Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Preparing for the Release of My Novel: The Life of a FICTIONAL Mom Blogger

As the Picket Fence Post family girds itself for the release this month of my novel about an oversharing blogger who gets into big trouble when her previously anonymous blogging identity is revealed and her family goes ballistic after discovering what she's been writing online, I feel compelled to state the obvious. For the record. (Imagine that I'm holding a bullhorn to my face as I say this):

My novel, Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing, is a work of fiction. Sure, it may feature a blogger who's a mom. I'm a blogger who's also a mom. The main character, Maggie Kelly, may live in suburb in the greater Boston area. I live in a suburb in the greater Boston area. But . . . I am not Maggie and Maggie -- who blogs in a raw, profanity-laden, no-holes-barred, slash-and-burn fashion -- is not me. Clearly. But I will cop to dropping curse words a little too often, as Maggie is wont to do.

The other main character, Maggie's husband Michael, is not The Spouse, although, like Michael, there was a time when my husband's job required him to attend evening meetings when our children were young. The schedule was a demanding one to maintain. Then again, having three children within three years of one another is difficult in and of itself. The columns in my first book, A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum (available on Kindle!), along with my Boston Mommy Blog, are full of tales from those challenging, highly caffeinated years.

However, once Mortified is published on May 12 (Amazon link here), I'm guessing I'm going to be issuing this disclaimer quite a bit, particularly to certain people. (I'm talking to you Mom.)

How will the twin 14-year-olds and the 11-year-old react to all of this curiosity? Hopefully with the same nonchalance they treat most things involving their parents these days, unless it involves driving them someplace or handing out fistfuls of cash.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I'm Reading Now ... A Primer on Raising Adolescents

I realized the other day that when my kids were very young, heck, even when they were still in the womb, I was voraciously reading up on the best parenting practices. Compulsively so.

Then all three of the Picket Fence Post children hit puberty and it dawned on me that it's been quite a long time since I've read anything about childrearing. Two are of my kids are teens, the other's not too far behind. And all hell has broken loose.

After hearing some vivid tales from the Picket Fence Post household, a friend recommended this:

I now feel as though I finally understand why my house is suddenly filled with such loud melodrama ... or, conversely, the eerie silence of sulking and somber offspring. Reading Get Out of My Life But First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall? is akin to stumbling upon a helpful translator who's explaining the goings-on that are occurring right in front of my eyes but seem to be in a foreign language.

The Youngest Boy, not liking the cover of the book one iota, was displeased to see me chuckling as I was reading it the other night.

"I'm gonna read that when you're not looking," he threatened.

"Go ahead," I taunted him, "at least you'd be reading a book."

"Grrrr," he muttered as he kicked a dog toy across the family room, "I hate reading."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year, Lots to Celebrate in 2013

It's 2013 and I can proudly say that I've made no resolutions, although I have made a few, um, suggestions for myself for the new year.

As I skimmed through my brand, spankin' new 2013 calendar -- trying to ignore that nagging, superstitious feeling that anything with the number 13 is inherently unlucky -- and was taken aback when I realized several things:

I completely forgot to book my kids' annual doctor's appointments last year. Whoops.

My eldest two kids are not only going into high school this fall, but are going to turn 15 this summer.

Our "puppy" will turn 4 this spring.

Easter is very early this year.

Oh, and 2013 will mark the year that I become a published novelist. Seriously. Remember that book I talked about earlier, Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing? Well, it's going to be published this spring. More deets on this later . . .

After I marked down all the birthdays and anniversaries on the calendar, I thought about 2012 and what promises the new year holds and came up with several things we've got goin' on in the plus column:

-- I made it through Christmas without getting the swine flu or a stomach bug, both of which have sullied previous celebrations of Yuletide splendor.

-- The Youngest Boy did NOT freak out when he discovered that there was NOT a bow-and-arrow set beneath the Christmas tree. Katniss, he is not.

-- The older two went to a boy-girl New Year's Eve party while The Spouse, The Youngest Boy and I ate Chinese food (the adults had the take-out, the kid had leftover pizza . . . because I've been a lazy chef as of late. No judging!) and watched the second Lord of the Rings film, The Two Towers, because we wanted to have a quiet, family evening, save for our partying teens.

-- Our ice rink (pictured above) is actually operational! Longtime Picket Fence Post readers know that the subject of our backyard ice rink has been a source of tremendous angst for The Spouse, with the exception of one, spectacular year (the same year I got swine flu for Christmas, apparently because I'd been a wicked girl during the prior 12 months). Our history when it comes to this brand of home recreation is, shall we say, checkered, thus my joy at the fact that kids are actually SKATING on the rink into which The Spouse has invested so much money time.

-- The Spouse and I are both gainfully employed on a full-time basis. I'm currently on winter break from the university where I teach and am busily working on new syllabi for the spring semester. I'm very enthused about a course I'm developing.

Things in the minus column:

-- I haven't attended a yoga class in months. It was either sleep or yoga. I couldn't do both, so yoga got the shaft. And the kids have noticed. The Spouse has noticed. How did they notice, you might ask, other than by assessing muscle tone? Because when I'm actively practicing yoga I will experience moments, or stretches of zen-like, "yo dude" calm. That zen thing, my friends, has been noticeably absent, my patience practically nonexistent. Piling on a stress-filled Christmas season didn't help. Therefore, it is VITAL that I find a yoga class that fits into my crazy schedule. Soon!

-- I haven't had a real date with my husband since we celebrated our 20th anniversary in the beginning of November. (We did go to see Lincoln a few weeks ago while the kids saw a different movie with friends, but since the kids were in another theater and it was in the middle of the day, I don't consider that a date.) This situation, like the yoga one, also needs to be rectified.

Overall, the Picket Fence Post family is heading into 2013 with hope and eagerness, and I, personally, plan to laugh like a maniac when I gaze at our family calendar and discover that all five of us are scheduled  for something at the same time in different locations. Or maybe I'll just cancel all of our appointments and have us all go ice skating in our yard.