Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Puppy Power! AND, GCC~Lauren Barnholdt!

Please forgive the absence! I have been puppified. Take a look at the photos of the new member of the family, Shana the German Shorthair Pointer-Australian Shepherd-Labrador Retriever Mix.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We got Shana from a puppy rescue shelter near Sacramento. If anyone in the area is interested in adopting a puppy, shoot me an email. They have a ton of puppies there eager for good homes. :o)

Shana's fun, but a real handful! They aren't kidding when they say a puppy is like adding a new baby to your home. However, having had twins... one new puppy seems fairly easy to me!

And onto the Amazing Lauren Barnholdt! Lauren's amazing for all kinds of reasons, but one of the most amazing things I found out about her is she got her first novel published at age TWENTY-SIX. At age twenty-six, I was changing stinky diapers every other moment, pushing a double stroller around, and deflecting continual TWIN QUESTIONS. (See bottom of this entry for details!) At the time I didn't think I would ever write again... and I didn't much care!

Lauren also sold her book on a PARTIAL. Do you know how rare that is for a new author? I only know of one other debut author who's ever done that... and I know a bunch of authors. Kudos to Lauren for following her publishing dream!


Lauren Barnholdt is a twenty-six-old writer who was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. Her articles and short stories have appeared in Elements magazine, Girls Life, and on mensclick.com. Lauren is currently under contract with Simon Pulse for her young adult novels, having set an unprecedented sale when she was signed for her first two book deal on just three chapters and a synopsis. Her first book for young adults, REALITY CHICK, will be released on June 27, 2006. Lauren currently teaches a popular online course called How to Write and Sell the YA Chick-lit Novel. She is also co-author of the book HOW TO WRITE AND SELL THE YA NOVEL, which will be released by Writer's Digest Books in December of 2006. Lauren now resides in Central Connecticut, and when she's not writing, she spends most of her time reading and watching lots and lots of reality TV.


All hour study fests.....all-night parties....

Going away to college means total independence and freedom. Unless of course your freshman year is taped and televised for all the world to watch. On uncensored cable.

Sweet and normal Ally Cavanaugh is one of five freshpeople shacking up on In the House, a reality show filmed on her college campus. (As if school isn't panic-inducing enough!) The cameras stalk her like paparazzi, but they also capture the fun that is new friends, old crushes, and learning to live on your own. Sure, the camera adds ten pounds, but with the freshman fifteen a given anyway, who cares? Ally's got bigger issues -- like how her long-distance bf can watch her loopy late-night "episode" with a certain housemate...

Freshman year on film.

It's outrageous.

It's juicy.

And like all good reality TV, it's impossible to turn off.

"I could not put this book down -- it was hilarious! Barnholdt is a fresh new voice in teen fiction."

-- Sarah Mlynowski, author of Milkrun and As Seen on TV


1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

I tried out for THE REAL WORLD once. I didn't make it, and all my friends were like, "It's because you're too normal!" And I was like, "That's exactly why they should pick me!" I thought it would be cool to see how a "normal" person does on one of those shows. So I decided to write a book about it. (A lot of the stuff that happens during Ally's audition in REALITY CHICK actually happened at my REAL WORLD audition. But I won't tell you exactly what, haha.)

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Don't give up! If you want it bad enough, you'll get there. The trick really is to keep writing.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?

I tend to do better if I get an early start, so lately I've been trying to get up on the early side. I usually write with Diet Coke with Lime, or chocolate coffee. Caffeine keeps me inspired ;) Also, sometimes I let myself watch one episode of Sex and the City or some other show on DVD after I write a certain number of words.

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?

The most exciting thing is definitely getting to see my book on the shelves! It's the most surreal feeling, this thing that was just a bunch of pages and words on a computer getting turned into a book and sent into the world. The most frustrating has been learning that you can't control every single thing about the process.

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not,what else is in the works?

I'm not sure! I think it would be fun to write about what happens to Ally once the show is over. But we'll see. In the meantime, my first novel for tweens, DEVON DELANEY’S SECRET IDENTITY, will be out in May of 2007. It’s about a thirteen-year-old girl who goes away for the summer and lies to the local girls about how popular she is. She then has to scramble to recreate her “secret identity” when one of the girls shows up at her school. My second YA novel, ROAD TRIP, will be out next summer, and it’s about a girl who gets stuck driving cross country to college with the boy who just broke up with her.

