Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Taming of the Guilt with Pj Schott

Pj Schott

Hellooooo from snowy Indiana!  We’ve been digging out this morning, and well as enjoying a school-free pajama day after almost six inches of snow.  It’s also the first Wednesday in March, which means the ├╝ber fab Pj is here!  Pj Schott has lived in several U.S. port cities, Europe, Greece, and the Middle East. A marketing professional, mystery writer, and futurist, Pj is known to those with whom she works as a problem-solver, an innovative thinker, a top-notch communicator, a visionary, and the soul of a group. She is the owner of the Boston, Massachusetts based company GENIUS and is the woman behind the new Facebook page and blog, Survival for Blondes, where Pj is entirely surrounded by imagined disasters and learns to rise above.

On Poetry & Hums and Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood

"But it isn't easy," said Pooh, "Because Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you."

It's time to pack my bag and take a business trip. I must go out and search for my Poetry & Hums. However, this doting mother of two fabulous felines is filled with dread. As soon as I make the travel arrangements I start missing my girls. I mean, really. Look at them.

Are they just not the cutest cats who were ever cats?

Can you stand it? Prudence, the Ragdoll (on the left) doesn't mind a bit. Poor thing is beautiful, but dumber than dirt. Except when it comes to her food supply. Then, all of a sudden, she's a rocket scientist with the uncanny ability to make me do her bidding. That girl knows how to suck up, let me tell you. And if that doesn't work she turns into the feline equivalent of Attila the Hun.

On the right is Basile, a Russian blue. Totally devoted to me, she becomes a basket case as soon as she sees the suitcase. Won't eat. Gets in the suitcase and cries. Then hides from the cat sitter the entire time I'm gone. Oh, the guilt. The guilt ….

So there I am trying to talk myself out of a funk. As always, when desperate, I seek out the wisdom of our great guru, Winnie the Pooh. And, in my mind, I go to the Hundred Acre Wood, the fictional world of Pooh and his friends. And this is what he said.

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slowly slipping away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

I love a good peaceful place, don't you?
Long story short, and quite simply, I realized that life has its share of bittersweet moments. We have to take the bad with the good.

The bad: it's so hard to say goodbye, even for a short time.

The good: I am blessed to have something I love that much.

I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who is on the receiving end of pet guilt!  Thank you, Pj, for talking about the bittersweet along with the blessings.  Thank you too for sharing Prudence and Bastile with us!  I want to cuddle with them, yet the results would be me and my Epipen.  Stinking feline allergies…


Pj is giving one lucky reader this…

click here to check it out 

Here’s the product description: Review

Product Description
It was eighty years ago, on the publication of The House at Pooh Corner, when Christopher Robin said good-bye to Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Now they are all back in new adventures, for the first time approved by the Trustees of the Pooh Properties. This is a companion volume that truly captures the style of A. A. Milne-a worthy sequel to The House at Pooh Corner and Winnie-the-Pooh.

About the Author
David Benedictus produced the audio adaptations of Winnie-the-Pooh, starring Dame Judi Dench. He lives in London, England.Mark Burgess has previously illustrated Winnie-the-Pooh and other classic children’s characters, including Paddington Bear. He lives in London, England. 

Yay you!  The winner can choose a print copy, audible edition, or Kindle + audible (Whispersync) edition. 
*Contest runs from March 6, 2013 through March 13, 2013 at NOON EST.
*Contest is open worldwide, because PJ is AWESOME and will have Amazon ship to you anywhere!  Yee Haw!
*Comment below and tell us what you’re thankful to return home to.

Bless and be blessed,
Pj & Jen

Monday, March 4, 2013

Q&A with Misfit Mummy Author, Amanda Egan

Q&A with Amanda Egan

I love that it has become the norm in my life to meet so many wonderful people through social media.  It’s made our little world not so little, don’t you think?  I’m excited that my Twitter tweetie pie, Amanda Eagan, is here to chat about her passions, her family, and what’s ahead for her this year in the world of writing.

Love her! 
Born and bred in London, Amanda trained professionally as an actress at Studio '68 of Theatre Arts and then, after years of procrastination, turned my hand to writing Chick/Mummy-lit. Her debut novel, Diary of a Mummy Misfit, was a tongue-in-cheek look at the easily recognised types of self-centred mums you can find at prep school gates the world over - “the Meemies” - and follows the journey of Libby, an ordinary mum who discovers the chasm between the Haves and the Have-nots. The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit followed and June 2012, then she ventured into romance with Completing the Puzzle and now Stilettos & Stubble. In her spare time, she reads anything from Maeve Binchy, Jill Mansell, and Penny Vincenzi to Noel Coward, Dostoevsky and Zola. She love crafts and entertaining, particularly hosting themed dinner parties.   Amanda makes me laugh constantly, and I love chatting with her whenever we have the chance.  Enjoy!

