Friday, May 28, 2010


We left our house yesterday. I want to write about it before I forget what it was like, and I told myself I wouldn't cry as I write about it but here I am tearing up already. We are at my in-laws until tomorrow, which is out 17th wedding anniversary, where I will receive a present of a lifetime - a one-way ticket to Arizona with my family, to start a whole new adventure with the four most important people in my life.

Yesterday was hard. It didn't start out that way. Things have been too busy and too filled with fun to think about the difficult parts, which is how I wanted it to be. The past few weeks have been piled with parties and lunches and a lot of friends and a lot of drinking. I do hope I got to see and say 'see ya later' -- I HATE goodbyes -- to everyone. If I missed you, I am sorry. Ya knew where I was, but you also know where I will be!

Tuesday morning the packers came, and I think I woke with a giant pit in my stomach. They were awesome though, so respectful of our situation, and our stuff, and so professional. And when the kids got home from school, I expected a little freaking, but they did really well. My kids are amazing. They held it together so much it is unbelievable. Yesterday in the car, Diva did say, "I wish I was the same age as the last time we moved (from Philly to Chicago, she was 5), because I didn't really understand it." Now, she knows the impact of saying goodbye, of leaving all she has come to love, of having to start over.

Tuesday night we had a nice quiet dinner with neighborhood friends, one of Diva's best girlfriends, who wrote her a beautiful note. That's when it hit her. She came home and cried for the first time. I'm not making any sense here now, but I'm crying thinking about it, and there's that damn lump in the throat again. I should name him. What should I name the lump in my throat who won't go away?

Wednesday, they took everything away.

Wednesday night, I made a point of going to see Emily Giffin, my most favorite author and friend. My other favorite non-author and friend, C, came with, and we have been known to drink the "invincible respites" aka the appletinis made the special way. Equal parts vanilla vodka and apple pucker. Nothing else. Try it. You'll thank me. We each downed one and a half then ran over the Anderson's Book Store in Naperville, sure to be late for the book signing. Whoa, was it perfect timing or what cuz when we zoomed through, who was walking in along the side of the books right in front of me but Emily? And what do I do? I go, "Emily!" And of course, she turns right around, sees me and hugs me, saying she couldn't believe I was there in the midst of my move, and that just made everything good! She's an incredible author, an incredible woman with a humble spirit who deserves every spec of success she has obtained! She had invited me out for drinks after but I told her I had too much to do but I would wait in line for my other book to be signed (she had already mailed me a signed ARC at Christmas) but Emily told me to just come up first, so I DID! Sorry everyone who waited in line. But Emily did tell everyone that I was moving the next day! : )

And then, if the night couldn't get any better, well, it did! On our way home, we decided we needed "just one more" at the Doc, which has been the place we always loved, the place we 'wedding crashed,' and had appletinis many times before so we called our other BFs, and were going to pick them up in the 'hood. Next thing you know, we're driving by another good friend's house in the 'hood, and I say, "Let's stop and get Patti!" This is at 8 p.m. the night before the last day of school. We ring her bell and say, "We're kidnapping you for one martini!" She says, "Can I change my clothes?" We say, "NO!"

We then go through the neighborhood kidnapping women and by the end of our route, we have TWELVE women on the spur of the moment drinking cosmos and appletinis at the Doc! It was the grand Martini Kidnapping that will forever go down in 7B History! I loved that night so much! Pictures have been taken but I can't upload them! You'll just have to imagine! It was SPECTACULAR and a wonderful way to end my awesome times with incredible women!

BUT WAIT! You think that would be enough, right? NOOOOOOOOOOO! The next morning, we all show up ON MY FRONT LAWN, with champagne to make pool boys! You guys remember pool boys right? Champagne, cranberry and pineapple! And mimosas! And we've got coffee cake, and cheese and crackers and bagels and we sit there for a few hours and laugh and talk and take pictures (again, I think you'll just have to check out facebook when I am able to upload them), and it was a perfect way to be with my best neighborhood girlfriends! I love them all!

The bus came at 10:30 a.m. (I mean, what is the point of school? Oh, I know, so we moms could drink on the lawn for a couple hours!), and the "see ya laters" start! We had some snacks, popsicles, juice for the kids and we took a ton of pictures. Ajers came home from school first with major tears in his eyes, and his best friend at his side. After hugs and chats, I finally told everyone, "I'm just going to walk that way." And pointed to my house. Not saying the Goodbye word. Everyone was crying. I had to get out of there. Long goodbyes suck. It's like taking a bandaid off. You have to do it quick and get the hell out of there.

Mr. and I gathered our three little babies into our house for one last time, and we all went down into the basement with a Sharpie and found a secret spot to write secret notes for future owners to find, which, if I tell you where we wrote them, I have a feeling Toni may have found my blog so she would then know where to look! (Toni, if you've found my blog, please tell me you are reading! xo!) We all cried, even Scott, so much and hugged one another. Then we came upstairs and encircled one another in a group hug with many many tears. Scott said a prayer, blessing us, and the new owners, and I've never seen him cry so hard. We all cried. We have amazing memories in that house. It's a house. We will miss it. But what we will miss most is the community and friendships and love we have come to know from all the dear, dear friends we have made in the past six years. So many.

"Don't be sad it's over ... Be glad it happened."

The new adventure begins tomorrow as we fly to Arizona on our 17th wedding anniversary with our three beautiful children and a pocket full of new hopes and dreams and the five of us filled with immense love and gratitude for what we have already been given.

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, May 24, 2010


This ...

Is what I will miss the most ....

I love you house, I love you neighborhood, I love you friends, I love you kids!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


If you entered the AFTER YOU book giveaway by Julie Buxbaum, I have contacted the three winners already, so congrats to Jonita, Tiffany and Shannyn for winning signed copies of AFTER YOU!

