One of my favorite people to write with is Jeff Vrabel (we worked together forever at Nickelodeon), because he makes me laugh. A lot. Lucky for me, I now get to co-write a monthly column with him on FamilyEducation, starting today!
I hope you enjoy this little chat of ours, and those to come for the rest of the year. Thanks for reading along!
When I was a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on. That included things that maybe weren’t quite age-appropriate, since I swiped a lot of my mom’s books and magazines when she was done with them. I noticed early on that a certain name just kind of seemed to float to the top of the piles, even if I didn’t always understand or relate to her work yet: Erma Bombeck. There was something about her voice that struck me, before I even knew what “voice” was as a reader and, later, as a writer. When I got older, I started to understand her humor, her stories, and how special she was. How lucky we were that she shared her stories with us. How lucky I was to grow up knowing there was a funny female writer who was 100% herself and made a successful career out of it.
To say this thrills me is an understatement that makes me blush and stammer and be unable to maintain direct eye contact, because now I’m the one writing from her home office, balancing family and work and loving it all. She was an inspiration to me as a person and as a humorist, and each time I go to the conference in her name it feeds me in a way that only a seed she planted could do. So let’s just say that today is a very happy day for me, and I’m feeling crazy grateful for both where I’ve been and where I am right now.
Blog tip time! If you want people to read and share your blog, it is a good idea to make it easier for them to do so. Below are the most basic things every blogger should do to help make their blog more successful.
1. Put your blog name and your name at the top of your blog.
This may sound obvious. I have confirmed it is not.
Your blog name should be the quickest thing to suss out. Make it easy to read (I beg of you to not use crazy illegible, pulsating fonts) and distinguishable from your tag line.
If you are not anonymous, it would be nice to know your full name, too, without having to break a sweat.
2. Put your social media links somewhere easy to find.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. all up high. At least keep them above the fold.
What’s “Above the fold,” you ask? Imagine a newspaper: If you’re picking it up off the news stand, it is likely folded in half horizontally, with the headlines and most important information up high above that fold. Get it? I figured you would.
Whether you use those fancy graphic buttons or a text link that says “Social Media” or plop them on your Contact Me page, doesn’t matter. Just make it happen.
3. Make it easy for people to email you.
It could be a fan reaching out to thank you for sharing a story that she connected with, a blogger you respect who’d like to invite you to join his/her writing community, or someone legitimately trying to hire you to write for them (or whatever it is you do professionally). Many people prefer email, so keeping yours a secret might limit the amount of opportunities that come your way.
Fear spam? Create a free just-for-your-blog Gmail address and use it solely for this purpose. Easy peasy.
You could also simply embed a Contact Me form on your blog, if you truly don’t want to put an email address out in the world.
4. Somewhere in your header, sidebar, or footer put a graphic up with your blog name (and logo, if you have one) on it.
It helps if it is squarish. You can make one with any of the photo editing tools on your computer, or on free sites like PicMonkey.com. It can be just an image, or button. Doesn’t matter. I’d say try to make the image at least 300×300.
Doing this makes it easier for those of us on Pinterest to pin your blog posts and make sure people know who it is by, even if the post itself has no images in it. Putting your face/logo/blog name on an image that gets shared each time someone wants to share your blog posts absolutely helps your exposure and branding.
If you really want to make me happy, make sure you name the image your name and blog name when you upload/edit it. That way, when people hover over the image or pin it to Pinterest, that information is what we see.
5. Put your best foot forward.
Call it your “Favorites” or “Popular Posts” or “Best of” page or get clever with the title, as long as it is obvious what’s there. Put your best/most popular stuff there and make sure anyone who ever finds your blog can easily see it right away, read it, and share it. BOOM.
I find that when someone stumbles upon a post of mine they like, they’ll sniff around for more to read. By making the most popular and palatable pieces very easy to find, I increase the likelihood they’ll spend more time on my blog, then decide to follow me on social media to keep tabs on future things I write.
6. Put a few “Sharing” buttons on every blog post.
Once people get to the bottom of a blog post of yours that they love, make it easy for them to click a button to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and your good stuff will get shared.
As someone who regularly looks around for new blogs to read, share, and follow, thank you for making it easier for me to do so!
Some of you might have seen writers making comments under memes or other posts on social media now and then, asking for credit for work they’re seeing other people use. Some of you might have even seen the hashtag #JokesArentFree on Twitter. In short, there are lots of us writing quick jokes on Twitter (and Facebook) and a LOT more people taking our original jokes/words to use without permission or credit. Some do this because they simply don’t know better. Many others do this to pawn them off as their own in order to gain followers/fans, or to put on merchandise to sell/profit from. SPOILER ALERT: those of us who actually WROTE those words never see a penny from them, and lose out on both fans and career opportunities when this happens.
In 2012 I wrote a one-liner on Twitter that said, “Coffee: A warm, delicious alternative to hating everybody every morning forever.” Since then, I have seen it used on hundreds of items from mugs to tees to wooden signs on Ebay, Etsy, Amazon and other shops. The people who run those shops earn money each time they sell something with MY words on them. I try to message these people, but mostly my requests to remove the items from their shops are ignored. Uuuuugh.
Go ahead and put that tweet into the search box on Twitter and look at how many people copied/pasted it to use as if they were the ones who thought it up, then scroll through 4 years’ worth of people who have the cajones to promote items on Twitter that they sell with my words from Twitter on them. Again: UUUUUGH.
I am not the only one who this is happening to. It is a VERY common practice that needs to stop.
I have also written tweets that other people/companies used to make memes and put THEIR names/tags on them. So each time the memes were shared, the people who took MY words without permission got new fans, got eyes on work I did. I lost out on gaining new fans. I lost out on my work getting in front of the eyes of people who might hire me to write for them (which is, in fact, my job).
Let me repeat: I am not the only one who this is happening to. It is a VERY common practice that needs to stop.