I know that you were bit by the acting bug.  Tell me about the time you realized acting was a passion for you, and had the thought, “Hey!  I could do that!” when it came to being on stage.
I think I was about seven and in primary school - our whole class had been rehearsing a dance routine to The Wombles, 'Wombling Free'!!!  We'd worked so hard at it for weeks and when we finally got on stage to perform it for the rest of the school, the bug hit!  I LOVED it.  People were enjoying watching us and it was just such a great feeling - that's when I started to think it was something I could follow as a career.  Sadly, by the age of 22, I realised that unless you're extremely lucky, it doesn't pay the bills.

Gosh, that sounds like me and the epiphany that struck me when thinking about a career before graduating high school.  I wanted to be a marine biologist, and I’d need to attend a university, in the states, on one of the coasts.  Where there are beaches and cute surfers.  When you look at that equation, it equals Jen cutting classes on a daily basis.  So I quickly changed my major.

You have some fabulous writing projects coming in 2013.  Spill the beans!
I'm almost three-quarters through the first draft of my sixth novel.  Lottie's Luck is due to be released sometime in June and I'm very excited about it.  It tells the story of a girl who's always been lucky, until her luck runs out.  Or has it?  Are all the things that are happening to her gently pushing her in the right direction?  Watch this space ...

I also hope to have a new Christmas novella for October and another full-length novel for December.

I NEED that apron!

One of the many things I adore about you, is you speak openly about spending time with your son at school when you knew he needed your support and presence there physically and emotionally.  We’re mums; it’s what we do, right?  My oldest son has a motor plan disorder, Apraxia, and I’m constantly tuned in to how we can best support Wil’s teachers and his learning.  Tell me a little bit about what that time was like for you in your life.  What did it teach you? 
It was a horrible and confusing time for us as a family.  Just as you think your child is growing up and becoming more independent, you find that they need you more.  Until we knew exactly what we were dealing with, it was a living nightmare - no amount of talking could get us closer to a solution.  School phobia is a real and crippling condition which takes time and patience to overcome.

I guess that was one of the main lessons I learned.  Patience.  Sitting in a car for eight hours straight, five days a week in all weathers is a killer - but look where it got me!  All those books I devoured to keep me company, finally made me see that I could use my creative background to make a go at writing myself.
I also learned, in many ways, you can do anything if you put your mind to it - no matter how tough.

      Thank you for sharing, Amanda.  I know your willingness to be open about the experience will help someone else walking down that same path.

Love him...

Tell me about your dream dinner party.  What are you cooking up for your guests, and who is sitting at the table?  Can I come?  Can I sit next to Gordon Ramsay?
Of course you can come, Jen! 
*Jen cartwheels*
On the menu would be my old 'never fail' favourites.  A yummy salmon pate to start, followed by a rich boeuf bourguignon with dauphinoise potatoes and green beans.  We'd finish off with a chocolate mousse and a totally stinky cheese board.  Oh!  Feel a bit peckish now!

As it's you that's coming, I think it only fair that you get to meet some of my friends.  They are a pretty mad bunch but I know you'd have fun.

*Jen cartwheels and backflips*

One of my closest friends is the inspiration behind 'Fenella' in the Mummy Misfit books - no doubt she would regale us with a few Broadway show tunes and we'd almost certainly play some daft games and boogie the night away.
Are you up for it?

I’m totally up for it and coming to visit!  YAY!  What sites and stops are on your “must do” list for us?  Will I need bail money?  Tattoo money?
No bail money required!  We'd be good girls - well, sort of!  And definitely no tattoo money - I hate them. I'll draw on you with an indelible pen if you insist, OK?  A ladybird or a flower or a butterfly - that's all I can draw.
We'd hit London and see all the main sights - take in an art gallery or two, shop til we drop, tea at the Ritz and dinner at the Ivy.  To blow away the cobwebs we'd take a drive and a walk through Richmond Park and see the deer.

Well, I guess if I don’t need tattoo or bail money, that’s more Euros to spend on Wills and Kate souvenirs, right?  I’m excited!
This is definitely on my TBR list! 
What books are currently on your nightstand?
Right now I'm reading, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  I know I'm months behind everyone else with this but I had a bit of a backlog of books and I'd also been going through a funny patch where I was finding it difficult to fully immerse myself in any book.
I also have a notebook for those 'middle of the night thoughts' about my plot - you know, the ones that drive you nuts at three am!

Oh, girl I have one of those notebooks on my nightstand too!  You never know when an idea will strike, and you have to catch it before it leaves your groggy mind. 
What parting words, or advice, would you like to leave with us today?  My husband, Mike, loves to dole out the old, “don’t eat yellow snow” for those in need of some inspiration.  I’m so proud. 

Mike sounds a bit like my husband!  Aren't we lucky??!!

*We absolutely are the luckiest gals ever*

I'm not wise enough to give advice but to any aspiring writers, I'd say - 'Stop talking about it.  Do it.  Each word leads to THE END and it's a fab feeling.'

Thanks so much for having me, Jen. 

Amanda, I loved having you stop by, thank you!  My blog is your blog anytime.  Click on the links to find Amanda on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.

Don’t forget to pick up her books here in the UK, and here in the states. 

Bless and be blessed,