Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Will Make Me Feel Better If You Pity Me a Little

So, I have a little problem.

It seems…I’m a slug—an OMG-will-she-ever-make-it-up-the-stairs kind of slug. I blame it on writing, of course. And that’s never going away. So, my slugness feels rather hopeless.

And to make me feel slightly more sluggish? These guys are my friends.

au muscles_cropped Meet Aurora. She’s super fit and beautiful and feeds me stuff like hummus and green weeds with pine nuts. Au likes to make special pizzas with green stuff on it. No, not that green stuff, you junkie. Other green stuff, which somehow tastes good and not like rabbit food when it comes out of Au’s kitchen.

I heard a rumor she’s actually 72, even though everyone thinks she’s in her mid twenties, so she must be doing something right. But if you’re looking for a green-stuff pizza recipe, you’ll have to e-mail her. Because I don’t have it. For one thing, you can’t fry it.


And here’s her husband, Scott. Scott’s mega fit with abs that put even wolfie Jacob to shame.

Go ahead. Take a moment to wipe the drool off your chin.

Scott has a fitness blog, which is pretty amazing. So if you’re looking for inspiration and motivation to get more fit, make sure you stop by his blog. I also have Scott to thank for teaching me all about motorcycles for one of my books. Yes, he took me for a ride on his motorcycle. And yes—you should probably be jealous. If he weren’t like a brother to me, I’d be jealous of me, too.


oph And here’s my beautiful gal pal, Ophelia. She’s a Beachbody coach and a Certified Turbokick Instructor (kickboxing cardio).

Ophie’s tried to get me to exchange my Coke Zero and amaretto OTR for Shakeology drinks, because apparently yummy, chocolatey vitamin shakes are better for me.

What she doesn’t know is that I keep a mini fridge just full of soda in my office. But come on, I shouldn’t have to go down the stairs every time I want a drink. That would make me too tired to write.


TurbokickNow, here’s me in Ophie’s  Turbokick class.

I know, right? Can you see me shaking? Can you see the fear in my eyes?

That class kicked my arse, by the way. And just when I thought I’d die, Ophie said, “Now time for Round Two!” And there were 3 rounds. OMeffingG. I suck.

No, I don’t see any correlation between slugness and  a mini fridge full of carbonated aspertame. Surely, there can’t be. *cough*

But prepare to feel REALLY sorry for me.

Holly Because here’s my friend Holly, a Beachbody coach preparing to participate in a Figure competition next month.






Holly's arm And here’s Holly’s awesome arm.







Carol's arm


Now here’s my arm.

Yeah. I know.

Check out my sweetie peetie friend Michele. She’s like, “Wait. I think I see it. If I squint just so.”


So yeah, I’ve come to realize I’m squishy marshmallow cream in the midst of hard cookies. AHHHHHHHH!*

Now, before you jump to conclusions, I am not paying these people to be friends with me. For some reason, they keep me around. And they don’t even try to make me do push-ups or anything. But you know what’s truly amazing about these guys? They all have jobs, children, lives. And they’re all freakishly positive and happy all the time. Pretty inspirational, really.

And Holly? She has Multiple Sclerosis. And in addition to working her arse off in preparation for this fitness competition and her Beachbody coaching, she’s published a book of poetry called Finding Me and is currently working on another. And she’s donating a portion of the profits from the sale of her book to research aimed at fighting MS. (Go check out her book. You won’t regret it.)

Now, the question is, why am I still a slug?I’m busy, sure, but so are they. So…hm. Maybe you shouldn’t feel so sorry for me, I guess. Slugness has been a choice. Like, I choose to write pretty much always over health.


I’ve decided, I’m tired of being the marshmallow. And I’m afraid my hard cookie friends will start poking me in the tummy to see if I giggle**. So here’s what I’m gonna do about it. This week, I’m taking up running (stop looking at me like that), and my daughter (who’s a runner) has committed to help me—after she said to me, “You know, Mom: running is really hard. Like on your heart and stuff. Are you sure?”

