Wednesday, March 25, 2015

That Time Of The Month, Aunt Flo, Shark Week, Exclamation Points, And Other Things People Don't Like To Talk About

I was eleven years old when I got my period.
Getting your period was a big stinking deal when you were eleven. It meant you were one of the first ones to get your period, making you infinitely cooler than everyone else.
It meant your friends would ask you questions in hushed whispers at recess or in lab or at sleepovers. Like, “does it hurt?” “do you feel different?”
No, and no.
Well, back then it was no and no. Now it’s yes and no.
My mom bought me pads, and I hid them in the furthest corner in the bathroom closet so nobody could see them.
Minus the annoyance of bleeding for four days a month, I didn’t really see the big deal in getting my period. Wasn’t like I was going to be having any babies anytime soon.

Summer.
An all-girls sleepaway camp in the Catskills.
If you were cool, you left your pads in the bathroom.
If you were EXTRA cool, you left your tampons in the bathroom and taught your friends how to use them.
If you weren’t cool, you hid your pads in the bottom of your suitcase and made excuses as to why you suddenly didn’t want to go swimming.
There was at least one girl in my bunk who pretended she had her period, and really didn’t. She wore pads for a few days and didn’t go swimming then.
I wonder what happened to her.
We nearly suffocated under the weight of the excess estrogen, but somehow managed to survive.

I read my first romance novel in seventh grade.
I was twelve.
It was by accident, but I was hooked.
I don’t think my parents were really all that thrilled.
Okay, I lied. I know they weren’t.
There was a pregnancy scare in the book, and her getting her period was a relief.
I read more romance novels.
And more.
And a few more.
Nobody in any of those books ever had their period.
Or shaved their legs, or waxed, or had cramps.
Maybe that was a thing that went away when you got older. Maybe if you shaved your legs enough all the hair would just stop growing.
Maybe your period just stopped when you were twenty one or something, because all those ladies in the books were over twenty one.

One Saturday night, eighth grade. Staying over at my best friend’s house.
After we went to Blockbuster (RIP), we walked over to CVS to get a bunch of things.
She needed more pads.
Her mom wasn’t around that night, and I hadn’t brought any with me.
But heaven forbid should she actually buy pads, because then people would know.
I didn’t think that was all that strange, because even though at some point, I *knew* that all ladies got their periods, it was still embarrassing.
I honestly don’t even remember what ended up happening that time, but that scenario happened far more than once.
Eventually, I would be the one checking out instead of her because I was less embarrassed of buying pads. But only if it was a girl cashier. If it was a guy cashier… well, I don’t know. It depended.

More romance novels.
Still no body hair.
Still no cramps.
Still no uteruses mentioned unless it was in relation to someone getting pregnant.
A lot of happily ever afters.
A bunch of babies.
But no periods.

High School.
All girl’s high school.
Small class.
“Ugh, I have my period early. Who has a pad?”
Pad critiquing.
Discussing tampons and TSS.
Whining about cramps.
An emergency chocolate stash.
But only in the classroom- never in another class.

More romance novels.
Starting to notice how all heroines have mysteriously perfect bodies.
I don’t.
Why don’t they have cramps? Buy pads?
I wish I could identify with them, but it’s getting harder and harder to.
Unlike romance novel heroines, my period keeps on showing up.
I’m better at buying pads now.

After High School.
Live in a dorm with over 100 girls for two years.
Shit gets REAL.
Pads, tampons, cups, Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, and heating pads are everywhere.
We revel in our femininity.
I still feel weird about buying pads.
I still read romance novels.
They still don’t have their period outside of pregnancy scares.

I am not ashamed of my body.
I am not ashamed of getting my period.
It takes me a long time to get to this point.
I’m not always there.

I wonder why having your period is like some dirty secret.
It’s not like people don’t know you get your period.
Most females get theirs.
It’s not like I was the only one who does.

I read more romance novels.
I still look for periods and cramps.
I wonder why we gloss over the things that make us female.
I wonder why we are ashamed of the potential of creating life.
I wonder why we have let ourselves become ashamed of who we are.
I wonder why we let parts of ourselves be erased in the books we read.
I wonder why it makes me so angry.
I wonder why I’m sometimes still ashamed.

I start writing romance novels.
I realize I like to write ones that don’t feel like pipe dreams.
So I don’t write pipe dreams.
I write messy.
I write heartbreak.
I write periods and cramps and body hair and awkward flirting.
I write happily ever after.