So in case you honestly didn’t know, copying the words someone else wrote—like a funny or relatable tweet—then pasting it into a tweet, status update, or meme of your own is actually stealing (and very uncool). Please, instead use the Retweet option on Twitter, the Share option on Facebook.
There are a lot of people out there who are professional writers (like me) who use Facebook and Twitter to share short pieces of writing to entertain and engage our fans. I have had my work make its way in front of the eyes of people who like it and are in the position to pay me to write for them, too. THIS IS AWESOME. My career as a writer depends on people sharing my words and people wanting to pay me for my words. So, please, think about that before taking the stance that it’s no big deal to “borrow” the words you like on social media. It’s so easy to share it in a way that ensures credit to the writer, and doing so makes them love you. And I can tell you from experience that feeling the gratitude of a writer who loves doing what they do is a beautiful thing.
Here’s a link to what happened on Twitter, if you’d like to show your support by liking or retweeting: #JokesArentFree
We all fall into the trap of trying to be perfect, thinking that it’s a good thing to be. PLEASE KNOW THAT THESE ATTEMPTS DO NOT END WELL. Evidence of this is the fourth book in the New York Times Bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone series, I Just Want to Be Perfect.
I Just Want to Be Perfect features 37 of the funniest women writers on the web, all ready to share their perfect failures so you can learn to embrace your imperfections, too:
Did you see that? My name is on that list! Yes, I’m making my fourth appearance in this laugh-out-loud, brutally honest anthology series with a story about a little (very painful) something I tried to pretend didn’t exist, and exactly how that went.
I’m thrilled to be a member of this tribe of strong women writers who simply want to make others know they are not alone in this fruitless quest for perfection, and laugh while doing so. Grab a copy for yourself today!
To stay up-to-date on my latest book releases, projects and announcements, sign up for my weekly newsletter! It is filled with both my work and the best things I read on the internet and beyond.
Today I make my debut on The Washington Post, talking about a subject very near to my heart.
During my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum–severe morning sickness. Yes, it technically ended once I delivered, but the side effects of it haven’t fully ended yet. And I’m not the only one.
Join me on The Washington Post as I talk about my experience with HG and share other women’ stories so you can better understand how long-lasting an issue it can be, and how much help those of us who live through it need to recover.
Whatever label you slap on yourself—writer, blogger, author, freelancer, content creator, humorist, essayist, tweeter, Facebooker, memoirist—my guess is that you always want to get better at coming up with new ideas and fresh content for your outlets.
I’ll be at BlogU16 this June to help you with exactly that!
Creating new content: How to come up with ideas for what to write next.
I never get writer’s block and am constantly coming up with new ideas for tweets, blog posts, funny lists, personal essays, short stories, novels, videos, and memes.
I’ve come up with a system that helps me cultivate ideas, and I’d love to share that with other writers who want help getting words on paper/internet. Some things I will cover include:
Where to find inspiration
How to organize your ideas
What to do with your ideas
Fleshing out little ideas into finished products
What to do when writer’s block does try to sneak in
The class will be interactive, and there will be handouts to help attendees start implementing my tips right away.
Bonus: If you attend, I will have office hours during the conference for one-on-one time, should you have any specific questions or want to talk to me about, well, anything, really. I like to talk to people!
WHERE TO REGISTER
Get your all-inclusive ticket or commuter ticket here.
Click here for more information on other sessions being offered at BlogU16.
As many of you know, I wrote a YA novel that I plan to make into a series. It is currently being reviewed by publishing houses, so I created a special mailing list for those of you interested in:
Being the first to hear when my book will be published.
Being the first to know when the book’s fan site launches.
Getting info on how you and your tweens/teens can join my book’s street team, which is an exclusive group made of fans who get special perks, gear, and other fun stuff by working with me to get the word out about the book.
– Free wine and food
– Live readings that will make you laugh
– Meet and take pictures with the co-authors
– Get your copy of I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone signed
– Shop the boutique while you’re there (I sure will be)
Not familiar with the series yet? It’s the best of the funny parenting tweets, some of which are illustrated to make you laugh even harder at the insanity that is parenthood. This is a great gift for any parent or parent-to-be, ready to gift just in time for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Here’s the complete list of all the funny men and women in this book along side me:
α geek (@alfageeek)
My wife doesn’t think I’m funny. My three kids think I’m hilarious. Odds are, my wife is right.
Amy Dillon (@amydillon)
Does “mad” apply more to people working in advertising or staying home with their kids? This donut-loving, patience-lacking mom of two boys is finding out.
Andy H. (@AndyAsAdjective)
I’m wrapped around my daughters’ little fingers. Don’t tell them I said that. They have HUMONGOUS egos already. My only goal on Twitter is to make myself laugh.
Andy Herald (@AndyHerald)
Humorist, designer, owner of a beard and father to three sons. You will know him by his earbuds. Also, his youngest son glued the shift key on his laptop.
Jen Good (@BuriedWithKids)
The doctor said, “There’s two and something else.” I said, “Dear God, let it be a tumor.” Then I became the proud mom to triplets and their big brother.
Abe Yospe (@Cheeseboy22)
I type words on my home computer and then, using an Internet connection, I post those words to the World Wide Web. In my spare time, I teach first grade.
Stephanie Jankowski (@CrazyExhaustion)
English teacher by trade, smack talker by nature, Stephanie is a mother of three who lives by the mantra: Life is too short! Laugh!
Mike Julianelle (@DadandBuried)
A thirtysomething Brooklynite who is sharing his experiences as a father and bitching about the ways the existence of his son is destroying his social life.
Brent Almond (@DesignerDaddy)
Comics-loving, work-at-home graphic designer/blogger & 45-year-old gay dad of a 5-year-old son. Utility belt contents: Starbucks, Advil, Just for Men
Domestic Goddess (@DomesticGoddss)
I’m a 50%-er giving 75%! Mom of three boys trying to raise three good men who put the toilet seat down. Professional giggler and philanthropist extraordinaire. Full bio
Sarah del Rio (est. 1975) (@est1975blog)
Mother of one. Grower of chin hairs. Leaker of pee. One foot in grave. Writer and editor. Writer of the humor blog, est. 1975, for the ladies of Generation X.
