Butterflies for Everyone!

If you're new to the blog, I'd like to welcome you with a little bit of awesome. As a pre-holiday thank you to my readers (and a little reminder to ourselves to be thankful for the bodies that carry us through our days) I've decided to make the Girl Body Pride Strong Like Butterfly anthology free on Smashwords through Sunday.

The anthology contains the work of many Girl Body Pride writers like Shoshana Rachel, Elan Morgan, and Jessie Sanfilippo, along with novelists Therese Walsh and Mercedes Yardley. Each story shared speaks to women struggling with body image issues. And each story is so beautifully told.

I'd like to invite you to take this opportunity to get your free copy of Strong Like Butterfly and, of course, to pass the information on to your friends. And please, know that I look forward to your thoughts after reading the book. It was an honor editing this collection. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I still do.

Housekeeping! (A List in Accented English)

* Yes, I did in fact say that in my head with an exaggerated Spanish-accented English voice. * Because I can.

* If you don't laugh, you're actually hurting my feelings.

* Things are insane.

* Hence, the list.

* Turns out you guys are all Made of Awesome.

* Why, you ask?

* Because 418 of you signed my Change.org petition to get Disney to drop the sex kitten crap with Merida.

* It's too late.

* Maybe.

* She's been crowned & the new image is available on a variety of Crap We'll Buy Our Kids Because We're Giant Suckers.

* And because even if she's been sexed up, the movie is still amazing.

* Oh right.

* Because if we tell our children it's the message that matters and not the size of her waistline, we done good.

* We have no choice, really, since Disney contradicted the very message behind Brave with this whole debacle.

* You know, the one about family, independence, and finding the strength to find out own fates within us?

* Yeah, that one.

* The happy asides?

* A Mighty Girl has a petition with over 18,000 signatures.

* Brave's director is a bit pissed off about the animated plastic surgery job, too.

* So high five on that, y'all.

* New subject.

* Keep up with me, will you?

* I've got an updated version of my Mind Over Medicine review on Girl Body Pride.

* You'll want to stop by.

* Gigi Ross from Kludgey Mom needs some love.

* And Lissa Rankin has written a book I promise you'll want to read.

* Trust me on this one.

* Also? I've got a winner for the Aspiring Mama giveaway of Mind Over Medicine.

* Tanessa Knoll? Buttercup just said Comment Number Two is my winner.

* So ... you're welcome.

* Email me your address, will ya?

* Twitter works, too.

* New subject.

* Yes.


* Buttercup is about to follow in Mama's footsteps.

* Little girl has been granted permission by The Mama (me) & The Daddy (The Husband) for a pretty cool gig.

* Girlfriend is going to be a regular contributor to Holly Fulger's Speaking of Beauty blogging team.

* Which also happens to include me.

* I know, right?

* The girl can read at a fourth grade level but has the typing skills of a 5-year-old.

* Probably because she is five.

* So I can't knock her for that.

* Instead, I'll be transcribing my baby's words and views on what beauty means to her.

* I promise not to edit what she says.

* I hope like hell I've done right by her and taught her that beauty is everywhere.

* That the only size that matters when it comes to beauty is the size of our hearts.

* And that society is full of assholes who will try & knock her down a peg or two but that they don't matter.

* I'll know I've succeeded in about 10 years.

* If the child is self-assured enough to wear this when she's 15 because it makes her happy without giving a damn what you think?


* I win at motherhood.

* Whiplash warning.

* New subject.

* I really need to take my Xanax.

* That wasn't the subject change.

* Just proof that I need the fucking Xanax.

* This is the subject change...

* Dammit.

* I forgot.

* No, wait.


* Girl Body Pride has new team members!

* Congrats to Heidi Zalamar and Margaret Elysia Garcia.

* You guys kick major ass.

* I promise to add your bios to the writer page sometime before 2014 hits.

* Was that all?

* No, seriously.

* I was asking you if I needed to cover anything else before I chase that Xanax with an instant espresso.

* Shut up.

* It works for me.

* Last subject.

* I'm still sitting in a secret.

* And it's a Big One.

* Oh...

* And The Husband just warned me to be on the lookout for the family of moose in the area when I let the dogs out.

* Drops Mic & Saunters Offstage.