Lots to say, lots to do before moving truck comes on Tuesday to fill it with all of our possessions and memories. The weekend was amazing, with beautiful friends -- cannot say enough about it. Kept emotions totally in check. Really did good. I'm sure I'll have a thought-provoking, tearful post in the next day or two. I did lose it pretty big-time during yoga Friday morning. I love my yoga instructor. Afterward, we had coffee and a huge hug and I Love Yous, and she said she is a vessel for my emotions, which is so true. I just feel like I can let go with her. She is an emotional vessel. I bet I could sit in a room with her and just let her watch me cry, and it would feel good and cleansing.

We had an amazing neighborhood going away party with the best neighbors and friends one could ever hope to live near and count on. There is no way we could even come close to hoping to replicate what we have here in our neighborhood. It is just that special. We brought the future owners of our home with us to introduce them to the neighbors they will soon have. We like them that much. We are so happy to give our neighbors and friends such good people into this home, and know they will fit right in. Plus, the people who we bought this house from six years ago - we are still friends with, and they came to the party too ... so there were three generations of home owners there! Too crazy, but it shows that a lot of love has gone into and come out of this house, and great karma is being passed along.

Enough of that. I have to walk around this house and look at what needs to be done.

Oh my God, I only get to sleep here three more nights.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

oNe WeeK

By the time I finish this blog post I will only have one week left in this house; not even. We vacate this home a week from Thursday.

One week and the memories of the past (Crap, I have to do math here!) five and a half years will be just that. Memories.

And what am I doing? What have I been doing? Well, for the past six hours, I watched episodes of Glee and American Idol, then Facebooked for a while, and then downloaded a bunch of CDs to my iTunes library and then backed all my songs up to my external drive cuz come on, if I get to AZ and I have no music, well, they might as well tell me the truck overturned and I have no furniture. Nah, that’s not true. I don’t love music all that much. Now, if it were my book collection. That’d be another story.

This is so not how I thought this post was headed. But that’s usually how I write.

So, this past week was a whirlwind of get togethers with old great friends. I saw friends from all different parts of my life and it has been so wonderful. Men just do not say goodbye. I don’t even know if Mr. Manic knows he is moving. Duh. Does any of HIS friends care or know that he is moving away. Come to think of it, does he have any friends? Helloooo, Mr. Manic friends? Where are you? Are you not coming to say goodbye to him? My friends are all taking me out to lunch and being very sweet to me! I have seen friends I used to work with, friends I used to party with, high school friends, college friends - a LOT has been going on.

Thank you EVERYONE who made the effort to want to visit with me, for those of you all who came out and had a couple of drinks over the weekend, who were able to sneak in a lunch, who ate some great cornbread and a glass of wine with me, who drove from Wisconsin to visit (there were TWO of you on separate nights!). Thank you all so very much! The weekend was so much fun seeing so many great friends! And even two dear friends had BABIES this week and sadly I won’t get to meet the little guys! Yep, they both had baby BOYS! I got to go out with blogger friends and New York Times Bestselling friends! And I will even make it to one more author event before I leave too, to see Emily Giffin because I love her so much! I will also get to go out with neighbors and there is a special party planned for us. I felt bad for the kids so I even am squeezing in a pizza party at our house for them on Monday, and yep, the moving truck comes Tuesday. They don’t call me Manic for nothing. It’s insane, but doable.

The kids have been FABULOUS! I don’t know if they know what’s in store for them or not. I just keep praying they will be blown away by how pretty AZ is, and that they will love the new house, and that there will be NICE kids who will really like them and that they will fall into a groove immediately. I KNOW they will miss their friends here. Who wouldn’t? We live in an amazing neighborhood with great schools and awesome people.

It’s going to be hard to go. I’m dreading that part. I keep powering through, not thinking about it. OK, I have breakdowns, but man, I am really good at them, like professional! They last like 45 seconds, I get that lumpy throaty thing, you know how you try to swallow and it thickens up and hurts a little and ya can’t swallow and it kinda burns and some tears come out because you’re feeling sad? Then someone, usually Mr. Manic will say or do something really funny (you do NOT wanna know what he did yesterday, but yeah, the kids were NOT home), and he had me cracking up in like two seconds later, and then things were fine.

So, I'm not sure this post came out the way I originally thought it was gonna, but I also have to say thanks to Swishy, my BBFF in the whole entire world because she sent me two awesome Moving CDs (AND CHOCOLATE!), and I did call her crying the other day because I KNEW, I just KNEW that talking to her would cheer me up IMMEDIATELY, and it did, cuz I just adore that girl so very much! And also thank you Dawn from CA because a while ago she sent me some terrific CDs too! The Glee Volumes I and II and I just put them on my iTunes and also another fun mix CD and the P!NK CD so I have extra fun music to get me through all this craziness.

In the end, no matter where ya live, all that matters is the great friends ya make on the way, and so far, I’ve made some amazing ones, and I’m so very thankful for all of you, and I know no matter where life sends us, that you’re out there, and that’s NEVER gonna change!

If you haven’t entered to win a copy of AFTER YOU by Julie Buxbaum, head on over to the previous post and leave a comment. I will announce those winners probably the end of the weekend and then do one more post before we leave next week. I think my internet service is going blank probably Tuesday and I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to blog again, so after that it may be awhile!

Thanks for listening, thanks for reading, thanks for being HERE! You guys are the BEST!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WiN aFTeR you By NeW MoM aND My FRieND JuLie BuXBauM

Yep Another Book Giveaway!
Three Signed Copies of After You by Julie Buxbaum!

When Julie Buxbaum's first book, The Opposite of Love came out, I had the opportunity to meet and have dinner with her and it was so awesome! Since then, we've kept in touch, she wrote another book, moved from LA to London, and had a baby! And she's NOT slowing down either! But she IS taking time out to give away THREE signed copies of her second book, AFTER YOU, which is being released in softcover next month! If you missed the opportunity to check it out when it was out in hardcover, don't miss it now!