Chrissy Howe (@FullMetalMommy)
Fearless, ever-pregnant mother warrior to three little hand grenades. I share my life like an open book, but keep your grubby mitts off of my chocolate.
Amy Flory (@FunnyIsFamily)
Named one of Mashable’s 17 Funny Moms on Twitter in 2013 and Year’s Meanest Mom by her kids in 2014. Full bio
Kate Hall (@KateWhineHall)
Stay-at-home mom of three kids. When I’m not answering bizarre questions or wiping poop off the walls, you can find me on Twitter. Full bio
KC of TX (@kcmoore51)
Husband, father, proud Texan, twitter-addict, and enthusiast of any and all things related to tacos, yoga pants, pillow forts, and Oreos.
Kim Bongiorno (@letmestart)
Mom, wife, author, blogger, freelance writer. If she were less tired, she’d totally jazz up her bio so you’d never forget this moment.
Linda Doty (@LindaInDisguise)
Momming since ‘83, Linda’s up for parole in 2024 when her fifth and last child turns 20. She hides on Twitter because her kids keep finding her in the liquor store. Full bio
Marl’s beans (@Marlebean)
Quirky mom of 2 silly kids and 1 big kid/ husband. Juggling it all with sass and class. But if anyone asks, I’m writing these jokes for a pinterest project.
Mary Widdicks of Outmanned (@MaryWiddicks)
My husband calls me honey. My sons call me mommy. The baby calls me milk. The dogs call me their indentured servant. I am a writer and a SAHM. I am outmanned.
Wendy S. (@maughammom)
Minivan mom. Probably an unwitting accomplice to my kids’ plans for world domination. I never turn down dessert.
Carisa Miller (@mcarisa)
Forever adjusting my undergarments in public. Writer, Director, Humorist, Nut-job. Wife of my husband. Mother of two fireball daughters and an ill-tempered cat.
elleroy was here @modmomelleroy
Lives in NJ with her husband and two boys, who say she’s the female Larry David. She’ll criticize your parallel parking to prove it. She blogs, tweets and curates her son’s booger collection.
Rodney Lacroix (@moooooog35)
Best-selling, award-winning author of humor and comedy books. Father. Husband. Amazing
lover. Vertically challenged and very, very lazy.
Deva Dalporto (@mylifesuckers)
When she’s not making parody videos and singing about her saggy boobs on YouTube, Deva is busy trying to prevent her two kids from slaughtering each other.
Dad to son. Husband to wife. Enemy to few. Friend to fewer. Indifferent to most. I only shave once a week. I once killed a spider with my bare hands. I’m a carnivore and my wife is vegan, so basically I suffer a lot.
One Funny Mummy (@OneFunnyMummy)
One Funny Mummy writes what she knows: chaos and poop. She lives in Whine Country with her funny hubby, two cheeky monkeys and her dwindling sanity.
Jennifer Lizza (@OutsmartedMommy)
Mom of two energy-filled, lovable boys. Traded in my salary to raise them. They outsmart me daily. It’s probably the lack of sleep.
Paige Kellerman (@PaigeKellerman)
Writer, humorist and mother. People say I’m a bad cook. They’re right. Author of the book
At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles.
Chris Cate (@ParentNormal)
A three-time parent who prefers to laugh than cry during his close encounters of the baby, toddler and kindergarten kind. Full bio
Pete Lynch (@pjtlynch)
Along with raising three boys, Pete spends his remaining time on the Internets writing comedy and pretending to run Long John Silver’s.
Amanda Mushro (@QuestionableCIP)
Candy Land loser, Yoga pants enthusiast, and mom of two that’s laughing at life as a parent so they don’t commit her.
Tracy fills her days helping her kids find their stuff, figuring out what’s for dinner, and repeating that socks without feet in them do not belong in the living room.
Do you have kids? Do you like to know you’re not alone in all the madness that stirs up? Then you’ll love the next parenting humor anthology I’m in, which will be available on March 27, 2015:
This is the sequel to the mega-hit, I Just Want to Pee Alone, featuring the perfect combination of familiar writers and fresh voices sharing stories that will make you laugh, cry, and nod your head, OMG YES EXACTLY THAT.
I’m pleased to announced that I am now writing for Momtastic.
You can find my first article, How to Make a Perfect Mom, there today. I’ll be covering all sorts of topics that women are interested in, from parenting humor to advice, food, entertainment, lifestyle, and more.
I had such an amazing time at BlogU14 that I decided to do it again.
Come join me and the rest of the team at BlogU15 this June!
The great thing about The BlogU Conference is that it is an intimate, affordable affair that encourages writers and bloggers to find their tribe and support one another so we all can succeed together.
Registration is easy! Click here to see the three ticket options for commuters, single rooms, and double rooms. Yep, all you need to do is buy one ticket and it covers everything you need. The $299 all-inclusive ticket includes rooming, food, sessions, social events, everything!
I’ll be teaching Establishing a Professional Online Presence:
Make yourself someone others want to hand opportunities to! This session will show you exactly how to build a valuable presence and positive reputation on the web. Topics include social media activity, setting up visual representation, networking, interacting with potential employers, dealing with unsavory commenters, and more. Find out how to behave, brand, and market yourself to land professional writing, editing, sponsorship, and social media opportunities from freelance gigs to book deals and everything in between.
Whether you’re new to blogging or ready to take that platform you built and use it to move into the next phase of your writing career, this session will help you show the world who you are and where you want to go.
YALLFest is a Young Adult book festival in Charleston, SC that I had heard about a while ago, and managed to talk my fellow author friend, Jen Mann, into coming to with me this year (admittedly, it wasn’t all that hard to do). Both of us are big fans of YA and hope to some day see books we’ve written on that shelf in bookstores.
Also, can you say, “GIRLS WEEKEND AWAY”? Heck yeah.