Because That Thing Your Kid Just Did Has a Name For It

Write what you know and make sure you write what you know for the audience you have in mind. That, in a nutshell, is the gist of all of the writing advice I've had thrown at me since I decided I wanted to work for peanuts for a living. And Eric Ruhalter is a prime example of how this whole thing works if you, you know, do that. Ruhalter is the author or the newly-released The Kid Dictionary: Hilarious Words to Describe the Indescribable Things Kids Do. Ever find yourself at a loss for words when some little punk blows out the candles at your kid's birthday party? That's what Ruhalter refers to as a "wishjack". Want to bitch and scream when you can't DVR American Idol or The Real Housewives of Plastic Surgery and Impossible Standards County because it's full of kid shows again? Just tell the kids you're tired of being "Spongebogged" feel good about not cursing (for once).

Want to know more? Of course you do. Read on for a short interview with Ruhalter and a chance to win your very own copy of The Kid Dictionary.


AspiringMama:  Gimme name, rank, and serial number.

Eric Ruhalter: Easily amused Man, Father, husband, Writer, Dreamer, Maker-Upper of Words.
I work in New York City at AMC Television, producing TV Promos, which are commercials that air on AMC about the shows and movies on AMC.  It may not earn me a Pulitzer, but I enjoy it, I love the people and rarely if ever does it put me in any physical danger. Nor is it one of those dirty jobs where my wife makes me leave my clothes on the porch every evening.

My wife Kara and I live in Morris Township, NJ and have 3 kids. 13 year old son and 10 year old son/daughter twins, a dog, and two cats. I like to write, edit video, play Frisbee and ping pong and surfing. And I’m really nice.

AM: Good. I don't interview assholes on my blog. So you being really nice is totally convenient for, like, both of us. Before I forget, I have to ask (because I ask this of all my interviewees) do you chew your ice cream? Bonus points if you say yes.

ER:  YES! YES I chew my ice cream!

Except i'm lying. I do not chew my ice cream.  I just wanted to impress you.  I had a very traumatic experience as a child where i thought you had to chew ice cream, and i did so despite the fact that it hurt my teeth. Ultimately i stopped eating ice cream for a large portion of my childhood. (Except for milkshakes, because they were already chewed.) Now Ice cream is one of my greatest taste-oriented pleasures. But i just let it melt in my mouth. That's how i roll.

AM: ok so you're a nice guy who doesn't chew his ice cream who wrote a funny book. Two outta three ain't bad. Tell the lovely people reading this how you came up with terms like "Curdler". Cuz, like, I've totally been there.
ER: I apologize about the ice cream thing. I’d really like to chew it, but I’m just not ready.
More than 90% of the words in The Kid Dictionary were inspired by things I saw with my own eyes, watching my own kids. There were countless scenarios that didn’t have names but needed them. I, the tireless philanthropist, made them up. And I like to think the world’s a better place.  Okay, maybe that’s overstating it, but I’m glad people like the book.
Okay, “CURDLER.” That one came about after repeated episodes of finding old Sippy Cups, usually containing milk that disappeared. Kids in the toddler phase are not much for rinsing out their cups and plates and stacking them neatly in the dishwasher. They’re more likely to throw it under the couch. And eventually you’ll find them, either by chance or by following their stench and they’ll look like there’s a scientific experiment going on in there. A fuzzy, pungent, moldy scientific experiment. I called them “Curdlers” because it seems as though the milk has turned to cheese. And I like cheese, but probably not that kind.
See? Told you the man knows his audience. Cuz? Raise your hand if you've been there.
Now for the fun part.
Sourcebooks, publisher of The Kid Dictionary, has graciously offered a copy for one Aspiring Mama reader. To enter, simply do one of the following (or more for extra entries!)
* Leave a comment for Eric on this blog post.

* Tweet, Facebook, Google +, or include a link to this post on your own blog. Each counts for it’s own entry, so be sure to leave me one comment letting me know what you did so I can add up points!

* Comments will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Wednesday, April 4.

* One winner will be selected via Random.org and will be announced here on Aspiring Mama shortly thereafter. And of course, if you don't win, The Kid Dictionary can be purchased at all major booksellers.

Interview with a CHICKtionary

n: Lefler, Anna: 1. Award-winning writer with nationally syndicated essays whose work has appeared online at Salon.com, McSweeny's, The Big Jewel, and Funny Not Slutty. 2. Wife (see also: domestic partner and Queen of Your Heart) 3. Comedian (see also: Hilarious and Can I Be Your Biffle?) 4. Mother (see also: Superwoman) 5. Social Media Maven who is waiting to be cyber-stalked on her popular humor blog Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder and www.AnnaLefler.com and on twitter (@AnnaLefler). 6) Author of The CHICKtionary: From A-line to Z-snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know (see also: LOL funny, My New Bible, and Can You Be on my Team When We Play Dirty Minds?)