Here's part of the chat I did with Julie when After You first came out in hardcover, and some of these questions are recent, like from YESTERDAY, about her becoming a new mom and about her writing process!

Hope you enjoy!

After You is about Ellie and Lucy’s friendship and the lengths one will go to take care when tragedy strikes. It’s about Lucy’s precocious 8-year-old daughter and it’s about marriage, a murder and the lengths one will go to take care of a friend, putting all things aside that used to be important. It’s about stepping away from everything you’ve ever known to find out what it is you’re most meant to need.

Here’s what Amazon says of the book:

The complexities of a friendship. The unexplored doubts of a marriage. And the redemptive power of literature ... Julie Buxbaum, the acclaimed author of The Opposite of Love, delivers a haunting, gloriously written novel about love, family, and the secrets we hide from each other--and ourselves.

Stephanie: There are so many questions I want to ask you but they would give away some of the plotlines so, we'll go cryptic here! After You begins with a murder, but to me it was really a love story. What do you think are some of the themes in the book?

Julie: I was really interested in looking at the question of how well we truly know the people we love, and also who we become when we lose those who most defined us. I'm also constantly intrigued by the concept of home: what does it mean? Is it a place, a person, a feeling?

Stephanie: Good concept. So, where or what, is home for you, Julie?

Julie: Interesting question. I dedicate After You to my husband, "my home spot." So for me, personally, home has so much more to do with people than place.

Stephanie: Was it hard for you to create a character who would drop everything she had to help the daughter of her best friend? I don't know that I would be that kind!

Julie: What an interesting question. It wasn't difficult for me to imagine, because as the novel progresses it becomes clear that Ellie does not necessarily have pure motives, or to put it a better way, she is not dropping everything just out of kindness. No doubt she feels a responsibility to Sophie as her godmother, and to Lucy too, but she is also finding a convenient excuse to run away from her own life. I think that impulse, combined with her genuine love for Sophie, make her actions much more understandable.

Stephanie: Tell us about Ellie and her husband's relationship? What do you think was wrong for them to be so disconnected?

Julie: Sometimes the saddest part about a loss, is not just the loss itself, but the wedge it can create between people, especially when they grieve in different ways. I think this is what happened with Ellie and Phillip. After the traumatic experience of losing a baby, they have trouble turning to the other for comfort, and let distance creep between them. Marriage is always work, but during the worst of times, I think we sometimes forget what we need to do to stay connected, and tragedy only gets compounded.

Stephanie: The book, The Secret Garden plays a huge role in After You, and I think it's your favorite childhood book? How did The Secret Garden affect you the first time you read it, and how old were you? How many times have you read it?

Julie: I must have been about seven or eight, about the same age as Sophie is in After You. I just remember sitting on my mother's lap and begging her to let us read another chapter before bed. I can't tell you how many times I've actually read The Secret Garden since, but it must be an obscene number. I read it at least once a year, and turn to it pretty much whenever I'm going through a tough time. It's just magical and comforting. As close to a perfect book as one can hope to encounter.

Stephanie: Sophie is a very mature and complex little girl. Did you base her on someone you know? Did you have to spend time with any little girls to create Sophie? What was that like?

Julie: I didn't base her on anyone I know, but the more her character developed, the more I found that she reminded me of myself at that age. I too was a bit annoyingly precocious, and like Sophie, I remember being aware that much more was going on than I actually understood, and finding myself frustrated by what I didn't know. (I too always had a book in my hand, and loved Nancy Drew.) As for actual research, I did observe at an elementary school, just to get a sense of how kids interact at that age, of their conversations, speech patterns, that sort of thing. And from time to time, I'd check in with a close friend who is a teacher to gut check about whether Sophie's thoughts and actions were age appropriate.

Stephanie: I know your husband's name is Indy, so I wondered if Sophie's best friend, Inderpal, was based on him? Did you plan that, and why? What did he think?

Julie: I did! As a writer, it's lots of fun to put the occasional shout-outs in a book, but this was the first time I based a character on an actual person. My husband has always said that he wishes we had known each other when we were little, so as Sophie started to resemble me, I thought it would interesting to create a little boy version of him, and see how they interacted. (I should mention that little Inderpal, or "Indy", serves the plot in other ways too. I didn't only write him in for my amusement!) There are some differences between my Indy and fictional Indy, but I hope my husband enjoyed the rendering. I have to admit that I love the character; he's just so dorky and cute.

Stephanie: I adored Indy in the book as well! I know your first book, The Opposite of Love is optioned for a movie - is it still being made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway?

Julie: All signs still point to yes. But please keep your fingers crossed for me! It would literally be a dream come true.

Stephanie: There are characters in both of your books who have lost their mothers. I know your own mom passed away when you were young. So you must have personal feelings that you know how to weave into your stories, but it must also be very hard to bring this to the surface. How do you do it? Is it sad to write what you write?

Julie: Sometimes I get sad when I write, if only because I am putting my characters, whom I've grown to love, through heart wrenching things. But unfortunately, as a writer you don't have a much a choice about doing this. We need to torture our characters for plot! One thing that has helped is that both Ellie and Emily, the main characters of After You and The Opposite of Love, are both very different people from me in so many ways, and so I was able to keep my distance from their grief. Even though Sophie in many way resembles me as a kid, she loses her mother at 8, while I lost mine at 14, an age gap which I think renders the experiences very distinct. (Though come to think of it, I may have had a tough time if I had chosen to write the book from Sophie's perspective, because it may have hit too close to home.) Since the book is more Ellie's story (and even Lucy's) than Sophie, After You, I think, is more a meditation on loss more generally--not just of a mother, but of a best friend, a baby, a marriage.

Stephanie: You recently became a mommy to a baby girl named Elili; how old is she now?

Julie: Elili is five months old. At this age, I feel like I can practically see her growing. Every morning she looks different--bigger, more alert--than the day before. It's crazy.

Stephanie: What's the most important lesson you want to teach your daughter?

