Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Announcing the Now I See You Book Trailer!!

Book trailers are not, in fact, like sex and pizza -- good, even when they're bad. Book trailers are more like homemade yogurt - when it's bad, it's REALLY bad.

In my humble and very biased opinion, the Now I See You book trailer is like fresh-out-of-the-even Neapolitean style pizza from Grimaldi's --  hot, satisfying and  . . . OK I never said I was a world-class analogizer. Point is, I have AN OFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER! And it's damn funny. Also, it is one minute long. So, you know, even if you hate it, it's over before you know it.

Many thanks to Poke Gravy Studios for helping me realize my dream of making light of misfortune, and animating a stick figure man whose underwear is on fire.

Presenting . . . Tips for the (Secretly) Blind

Monday, April 21, 2014

A tasty little (free) morsel of Now I See You

So, guys, I wrote a book. I'm not going to lie; it was a shit ton of work and it was pretty time-consuming and an advance reader just told me she ACTUALLY peed in her pants - a little, you know that shit happens -- because she laughed so hard while reading a part about my Nonny. The fact that my book might cause you to soil yourself makes me ridiculously happy. I'll probably mention it a few more times before its publication (yay! St. Martin's!!) on June 24th. But for now, I will whet your palate and get you hungry for more but offering you this tasty little morsel of an expert . . . the prologue of the book and a whole juicy chapter from the middle.


(There should be a surcharge for capital letters, I know; barring taxation, I can't resist the urge to get carried away).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

World's Toughest Job

Would you reply to this Classified ad?
"The job had a mandatory 135+ hours a week of work and required the job holder to be on call at all times, day or night. Qualified candidates should have a knowledge of psychology, medicine, personal finance, culinary arts and basic technology skills. The job also had physical requirements: the ability to stand for hours, lift up to 75 pounds, be constantly moving and operate on little to no sleep."
Guess what? You did. It's called parenthood and you can not resign. Or get promoted. But you can also never get fired, so there's that. 

You have to go watch this hilarious and tear-inducing video (made by a greeting card company, be forewarned) ins which they posted the above ad and interviewed the 24 people who replied. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cursing Toddlers

One of the most exciting and stressful parts of living with a two year-old, I've found, is their tendency to accurately mimic the things you say. My big kids love that Terza is a little parrot; it allows them to effortlessly manipulate her for their enjoyment.

"Terza, can you say, "You know I'm bad! I'm bad! You know it!"

"I bad! I bad! You KNOW IT!" she obliges, with gusto.

Peals of laugher. I laugh, too. I won't deny it. It's riotous. And then, once I've busted a gut or two, I intervene:

"OK, that's enough now. Can't we have her say how GOOD she is, how helpful and obedient?"

Seconda, too, feeds her lines of dialogue:

"Terza, can you say, "Oppa gangam style?"

"Oppa gaaaya tiewa!"

Explosive, thunderous cackles. And Terza loves it, of course. She thinks she is the bee's knees. So everyone wins. 

But she also repeats stuff you don't want her to repeat.

The other day, my grandmother was babysitting and when I picked Terza up, Nonny informed me that she might have learned a new and colorful bit of language.

"I tink I taught her to say 'shit,'" Nonny confessed.

"Nonny!" I exclaimed, with chagrined indignation, "Please try to CONTROL yourself!"

As if I'd never used the word "shit" in front of the kid.

The thing is, at first kids are babies and when they're babies, you really have carte blanche languege-wise, because shit, they don't know what the hell they're hearing. Then, slowly, so slowly you don't even realize it's happening, they become toddlers, and still, they're really not talking, and when they do, you can't understand what they're saying, anyway, so really, you've got a cushion, when it comes to cursing. And then, one day, they're talking in complete sentences and voicing all sorts of complicated sentiments and observations like, "The doggie is loud and he's gonna lick me and I'm scared Mommy! Please help me!" and you're like, "FUCK. This kid is WITH it now, I have to stop cursing."

And you try, you really do, but it's a hard habit to break, particularly in the hectic strum and drang of raising three precocious, demanding children while trying to work at the same time. So you find yourself slipping, And when you do, there's a little parrot right beside you, at the ready to repeat it all. Weird part is, half the stuff she says is incomprehensible, but when she says swear words, she's got impeccable articulation. Clear as a bell.

"Jesus CHRIST!"




"Oh shit!"

Thankfully, we haven't been treated to our two year-old tossing around the F bomb yet. So, I guess, if you're a silver-linings kind of person, you'd say things are looking up.
We shall see . . .

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Win books! A whole bunch of books!

