Me: “Twinkle, twinkle, little star…”

Buttercup: “Mama, put down the blackberry.”


**This post originally appeared at The Afterbirth.


That’s right.

I’m going.

I still can’t believe it.

But I’m going.

My TBFF (that’s Twitter BFF, thank you very much), Juliette, sent me a frantic message last week telling me to check my email but she wouldn’t say why. So I did. All five accounts.

And that’s when I saw it: The email notifying me that I’d scored a ticket off of the wait list. Juliette had received the same email and later told me she was holding her breath until I told her she wasn’t going alone.

Which, of course, didn’t happen until I called The Husband who was at home while I was in New Mexico at a writer’s conference, and begged and promised naughty things. He gladly obliged.

That’s when I told Juliette to start doing The Happy Dance.

And that’s when she started screaming. Or rather, typing “SQUEEEEEEE” at such a furious pace I couldn’t do anything but laugh.

So there ya have it. I’ve got a built-in roomie and can’t wait to meet my writing partner in person for the very first time at BlogHer. And now I get to figure out the logistics of a certain almost-three-year-old and if she’s staying here in AZ, coming with, or going to visit family while I socially-network the social media scene at an event I have only dreamed about going to up until now.

If you saw me at Bloggy Boot Camp and laughed at my inability to control my girl-crush reactions when I found myself speaking to people More Famous Than Me (which was pretty much everyone there), then just wait for the show I’ll be putting on at BlogHer.

And um, Manic Mommies? Fair warning…there will be plenty of gushing on my part.

Just let me find a room first.

The end.


the pain of the macho

“What do you want me to say? I’ll write whatever you want.”

It’s Rick Najera speaking. He’s holding a copy of The Pain of the Macho in his hands, pen ready to personalize the first page for me.  My response is nothing but a “blink, blink.”

“Come on,” Rick says. “Tell me what to write.”

I imagine sweet little lies. Empty words of praise that might look good on paper but ring false to anyone with a heartbeat.

Pauline Campos is the best writer I’ve ever met!

Pauline Campos will be more famous than me!

Pauline Campos is so good I’m going to ask her to become part of my Hollywood team and she can work from home because it’s just safer that way!

The man might be a comedic genius and a highly respected actor/writer/director who told me my work has serious potential doesn’t suck, but he only met me 24 hours earlier. To ask him to lie to me verbally is one thing.

On paper?

That’s just sacrilegious.

“I really have no idea,” I said out loud. “I don’t want it to be bullshit.”

Rick stood there for a moment, probably amazed by both my lack of a filter and the fact that I didn’t want him to whisper meaningless sweet nothings that would just piss me off when he handed the book back. I hadn’t planned on buying anything else that would add to my already busting-at-the-seams suitcase, but we all got yelled at by the higher-ups at the conference for not supporting our fellow writers during the first book sale/book signing. So I bucked up, bought the smallest book there, handed it to Rick, and made a mental note to send my receipt for having a 55-pound suitcase back to the conference organizers for guilting me into buying more books (I already had five on the nook written by conference faculty that I paid for) with a demand for reimbursement.

I almost asked what he had been asked to sign in other people’s books, but decided I really didn’t want to know.

“Let’s try another route,” Rick said. “Where do you want to be a year from now?”

Ding, ding, ding!

That one was easy and I answered without hesitating.

“I want my book on the New York Times best seller list and America Ferrera pegged to play me in the movie based on my book.”

Rick smiled and began to write. This is what he “put out into the universe.” Which, he says, means it has to come true…


This break is brought to you by our sponsors, Chicken Scratch and Man Writing, as the author of this post tries to decipher what was written. Please, ladies and gentlemen, your patience is appreciated…


Um…I think it says:

This book was my beginning. Yours will end up on New York Times with America playing the lead. Best, Rick Najera


Disclaimer: And I only got that far because he read it out loud to me before handing back my book. There’s something to be said for memory retention, people.


Maybe it’s mommy-brain. Or more specifically, the hit my brain cells took in the memory retention department after having a child.

See, I used to be an avid reader. I’m not exaggerating when I say I could finish a full Nancy Drew novel in less than a few hours when I was eight.

And I read all through high school and even college. Most of the latter was required, but I still count it because the loans I just paid off totally give me the right to do so.

Then I had a baby. And ever since she came along, I’ve become just as versed in Dr. Suess, Olivia, Miss Spider, and anything else that rhymes, is cute, or based on a cartoon as I was about Nancy, Bess, George, and Ned before I had responsibilities.

Books for adults just intimidate me now. They are so, well, big! (Hello gutter…insert mind.)

Really, how am i supposed to sit down with a 200 page anything and not feel obligated to tell the dishes or laundry to kiss my ass while I spend some quality me-time so I can finish said masterpiece before moving on to the next?

But as I writer, I know I’m supposed to be reading to fuel my creativity. I just need it in smaller chunks.

So I got a nook.

nook jonathan adler puncuation It was love at first download.