Julie: This may sound silly, but I think I learned one my most valuable life lessons from reading Nancy Drew as a kid: Life is much more fun if you are curious. I very much hope to pass that on.

Stephanie: I completely got goosebumps from this concept of yours on lessons! I hope that’s the case too! What do you want Elili to know about the author in you?

Julie: I am not sure that it's important for my daughter to know the author in me, but I do hope to show her what a blessing it is to pursue something you love. I have no idea what my daughter will one day be passionate about, but whatever that is, I hope she is not afraid to pursue it. I do hope I pass on my love of reading, though, not only because it will be something we can share, but because books have been such a reliable companion for me over the years. I would be happy for her if she could have that too.

Stephanie: Have you done a bunch of traveling with Elili? I know you just got back from Egypt. How has traveling with a baby been? What's the unexpected motherhood stuff you've experienced?

Julie: Egypt was our first trip, but next month I have four flights planned with her, two of which are international flights, and will involve an eight hour time difference. I'm clearly either a delusional optimist or a masochist. Egypt was great though. On the flight there, she was a dream. On the way back, I considered putting her up for sale on eBay. I'm kidding of course, but the flight was a bit of a challenge.

As for the unexpected motherhood stuff, I never thought there would come a time in my life where I would be spit-up on, pooed on, peed on, and not even blink.

Stephanie: How has becoming a mother changed you for the good. For the bad?

Julie: I am not sure where this falls--good or bad--but now I can never imagine living without Elili. I think becoming a mother increases your capacity to love exponentially. I just have to think about her and I smile. As for the bad, becoming a mother has tipped me over the neurotic scales straight into crazy territory. With this new love has come this incredible capacity for anxiety. The stakes just feels so much higher than anything else I've ever done.

Stephanie: Do you ever sit down and read your own books?

Julie: When I'm in the editing process, I read and read and read and read my work until I can't see straight. After publication, though, I never read my own books. Maybe one day, years and years from now, I'll be nostalgic and take a look, but for now, I'm just too critical. I think the urge to edit would be too painful.

Stephanie: I know you're working on your next book; can you tell us a little about it?

Julie: I'm basically still in the research stage at this point, but I can tell you that the majority of it will be set in the ‘50s. I've been immersing myself in books, movies, television set during that time period. I love that my job allows me to spend the morning watching Father Knows Best, and then call it work. By the way, if any of you have a favorite ‘50s book/TV show/movie set in the ‘50s email me ( I'm looking for suggestions.

OK, you all heard the gal! If you wanna enter the contest, leave a comment on a favorite '50s book, TV show, movie, or ANYTHING that you know about the fifties that you think might help Julie with her research for her next book! Even if it's about cute POODLE SKIRTS and GREASER boys! If you can't think of anything, that's OK too, you can just comment on how much you love Julie and how you really want to win a signed copy of AFTER YOU!

Oh well, fun stuff like giving away incredible books from authors I love keeps me from having breakdowns and crying my eyes out!

PeaCe uP!

Winners will be picked RANDOMLY probably either Friday or sometime over the weekend, because OH MY GOSH! I have less than a week now until the freaking moving van comes to my house to pack up all my stuff and there is sooo much to do. What am I? INSANE!?!?

Monday, May 17, 2010

WHo WiNS aLLiSoN'S BooK, THe oNe THaT i WaNT ...

Who are the winners of Allison Winn Scotch's
The One That I Want?


OK, we have our two winners of The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch! When I asked Allison to give me two numbers in the comment section, she chose numbers 16 and 32. I assigned random numbers to all the entries, and these are the two who win the books:

Coleen L. said... #16
I really could go for a new kitchen right now!!! We are currently in the midst of renovations and all I really want to do is cook an awesome meal in my awesome new kitchen. Unfortunately, I will have to wait another month or so for it to be done. So at this very moment I really want some mexican food with ooey gooey sour cream drizzled on top!!!

Melissa said... #32
I want to go on a cruise or to an all inclusive resort. Disney World would be nice too. :)
From Chick Lit Central, the Blog chicklitcentraltheblog

So congrats to Coleen L. and Melissa!

You both will be receiving a copy of The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch! Just please email me your full name and mailing address and we'll get those books out to you as soon as possible! Send this information to me at as soon as you can so we can get you your books!

And check back because hopefully in the next day or two, I'm going to have time to do one more book giveaway ... Julie Buxbaum's amazing book, After You!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Who wins Allison's newest book, which doesn't come out until the beginning of June? Well, I'm letting Allison pick the winner right here! So, well I run off to a softball game in 50 degree RAINY weather (yes, this is making it VERY easy to say goodbye to Chicago weather in a mere 12 days!), I'm going to have Allison leave TWO numbers, between 1 and 42 in the comment section while I'm gone. When I get back, I will match those two numbers up to the two names I have secretly given to one of the two lucky entries from last week and announce those winners on this blog later tonight!

GOOD LUCK! Come back later to see which two of you have won The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch! And Allison, please leave your two number choices in the comment section and I'll announce it after this softball game, which I hope gets called early!

And later, I'll post pics and tell you all about the fun I had this past weekend with some terrific bloggers, and also, Jen Lancaster, Maureen Lipinski, and Jess Riley, all fab authors, and also some great friends from the class of 1987! It was a busy weekend with lots of goodbyes!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


That's how I'm feeling: Paralyzed. I'm walking around my house as if someone has died. No one has died. Everything is fine. I'm just moving. I'm moving my family from Chicago to Scottsdale. A beautiful location. People would trade many things in their lives to be in my situation right now. To never have to shovel snow again. To never have to need a winter coat or to have to search for a matching pair of gloves or to have to deal with the Chicago humidity or the slush and the dirty snow that winter brings. Or to have to deal with the gloom of January and February where all you want to do is hunker down into the covers and sleep until May. So why do I feel like I'm walking through a cloud and that there is no end in sight and that I am not breaking through into any sort of happiness?