She's fun, funny, and it seems, funnier with every page. Trust me on this. Grab yourself a copy of The CHICKTionary, flip to a random page, and laugh out loud while you wish you had though to say what she just said first. And then do it again. And again. Really...it doesn't get old.

Sidebar: Let me interject on my own little gush-fest with my not so small print: While Anna was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to review her book on my blog, sent me a copy that I did not pay for, and has been kind enough not to issue a restraining order on me (see also: yet and cyber stalker), I like to stick to the Rule of Thumper, which pretty much dictates I pretend I never received the book and that all of Anna's emails went to spam when she asks why I haven't reviewed her book yet if I couldn't think of anything nice to say. But as I'm sure you can now guess, I actually thought of plenty....and then I realized Anna is much funnier than I am and decided to let her tell you just how she manages to be so much cooler than us and still make us love her at the same time.

Told you she was talented.

Aspiring Mama: Name. Rank. And serial number. Go!

Anna Lefler: Hmmm, I'm not sure about rank and serial number...but the name is Anna. Lefler, that is. (It helps to imagine the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme behind this. "Beverly. Hills, that is.")

AM: I see from your Chicktionary bio that you also go by MOOOOOOOM and Mrs.

Please tell Aspiring Mama readers a bit about what makes the Lefler clan click. Or, more specifically, do they take for granted how funny you actually are?

AL: I think we are pretty weird for a "normal" family, and I like it that way. I am fortunate in that my husband, daughter and son really get my humor and they are very supportive of my creative dreams. This is a gift for which I am grateful every day. They also think I'm a few doughnuts shy of a box, and they may be on to something with that. Now that the children are a little older - in middle school - the three of us can present a united front against my husband, who is by far the most grown-up person in the house. One of our favorite family activities is to embarrass him in public by, say, doing a spontaneous clog-dance in the lobby of IHOP. He's disavowed his connection to us on many occasions, but he's going to have to try harder than that if he wants out of this little cult.

AM: So we share the same philosophy on family. *Fist Pumps* Tell me, do these creative dreams include taking this little clog dancing act on the road? Or do you have other fun and interesting ways to not have any free time?

AL: Oh, you know me - I've always got something cooking. (I'm not referring to actual food, of course. I never have real food cooking. My family will back me up on this.) I'm polishing up a novel right now and I'm very excited about that. I've also got a couple of creative ideas that fall outside the writing world, but they're still in the planning stages. When I need some occupational therapy (or to ruminate on something), I make jewelry. Necklaces with semiprecious stones, mostly. I love working with my hands - it's good for my noggin.

AM: A novel in progress, a stand-up comedy career, and jewelry making. I think you just gave me a complex. Wait. No. That already happened while reading The CHICKtionary. What moment of genius spawned a book written in dictionary form for women ?

AL: I wish I could take credit for the idea! The notion of a funny women's dictionary came from the publisher, Adams Media. They saw some humorous pieces of mine on various websites and thought my voice would be a good match for the project, so they contacted me through my blog. Which is why, by the way, I tell people always to check their spam filter! You never know what you might find in there among the Viagra ads.

Anna has graciously offered a signed copy of The CHICKtionary: From A-Line to Z-snap, The Words Every Woman Should Know with one Aspiring Mama reader. To enter, simply do one of the following (or more for extra entries!)* Leave a comment for Anna on this blog post.

* Tweet, Facebook, Google +, or include a link to this post on your own blog. Each counts for it's own entry, so be sure to leave me one comment letting me know what you did so I can add up points!

* Comments will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Monday, February 8.

* One winner will be selected via Random.org and will be announced here on Aspiring Mama shortly thereafter.


I'd like to thank Anna Lefler for offering me the chance to share her book with all of you. And the not minding the fan-girl squee thing I've got going on right now. Yeah...especially that.


UPDATE: Because I'm obviously a dumbass in need of a calendar tattooed to my forehead, I've decided to extend the giveaway period for a chance at Anna's book. And no, this has nothing to do with Heather pointing out that I had the day AND date wrong in her comment. Nope. I figured this all out by myself. And that's a total lie. So come forth and comment. According to my calendar, you've now got until Sunday, February 12.

You're welcome


Inside the Mama Insider

I'm feeling pretty popular by association these days. I've got friends getting agents, signing book deals, and coming out with so many books these days that I'm thinking I need to rub them all on the head to see if I can send some of their luck (which really means hard work, y'all) my way.  