I figure this will help me feel better about myself, AND it will help me to look like this by the time SCBWI LA rolls around in July (don’t look at me like that).

carol hot bod

Can’t hurt, right? Plus,  I could adopt the pen name: Carol of Sparta. Way cool.

So, yeah. If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m too busy changing my slug ways. Or maybe I’m dead or something.

P.S. You can feel a little sorry for me. Because as much as it stinks to be a marshmallow, it’s even harder to try not to be.


*Sometimes, I like to use ironic metaphors.

**They are way too nice to do this. This is me in full insecurity mode. Don’t look at me like that.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

So, I Have Some News

I apologize to those of you who may have returned to my blog only to find the same post sitting here for the last two weeks. I’ve been on a bit of an almost not quite semi-fully unintentional-like hiatus. I’m not the most reliable blogger, I guess. But many thanks to those of you who have returned looking for me. I have been thinking of you, and even reading your blogs when I can.It’s just my life’s been a bit of a crazyfest lately. And though I’ve had a lot to say—well, okay, actually, I haven’t. My brain’s been pretty much mush, and every time I tried to write, I ended up sounding rather like Sloth from Goonies.

The thing is, I’m not an everyday kind of blogger. You guys know this about me. I just can’t do it. I do the best I can with the time and brain I have, so if that keeps you coming back, I'm humbly grateful.

But, yeah, I don’t have any inspirational words of wisdom today.  I do, however, have some news. Not my own. I mean, yes, obviously I have some news about me, but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my latest screw-up ( even if it does involve a rabbi, a parrot, and a barber from Nantucket—not to mention the roll of quarters or the rubber chicken). Oh no, today, I am celebrating some super hot stuff, guys—news that is totally worth taking a short hiatus from my blogging hiatus to tell you*.

So, yeah, check out who just sold their books!!!!!!!

Elana Johnson From Publisher's Marketplace: Elana Johnson’s CONTROL ISSUES, set in a brainwashed society where those gifted with mind control best join the powers that be, but one rebel girl tries to beat them at their own game, to Anica Rissi at Simon Pulse, by Michelle Andelman at Lynn Franklin Associates (NA).

Check out her blog post in which she announced her big news HERE.


Robin Mellom
From Publisher's Marketplace:

Robin Mellom debut DITCHED, pitched as THE HANGOVER for teens, in which a girl finds herself lying in a ditch the morning after her prom with no memory of the last twelve hours which includes a disappearing prom date, a Tinkerbell tattoo, and a dog-swapping escapade, to Christian Trimmer atDisney-Hyperion, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in Winter 2012, by Jill Corcoran at The Herman Agency.

Check out her blog post in which she announced her big news HERE.

Congratulations Robin and Elana!! So excited for you!!!!

And finally, I have a CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT for a contest which is so hot, so rocking, and sooooo SWEET, you’d be a a silly duck not to enter.

Signed twilight_SM

Sara McClung, one of my fabulous critique partners is hosting the Very Vampire May Giveaway in which she is giving away, eh hmm…

1. SIGNED hardcover copy of Twilight and 4 keepsake journals in a collectible tin.
2. SIGNED harcover, first edition The Vampire Armand (Anne Rice)
3. SIGNED Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead (by Charlaine Harris, of the Sookie Stackhouse series)
4. SIGNED Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck (A Love Story), Bite Me (by Christopher Moore)
5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead
Winners will be announced JUNE 3!!!! So don’t be a silly duck; hurry up and enter HERE TO WIN SIGNED VAMPIRE BOOKS.

And OH YEAH, if you haven’t entered my contest yet (the WILL GRAYSON SQUARED DANCE CONTEST), you really should.  Because you can win these SIGNED BOOKS

Will Grayson contest signed books

That’s 8 signed books by John Green and David Levithan (including two hardback, signed copies of Will Grayson, Will Grayson) as well as The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Plus, you can win a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, A Starbucks gift card, and Ghirardelli chocolate. In fact, if I get just 4 more followers, I will be giving away yet another package of gift cards and chocolate. So, yeah, now’s the time to enter because the contest ends May 25.