I stepped away from my family, my blog, and my work to focus on emerging myself in the world I desperately want to be a part of. This would be my first YA festival or conference, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was ready for anything.
I was also ready to sleep in a big, comfy bed all by myself without any of my offspring asking me really hard elementary school math problems for a few days.
We flew in from our respective homes to sunny Charleston and immediately got to pre-gaming: Book shopping at Blue Bicycle Books–sponsor and official book store of YALLFest.
Then we did a little shopping, a little eating (S.N.O.B. was delicious and had a lovely staff), and maybe a little goofing around. MAYBE.
Soon it was time to start waiting in lines to get our books signed, so we hopped on over to meet the adorable Kiera Cass (along with a bajillion other people about 20 years younger than us).
That done, we rushed down the street to meet James Dashner to get copies of The Maze Runner signed for our sons. At first we were told we were too late, but then they opened the line back up. Thank goodness, because my 9yo pretty much told me not to come home unless I had a special book for him. Mission accomplished!
We walked around a bit after that, soaking in the excitement in all the tweens’/teens’ eyes around us as they met up with friends to squeal about who they met, took pictures with, and so on. Man, we are such moms. Ready to have a little celebration of our own, we stopped into Basil for delicious Thai and to have a champagne toast in honor of Jen recently becoming a New York Times Bestselling author for her recent humor collection.
Because we are wild women out on the town, we went back to our hotel room, jammied up by 7:30pm, and got to writing and talking for a few hours before getting a much-needed good night’s sleep (thank you, Holiday Inn Express, for your scrumptiously comfy beds).
Early Saturday morning we powered up with a well-rounded (sugar is round, right?) breakfast and headed out for a long day of learning.
Throughout the day there were book signings, but we skipped those in order to attend the sessions filled with panels of experienced writers. Here are the ones we chose to attend.
TheYALLFest Opening Keynote was James Dashner getting interviewed by his good friend Sara Zarr. I want to invite them out to dinner. Seriously. They are so funny, but also shared some helpful advice and James’ journey from accountant to extremely successful full-time author. His top three tips for those who want to write are:
1. Write every day.
2. Interact with other writers.
3. Always practice. Just like a sport or an instrument, you need to play it to get better at it.
They talked a lot about revealing secrets, twisting plots, what defines genre, and what their writing process. I LOVE getting into other writers’ brains. It is a very happy place. For example, Scott thinks that bad guys are scarier when they don’t want to hurt someone, but they are willing to if they had to. It adds an element of suspense. He also likes to play with genres, doing something new within the constraints of one genre that give it the flavor of another–but not quite enough to re-catagorize it. I ate all of this up, furiously taking notes.
By lunchtime I was shoving protein bars down my throat, wondering why I never realized there was no break for a meal during this festival (I eat every 2.5 hours or else I get hangry, which is not safe for anyone around me), but I rallied on.
As writers, we can’t help but weave our personal experiences into our stories. This is where family comes in. Their characteristics tend to pop up in our characters–whether or not it is intended.
I raised my hand during Q&A to ask whether they realized they were “writing about” their family members as they went along, and how that went over. Adele answered me right away. She works a lot of the issues she dealt with in her family growing up into her stories, and it’s hard to ignore, but it’s her story. If you’re going to do it, you need to own it and be willing to risk your family not being happy with it. Going from a private to a public person was hard–for many reasons–but she makes a point to stay authentic and it helps her in these types of situations. They also got into talking about how all but one of the panel members is no longer a teenager, yet may of them write in the voice of one.
Ellen used the snarky voice of her 17yo kid in Rumble, Lauren explained that it’s interesting to see how teens create identities that are a pushback against what they don’t want to be vs what they do want to be, and Sarah talked about how familiar that teenaged voice/experience is because, “those were the first roles you knew.” It is such a volatile time in our lives, no wonder there is such a draw! I know I felt very comfortable writing in the voice of multiple teenagers, which always seemed odd to me. They made it all make sense. Thanks for making me feel less crazy, author peeps!
The ladies talked frankly about how our brains are wired how they are wired, and that we need to find a way to work with that. Yes, there will be dark times, but that just makes it even more important to reach out to others, to connect, to tell people when you need help. There is always hope. There are always others out there who do, in fact, know how you feel.
Right now my first YA novel‘s manuscript is being reviewed by some publishing houses, and I’m about to start on its sequel, so I was really curious to see what this group had to say.
I loved how they talked about diversity in all aspects, how books are categorized, and named some books they thought are truly special. During Q&A I asked what the deciding factor was for people in the industry to move forward on a query, buy a manuscript, or (for librarians/book stores) put that book on shelves. David said that it has to be exciting, something an acquisitions editor wants to work with for the next year-and-a-half. I can only hope mine does that for those who are reading it right now–I can only wait and see!
Right off the bat, the panel pointed us to the article “I Hate Strong Female Characters,” which questions why male characters are always assumed to be strong but female characters need to be defined as such. A perspective I found so intriguing, for, as Leigh points out, the heroine is the one who moves the story forward. Doesn’t that automatically mean she’s “strong,” since she’s the reason the book exists?
They covered likability, being generous with characters who annoy you, back stories, plausibility, and diversity. Mostly, though, they discussed the important of agenda: that of your character and the author. I loved when Marie spoke up to say she’d like to see more female characters like Loki and Magneto. I absolutely agree! And now I adore Marie even more than I did before the session!
While I was writing my book I could see it playing in my head as I typed. I can’t imagine it not being something others could see as ripe for the screen, so I really wanted to hear about their experiences. I’ve seen many a book made into a movie that–quite frankly–flopped. Disappointed. I really liked what Veronica and James had to say about the differences between their books and their films. Essentially they agreed that movie versions of books are like an artist’s interpretation, another medium through which we can experience their original story. Yes, there will be differences, but it can be a lot of fun to see it with those changes. I think that is a great attitude, and might even have made me become a bit less of a purist when going in to see such films.