Thanks so much, Lauren! Please buy her book at your local indy bookseller, or if you MUST betray your local business and the heart of bookselling in America, then try Amazon or Barnes and Noble. ***GGG*** I forgot to ask who Shana's pick to win Hell's Kitchen is... mine's Heather!

By the way, Lauren also teaches an online class on writing for teens. Check it out!

*As promised, here are a few of the twin-related q&a's I received at the time, and comebacks of the type you only think of a few days later... (thanks to the Cordes family for the reminders)

Are they Twins? (while looking at the babies)

  • No, they were just born at the same time.
  • No, they're monkeys.
  • One is a twin, and one isn't.
  • Yes they are.
    • "Oh, I didn't realize we had twins in the area." (A proposed California Law will require the parents of twins to put a 4 ft. high by 6 ft. wide sign in the front yard, warning the neighbors of the presence of twins in the area.)
    • How many are there? (My husband and I are each holding a baby)
    • They can't be twins, they aren't dressed alike.
    • Oh, how lucky and blessed you are!
      • Yes, I am really lucky.
        Response: I hope I don't get lucky and blessed!

Twins? What are they?

  • Human.
  • Babies.
  • $5100 in tax deductions.

Are they identical?

    If fraternal Boy/Girl...
  • Yes. (followed by rolling your eyes and walking away)
  • Yes, until we change their diapers.
  • They used to be, but they're getting over it.
  • Not below the waist!
  • No, but they have identical parents.

Are they Siamese?

  • No, we left the cats at home.
  • ???
Can you tell them apart?
  • No.
  • Sure, the girl is an inch longer than the boy.

How do you tell them apart?

  • We used to paint thier names on the bottom of their feet. But since that kept wearing off, we weighed them and found out that the boy is a pound heavier than the girl.
  • We call the Psychic HotLine and they can tell us.
  • Parents can always tell. At least that's what we delude ourselves into believing.
  • We're not sure yet.
  • They LOOK different!
  • It's easy, they have different names.
  • I don't know who is who, but I love them the same.

How do you KNOW they are twins?

  • I gave birth to them.
  • They aren't twins. They were born 3 months apart (its a scientific miracle)
  • No, they are not twins. One was born by my wife. The other by my girlfriend. Go figure - everyone gets along so well.

"You really have a great figure for triplets.

  • What's that supposed to mean? Is it good, period, or is it only acceptable when considering the fact that I gave birth to "triplets"? (Where'd the other baby go?)

How were your babies conceived?

  • Sex. Lots and Lots of Sex.
  • How did you conceive yours?
  • it was buy one, get one free day
  • I ate a lot of broccoli.
  • (look both ways, lean forward, and whisper in their ear) "Turkey Baster"

Did you have help conceiving them?

  • Yes, God.
  • no, my hubby just threw his pants on the bed....
  • Yes, but we promised them that we would keep their names out of the paper.

I heard you are having twins. I don't know whether to offer my congratulations or my condolences.

  • Congratulations would be prefered.
  • Congratulations for the twins, and condolences for the loss of your common sense.

Wow, Double Trouble (while first noticing the twins)

  • Nope, Double the smiles, hugs, laughs, and joy.
  • They are Angels. Why were your children trouble?
  • Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun, with the Doublemint Twins.

I don't know how you manage

  • Like we have a choice?
  • We manage just fine.
  • I don't know how you can call yourself a real parent, raising only one at a time.
  • We're not wimps, like all those parents of singles.

Do twins run in your family?

  • They are only 20 weeks old, they can't even sit up yet.
  • They do now!
  • Yes, they run up the stairs and down the halls!
  • First time blessing.
  • These two do!

You must have had those two very close together

  • Yes, try two minutes.

Were you taking fertility drugs?

  • If you'll forgive me for not answering, I'll forgive you for asking.

Boy, I'm glad that happened to you and not me.

  • We're glad it happened to us, and not you, also.

Twins! You sure must have your hands full!

  • Yes, we sure do, but better full than empty.
  • Yes, but not as full as our hearts.

Then there's the ones you never hear enough of...

  • How nice you were Double Blessed.
  • How precious, you must be very happy.
  • What a lovely family, you must be very pleased.
  • What Beautiful Babies, I'm so jealous...