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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yep, I'm 35.

I'm 35 today! I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. On one hand ohmygodI'm35! That always seemed so freaking old! Especially when I was a teen. 35 was like right before retirement wasn't it? No longer can I say late twenties (ok I shouldn't have been saying that anyway) or early thirties. Now I have to say mid-thirties. Ew. Sounds so old. I still don't feel old though. And no joke, a grocery clerk carded me a few months ago at Mejer. I wanted to tip her.

Anyway, what are my grand plans for my 35th birthday? I thought, maybe I should start the day with a workout to get the year in a good direction. Then I thought, pssh, I workout 4-5 days a week anyway so it's not like I need to go on my birthday. Nope, a relaxing day is the only way to go. I set 1/2 of my kids off on the school bus and took the two little ones to Starbucks for a mocha. A venti (it IS my birthday after all). Then I came home and cracked open my first ever anti-aging cream, for women 35 and older. Oh yeah, big time stuff. Next? I don't know. I desperately want to vacuum (the carpet looks gross) but keep telling myself I shouldn't do housework on my birthday. I keep hoping that maybe my next big book idea will come to me today. Ah screw it, I'm going for the vacuum. Later!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winner of Denise Jaden's LOSING FAITH!



Congrats Julie! E-mail me your mailing address and the book will be shipped to you.

And p.s., I'm sorry I didn't announce this on Saturday as promised! It was a 4 party weekend (one of which was a double birthday party we were hosting) and the weekend got away from me fast. Speaking of which,

Question: If you need to make a card for your friend's 6th birthday party and you don't want to bother asking anyone for a piece of paper, what should you do?

Answer: Take a page of Mommy's manuscript! In this case it looks like page 27 of Pumpkin Princess. :-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit: Denise Jaden! Plus GIVEAWAY!

Denise Jaden is here to talk about her debut novel, LOSING FAITH. She's also offered to giveaway a copy of the book on my blog (U.S. entries only). Just comment on this entry for a chance to win and I'll post the winner Saturday.

About the Book:

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don't know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith's final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Our Interview:

KRISTINA: In my book, THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, Jane, a coffee barista, matchmakes people based on their favorite coffee drinks. What's your favorite coffee drink? (If you don't like coffee, tell me what your favorite drink in general is. But I am sorry, you'll never find love. Kidding!)

DENISE: I'm a little boring when it comes to coffee. I love a nice Americano. Or if I'm really feeling fancy, a mocha.

KRISTINA: I am always curious about when and where writers write. Can you tell me about your schedule and your favorite place to work?

DENISE: I almost always work at my tiny desk in the corner of our living room. My son and I work at homeschool in the mornings, then hit the gym and he has a short quiet time while I write in the afternoons.

KRISTINA: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

DENISE: Only recently. About seven years ago, I started typing away what started as a journal, but quickly became fictional. It was so much fun, I couldn't stop, and within the year, I knew I wanted to become a writer.

KRISTINA: How do you come up with the names of your characters?

DENISE: I'm always picking up names from new places. If I'm out at a restaurant or grocery store and notice a clerk with an interesting name, or a name full of character, I always jot it in my phone. With Losing Faith, the main character, Brie, was actually named after my husband's birth sister, who we just met for the first time a few years ago.

KRISTINA: Are you on twitter? Where can we follow you?

DENISE: Yes, I love Twitter! I'm on there under @denisejaden

KRISTINA: What are you working on now?

DENISE: I'm working on another YA novel called Appetite For Beauty. It's about a cheeky and forthright girl who discovers a dangerous, self-destructive side in her sister, and has to decide between helping her sister and a powerful and unfamiliar desire to become appealing to a mysterious boy.

Rave Reviews:

“Strong in its characterization…satisfying…a thoughtful read.”


"This book is wonderful. I stayed up way too late because I couldn't put it down. Tessa is one of my all-time favorite characters - fascinating, nuanced - she lived for me, jumped right off the page. Terrific read!"
- Janet Fox, author of Faithful (Penguin/Speak, 2010)
and Get Organized Without Losing It (Free Spirit Publishing, 2006

"Suspense, religion, romance, teenage angst—this book has it all and it is all well done. Losing Faith was an amazing read that hooked me in the beginning and when it was done I was well-satisfied with the conclusion. Great from start-to-finish!"
- Crystal at


Denise Jaden lives just outside Vancouver, Canada. When she’s not writing, she can often be found homeschooling her son or dancing with her Polynesian dance troupe. Losing Faith is her first novel. Find out more at View her book trailer here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit: Starring Linda Gerber!

From the author of the popular Death By series


By Linda Gerber

Almost everyone has wished that they could take a glimpse into the future—but what if such visions came unbidden, and they only foretold danger? Linda Gerber weaves this idea into a chilling and satisfying young adult novel with TRANCE (Speak; 9780142414156; October 14, 2010; Ages 12 up; $7.99). Perfect for fans of Wake, Gerber’s latest paranormal thriller is a dark but addictive tale of one girl’s curse to unwillingly foresee future tragedies, and the debilitating toll that it takes on her present life—until she realizes that her unwanted power may be more of a gift than a curse.

About the Author:

Linda Gerber ( is the author of the popular Death by Bikini, Death by Latte, and Death by Denim as well as two books in the S.A.S.S. series. She lives with her family in Dublin, Ohio.

Our interview:

KRISTINA: In my book, THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, Jane, a coffee barista, matchmakes people based on their favorite coffee drinks. What’s your favorite coffee drink? (If you don’t like coffee, tell me what your favorite drink in general is. But I am sorry, you’ll never find love. Kidding!)

LINDA: My favorite, have-to-have-it-while-I’m-working drink is Diet Coke over crushed ice, with a splash of Cherry Coke Zero (straight Cherry Coke Zero is to strong/sweet for me) and a generous squeeze of lime. So. Good.