Why am I feeling like I'm in a complete standstill and that nothing is going to change?

Why is it that I have a million things to do in less than two weeks and all I want to do is cry and lay on the couch and take a bunch of xanax (not really, but kinda, no really, not really!) and just dull the feelings that I'm having to get through the next two weeks, and avoid anyone and everything to just get out of here and be done with it all and start over?

Cuz I know it's all ending here and I need to just start over.

I don't mean that my friendships are ending. I know that part's not over. My friendships are NOT over. They will never be over. God, I have a lump in my throat right now and I know what I'm saying is not making much sense but the breakdown is coming; it's expected. This is hard, and I'm going through the motions of packing it all up, of keeping it all together, of bringing my family full circle to a new place, a new beginning, and yet I walk around like a zombie, clothes unfolded, dishes on the counter, shit everywhere. Yeah, the cabinets are cleaned out, and yeah, I've purged the stuff that needs to be purged, and yeah, when the final hour comes, everything will be in perfect order, but it's just so much to do and so little time, and it's like I don't know where to start (Even though I have started, and i have made headway, and I am getting through this), but it just doesn't feel like I am.

The antsy-ness of it all. I just want it to all be over with. I want to get to the excited part. I want to get over the sad part and start the excited part. I want to not think about what I'm going to be missing and start thinking about what we're going to have out there. I want to fast-forward, but I don't because I don't want to miss stuff. But I just want this part to be over with. Why the hell does it feel like the grieving process of the death of a loved one?

I'm keeping it together though. really. For the most part.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

aLLiSoN WiNN SCoTCH: THe oNe THaT i WaNT BooK GiVeaWay!

Win The One That I Want By Allison Winn Scotch!
 You’re not going to believe this you book lovers you, but amidst all this moving crap, I’ve got another book giveaway, and this is another one you will LOVE by another one of my favorite authors. It’s interesting how I first “met” Allison Winn Scotch online – She was not yet a published fiction author, but had contacted me for a magazine article she was writing about marriage, and I wish I could locate that article now; I know it had something to do with marriage and maybe it was an article on ways of keeping a marriage freshalicious (cuz ya know Mr. Manic and I are soooo in love!), as we will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary on a plane as we move to Arizona. That’s what I call love—moving across the country with the man of my dreams.

Anyway, I answered Allison’s Qs way back then and kinda forgot about it until the article came out. But I always remembered Allison, and then her first book came out, The Department of Lost & Found, and it got a TON of buzz in the magazines and on the internet and I remembered thinking, “Hey, I gotta get in touch with HER!” Because I KNEW!

I knew she was gonna be big someday! (Not in the literal sense—ha, but yes, in the literal sense because “literal” is WORD & BOOK right, but literal is also BIG, but not literally literal because she’s teeny tiny, like a cute little peanut tiny, like I would tower over her small frame, but anyway, (Oh boy, I should not have had that skinny cinnamon dolce latte today because MAN am I flying, and yes, this is one of those days where I SHOULD be cleaning out a closet or something!).

So, how about we give away Allison’s third book, shall we? The One That I Want! I do have to admit that I have not had a chance to read it yet, and I hope you’ll forgive me for it, and as soon as I get settled in Scottsdale, I’ll get my “irsky” (nice way of saying ASS) out on my sun-filled pool-side patio and devour the book. Because what else am I going to do out there? READ! I am going to focus on catching up on my reading! And I’m going to write! I want to become a recluse, and just be by myself for a while and figure out my life. So The One That I Want is THE ONE THAT I WANT TO READ AS SOON AS I GET SETTLED!

Here’s my “haven’t-read-the-book-yet” review:

Tilly Farmer has got the perfect life until she receives the gift of clarity from a fortune teller at the local fair and starts having visions of the future. As she starts seeing what’s going to be happening to her perfect life, she must race to change her fate before her destiny changes. Does she want to continue on her life’s path she’s carefully crafted for herself all these years, or should she let the visions happen as they unfurl before her very own eyes? I don’t know what’s going to happen in the book yet, but I have visions of a best seller here!

And enjoy this quick Q&A with the lovely Allison Winn Scotch on her writing and her new book, The One That I Want before we get to the book giveaway!

What is your favorite part of the fiction writing process? What’s the worst part?

The best: finishing the book. The worst: starting it. :) In all seriousness, I dread the empty page of the onset. Usually the first 10k come really easily, but then I have to really push myself until the last third, and from there, it’s a snowball effect where everything slides into place. But there is no better feeling than writing that last word and knowing that you climbed the mountain that is writing a full book!

Before you started writing The One That I Want, was there one incident/scenario that stands out in your mind where you said, “That’s it! This is the next book I have to write!”

Not with this book, actually. With Time of My Life, my last book, yes. I had that BIG MOMENT in which I just KNEW that I had to put this idea on paper. The One That I Want was a real labor of love, a book that took work instead of pure enthusiasm and creativity. Which actually, in retrospect, is a wonderful thing, as weird as that sounds. Every book is a different experience, kind of like every child you raise is a different experiences, and truthfully – again, in hindsight- I’m glad that I was able to prove to myself that I could roll up my sleeves, dive in and get the job done. And after many drafts (and many agonizing hours), still produce a book that seems to be resonating with people and one that I’m equally as happy with as the books that came easier to me.

In TOTIW, Tilly goes to a fortune teller. Have you ever been to a fortune teller? I’m scared to go to them because I don’t want to hear anything bad. Plus, I think they glean info from looking at a person and take clues from a person and go from there. Like they cheat, or we really want them to know the truth and we give them the clues; do you think so?

Yeah, I’ve never been, but I share the same sentiments as you: a) that I’m not sure that I’d believe it but b) I’m not sure that I’d want to find out. It’s funny, I never really considered it: the gravity that would come with knowing your future, but after writing this, I’m 100% convinced that it would NOT be a good thing. Fate is fate. What happens happens. That has to be enough.

