Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Guest Post: Why Opting Out Isn't The Whole Story

Long, long ago in a land far, far away, I had an office job. My kids find this hard to believe, but it's true. I was many things through the years from an administrative assistant to a graphic designer to a training consultant to a training developer. Oh, and did I mention that year I worked at a criminal justice agency in New Jersey? If you asked me to describe my career path, I would not use the word "typical."

But I do not consider myself to be unusual, either. In fact, I know a whole township full of women like me, searching for the best ways to find fulfillment in a sea of choices that go far beyond stay-at-home or go-to-work. And one of our biggest challenges is not to lose ourselves or our happiness as we search for a career/family balance that fits.

Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple have written a book entitled Good Enough Is The New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, and I was so excited to receive a review copy a few weeks ago. These authors have spent years speaking to women about work, home, families and expectations. I'll have a full review of their book later this week, but at this time, I'd like to present to you a guest post written by Becky and Hollee.

Authors Hollee and Becky

Guest Post: Why Opting Out Isn't The Whole Story

Becky never wanted to be a part of the Opt-Out Revolution.

Not because she didn’t want to stay home with her daughters — she did, and she has a gap on her resume to prove it — but because she didn’t want the label. Opting out felt so … permanent. And, in her mind, she’d left the door ajar; her years at home were more of a break while she prepared for her next act.

The Opt-Out Revolution (a phrase New York Times writer Lisa Belkin popularized in 2003 to describe a rise in stay-at-home moms) is a concept we encountered numerous times while reporting Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood (Harlequin Nonfiction, April 2011). It’s a controversial idea; not everybody is convinced that such a revolution really exists. The thought of highly educated women abandoning their careers to stay home and raise children really seems to tick people off.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cheese and Crackers, Lucie!

I love hearing stories about how my book makes its way into the hands of new readers. That's why I loved Rock the DropClick here to read my original post so that you can understand the method behind the madness. Back already? Great - then here's an update:

My first book went to my sister. We were out to lunch to celebrate her birthday, and she did some shopping after lunch. She decided to leave my book, labeled for Rock the Drop, on the counter at a fashionable outlet store. That's the last we saw of it, but we can imagine that it found a home in an equally fashionable young girl's room/backpack/locker.

My second book went to my mom. If you know my mother at all, you know that she has been dreaming of this day. She would drop flyers from airplanes with my photo and website on them if she could. So getting permission to hand out a copy of my book was too good to be true. I think she was downright giddy at the thought.

She decided to wait until just the right moment, so her drop happened the next day. She was in line at a popular bakery/sandwich shop when she saw a mother with a young girl waiting in line. After the initial awkward, "How old are you?" opening, she explained to the eleven-year-old girl and her mother that it was Teen Lit Day and that she wanted to give a copy of my book to the girl. Both the girl and her mother were surprised and excited by the unexpected gift. But the best part of the story is that after a quick glance at the cover and back of the book, the young girl started reading while waiting in line and continued to read as she walked from the store to her car. Mission accomplished, Mom! I'd love to know if the book found a permanent home with her or if it, like Lucie, started traveling...

The last copy of my book went to my friend, Heather. We were also celebrating her birthday at lunch (and the upcoming birthday of her adorable 2-year-old daughter), and she decided to give the book to one of my biggest fans, her oldest son. A fifth grader, he read my book on her Kindle and has wanted the sequel ever since. She told him to give it "to a friend at school." Well, it has gone from one friend to another, and I hope it keeps going.

Her story made me laugh most of all when she told me this:
Seems that the line from the book is... "cheese and crackers, Lucie!" Not bad, when you have 5th grade boys quoting you.
Not bad at all.

Thanks to everyone who helped me Rock the Drop this year. It was great fun, and I already have ideas for a new way to do it next year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays: Good Enough Is The New Perfect

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Here's how to play:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers! Don't ruin the best parts for someone who hasn't read it yet.
  • Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists.
I am reading Good Enough Is The New Perfect by Hollee Schwartz Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie. It is available for sale today, so check it out!
Here is my teaser:
"Becky also found herself falling into an exhausting pattern with housework. Frustrated that Pete didn't clean the kitchen the 'right way,' she'd often push him out of the way and do the job herself. 
And then complain that nobody helped." 
Page 85 of Good Enough Is The New Perfect by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rock the Drop

Today is Support Teen Lit Day, so I am going to ROCK THE DROP.

Confused? You can read more at Readergirlz (the site I went to for my drop) and Figment

Here's how I am participating:

I printed four copies of the bookplate to the left and insert it into four copies of +The Prophecy+ that I will give to three people (keeping one for me), and we will drop them in a public spot (park bench, outlet store, restaurant booth).  Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP!

This is a great way to share my book and my love of YA lit around Pittsburgh. So whether you use my book or one from a different YA author, whether you participate today or just post on Facebook or Twitter, share your love of reading with anyone you can. 

Thanks to Readergirlz for the great plan for this sunny day. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wise Women

I was excited when a friend of a friend contacted me for an interview last month. She was starting a new project meant "to energize, inspire and connect dynamic women of Pittsburgh’s South Hills." She heard of my book and wanted to write a feature about me for her first issue.

I am still very inexperienced when it comes to interviews, so I wasn't sure how much I would be able to say. I thought I'd meet with Kim for 20 minutes, maybe 30, and then I would go to the next thing on my list for the day. But this wasn't an interview - this was a conversation with a creative woman who was truly interested in what I do and how I do it. When we were finished I was shocked to see that we had talked for more than an hour! The time flew as she easily encouraged me to talk about my previous works, including my failures, and how they shaped the goals and perspective I have now.

I am proud to share a link to my article, but I also encourage you to read the rest of the issue. I know that there are amazing women all over the world, but sometimes it's nice to read about those who live nearby. And if you like what you see, sign up for a subscription. I did!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creativity is Subtraction

Twitter saved the day again yesterday. It wasn't a great day for a number of reasons, but more about that some other time.

I found a new source of inspiration. Austin Kleon, a poet and artist, posted his "How to Steal Like An Artist" notes.  Someone tweeted a link, so I clicked. And what I found was fantastic, simple and true.

My favorite note of his was #9 - Creativity is Subtraction.
So true.

Every great paragraph I write started out twice as long. I delete, delete, delete. Then I reread. And sometimes it turns into something I love. But I can never start with the short version. It doesn't work. The subtraction makes it work.

If you are in need of inspiration, check him out. He also has a book that I have on my list to purchase. Simple but fantastic.