KRISTINA: Why do you write MG/YA as opposed to other types of fiction?

LINDA: I love reading YA, so it’s a natural fit for me to write it. Besides, I think my voice is more suited to MG and YA. Maybe because I never grew up.

KRISTINA: What is the title of the first book you ever wrote?

LINDA: BETWEEN THE PAGES. It resides under my bed.

KRISTINA: What is your most favorite (or, weirdest, craziest, funniest, most touching etc.) comment you’ve received from a fan?

LINDA: I’ve had half a dozen girls send me resumes and headshots for when we start casting Aphra for the Death by Bikini Mysteries movie. I keep wondering what they know that I don’t!

KRISTINA: What are you reading right now?

LINDA: A TENSION OF OPPOSITES by Kristina McBride. Fabulous.

KRISTINA: Are you on twitter? Where can we follow you?


KRISTINA: What are you working on now?

LINDA: HACKED, book three in my upcoming Middle Grade series, LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY, about the daughter of popular TV travel show hosts, and the trouble (and cute guys) she finds whenever she goes on location with them.

KRISTINA: Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck with your book!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

Oh. My. God. Something HUGE just happened. Something that would make me do kartwheels around my house (if I was like, 20 years younger, and didn't have this stinking tendinitis in my ankle, and could actually do a kart wheel. Wait, I don't think I've ever even done a kart wheel. Never was much the gymnast. That's kind of sad isn't it? Moving on...).

Ok, let me preface what I'm going to say by reminding you (if you've been reading me for awhile) that I'm a huge Meg Cabot fan. That she's one of my literary idols. That she's the author I always list as my fave in interviews (along w/ Lauren Myracle of course, luv her too!). That whenever I have an author etiquette question (such as to blog this or not to blog this?) I think WWMCD, What Would Meg Cabot Do? That...ok, move on Tina, get to the point!


For real! I swear!! One of my friends just saw this on her blog and sent it to me:

"This funny book, which has a hilarious title, and an even more hilarious cover (the insides are pretty hilarious, too)." Click here for full post.

She's talking about My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours!! Wheeeee!!!! I'm SO EXCITED!!!! Wait, I have to go dance around the room again, brb.

Ok, I know I'm gushing but authors are fan girls too and I'm such a Meg Cabot fan! This totally made my day!!

So, from here on out, any rejection I get I will reply with "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Apparently you haven't heard that MEG CABOT THINKS I'M FUNNY!!!!!!" :-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit: Starring Lauren Strasnick!

I’m so excited a new girlfriend is visiting! Lauren Strasnick’s book, Her and Me and You, just came out and isn’t the cover amazing?

About the Book:

Her and Me and You

Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, October 2010

First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred–and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred–and something about Adina–that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world, no matter the consequences.

“Strasnick’s slim second offering packs a lot into its short chapters: divorce, broken friendships, crushes, the lines between love and sex and more. Characterization, scenes, dialogue and setting are seamlessly distilled into so few sharp, image-rich phrases that the novel reads almost as if it were written in verse. Less is definitely more here, and readers are plunged into Alex’s physical and emotional world within three to four words. Although the plot moves swiftly, the author’s ability to capture Alex’s inner world in so few words give the novel depth and balance. Complex and thought-provoking.” –Kirkus

Our Interview:

KRISTINA: In my book, THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, Jane, a coffee barista, matchmakes people based on their favorite coffee drinks. What’s your favorite coffee drink? (If you don’t like coffee, tell me what your favorite drink in general is. But I am sorry, you’ll never find love. Kidding!)

LAUREN: What?!! Nooooo! Loveless? J Well, coffee makes me hurt, so I don’t drink it. But is there anything more intoxicating then the smell of freshly ground beans?!

I’m a tea girl. St. Dalfour Strawberry Rose Green Tea, my fave. I order it by the case.

KRISTINA: How do you come up with the names of your characters?

LAUREN: I have a baby name book. I do first name and surname searches online. I spend days naming characters when I first start a project – the names have to sound believable, but I also want them to suit my taste and fit each character. First names are fun. Last names, impossible. I frequently steal last names from friends and friends of friends. I used the last name of a girl I went to high school with for a character in my first book, NOTHING LIKE YOU, and I can’t tell you how many emails I get from old friends wondering why I turned such a nice girl into such an unlikable character! Each time this happens I get wildly paranoid that this girl will read the book and think the character is based on her, when nothing could be farther from the truth! I just really, really liked her last name! Doh.

KRISTINA: What is the title of the first book you ever wrote?

LAUREN: “Yours Truly, The Girls From Bunk Six”. 5th grade! My unfinished masterpiece.

KRISTINA: Are you on twitter? Where can we follow you?

LAUREN: I am! You can follow me at:

KRISTINA: What are you working on now?

LAUREN: Another book for Simon Pulse: DAKOTA WEBB IS MISSING (out Spring 2012). Messy relationships, mystery, music and… Wow, too many M’s. I wasn’t even trying to be cute!

KRISTINA: Thanks Lauren! I can’t wait to read your book!

Visit her at her website & blog:

Friday, October 8, 2010


We LOVE going to Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL whenever we can. It's over 1700 acres of 4000 different kinds of trees and it has one of the best children's areas anywhere for the kids to play at. So today we went to see if the trees have started changing colors (a little, will have to go back in a week or so I guess!) and got to do the Scarecrow trail. How fun! There were 44 scarecrows spread throughout around the lake so we visited each one and chose our favorites. Mine was the Shrek and Fiona scarecrows. But this one was pretty cute too--it's a librarian scarecrow. Can you see Mockingjay and Twilight in the books?