GO HERE TO ENTER CAROL’s WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON GIVEAWAY!!! And no, you don’t actually have to dance. Unless you want to.

(So, did it work? Did you want to laugh, cry, or kick me in the face?)

Beth Revis*A while back, I made the ridiculous blunder of not posting Beth Revis’s big news, because I’m a giant dumbarse on occasion. So, please do check out Beth Revis’ big news of the sale of her Across the Universe series to Razorbill, due out Spring 2011. And do be sure to check out Beth’s personal blog, as well as the blog she cohosts with other debut YA Dystopian writers (including Elana!), The League of Extraordinary Writers.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Mom and me


Do you remember when I used to bake pies to order for my teachers and my classmates in high school? Although, I think CJ was pretty much the only classmate who ever actually ordered anything from me, and then it had been a chocolate cream pie, which was really only chocolate pudding in a shell, and then it was only cuz she felt kind of sorry for me. I can’t help but wonder now if my classmates thought I was a little cuckoo.

I was always trying to come up with ways to make money back then. We were just so poor, it seemed sometimes. But you never once questioned my ridiculous ideas (like when I collected pine cones from Grandma’s yard and tried to sell them to the neighbors for a buck a piece—eh hemm tried to sell my fabulous instructions for turning pine cones into bird feeders, I mean). You took me very seriously, even though I was batshit looney. 

Well, flash back to that day in high school when I had made an apple pie for my show choir director: Mrs. Johnson hadn’t been around when I went to drop it off that morning, so I stuck it in a drawer in the girls’ dressing room in the music hall at school. But I went back later that day to collect it—remember?—and I found a trail of apple-cinnamon smears across the floor and then sticky, flaky pie crust chunks all over the make-up counter. And when I opened the drawer, the pie was still partially in there, turned upside down and all smooshed and broken, the tin pan all crushed. Remember? And there was a note scrawled on a paper towel, hardly legible,  stuck to the top of that sticky, gooey mess.

I don’t remember what that note said, really. But I do remember how much it hurt.

I held myself together really well that day. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. I just sat through my classes, not really saying much, because it’s hard to talk—to open your mouth even—when the only thing that wants to come out is sadness.

I made it all the way home, and I thought I was fine. But then I called you at work, and the moment you said, “Hello,” I started to sob. Big chunky, breath-filled sobs that don’t leave room for words. Except I must have gotten something out, because I remember you were really upset you couldn’t leave work to come home.

Except, you came home anyway. Somehow. And by then, my sobbing had subsided enough that I felt embarrassed to let you see me looking all red in my damsel-in-distress mode. But you didn’t say anything. You didn’t ask questions or try to get me to talk. You just pulled me into your arms and held me like a baby, and you told me I was special.

Do you remember when I called you from Bigger Bean’s track meet the other day with that super good news? She had just finished running her race—the 2400, I think—when I got the news, and I squealed. Frick, I actually squealed like a hungry piglet in the middle of all those people, and then I squeezed Hubs and handed him the phone so he could see, and then I stomped my feet on the aluminum bleachers a little bit, and then I shouted, “I have to call Mom!” and then I raced down the bleachers, skipping and slipping, until I was away from the crowd, and I called you, and you picked up and started to say, “I was just about to ca—“ except I cut you off to tell you the news, and then I squealed tons more, and then you squealed, and we were both squealing like piglets, and then you cheered and said, “SEE! I TOLD you!” and then you said you’d call Grandma and Grandpa, and then Grandma and Grandpa called me, and it was a total squealing lovefest. Remember?

You’ve always been the first one I wanted to call.

Thank you for that.

Today, Little Bean fell and scraped her knee while running around in the garden with Hubs. And she called out to me, wailing, “Mommy, Mommy!” and it hurt me to hear the pain in her voice, and I shoved my laptop aside, and I went running for her and scooped her up, but I didn’t say anything. I just held her like a baby and cooed and told her she was special.