I’m on my way to meet a friend.
I’m bent over on the train from cramps, and have no pads on me.
There’s a little bodega at the corner on the way to the restaurant.
The guy working there is super friendly.
I look around for pads, and realize they’re behind the counter.
Which means not only do I have to buy pads from him, I have to ask him to get me some.
I ask.
I am not ashamed.
He asks me what kind I want.
I tell him.
I am not ashamed.
I buy the pads.
I buy some Advil.
I am not ashamed.

I read another romance novel.
There still aren’t any periods mentioned.
I write another period scene.

I am not ashamed.
I am not ashamed.
I am not ashamed.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Letter From An Angry Fat Girl

To Everyone Who Has Called Me Fat As An Insult,
You can stuff the word down your throat and choke on it. Fat is a word that describes me, like tall, like loud, like gives good hugs, like drives her sisters crazy.
I’m not insulted. I’m just mad.

To That Sales Lady In A Store That Only Sold Clothing For Plus-Sized Women And Tried To Offer Me Diet Advice,
What the hell is wrong with you? No, seriously. Were you not paying attention to anything when they trained you into the job?

To That Medical Professional Who Wasn’t My Doctor Who Tried To Insinuate That I Was Sick Because I Was Fat,
Nope. I was sick because of germs. Who the hell gave you a medical degree? Your mom?

To The Random Asshole Who Yelled, ‘Hey! Fatass!”
I don’t actually have much of a butt at all. If you wanted to make sure I knew you were yelling at me, you should have yelled something that actually described me.

To The Lady In The Changing Room Who Told Me The Shirt Wasn’t Flattering (And Would Be If I Lost Some Weight),
Did you hear me asking for your opinion? Because I don’t ever remember asking for it.

To The Lady Who Told Me I Probably Wouldn’t Get Married Because Of My Size,
Do I even know you? No.
Also, if marriage makes me walk over to random strangers and say things like that to them, I’ll stay single forever, thanks.

To The Former Coworker Who Told Me I’d Look Great If I Lost Twenty Pounds,
I did loose twenty pounds while working with you. And you never noticed.

To The Same Former Coworker, Who Suggested I Get Surgery Because My Shoulders Were Too Big,
What on earth were you smoking?

To All Those Books And Articles On Dressing For Your Body Shape,
Thanks for nothing. “Curvy” is not an umbrella of all fat girls, and I don’t think I look attractive in “Flowing shirts and flowing skirts” because an empty bag of flour look but in all black and nasty chiffon (as you insist looks nice) is not actually flattering on anyone.

To Every Store That Has “Women’s” or “Plus-Sized” Sections Hiding In The Back Like Some Dirty Secret,
Just because it takes up more fabric to make me a dress, it doesn’t make me less of a person. I am not your dirty secret to hide.

To Every Person Who Thinks They Can Comment On My Body Because I Weigh More Than Conventional Society Has Dictated,
My body is not public property. My body is not yours to comment on, or yours to change. If I want your opinion or advice, I would ask for it. But I didn’t.

To Every Person Who Thinks They Can Comment On My Body Because I Weigh More Than Conventional Society Has Dictated,
Nope.


To Every Person Who Has Had Others Comment On Their Body Because They Weigh More Than Society Has Dictated,
I'm sorry the world sucks sometimes. I'm sorry people are rude. I'm sorry that there have been days that the world has made you hate a body as beautiful as yours. I'm sorry for every time someone has said something that made you cry. I'm sorry for all of the people who have dared to criticize the perfection that is you.

To Every Person Who Has Had Others Comment On Their Body Because They Weigh More Than Society Has Dictated,
You are gorgeous. You are beautiful. You are a damn work of art. You are magnificent, you are perfect, and fuck all the people who tell you otherwise.
Take up the space you were given. Take up the space you need. There is nobody on Earth who has the right to stop you.

To everyone who buys THIS MUCH SPACE:
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.




Olivia is Anna Wintour’s worst nightmare, and she doesn’t give a shit. She’s wanted to go into fashion design her whole life, and nothing is going to stop her fabulous plus sized self. Not even her boss from hell, or the fact that she’s the fat Cinderella of the most exclusive lingerie store in Bushwick, Ohio. She’s sworn off dating, because she is focused, dammit, and will not get distracted by anyone in college. She has shit to do and places to go, be it on her own with the clothing she makes, or with the girls in Twelve Beats In A Bar, the all-female a cappella group she’s part of.

Why do group projects always have to ruin everything?

Thierry Acosta has it all. Shortstop on Bushwick University’s baseball team, amazing grades in college, everything he could want. When he gets paired with Olivia for a group project, things are only getting better. And then his dad loses his job, and Thierry’s life falls apart. He can’t manage to get himself to practice, to class… anywhere. He’s got the scars on his wrists to prove that this has happened before, but he thought he was better. He thought he could deal with something like this. The cuts on his thighs say otherwise.