Here I am, able to choose a book in my library, read a few pages, and walk run away to catch Buttercup as she tries diving off the couch because she thinks she can fly before starting dinner, eating, cleaning up, and sitting back down to read and happily find that my nook is super-smart with that whole book-marking thang.

I can even pick up and keep reading on the blackberry. Or my computer. Or lend a book to The Husband. All with free down-loadable e-reader software.

It’s like little pieces of manageable heaven for the parentally-inclined.


Of course, I had to get a kickin’ case for it. And after agonizing for way longer than is considered normal, I chose the Jonathan Adler Punctuation cover on the B&N site. It’s black (read: Pauline-proof for staining), has a nifty business-card holder and places to stuff crap I’ll wonder why I stuffed there later, and if you flip it from front to back fast enough…plenty of attitude, too.

I’ll give you a minute to figure that one out. For the stragglers, just think really hard. It’ll come to you.

The best part was being able to take all six of my new books with me to my writer’s conference because I couldn’t decide which one to pack. I only had time to read one, but the Indecisive Idiot in me was calmed to the core knowing I wouldn’t have to decide until the Moment of Truth was actually upon me.

Mama likes.

And that’s my review.

nook jonathan adler puncuation

*Disclosure: We didn’t get jack-squat for free. But I am adding this bad boy to my tax-write off list for 2010. So there.


It’s no secret.

I spend a hell of a lot of time on Twitter.

It’s fun. It’s random. And I love being able to connect with writers and moms just by pulling my blackberry out of my bra and sending a tweet.

But ya know what I don’t love?

Auto DMs (or automatic direct messages, for the uninitiated).

Here’s my take on the situation: If you send them, you look like an A-hole. A fake, smiling, chipper telemarketer hoping that the person you just called won’t hang up before you finish your pitch. I don’t care how famous you are or how many followers you have or how impossible it is to keep up with all the tweets coming your way. Be real or sit down and shut up. I know when I’m being patronized. And you know what happens when I get “Thanks for following me! Please check out my INSERT URL HERE and I can’t wait to get to know you!” in my direct message  inbox?

An automatic unfollow.

Same goes for the crazy Facebook games some of Those People with Time to Spare that end up with your results in my direct message inbox.  Because really? I don’t need to take a quiz to figure out which real crazy writer I am like. I can save a lot of headache by just looking in the fucking mirror.

I don’t care if you have 2 followers or 2 million. I don’t care if I followed you because I thought you were interesting until the DM showed up in my inbox. Sometimes it hurts to cut the chord. But if you’re too busy to sincerely acknowledge or ignore me, I doubt you’re going to notice you’re down a follower.

Here’s the thing, people. I know that some perfectly wonderful and nice bloggers/tweeps use auto DMs. I’ve grimaced every time I’ve gotten one…and admit that I have had to swallow my own words and ignore my own policy every now and then, especially if a relationship had already developed outside of/or prior to Twitter. I want to tell these people that for a brief moment, I stopped thinking they are wonderful and nice and instead thought they were about as real and sincere as The Popular Kid in elementary school who was forced to invite all the kids in his/her class to their birthday parties. Smile big and pretty for the camera…but let’s forget we this ever happened after the flash dies away, okay?

Am I being melodramatic? Probably.

I know that most people who set up auto-dm’s probably think it’s a nice way to welcome their new followers instead of making them wait for acknowledgment. But after my recent informal twitter poll, I confirmed that I’m not the only one with a bug up my bum about this whole thing.

What started this whole drama? A real direct message. One that thanked me for a follow that was very obviously written by the person who sent it and was very obviously intended for me. I was in shock.

So I tweeted this:

wow, i just got a realm sincere, thanks for the follow DM. take note people, i’d rather be sincerely ignored than falsely welcomed.

And the “Sing it, sister!” responses started coming in, so I started a very unscientific and unofficial Twitter Poll.

Responses to my “Love auto DMs or Hate ‘em” tweet included the words “annoying,” “hate,” insincere,” unfollow,” and “why?”

Not one person jumped up and admitted to using them. Not one person called me out for calling them out.A few people did say that they are only mildly annoyed by them. Some just ignore the auto-dm’s and others have even found magical and mystifying ways to block them completely. I’m not that talented, nor do I believe I need to go out of my way to avoid your social media fuax-paux, so I’ll just bitch about them here because I can.

But ya know what? Not one person jumped up and said that they loved receiving auto dm’s or that they make the receiver feel like they just got hugged by a rainbow.

Or a unicorn.

So here’s my plan to take over Twitter and make it safe to play in the sandbox again: I think that those of us on Team Pauline should join together and form Tweeps Against Auto Direct Messages (TAADM.) I’ll be president. Karen Quah can be vice-president.

I even have a slogan, which Karen already approved after too many martinis.

Friends don’t let friends auto-dm. Respond or ignore sincerely. It could save a follow.

Our first meeting will take place in the community center, room 4A, right after the Twitter Anonymous (TA) meeting lets out. Don’t forget the punch and cookies this time.

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