I give Time of My Life as gifts to my girlfriends – it’s the type of book all women can relate to and appreciate. In that book, and I’m sure in TOTIW, you write time-travel scenes that are so believably real. Are flashbacks and scenes where Tilly has visions hard to create? How do you make them real for the reader without the cheesiness?

I think the key to pulling of those fantastical scenes – whether it’s sending my heroine back in time seven years or allowing her to see into the future – is to keep them as emotionally real as possible. The fantasy is there, sure, but the heart of those scenes – and these books – plays out very truthfully (or so I hope). They’re ultimately about women who are striving toward more complete lives and the fantasy element works because it’s fiction...but if writing well (and I hope I’ve done so!), it shouldn’t take away from the core honesty of the lives that these characters are living.

As a writer, wife, mother, how do you turn it off? Are you able to say, “OK, it’s 5 p.m. I’m going to shut my writing brain off and go make dinner now, and be with the kids and my hubby.” Or are you constantly dreaming up the next scene?

It’s very difficult, and when I’m really in the guts of my writing process, I’m not sure that I do it so well. That said, I impose a pretty strict schedule on myself such that when my kids are with me, for example, at dinnertime, I’m absolutely not working. If I’m efficient during the day – in the hours they’re at school and I have my sitter – I shouldn’t really need to be thinking about work. All working moms know how to eke out the most from their hours, so I don’t think I’m much different in that respect. That said, when I’m really gung-ho about the book, I definitely find myself thinking about it when I should be sleeping, etc. One thing that’s really helped me over the years is to give myself an outlet, and for me, that’s running and/or exercise. If I can take off for an hour or so and just tune out my world, with my iPod and sneakers, I find that my brain really frees up and goes places creativity-wise that it otherwise wouldn’t. And by ensuring that I’ve given myself that creative time, I’m pretty okay not having it at other times.

Are you working on the next book yet or thinking about it?

Yes! I just finished the first draft of my next book, out in 2011. (Yikes!) It’s called (as of now) The Memory Of Us, and tells the story of a woman who survives a plane crash but who loses her memory in the process. She’s forced to piece her life back together by the stories that other people tell her about herself, which of course, raises the questions: who are you really and are we defined by everyone other than ourselves? I’m really excited about it.

Any movie news to share?

Nope. :) Well, maybe a little. The Weinstein Company renewed their option for Time of My Life in March, which is a good sign, as basically, they had the choice to extend their deal with me or let me go. That they opted to pay me some dinero rather than not is always a good thing, as – logically – people tend not to shell out for products they’re not interested in.

If you couldn’t be an author, what career would you choose?

Rock star. Movie star. Either one, and I wouldn’t complain. :)

And now, yes, A BOOK GIVEAWAY! We'll be giving away TWO copies, so that just DOUBLED your chances!!!

Leave a comment with your email address, (IF YOU DON’T LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, HOW CAN I LET YOU KNOW YOU’VE WON?) or some other identifying trait, like your blog, telling Allison and me about The One That You Want! It doesn’t have to be a person. It can be a banana. What do you want right now? (And DUH, we know you want the book!) Be creative, although the drawing will be completely random!

Winners will be announced on Monday, along with ANOTHER FABULOUS BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Yep, cuz why not! I'm MaNiC that way!


And yeah, you know, PeaCe uP, cuz PeaCiNG down is dull.

~ MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, May 10, 2010

aND THe WiNNeRS aRe ...

Congrats, and thank you all for participating! For the three winners, please email me your addresses at, and we'll get your book to you as soon as possible!

We'll have another great book giveaway on Wednesday when I'll be interviewing and reviewing Allison Winn Scotch's latest, The One That I Want, so come back for another chance to win her book!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

LaTeR ToDay!

Heart of the Matter Winners Announced Later Today!

Friday, May 07, 2010

a MoTHeR'S Day To ReMeMBeR

A quick note on the Heart of the Matter giveaway--the winners will be announced on Monday, so check back then. I'll also be announcing ANOTHER book giveaway from yet ANOTHER New York Times bestselling author that you'll be excited about! And after that one, I'll have ONE MORE big book giveaway before I move to Scottsdale, and then I'll have my official "I've-moved-to-Scottsdale-hold-on-a-sec" nervous breakdown, and then I'll get my new house in order, get my home office set up, take a dip in the new pool, and be back to blogging and book-giveaways, say, um, about mid-June, how's that sound? Good? Good.

But until Monday (you still have time to enter here!), when I make the announcement on who the lucky THREE winners are of Heart of the Matter, here's a little Mother's Day gift from me to you ...

I try to post this essay every Mother's Day. I wrote it what seems to be a very long time ago, and it also seems as if my kids are growing up very fast. These memories are a reminder to me how quickly the time goes, and brings me to the realization that my children need me less and less, or at least for different reasons nowadays.

I hope as you move into the weekend you remember your mother, or the women who are motherly to you, or the children in your lives who you mother, and remember if not for you women, where would this world be. Cherish yourselves and the women who mean the most to you this weekend!

On the morning of one of my best Mother's Days, I was greeted by a glorious sound that was rare in a house with three kids. That sound - or lack thereof - was silence. I had slept in, undisturbed by footsteps padding across the floor, uninterrupted in a sleep much needed. I awoke refreshed and ready to greet my children, who had already been fed and clothed by their father.

That Mother's Day, I did not lift a finger to assist my children unless I chose to do so. If someone asked for juice, Daddy stepped in and said, "I'll get it." I didn't change a diaper; I didn't make sandwiches and I didn't wipe noses. I napped, read a whole chapter in a book, showered leisurely and gave myself a manicure.

Later, we all went to the park and the kids picked dandelions and presented them to me as if I were a queen and the flowers had been delicately dipped in gold. We ate double-scoop ice cream cones with (can you believe it?) no calories. My husband cooked dinner, did the dishes, bathed the kids, put them to bed and gave me a foot massage. The only thing I had to do that day was to love my kids. It was a beautiful, beautiful day, one I will remember as long as I live.