Thanks for that, too, Mom.

Mynach Falls with my girls

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I know It Seems Random, but It’s Really Just Cheese

I blogged two days in a row.

I know, right?

Anyway, I have several things on my mind today. And because I’m a huge fan of lists (it helps to control my schizophrenic impulses. *coping*), I’m just going to make one huge list with pictures for you. Lists make everything feel less random.

giant pile of books whoa  Yesterday’s Spread the Awesome event was about freaking delicious, was it not? Huge thanks to Elana Johnson for coordinating the whole thing. Except, I now have a massive bone to pick with her for making my TBR pile as big as Mount Öræfajökull

Still, I will from this point forward consider Elana to be my fairy bookmother. Except don’t confuse her with that guy on the left. He’s…not her.


press here and enter Contests contests galore right now—thanks, in part to the Spread the Awesome event. I am slowly building up my contest links in the sidebar as I work my way through the rest of the Spread the Awesome posts. Many other bloggers are hosting contests as well, and I’m on the hunt for those, too. *growl* Of course, don’t forget to jet over to my own Will Grayson Squared Dance contest to enter if you haven’t already. It seems I now have over 350 bloggie friends, so the 4th prize package in my contest will be awarded for sure. I’m trying not to stress too much over it, especially as I inch closer to 400 (and a fifth prize package). I mean, I can always tap into my children’s college savings.  Plus, I have a husband I can farm out.

He’s a great cook.


LiLa I’m hopelessly in love with LiLa (for those of you living in a cave on Nauru, that would be Lisa and Laura Roecker). And because I love them so much (although, okay, to be honest, I’m a little more infatuated with one over the other, but it’s only because she does this thing with her glass eye that is so cute and funny)*, I would like to see them reach their goal of making 1,000 bloggie friends. So, please please, if you’re not already doing so, go follow these ladies. They’re snortalicious funny with their WTF Wednesday and D-Bag-O-Meter, etc.


LiLa_comment_Twilight This, of course, has nothing to do with their Deal with the Universe or with my expressed wish to see them film themselves acting out a scene from Twilight once they make their 1,000 bloggie friends.


But, for the record, I think Lisa should play Edward. She has such beautiful hair**.


Warning_Sign_Kate_Beckinsale According to a new study from University of Valencia, beautiful women are bad for your health.

Yeahkaysowhat? I think most of us already knew this. Thanks for the heads up, you oh-so-brilliant leading scientists.



secret to creativity Finally, please be sure to stop by Merrilee Faber’s blog today. She’s running a new workshop on creativity which promises to be pretty dang fabulous. It’ll run for 14 weeks, and if you’re looking for something to motivate you and inspire you to write, this is just the place to go. Plus, to kick off her workshop today, Simon Larter and I are arguing guest posting on Merrilee’s blog about the definition of creativity. I can’t say for sure who won the ugly battle had the most convincing definition of creativity, but I’m pretty sure it was me it doesn’t really matter. I’m always right Everyone’s a winner in this sort of thing.


cheese Oh, one more thing.

Cheese is tasty. I like it. Irrevocably so.




*Glass eyes are way cool. I like them so much, I might have lied about it.

**Laura has beautiful hair, too, but her abs probably make her a more suitable choice  to play Jacob.***

***I don’t actually know what her abs look like. My zoom lens is not powerful enough to reach Ohio.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spreading the Awesome, Carol-Style

Alrighty then…I’ve certainly been a poor blogger lately. My apologies if you’ve been anxiously waiting on the edge of your seats for me  to post since last weekend (*cough). My only excuse is that I’m an obsessive sort of writer (obsessive sort of everything, actually), and it’s quite difficult to pull myself away from my manuscripts sometimes. But here I am finally with something pretty dang fabulous for you.

