Let’s get down to brass tacks: My track record at getting agents’ attention with a query kind of sucks (you’ll have to come back for the punch line to that story on Friday). That makes me the least likely person to give you tips on how to write one that’s not going to make you want to take your mother’s favorite advice from your childhood and go play in traffic. (Or was that just mine?) But you know who is more than qualified to give you that kind of advice?

CJ Redwine.

In her ebook, QUERY: Everything You Need to Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed, Redwine covers everything from agent research to how to create an awesome hook and guides you through every step of the querying process.

Redwine also offers her Synopsis Workshop Handouts for sale on her blog under the Tools for Writer’s┬átab on her blog. If you’re new at this, let me just sum this up for you cuz I wasted two years thinking I only needed to tweet my way into an agent’s timeline and get signed that way: I’m an idiot and these handouts are way more practical. Cuz CJ knows what she’s doing and I just thought I did.

She’s also got a major thing for were-llamas. I’m figuring it’s part of her genius.


Abigail Green

And for any readers who want to tighten up their writing skills, you need to check out my friend, Abigail Green. Remember her? I reviewed her ebook when she launched The Mama Insider and have always wished I could be the kind of writer she is when I grow up. The woman’s been published in American Baby, The Smithsonian, on Babble.com, and a ton of other places. Also? Green is offering six-week online writing classes for writers of all levels with a focus on the personal essay. Coming off a two-year bender in which I was convinced I was The Chosen One and didn’t need someone to guide me before finally realizing I was totally wrong and totally did, I’ll happily suggest every single one of you click here and sign right the hell up. Reaching blindly through the craziness inside your head is so much more productive with an objective and experienced teacher to guide the way. And did I mention how many of Green’s former students are now published?

You’re Welcome.



It’s a good day.

I’ve been avoiding Twitter and Facebook for most of the day simply because I couldn’t possibly care less about who wore what on the red carpet and who won an Oscar for a movie I most likely didn’t have time to see. So it was pure luck that I saw a tweet from Leah Segedie announcing that the Strong 4 Life #Ashamed ads will be coming down in March.

If you live under a rock and have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s the short version: I wrote a column for Owning Pink that was read by Leah Segedie of Mamavation fame who got plenty pissed off that these ads were using shame to fight the childhood obesity epidemic so she organized a few twitter parties that got covered by CNN, Headline News, and other news outlets and now we all get to sing For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow.

Because she is.

And so is every single blogger and community leader who spoke out against shaming our children and reinforced the idea that we need to fight obesity and not obese people and shared their own stories of childhood shame. Thank you. You’re all jolly good fellows, too.

Please, if you have a moment, click here to see Leah’s full update on the #Ashamed campaign and shout from the mountain tops (Or just use all caps in a social media update when you say) THANK YOU to all who stepped up to speak out against shame.

We made a difference, y’all. And that makes me smile.


It’s true, y’all. I somehow managed to finish an entire manuscript and get started on a few more but The Husband is pissy that basket of folded laundry from three weeks ago is still sitting on the floor in our bedroom. I’m not sure what his problem is. I mean, I managed to remember to get the clothes into the washer, then the dryer, and then out of the dryer before folding them all nice and pretty. I’m all LET’S CELEBRATE THE POSITIVE and he’s all I’M POSITIVE IT SHOULDN’T TAKE THREE WEEKS TO PUT A BASKET OF CLOTHES AWAY.

And before anyone gets all What an ASSHOLE, let me present a few points. The first is that I knew he was an asshole when I married him. It’s totally part of his charm. Trust me on this. Also? He has a J-O-B that keeps him busy and frees me up to try to earn that monkey I’m dreaming of, so we kind of made a deal that I’d take care of the house and kid and he’d, you know, go to that job thing.

My point is that I don’t actually remember a time limit set upon each household responsibility so I’m totally in the right on this one.

And while that may be true, that’s totally not even why I started writing this post and talking about sucking at follow through (HEY EVERYBODY! THE BLOG POST IS A VISUAL AID IN AND OF ITSELF! FUCKING GENIUS!). I’m here to tell you who won that drawing for The CHICKtionary by Anna Lefler.


Drum roll, please…

Is that a squirrel?

Never mind….

The winner is Beth Bartlett! Send me your address so I can tell my New Best Friend Anna where she gets to ship that signed copy.



That’s my kid in the driver’s seat of my Yukon wearing my hat and talking on her pretend princess phone. That’s all I’m giving ya over here. If you want the rest of the story you need to head on over to Funny Not Slutty. Pretend the Internet is the word’s biggest public bathroom wall and write something eloquent in the comments so the good peoples over at FnS have proof that not just my mother reads my stuff.




Let me preface this post by saying that we painted Buttercup’s nursery a neutral shade of soft green, avoided All Things Pink until she decided pink was her favorite color somewhere around 18 months, and had a strict Anti-Barbie policy when it came to the dolls allowed in our home.

Only three channels are allowed on the television (Nick Jr., PBS Kids, and Disney Juniorbefore all those mindless Hannah Montana type shows take over the screen) and Buttercup isn’t really sure what a commercial is.

All Victoria Secret catalogs and other like materials that end up in my mail box go straight into the recycling bin and the other “F” word in our house is “fat.” Conversations and freak-outs about the size of my own ass are limited to texts messages with the BFF or put on public display for the rest of the world to see. We focus all conversations about exercise and food and such around being healthy and strong and having good energy.

And when well-meaning strangers comment on how “big” Buttercup is for her age (she’s about 49 inches tall at four years of age now) I always gently rephrase the statement by responding, “Why yes, she’s very tall, isn’t she?” I say it with a smile.


You also need to know that I was five feet tall when I was eight years old, wore my mother’s jeans to save money on new clothes, and grew up constantly hearing how “big” I was while sitting in front of Univision or Telemundo watching skantily clad women with long legs and flat stomachs and big, white teeth strut in front of their studio audience of their televised children show. Anyone remember Xuxa? Yeah…she was a porn star and then children everywhere were singing the theme song to the show while our fathers drooled.

I was hiding in the pantry to binge eat by the time I was eight and bulimic by the time I was 15. And obviously, there are still issues I’m dealing with.

Barbie was banned not because I hate perky blondes, but because I thought having a doll like that in our home would undo all I am trying so hard to prevent. I was convinced that Barbie and her body would make my little girl question her own and set up unrealistic expectations and a lifetime of disappointment. And then one day I found myself cruising the toy aisles in search of a birthday gift for one of Buttercup’s little girlfriends. Of course, we found what we were looking for on the shelves directly across the aisle from the Barbie display.


I saw ballerina barbies…



And Skipper and her sister…



And Odette from Swan Lake Barbie…


And (Hot for) teacher Barbie…

And then we saw Wizard of Oz Barbie…


That’s when The Husband whispered something into my ear that sounded something like “no way in hell…

And that’s when I remembered all the Barbies I grew up playing with and how I never once compared my own prepubescent body to the plastic one I had in my hands and how Barbie was the furthest thing from my mind when I was throwing up whatever I had just binged on. Barbie, I realized, wasn’t my issue. But Barbies skanky enough that the name could be changed to Exotic Dancer Barbie (the dancer’s pole is extra, mom and dad) and her clothing would still match the description?

Yeah….that? I have a serious problem with.

We have a new rule in our house: no skanks allowed. Barbie like I remember from my childhood? Fine by me.

She may end up just as naked just as fast and tossed into the pile of other naked dolls once taken out of the packaging, but at least this way I don’t have to explain a bustier, thigh highs, and stripper heels to a four-year-old.

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