I laughed, I got emotional, I got to know these two women better. But what really struck me was something kind that Ally said about past books she has written, which she now sees weren’t very good: “They represent the best work I could do at the time.” This hit me hard because as I move forward, I worry the work I have done last month, last year, five years ago is almost embarrassing. She’s making me think that maybe I shouldn’t be, because it simply shows how I am always growing, getting better–and isn’t that exactly what we hope for, as writers?
All good things do, eventually, come to an end. Jen and I stuffed our faces at the amazing 39 Rue de Jean (OMG CREME BRULEE HEAVEN), then waddled back to our hotel for one last night.
As I took many car rides, long airport walks, layovers, and cab rides home to New Jersey the next day, I tried to put my finger on what, exactly, it was that I got out of this weekend at YALLFest (other than more rest than I’ve had for a long time and many laughs with Jen). I only got a couple of the six books I had with me signed. I didn’t speak one-on-one with any of the YA publishers there who might be interested in my manuscript. I didn’t swap phone numbers with any other bloggers or writers (most of them were so young that’d feel inappropriate!). Then I saw this tweet by Divergent series author Veronica Roth and realized she just summed up exactly why I was walking around with a smile on my face all weekend long:
2. It’s rare to have those moments where you look around and think, with your little grinch heart swelling, “these are my people.” — Veronica Roth (@VeronicaRoth) November 10, 2014
I feel energized, ready to dive into the sequel to my first book. I feel confident that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I feel like there is always more for me to learn, and people willing to teach it to me.
Maybe I’ll see some of you at YALLFest 2015. Maybe even from the other side of the table in a few years. A girl can hope, right?
Ladies, are you looking for an excuse to get out of the house? Hang out with old friends? Meet some new ones?
Then I have just the thing for you.
The 2014 I Just Want to Pee Alone National Night Out.
Authors and bloggers from the best-selling humor anthologies I Just Want to Pee Alone &I Just Want to Be Alone (including me!) will be hosting meet-ups at bars and restaurants across the country just for the heckofit this November 12th.
This is a low-key bar (read: don’t have to dress too fancy) that’s across the street from the train station, and has parking close by. You can’t miss us–we’ll have signage. And I’ll be eating. And enjoying beer. And possibly spilling things on myself.
Not in New Jersey? You can find all of the events across the US listed in the Events section on the I Just Want to Pee Alone Facebook page. We’re adding more all the time, so keep checking in and be sure to RSVP so we know who is coming.
I am excited to announce that I’m in a new book that not only will make you laugh this holiday season, but will also help feed families in need on Thanksgiving:
I’m a longtime fan of Scary Mommy Jill Smokler’s blog and books, so was tickled to be accepted for this anthology of entertaining tales to help us all get through the holidays with a smile on our faces. But even better than that is the fact that part of the profits of every $2.99 book sold will help fund the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project. This is a wonderful charity I have been involved with since its beginning, which you can learn more about here.
You can order a copy of Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays eBook for only $2.99:
Pop on by the Bloggers are Weird podcast series by DJ Paris for our chat about my writing career from its beginning to what’s next for me, a reading from my fictional short story collection, a reading of a parenting humor piece I wrote, and random topics he brought up that made me laugh.
The first annual BlogU Conference was held in Baltimore, MD this past weekend, and has been considered a great success. I not only had the honor of emceeing some of the event, but I also was on two season panels. It was a pretty incredible experience.
I’m pleased to announce that an essay of mine is included in the new humor anthology I Just Want to Be Alone, the much anticipated follow-up to the #1 best-selling book I Just Want to Pee Alone!
The official release date is March 22nd, 2014, but you can place your order today! As most of you know, I don’t normally talk about my husband or marriage in public, but Jen persuaded me to share one story for this special book. As I read through it, I nodded, I cackled, I smiled my face off knowing that I wasn’t alone in wanting to be alone.
The second volume in the best-selling I Just Want to Pee Alone series!
Don’t get us wrong, we love the men in our lives – we do (most of the time). It’s just that sometimes we would like them to go away. Not forever or anything like that. Just for an hour … or a day … or a weekend. We want some time to ourselves to read a good book or take a walk or do anything other than try to make a dent in the never ending mound of dirty clothes that keeps piling up on his side of the bed. We just want to be alone. All alone. Is that too much to ask?
I Just Want to Be Alone is a collection of humorous essays from 37 of the most Super Cool Lady Writers you’ll find on the web. Including: People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Baby Sideburns, A.K. Turner, My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream, and Bad Parenting Moments.
Read hilarious essays like:
Open Letter To My Son (Or: Your Mother’s Top 10 List of Ways Not to Be a Douchebag Husband) Exploding With Love, Literally Romance is Overrated Life With the Thin Guy Dear Magnolia, Should I Marry This Man?
Here’s a full list of contributors that you’ll get to know once you get your copy:
A team of successful bloggers, authors, freelance writers, and social media experts will teach sessions that cover topics such as:
Treating Your Blog Like a Business
Writing Killer Sponsored Posts
Writing About Personal Stuff
Bulding Your Author Platform
Be a Better Writer
Social Media Mastery
Finding Your Niche
Building a Tribe
Making Money with Your Writing
Going from Blog to Book
I am personally a part of two session panels:
BE A BETTER WRITER How to write and not “just blog”. Elevating your skills, being a better self-editor, resources for writers, tackling writer’s block, soliciting useful criticism. Whether you are blogging for fun or for money, we will show you how to make the most of your resources, look at your work with a sharper eye, get better at what you do so you can be more successful at it. This panel includes: Nicole Leigh Shaw – Magazine columnist, journalist, editor, freelance writer, essayist, and humorist behind NinjaMomBlog Allison Hart – Award-winning humor blogger behind MotherhoodWTF?,and freelance writer. Alicia Steffann – College writing professor, and award-winning creator of Naps Happen
FROM BLOG TO BOOK Building your author platform, deciding whether to self-publish or go the traditional route, querying your manuscript/concept, creative marketing strategies, and more. If you want to be a published author, this is the session you want to be in. This panel includes: Jen – The powerhouse blogger behind People I Want to Punch in the Throat, successful self-publisher of #1 Amazon best-seller I Just Want to Pee Alone as well as Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat, author who has two books coming out with Random House in 2014, and freelance writer Karen Alpert – New York Times Best-Selling author of her first self-published book I Heart My Little A-Holes – which was purchased for re-release in 2014 by HarperCollins, insanely popular parenting humor writer behind Baby Sideburns, essayist, and freelance writer
A SPECIAL PERK:
The reason we decided to keep this conference intimate is to allow for one-on-one time for those who want to get up close and personal to the faculty, to the bloggers and writers and authors they’d like to meet, talk to, ask questions. Between the social events and office hours, you will be able to shake hands with/hug/hang out with every single person on the BlogU faculty team. Yes, we are professionals – but we’re also just women doing what we love to do, who also love to meet people in the same shoes as us.