Now, many of you already know that I’m giving away a couple of signed copies of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, along with a bunch of other signed books and stuff. But what you may not realize is that I chose to make Will Grayson, Will Grayson the highlight of my contest because this book may very well be one of the best YA books of our time. I mean, I can’t say for certain because I haven’t polled anyone yet, but I’m pretty sure (based on my 8-ball and my somewhat accurate ESP) that it ranks right up there with the greats.

And it so happens that the incredibly awesome Elana Johnson asked me to feature a book I loved on my blog. Actually, I believe she said I should feature a book that was so $&%*# good it deserves 10 stars! (or something like that). And because I totally believe in paying it forward, I readily agreed to do so with Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

will grayson squared will grayson squared signed

So, what’s so fabtastic about Will Grayson, Will Grayson? Besides the fact that it’s one name squared? Here’s the book jacket summary:

It’s not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old—including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire—Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most awesome high school musical.

Okay, 1. One of the funniest books I’ve ever read, hands down, and 2. THE funniest YA book probably, like, EVER. Seriously, I laughed my way through this book, which is crazy because there were some very poignant, sad moments in this that—by the way?—totally took my breath way. The voices of both Will Graysons were so strong and alive and so dang genuine that by the end, I swear to you, I felt like I’d just spent hours talking to these guys. And Tiny Cooper? Holy catfish, the guy was supposedly only a sidekick, but really, that’s just too weak of a description for this guy (uh, a little like his name—oh the irony). Tiny is the rubber band that sort of pulled the two Wills together, but he’s also the glue for pretty much the whole book. He’s gigantic with an equally large heart and with such a positive energy that you can’t help but love him and every ounce of his idealism. But you know what I crazy-love about him (err, one of the things)? He isn’t just the token gay best friend on the sidelines like we so often see depicted (Yawn…give us something genuine, Hollywood)—Tiny is so much more than this. He’s, of course, massively fabulous, but he’s also naive and sometimes insecure with such a deep-seated yearning for love that it handicaps him at times, causing him so much unnecessary hurt. And he is soooo different from the Wills, who are both just as radically different from one another.

Will1, Tiny’s best friend, is straight, but that’s not really what differentiates him. Rather, what makes him so distinct from Tiny is his nearly crippling inability to make choices, particularly regarding love. He has this self-deprecating sense of humor that is often ironic, sometimes satirical, and always dry—and squirt-milk-through-your-nose funny. Will2 struggles with serious depression, which, of course, is only compounded by being a teenager. But he is so wicked funny in a dark, hyperbolic,  just-short-of-emo, satirical way that keeps the reader from sinking into that depression with him. The beauty of Will Grayson, Will Grayson is that it does deal with regular adolescent issues, but approaches them in a way that is accessible, especially to teenagers. And it’s freakishly entertaining with intellectual teens that still feel like teens (no Dawson’s Creek wannabes here, thankyouverymuch).

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a must read, but I would recommend, because of some the stronger language and some of the more difficult issues addressed within (such as depression, teen romance, online relationships), that parents/guardians read it along with their teens and use the book as an opportunity to convo (I know it’s hard, especially with all the eye rolling, but teens, just ignore your parents’ stupid quirks and talk to them anyway—teach ‘em a little sump’im).
Anyway, to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I give **********.


If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m not the only one spreading the awesome today. You can find other bloggers featuring their 10-star-worthy books here at Elana’s blog. Or you can follow the chain o’ blogs as you might have been doing and go visit Stina Lindenblatt who is featuring Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer.

Aaaaand one more thing: be sure to go here to enter my contest and see all the rules, prizes, and ways to gain extra entries for the Will Grayson Squared Dance Contest if you haven’t already (you will need to be a follower and fill out the ENTRY FORM FOUND HERE). I’m giving away two copies of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, both signed by John Green and David Levithan, as well as six other signed Levithan/Green books, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, gift cards and chocolate. You don’t even have to dance to win. Unless you really, really want to.

P.S. I’ll give an additional two contest entries to every person that enters the contest and leaves a comment here correctly indicating the number of times I wrote “Will Grayson” in this post.