I'm delighted to be included in this amazing, gigundo book giveaway, orchestrated by the superstar novelists Miranda Beverly-Whittemore and Julia Fiero. Each day, you’ll have the chance to win a signed first edition of the brand spanking new book from these incredible authors:

April 9: Ted Thompson, The Land of Steady Habits
April 10: Jean Kwok, Mambo in Chinatown
April 11: Caeli Wolfson Widger, Real Happy Family
April 14: Mira Jacob, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing
April 15: Cristina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans
April 16: Alexi Zentner, The Lobster Kings
April 17: Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, Orion’s Daughters
April 18: Scott Cheshire, High As The Horses’ Bridles 
April 21: Megan Abbott, The Fever
April 22: Edan Lepucki, California
April 23: Joanna Rakoff, My Salinger Year
April 24: Marie-Helene Bertino, 2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas
April 25: Kevin Clouther, We Were Flying to Chicago
April 28: Roxane Gay, An Untamed State
April 29: Porochista Khakpour, The Last Illusion
April 30: Brian Gresko, When I First Held You
May 1: Courtney Maum, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
May 2: Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You
May 5: Robin Black, Life Drawing
May 6: Nicole C. Kear, Now I See You
May 7: Julia Fierro, Cutting Teeth
May 8: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Bittersweet

But that’s not all! By entering into a daily giveaway, you’ll also qualify for the BIG GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY – ONE COPY OF EACH OF THESE BOOKS! Signed! That’s right, the grand prize winner will receive 24 signed first editions; each of the books listed above.
Each day, we will post a new giveaway featuring one author in which we’ll give away a single copy of their book. We will update the schedule above with links to each giveaway. To enter to win each daily giveaway, we’ll post a question about each person’s work; by answering in the entry form, you’ll automatically enter that day’s giveaway! We’ll announce one winner the next morning while featuring the next book.
There will also be  one grand prize winner who will win ALL THE BOOKS. The grand prize giveaway will be announced on May 9th. If you enter ANY of the individual book giveaways, you are automatically entered to win the grand prize. You can enter once per individual giveaway, but if you enter EACH of the daily book giveaways, that DOES increase your chance to win the grand prize. 
Each day, we’ll give away one signed first edition of the book outlined via the schedule above.  The grand prize winner will receive them individually in the mail from each author as the books are released.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Guess How Much I Love You: or, does everything have to be a contest?

So, I just wrote about my all-time favorite board books, and now I'm writing about one that just annoys the shit out of me.

I feel like I should like Guess How Much I Love You. It's exactly the kind of book I want to like. I am a sap, pure and simple and most children's books that have the phrase "love you" in the title win me over, no matter how saccharine they are.  Love You Forever, for instance? My kids make me read that book to them just because they enjoy watching me sob like a baby. It's the watch-Mommy-cry-weirdly-hard show. I can't even think about it without starting to well up. You Are My I Love You? Love it. "You are my London Bridge, I am your falling down?" Yes. Bam. Give me more. I don't know what the hell it means and I don't even care.

But Guess How Much I Love You just gets under my skin. First of all, there are way too many words. The author could halve his word count and I think it'd be just right. Also, maybe it's because I'm a city kid but I am not a big fan of Little Nutbrown Hare. Blegh. His name has this gross pastoral cuteness factor that I scheeve. Either Little Hare or Nutbrown Hare would work, but throw in both and it's just adorable overload and it backfires.

But my real point of contention is that the whole book is basically about how the dad wants to one-up his kid by proving how he will always and everywhere love him MORE. It pisses me off. I'm not a moron so I get that it's a game and I get that Little (shudder) Nutbrown So-and-So loves it and I'm happy for him and all the simple-minded rabbits at there that are just so easygoing they don't know when they're being insulted. You know, when I stop to think about it,  I don't think I would have minded the entire conceit of the book had the father just LET HIM WIN AT THE END. When the poor kid, exhausted by the mammoth effort of trying to out do his father, finally succumbs to sleep after saying "I love you right up to the moon" his dad could have just smiled and kissed the kid goodnight and watched True Detective or some shit.  But instead, he can't tolerate not having the last fucking word so he has to sneak in. "I love you right up to the moon and back." It's like, "Dude. Get a grip. Everything is not a contest."

Hey, I know. It's a beloved children's book. But I had to say my peace. That's why I have a blog, after all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fools Day Pranks To (Not) Play On Your Kids

My parents have always loved April Fool's Day, probably because it allows them to act out their mean streak. I could write a whole freaking memoir about the shitty pranks my parents played on me, and the shitty revenge pranks I played back on them but such a book would only make you dislike me and my entire family and also, I already wrote a memoir (you should go pre-order that, incidentally).

So when I see a list like this circulating -- April Fool's Day Pranks to Play On Your Kids -- I have my doubts. Reading these, I found that almost all of them fell into one of the following categories:

A. Super time consuming. Seriously, who has the fucking time to swap out Cheetos of carrot slices or sew a kid's sock closed? I don't have the time to brush my damn hair.

B. Nasty. Tell the kids you got them an iPad only to reveal its an Eye Pad? Come on, that's just shitty.

C. Mean. Maybe other people's kids are way more low-key but if I told my kids the principal wanted to see them, they'd actually sustain cardiac damage.

D. Not feasible. How would you put a helium balloon under the toilet lid? GROSS. If you are doing this, you need to regroup.

E. Dumb. Covering the sensor of the remote or gluing the shampoo bottle closed isn't funny, it's just plain fucking annoying.

But I did like adding food coloring to the cereal. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow and really throw them off their game.

Happy April Fools' Day, folks. Be decent out there.