Fast-forward to the next Mother's Day. At 5 a.m., I woke up to the sound of my daughter calling for me. She was crying, feverish and sweaty. I was exhausted from having been up most of the night with her baby brother, who had also spiked a fever, and I was not ready to start the day. My oldest son had been sick earlier that week, so I knew it was only a matter of time before the virus swept through all of the children, but did it have to strike that day, the most revered holiday for moms? Yep, it did.

By noon I was in a frenzy, checking temperatures, doling out Tylenol and dampening cloths to cool warm foreheads. I changed diapers, held and rocked children, offered juice to keep them from dehydrating, and tried to keep them as comfortable as possible. We watched Barney and Mary-Kate and Ashley videos until I almost felt sick. I didn't shower or eat, and I don't even think I stopped to brush my teeth. I didn't take a moment for myself all day. It was Mother's Day, after all, and I was working around the clock to be the best mother I could be. It was a miserable day and I fell into bed exhausted only to hear my daughter call for me minutes later.

"What?" I asked as kindly as I could when I entered her room.

"I feel lots better. Thanks for taking care of me."

That short exchange of words turned out to be the absolute best Mother's Day gift I could have ever hoped for - the acknowledgment that I was taking good care of my children and that I was appreciated.

I think back to those two Mother's Days and realize what it's all about, being a mommy. It's having someone love you and depend on you so much that no one else will do. While the first Mother's Day was a wonderful, diaper- and whine-free day, the next Mother's Day put everything into perspective.

If it weren't for my children, I would not have the privilege of celebrating Mother's Day. So, when another Mom's Day comes around and the children need me for whatever reason, I know this is why I am here, why I have been granted the gift of motherhood.

Because it is a gift, and I will cherish even the days when I feel exhausted, unappreciated and ready to throw in the towel. I will remember that my children need me and that what I am doing is the most respectable, amazing, and wonderful job anyone can have.

May your Mother's Day bring you mountains of joy from your little ones, and may you cherish every moment that passes between you. Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

MoRe eXCiTiNG eMiLy GiFFiN NeWs aND BeST FRienDS FoReVeR WiNNeR!

Am very excited to announce the winner of Jennifer Weiner's Best Friends Forever and the copy goes to Shannyn over at Pretty Distraction. My totally random way of choosing the winner went like this: I counted how many entries I had and then yelled to Mr. Manic, "Hey, pick a number one through 32. He did, and then I counted through the entries backward till I got to that number and that's how I came up with Shannyn's name. So congrats to Shannyn! Send me your address and I'll mail you your book!

You may also know that I've got another big giveaway going on in ManicLand and that is that we're giving away TWO autographed copies of Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter which will be released in JUST SIX DAYS! I know you are all excited because how can you not be? And judging by the buzz and the comments you've all left, it's just been amazing! You can still enter to win but you can only enter once, but here's what I'm going to do: When I go see Emily on May 26, I'm going to buy an extra book and have her sign that extra book so I can give away THREE autographed copies NOW! Because there are so many of you who want to win and I just want to share the Emily love and because Emily has been so good to me!

On a personal note, things have been so crazy around here, with my family moving from Chicago to Scottsdale in just 24 days, and focusing on this contest has been such a TERRIFIC distraction! I come to my computer and read all these wonderful comments and feel a camaraderie with all of you because I know EXACTLY how you feel about Emily's books. It's amazing how one person's words can affect all of us; how we all come from different families, lifestyles, backgrounds, yet Emily can bring us all together with her stories. Emily's books are a beautiful (I don't want to say break or respite, there's got to be a more colorful descriptive word) vacation for the mind (that doesn't do them justice either), and her characters truly live on with us.

So, thanks for stopping by, for giving me a break from my insomnia and decluttering, my emotional breakdowns (while infrequent, they still come), my worries about what lies ahead, and the general stress of organizing my family of five for an unknown future ahead. While I am pretty sure it's going to be a fabulous experience, I always look to the magic of books to escape and give me a relief from the daily angst and we all know we can find this in Emily's books.

So, check back on Monday for the big announcement, and if you've not yet entered, you can still do so right here! DO NOT ENTER ON THIS POST - YOU WILL NOT QUALIFY TO WIN EMILY'S BOOK IF YOU LEAVE A COMMENT HERE - YOU MUST GO TO THE ORIGINAL POST TO COMMENT TO BE ENTERED! THANKS!

All the luck and love in the world!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, May 03, 2010

WiN eMiLy GiFFiN'S HeaRT oF THe MaTTeR!

Win an Autographed Copy of Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter!

Emily's books ARE beautiful, definitely inside and out. From the very first time I laid my eyes on Something Borrowed and the embossed, glittery wedding ring and that rich pastelly pink cover in a Barnes & Nobles, I knew I had found my favorite author. Even before reading her words, even before seeing her author photo, or discovering that she grew up where I live (or at least where I live for the next 24 days).

Queer as it sounds, that is the truth – I actually remember THE moment I saw THAT book in THAT particular B&N and the feelings I had when I saw Something Borrowed (which is now being made into a major motion picture starring some very major actors including Kate Hudson, John Krasinski – swoon! – and Ginnifer Goodwin), and I can’t say I keep in my memory feelings like this about all the books I buy. And, I buy a TON of books.

Then I read it, and then I read Something Blue, and then I met Emily at a reading, and bravely asked during the Q&A what one would have to do to get the advanced reader’s copy of Baby Proof she held in her hands at that podium that very night.

“I’ll mail it to you,” she said.

And you know what? She did. She mailed THAT exact copy to me. She is that kind of awesomeness. She kept her word, and I’d like to say we have become friends. I’ve seen her out at other events, and have had the incredible pleasure of having dinner and margaritas with her. She even sends me sweet notes and darling Christmas cards of her children that I covet.