From June 6th-8th 2014 there will be a brand-new blogging and writing conference taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, called The Blog U Conference.
I am proud to announce that I am part of a faculty that includes well-respected bloggers, best-selling authors, successful freelance writers, and experts in a variety of aspects of social media, blogging, writing, publishing and web presence, with a reach of over 950,000 fans on Facebook, alone. We are a community of bloggers that have helped each other become better at what we do, and are ready to use our individual skill sets to help others do the same.
I’ll be a part of two teaching sessions, and will make myself available to any conference attendee that wants one-on-one time.
Our goal is simple: help you become a better blogger, writer, online presence.
We want you to succeed at what you love to do.
Bloggers and writers of all experience levels, styles, and niches are invited to join us for a weekend of serious schooling.
Registration opens in January 2014. Tickets are priced to cover it all: meals, sessions, lodging and the social events. Conference tickets are priced from $199-299, depending on your lodging needs.
I’m excited to finally announce that I am one of the new staff writers for NickMom.com!
NickMom is a great website focused on finding the humor in motherhood. From video clips to graphics, photo captions to Top 9 lists, there is something to make even the most stressed-out mom laugh out loud. I’m proud that they have invited me to join their team.
There was champagne and goodies, laughs and balloons, stories and – of course – the ability to pee alone. Doesn’t get better than that, right?
After the event, some of the fans joined us for dinner, during which Ellen & Erin’s penguin showed his true colors. Party animal.
And, finally, some of the ladies even let me snap pictures of them for my Lipstick Project – don’t they look lovely?
Of course my laptop managed to eat all the pictures I took with my camera, so I only have ones from my phone to share, but suffice it to say, Kidville is beautiful, the fans are beautiful, and I ate a lot of cheese.
A big thanks to all the ladies who braved the big scary storm that night to come buy Pee Alone and Lipstick, hear the two readings, let us sign their books with our happy-colored Sharpies, and not tell anyone the terribly naughty things I said in front of Kim Forde’s mom (I will never, ever, read a story about masturbation in public again).
Wednesday, October 16th has been declared I Just Want to Pee Alone Day!
I’ll be joining fellowI Just Want to Pee Alone co-authors all across the country in hosting a night out – and you’re invited!
Come read the story by Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat about why she is initiating the First Annual I Just Want to Pee Alone Day (on Twitter as #PeeAloneNight), then check out the locations below to see if there is a night out near you:
CHAMPAIGN, IL – Hosted by Kerry of HouseTalkNLocation: TBD
CHICAGO – Hosted by Karen Alpert of Baby Sideburns Location: Pinstripes 1150 Willow Rd. Northbrook, IL 60062 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16th at 7:30 PM
COLORADO – Hosted by Johi Kokjohn-Wagner of Confessions of a Cornfed Girl and Rachel Kargas of Get Real Mama Location: Ace Gillett’s, 239 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16th at 6-9 PM
CONNECTICUT – Hosted by Amy of Funny is Family Location: J Roo’s Restaurant, 249 State Street, North Haven, CT 06473 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16th at 6-9 PM
HOUSTON – Hosted by Rachael Pavlik of RachRiot, Patti Ford of Insane In The Mom-Brain, and Kelley Nettles of Kelley’s Breakroom Location: BlackFinn American Grille, 1910 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77002 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16 at 6-10 PM
MINNESOTA – Hosted by Michelle of You’re My Favorite Today and Joy of Evil Joy Speaks Location: Jake’s City Grille, 3005 Harbor Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55447 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16 at 6-9 PM
PENNSYLVANIA – Hosted by Meredith Spidel of The Mom of the Year and Stephanie Giese of Binkies and Briefcases Location: Applebee’s, Rt. 30, 2321 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA 17602 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16th at 6:30 PM
WEST VIRGINIA – Hosted by Teri of Snarkfest Location: Domestic, 117 E. German Street, Shepherdstown, WV 25443 Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16th at 7-10 PM
Come alone! Bring a friend! A sister! Anyone who you know needs to pee alone while making new friends.
Wondering what’s up with the New Jersey event? It’s low-key at a great bar that’s across the street from the train station and has parking close by. I’ll be there with “Hello My Name Is…” stickers so we can all get to know one another. Go ahead and “Like” End of Elm on Facebook so you can get directions and see how cool it in inside. Once you get there that night, just look for the Pee Alone ladies – I’ll be the tall blonde holding onto a beer and trying to hide whatever crusty goo my kids rubbed on my clothes before I headed out the door.
You can find all of the events listed above and more here: in the Events section on the I Just Want to Pee Alone Facebook page. We’re adding more all the time, so keep checking in and be sure to RSVP so we know who is coming.
If there isn’t one planned for a city near you, don’t fret, because YOU can host.
It isn’t hard. Just pick a location near you and a time on October 16th that works for you. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Something casual tends to work best anyway. Once you’ve got the details figured out, send Jen an email at email@example.com and she will add your event to the page.
Look for a location near you and keep watching for new ones to be added. We hope to see you there!
I am in a new humor anthology that any woman who has had a friend tell her “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth” will love:
This book has honest, relatable stories about dating, beauty, toots, ta-tas, love, health, and more, including my own contribution which spells out what really happens during childbirth and thereafter.
