (c) she’s captured the attention of everyone in town, including Danny, Jamie’s crush since forever; and (d) she’s about to steal the title of Pumpkin Princess right out from underneath Jamie!

Here’s what Kristina had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Kristina: Well, it wasn’t funny, ha ha, but it was my funnest trip anyway—when I was 18 two girlfriends and I drove to Michigan for the weekend and made many pit stops along the way to pose with any and everything (plastic cows, Paul Bunyan etc.) and dance in the middle of streets.

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Kristina: Not at all. I didn’t figure it out until my late twenties. When I was little I wanted to be a rock star. In college I wanted to be a nurse and then switched to English Education with the intent to teach high school English.

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceañera?

Kristina: I had a big slumber party. My mom let me invite like a dozen girls over. It was a lot of fun.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Kristina: Same here. My first book was organic and then after that I outlined and wrote synopsis to show my editor before diving into the writing.

Q: Where were you when you found out that your book was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Kristina: It’s my third book so not too big of a story. ☺ I was checking e-mail and I got a note from my agent that my editor was buying the new book.

Thank you, Kristina! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Can’t Worry Whether Your Parents Will Read This

Did you ever wonder what the parents of erotic romance authors think? Do they read their child’s graphic bondage scenes or do they politely chose not to purchase their sultry books? How about the parents of horror writers? Do they wonder how they raised a child who could so graphically kill a character in their novel?

Well, I had a situation similar to this—okay, not that similar. I write YA, not sex scenes. But still, I recently published an essay in the anthology DEAR BULLY about my experience in middle school.

My mom read the essay. It was the first time she heard of me ever being bullied.

One of my friends recently described me as a “private person,” and I guess that’s one way of putting it. I don’t know exactly how I became that way, but apparently even at the age of 12, I could be tortured by my classmates and keep it to myself. I never told my parents. I never told my sister. I never told the school administrators.

And I have to say I was little nervous when this essay came out, because I knew my family was going to read it. And I knew there were going to be questions. And I did pause a few times and think, “do I really want to put this in?”

But you can’t write an essay, or a book, or a scene, solely for your parents. Otherwise, all our novels would read like after-school specials.

The best writing is the most honest writing. So if you have to break the news to your family that your so-called friends chased you down the hallways screaming obscenities in sixth grade, why not do it in a published book thousands will read?

In other news, I must give a little shout out to BU here, because when DEAR BULLY published, I submitted a “class note” to my alumni magazine. (Yes, I read my alumni magazine.) And yesterday, I got a letter from the dean of COM (College of Communication) congratulating me on the essay with a handwritten note at the end saying, “This publication can make a positive change in many young lives. –Tom.”

You know, because the dean and I are on a first-name basis. Seriously, though, how nice is that? I went to school with 16,000 undergrads and the dean took the time to acknowledge my little essay. Gotta love it.

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