She is such a good, kind-hearted person, that if you ever get a chance to go to one of her readings, do so, because it will be one of the most fun, inspiring nights ever (especially if you’re a fan, reader and writer!). I’ll be seeing her in a couple of weeks, two nights before I move to Arizona, in fact, and I don’t care if I still have half a house to pack up or a ton of other stuff to do, she means that much that I’m NOT missing her reading of Heart of the Matter!

I’ve done some fun contests for her books in the past, and in honor of Emily’s new book Heart of the Matter, coming out on Tuesday, May 11, I have another one coming your way NOW! Thanks to Emily, I’ll be giving away TWO signed copies here on MaNiC MoMMy this week!

You know the drill – leave me a message — something really good – preferably about how much you love Emily’s books or even if you’ve never read one of her books (WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ ONE YET?) but are dying to, tell me how badly you want to win. Of course, the drawing will be random, and chosen on Monday, May 10!

So, get to the comment section! And Emily, thank you so much for the gift of telling beautiful stories that resonate with women everywhere! If I get a large enough response in the comments, I might even get the MaNiC kids together and do a Booking With Manic video drawing to announce the winners for this one!

Here’s what I thought of Heart of the Matter, and of course, as with all of Emily’s books, I couldn’t put it down, and as with all of her books, they just keep getting better and better!

In Emily Giffin’s latest book, Heart of the Matter, she once again tackles a delicate subject matter in a way that draws the reader in until the very last page. We meet Tessa Russo and her doctor-husband Nick in a seemingly perfect marriage with two perfect children. Yet when Valerie Anderson’s young son is injured in a fire, and plastic surgeon Nick comes to the rescue, not only is young Charlie affected by his bedside manner and charm, but so is Valerie.

The draw of Emily’s writing is that she takes a taboo subject, and twists it in a way to make the reader feel compassion toward every single one of her characters, no matter what the situation, or what kind of wrong they are doing.

While there is a love triangle going on in HOTM – an obvious attraction, physically and emotionally between Nick and Valerie – there is also a deep married love between Tessa and Nick, although something definitely has shifted in the years during their marriage. Can they get that back? Do they want it back? And even though Nick chooses to be unfaithful to Tessa, as a reader, you’ll find yourself feeling compassion for what he is going through. While I read, I wasn’t sure who I wanted him to be with. Emily has a way for making it impossible to find a ‘bad guy’ in her novels.

Surprise characters make an appearance in Heart of the Matter and I couldn’t help but feel like old friends were visiting! I loved this part very much and felt a sense of “Aww, how very cool is that!” when I discovered this very well kept secret! Readers will LOVE this ‘little gift’ that Emily offers up!

Heart of the Matter is a completely satisfying novel; one that will make the reader wonder about the frailty of all relationships - who does the pushing and who does the pulling? Is Tess purposely shoving her spouse away, unhappy with herself and trying to find a happiness that might not exist? Is either party the cause or the blame? You may ask yourself, “is a one-time sex act worse than a long-time love affair,” and if you had to answer these questions, would you rather your husband have a meaningless one-night stand without attachment; would you easily forgive, be able to forget, and let go?

And with the divorce rate so high, are these the type of questions that many of us will have to face as we navigate our way through relationships, marriages, the stress of jobs, family and children?

Emily Giffin brings the subject of infidelity to us in a heartfelt and touching story, with compassion and grace, only as Emily can do.

To follow all the details of Emily’s book tour and movie news, check out

And right now, head on over the the comment section, leave a note on why you love Emily’s books, or why you want to win, or why you came to this blog, anything will do, and you’ll be entered to win one of TWO signed copies of Emily Giffin’s Heart of the Matter! Please make sure to leave an email address in the comment section and also check back as winners will be announced on Monday, May 10!

PeaCe uP!

i'M FiNe!

I just can't sleep. I worry about the deep stuff that I can't control, and the stupid stuff that I can. Like all the damn drawers and cabinets that I should be cleaning out and I'm laying awake in my bed and first the clock says something like 1:39 a.m. so I get up to pee. Then around 2:30 a.m. I grab my cell phone on the side of the bed and write a FB post:

"Am still wondering if the very obvs tranvestite at the restaurant earlier opted for the andoillie (sp) sausage or the mahi mahi fish tacos?"

Then I'm still laying in bed and I tell myself, "OK, if the first number is a 3 by now, I will get up because come on, I can be getting some shit done." It is 3:03 a.m. So I figure I will get up and do some shit for 4 hours or something. Like blog. Or clean out a closet. Or I could watch that Madonna Glee episode I missed a couple of weeks ago. You know, some productive stuff.

I wish I could just pull out of my brain like a ticker tape all the stuff that's going through it. Like you wouldn't believe what's in there right now, some of it so stupid, like where am I going to put the stuff that is in the basement in the new house, even though the new house is bigger than this house, and also like, I wonder where I'm going to park my car in the new garage. And I wonder where that rug might go in the new house. Stupid stupid stupid shit. And then the serious scary shit that I can't even write down here because it is so scary I don't even like the thought that it runs through my head, and I have to remind myself of the church series that we had called FEARLESS and living without FEAR and I say my little prayer that I say when I am scared, "Lord, continue to wrap me in your loving arms." I say that one a lot.

I keep thinking, "OK, we have like how many real weeks left here?" Three? Three Sundays left practically? And am I even going to make it to church here again? Next week we will be with the in-laws. The next I am with my high school girl friends. The next one, May 23, we may make it. And the next, we start our new lives in Arizona. It's here. It's practically here. We've got 26 days till our lives take flight, literally. Mr. Manic made the one-way ticket reservations, perfectly, wonderfully, practically, ideally on our 17th anniversary. Absolutely fitting for the next chapter of our little family's life.

Trying to be FEARLESS.

It's a lot harder at 3:13 a.m. when you're wide awake. But mom, "I'm FINE!"