This is the 3rd time I’ve been published in an anthology, and it is just as thrilling every time!
My fellow contributors make me swoon. Learn more about them by clicking on any of their names:
The book signing was amazing. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the photos. You can see the rest (as well as many blog posts about that evening) HERE on the I JUST WANT TO PEE ALONE Facebook Event Page. If you attended the event and want to share YOUR photos and blog post, you are more than welcome to do so at that link!
BlogHer’s Voice of the Year was pretty cool (though the emcee, Queen Latifa, was 45 minutes late, meaning I had to leave early), but it was what happened before it and just after it that blew my mind. Come on over to my full review of the weekend HERE to read more.
Stay tuned here by subscribing to my News posts via email subscription or through BlogLovin’ by clicking one of those buttons up on the top right of this page. More good stuff is coming up, but you’ll just have to be patient. I’ll be back soon!
I got some news that I had hoped to hear, more than I let myself realize.
Out of over 2,000 entrants, I was selected as one of the 100 BlogHer Voices of the Year for 2013.
My amazing editor over on In The Powder Room, Leslie Marinelli (who many of you know and love as The Bearded Iris), slyly nominated me for a post I wrote over there about my daughter, called “Her Future Fat Thighs.”
When I wrote it, I had no idea that it would resonate with so many people on so many levels. Body image, mother-daughter relationships, parenting decisions…the comments alone on In The Powder Room blew me away.
Soon after it started picking up speed and was republished on The Huffington Post, I received some criticism across the internet from people who misunderstood me, made assumptions about me, didn’t understand where I was coming from. However, the private messages, the emails of gratitude, the comments by women who thanked me for showing them how simple it was to model good body image, the love I received, all this far outweighed any of the grief others gave me for it.
And this is why I write: because every so often, a personal story of mine will match a need for that story by someone else, and my words do good. That’s all we can hope for, right?
Come read my post by clicking on the image below, and don’t miss the Voice of the Year Keynote at BlogHer13 in Chicago Friday, July 26th. I’ll be the girl in the back, grinning from ear to ear.
My in-laws live in Chicago, so I know and love Chicago.
Lots of fans of the book and the co-authors live in Chicago.
Lots of fans of the book and the co-authors will be in Chicago for the blogging conference.
So why not have a BIG book signing at my in-laws’ restaurant the weekend that we’re all in town?
DATE: Friday, July 26, 2013
TIME: 7:30-10PM Co-authors will sign books from 7:30-9:30 PM, readings will go from 9:30-10 PM. Readings will not be from the book, so you never know what to expect!
WHERE: Bongiorno’s Italian Deli & Pizzeria 405 N. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60611 Walking distance from the BlogHer’13 hotels.
Yes, this is owned by my in-laws!
Yes, there will be deals on food for those who come to the reading, so arrive hungry!
You can take something delicious To Go back to your hotel room, if you’re in town for BlogHer13 & have parties to attend after this event!
See the full menu here. Deals for event ticket holders will be posted closer to the event.
TICKETS: $15 and MUST be purchased in advance. Please pay via PayPal (link is below) and print out your confirmation to show at the door. Each ticket holder will get ONE BOOK and ONE DRINK.
There are limited tickets, so get yours while you can!
It’s always cool to meet an author and have her/him personally sign your book. What is even more exciting is seeing one perform a piece she has written, live and while surrounded by fellow authors and fans who bring an energy to the room. Now multiply that by fifteen. This is going to be a night to remember!
Make sure you’re following the official I JUST WANT TO PEE ALONE website and Facebook page for any additional information about this (and other) event.
We rallied through the storm to Bobby’s News & Gifts in Boonton, New Jersey for a book signing and reading event during the annual Dog Daze of Summer night on Main Street.
Vino Fine Wines immediately filled our bellies with amazing cheeses and wines upon arrival (seriously, wow), then we greeted umbrella-wielding locals, friends and family to the store full of great gifts and reads for people of any age.
We made sure we looked our best before it came time to read…
And, as is customary, Amy asked the shop owner whether his patrons would be comfortable with a curse or two during our readings. Then I noticed this, and thought Hm…maybe a bit of naughty is ok here:
Though we were missing one of our Jersey Girls due to a babysitting issues, Anna of Random Handprints, the readings went on as planned to an audience who appreciated the perils, sarcasm, and laughter of parenthood.
Hugs were had, smiles ensued, and when all was said and done (and a few purchases made because – seriously! – how could we sit in there for 3 hours and not leave with a yummy smelling candle and stuff for our kids?), we made a quick stop at Vino’s to BYOB to our group dinner at Top of the Park, an Italian restaurant full of super-friendly people who made garlic bread that I could not. stop. eating.
The whole night left us all in high spirits because Bobby was a wonderful host who made us feel welcome, and we appreciated everyone who braved the weather to come support us.
If you’d like to share YOUR photos from the night, please click on over HERE to the Facebook Event page & leave them on there.
It was all hosted by the amazing team of Amy & Tom, owners of the Whippersnappers Children’s Resale & More store in Brattleboro, Vermont. Click the button below to learn more about them on Facebook, as well as see photos taken during the event:
There was wine provided by Windham Wines, handed out by a mom named Jess (one of the most adorable human beings I’ve ever wanted to put in my pocket), platters of apps to sate the hungry women who ran away from their families right at dinnertime, and plenty of shopping to be done.
Not only did we have a fun, interactive audience during readings, a laugh-out-loud time meeting people we’ve only “seen” on the internet as we signed books, and all sorts of delicious food and drink…but about a dozen local fans joined us for dinner afterwards at The Marina, who – to their credit – were incredibly patient with this large, loud, boisterously-laughing table of talkers.