For now, I’m happy to cheer as loudly as I can from the stands when writer-friends do awesome things like self-publish an e-book called Mama Insider: Laughing (And Sometimes Crying) All the Way Through Pregnancy, Birth, and the First 3 Months.


INSERT DISCLAIMER HERE: While I call the Abigail Green a friend, AND got to read the ebook without paying for it, I wouldn’t be telling you it was awesome if it actually sucked. Because it doesn’t. And it doesn’t because Abby is one hell of a writer.

Mama Insider is short (50 pages) with short chapters (I think she wrote it with my four-year-old as the test subject for how long her attention span would allow me to read something that doesn’t rhyme) perfect for reading on a mobile device while waiting at the pediatrician for another well-baby check or while hiding in the bathroom while the significant other takes care of the little one(s) for five minutes. As indicated by the title, Abby gives it to new moms straight about what pregnancy and the first three months are actually like. As a formerly new mom myself, I can attest to laughing (a lot) and crying (also a lot) until about three days ago, so I’m thinking Abby deserves a high five on transparency alone.

The fact that Mama Insider is also a very informative read (because there really isn’t a need to cry over the size of your unborn baby’s nose, people…there really isn’t) and gives new mama’s to be a chance to skip some of the honey-covered truths presented in a lot of books for the realities of, you know, real life motherhood (‘cuz doulas sometimes do go on vacation when you are 10 days overdue), makes me love it even more. Because who else besides my girl Abby is going really tell you what “Me Time” looks like after you have the kid? (Hint: That may include a babysitter and you getting a cleaning at the dentist.)

While those who may have closed the baby-factory may find themselves outside of the intended target audience for Mama Insider, it’s definitely on the must read list for those just getting started.



Abby is graciously offering one Aspiring Mama reader the chance to win a copy of Mama Insider (either for themselves or to gift to a new mom in their lives). To enter, simply do one (or more if you want extra entries) of the following:

* Leave a comment for Abby on this blog post.

* Tweet, Facebook, Google +, or include a link to this post on your own blog. Each counts for it’s own entry, so be sure to leave me one comment letting me know what you did so I can add up points!

* Comments will be accepted through midnight, EST, on Monday, January 23.

* One winner will be selected via Random.org and will be announced here on Aspiring Mama shortly thereafter.


And a big thank you to Abby for allowing me to share Mama Insider with Aspiring Mama readers.


Secrets Writers Keep

I might be up on the latest and greatest in the literary offerings for the five and under crowd, but I'm about a decade behind the rest of the world. So forgive me if I am extremely excited that I managed to score two hard cover copies of the first two Harry Potter books at a used book store today. Mainly because I've never read them.

Weird how it's embarrassing to admit that.






Oh My God. It's true...that whole sharing my deepest darkest secret thing is actually kind of liberating.

Reading during Drunch

My friend Jodie from The Drunch wants to know what your favorite books are. She has a post up called Book Prozac, Jodie has the following o say:

Y’all, I’ve just been introduced to the concept of Book Prozac by the lovely and amazing Rachel Hawkins, author of the highly entertaining Hex Hall series. Book Prozac are those wonderful tomes that let you get out of your head and into another world altogether. And when — sadly — they come to an end, you find yourself relaxed, refreshed and just a little bit better equipped to tackle reality. I’m not just making this up guys, I’ve got nearly applicable science to back it up.

Admittedly, I am a horrible blog commenter. I read and read, but I'm not always motivated to leave a comment worth anything while browsing my favorite blogs on my phone. So maybe the stars were properly aligned or Venus was in the seventh house of Saturn or whatever, but Jodie happened to catch me with this one when a) was actually on the computer and b) had 30 seconds to spare. Translation? I commented.

Here's the list I came up with in about the time it takes to blink twice because these titles have stayed with me.

1- The Narnia series 2- Eye of the Dragon by Stephen King 3- Fahrenheit 451 4- Flowers for Algernon 5- Harry Potter 6- NOT TWILIGHT 7-  did I say that out loud? 8-  Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor 9- Room 10- The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon 11- I can always get lost in any book by Nora Roberts 12- The Green Mile by Stephen King 13- Dances with Wolves *the book not the movie* 14- The Dragons Forever series by Eisley Jacobs *seriously people, AWESOME MG, people. AWESOME* 15- To Kill a Mockingbird

Do me a favor, will ya? If you feel inclined to add to this growing list o' awesomeness, please save the comment for Jodie's when you stop by for Drunch. Just click here and tell her Pauline sent ya.