We even had an impromptu chauffer whose car was the coolest thing ever (Question: how many times can one shout “OMG I love your car so much I want to eat it!” before it gets weird? Asking for a friend…) and made me laugh so hard about something totally inappropriate that I can’t stop saying it to myself. Oh, and on Sunday morning, Bethany made us all breakfast. Note: If you ever find yourself wandering around Vermont with a hankering for croissants and eggs, HUNT HER DOWN.
Below are some pictures from the event, but you can find more HERE (if you attended the event, please add your pics there, too!).
The welcome sign of who’s who with the raffle bowl – lots of happy winners that night!
I was laughing so hard my nose was running from crying, so I was given (quite appropriately) a postnatal pad to blow my nose on.
So of course Bethany & I had to try them on. With mesh underpants. Over our clothes.
I love these book events, because not only did I get to connect with fans of I JUST WANT TO PEE ALONE, I also got to spend time with My People.
I met Brenna when a local friend emailed me her viral Toddler Party post three years ago. Despite living hours apart, we’ve made a point to meet up, and every time she laughs at something I say, an angel gets its wings. No one is cooler than her.
Last year at this time, I came across a hilariously clever Facebook Page with about 20 fans that I thought was run by two anonymous genius mothers. It felt special, so I reached out to ‘them’ and then told everyone everywhere to follow that Page. Ends up, it was Bethany, doing her thing. She now has over 12,000 fans.~
She may be anonymous AND not even in the book, but that didn’t stop Allison of MotherhoodWTF? from crashing the party. We started blogging at the same time, met at a Bloggy Boot Camp, and have been friends ever since.
One of the kindest, most generous, lovely people on the internet is Andrea. She makes me – a pretty decent human being – look like I have a soul of coal. And she has the longest eyelashes in the history of the world. I pounced on her when we met last year, and love to stroke her inky mane whenever she lets me.
This was the first time I met Amy, and she deftly jumped right into this group of people who know one another’s history like a pro. I look forward to forcing her back down here to NJ for another book signing soon.
What happens when a collective group like this – who all know and respect and enjoy each other – get to hang out for a weekend?
Laughter to the point of muscle strain. Incessant talking. Lots of eating. Long hugs hello. Even longer hugs goodbye.
“BEFORE” (he yelled SHUT UP ALREADY!)
I highly recommend finding Your People in any way you can, whether it be at work, your kids’ school, or on the internet (but in a non-creepy way). Being surrounded by people who accept me for what I am, understand where my head is, and encourage me to keep trying to be the best I can be, gives me a calm center in the midst of this crazy life.
The fact that this is now my job, to write what I love and spend time with other creative people while meeting those who read and support us? I’m feeling like one very lucky girl.
Here’s hoping I get to meet more of you as these book events continue, and that you get to find your own People to fill your life with the kind of joy we experienced this weekend.
Books will be available $10 (cash), and each book purchased = 1 entry to win one of two awesome prizes! Drawing will occur after 7:30pm.
GRAND PRIZE: 1 hour massage from a local holistic spot & a signed copy of the hilarious new book by Nikki Knepper, Moms Who Drink and Swear.
RUNNER UP: A bottle of wine & a signed copy of Moms Who Drink and Swear.
There will be a cash bar by Windham Wines, and appetizers will be served.
You can RSVP by clicking HERE for the Facebook Event Page.
This is where you can ask us questions, even share photos we all take at the event!
If you know women in the area that might like to join us – Vermont, NH, Massachusetts, Albany – please, spread the word by sharing this on your Facebook page or emailing it to your friends. There are “Share” buttons at the bottom of the page.
On Thursday, April 18th 2013 from 5-9pm, 5 of us co-authors of I JUST WANT TO PEE ALONE welcomed ladies from all over NJ at The Farmhouse Store to mix and mingle over wine and stacks of paperbacks. Lots of books were sold for Mother’s Day gifts, baby shower gifts, birthdays, and personal keepsakes. We even had a fabulous stock of Sharpies in a “Glam 80s” variety pack at the ready to personalize our signatures on copies for all who came by to say Hi.
A receptive audience laughed and clapped as we read essays and blog posts about taking our families out to dinner, calming crying babies, nemeses bunnies, and more.
One highlight of the evening was when I gave a friendly warning to the audience that some of the language in the readings might not be for those young of age or faint of heart. One mom popped over and asked me to whisper the words in question. Upon hearing my reply (hint: they rhyme with “sock” and “truck”), she shouted to her husband “Quick! Take the kids outside for ice cream right now!” causing a case of the giggles for the table of authors.
More book signing events are currently in the works for New Jersey and around the country, so if you are interested in meeting some of the co-authors near you, please let me know so I can pass the request along.
Thanks to The Farmhouse Store for being so welcoming and wonderful, the town of Westfield, NJ for organizing a great downtown event for the ladies, and to all the amazing fans – new and old – that came to support us all.
More photos available on the event’s Facebook Page. If you attended, we encourage you to add your own photos there, too!
The book signing just got even more awesome: now Bethany Thies of Bad Parenting Moments will be joining the group of co-authors during the 5-9pm event! For more details CLICK HERE to see the Facebook Event on my LetMeStartBySaying Facebook page.
ALSO: This book signing event is the top-billed activity of the Downtown Westfield’s Annual Girls’ Night Out coverage in the Westfield NJ Patch article this week. Thank you, Patch, for your great article!
New Jersey Girls’ Night Out and Book Signing Event
Thursday April 18, 2013 from 5-9pm is Westfield NJ’s annual Girls’ Night Out!
Five co-authors of the best-selling humor anthology
I JUST WANT TO PEE ALONE
will be signing books, mingling, and doing 2 readings (at 6pm & 8pm).
Come by The Farmhouse Store’s upper level from 5-9pm to meet: Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying Amy Bozza of My Real Life Kim Forde of The Fordeville Diaries Susan McLean of Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva Anna Sandler of Random HandprintsCocktails and appetizers will be served.
I have been published in the new humor anthology I Just Want to pee Alone, which has already hit #1 on Amazon in Humor Books Parenting & Family, #1 on Amazon in Kindle Humor Parenting & Family, and #2 on iTunes for Paid Books!