Before they know it, Olivia and Thierry's relationship has gone from casual project partners to not-so-casual more-than-friends. But when things take a turn for the worse, can they face the growing reality of a relationship that's become much more serious than either of them expected- or wanted?
 

Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
Buy on B&N


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

That Time I Had Words With Taylor Swift (And Plus BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL'S cover!)

ALRIGHT, TSWIFT, WE NEED TO TALK.

SO THERE I AM, MINDING MY OWN DAMN BUSINESS, PLANNING ON WRITING ONLY TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR BOOKS FOR 2015, AND THEN YOU HAVE THE DAMN NERVE TO RELEASE THE BLANK SPACE MUSIC VIDEO. 

I WATCHED IT EIGHT TIMES IN A ROW THE FIRST DAY. 

AND THIS IDEA THAT I HAD HAD FLOATING AROUND IN MY BRAIN FOR SIX AND A HALF YEARS FINALLY CLICKED INTO PLACE BECAUSE OF YOUR DAMN MUSIC VIDEO. 

EVEN THOUGH I HAVE APPROXIMATELY EIGHT MILLION THINGS TO DO THIS YEAR, I DROPPED EVERYTHING AND WROTE THE BOOK. 

I DID NOT SLEEP.

I DID NOT HUMAN. 

I WROTE THE BOOK EVERY SECOND I HAD. 

AND DAMN YOU, TAYLOR SWIFT, ALL I LISTENED TO WAS BLANK SPACE BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY SONG WITH THE RIGHT VIBE.

IT'S TWISTED AND MESSED UP AND HORRIBLE AND WONDERFUL AND IT'S COMING OUT APRIL 29TH. 

THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, TAYLOR SWIFT. ALL. YOUR. FAULT. 

(Except the cover, which the lovely Hafsah designed for me. BUT EVERYTHING ELSE IS YOUR FAULT)



ALL OF IT. 

 Beautiful Little Fool 

Eighty seven billion dollars. 
One dead New York business mogul. 
No heirs. 
No wives. 
No relatives. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
Not hers yet. 
He doesn’t deserve them. 
He doesn’t know what to do with them. 
She does. 
She always has. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
He’s overwhelmed. 
She’s prepared. 
That will should have had her name. 
Not his. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
His looks are a bonus. 
Her looks are her weapon. 
He’s fighting a losing battle against his heart. 
He doesn’t know it yet. 
Eighty seven billion dollars. 
She gets everything she wants. 
He’s what she wants. 
Love has nothing to do with it. 
To get to where you’re going, sometimes you need to step on a few people to get there.  
Good thing her heels are sharp.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25004570-beautiful-little-fool 

 Excerpt.. 

Cedar had gotten the phone call at six in the morning, hours before she normally woke up. She was at home, as always, even though she had been out the night before with Lawrence, who was still trying to get her to make things more permanent. And even though he was a Foster-Herrington, he wasn’t worth the trouble that would come along with a relationship. Not to mention he wasn’t nearly good enough in bed to make up for having to date him. 
Her private line rang as she was headed toward her gym. Her private line, a number that only five people had.
“Cedar?”
It was Mr. Morris. Which could only mean one thing, because Mr. Morris never called. Ever.
“No,” Cedar whispered, her voice still hoarse from waking up.
“I’m sorry.”
“Dammit.”
“He passed away fifteen minutes ago. I called you as soon as I could.”
“Dammit.” Cedar clutched the phone tightly. “How could he?”
“I know.”
But he didn’t know, the idiot. How could he?
“He left instructions for a funeral,” Mr. Morris continued, his voice rough from a lack of sleep. He was Harold Feingold’s lawyer, which was more of a full time job than he had ever imagined it would be. The old bastard was dead, and he was still working around the clock. “He wanted you to arrange it.”
“He mentioned it to me,” Cedar said. “Earlier this week.” Dammit, why did he have to die today? Could the timing possibly be more inconvenient than it was now? Harold never gave a shit about inconveniencing others, but neither did Cedar. It was one of the reasons she liked him—genuinely liked him, and didn’t just tolerate her for where she got because of him.
“Excellent. Are you going to be at work today?”
“Of course.” Cedar headed to the gym. There was no point in throwing her schedule off entirely because someone died. 
“I’ll send over the information for the funeral arrangements he wanted you to take care of.” 
“Of course.” Cedar programmed the treadmill and started to walk. 
“I’m sorry for your loss, Cedar,” he said awkwardly.
“I’m sorry for yours,” she replied, and almost meant it. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

15 Things To Know About THIS MUCH SPACE

THIS MUCH SPACE is coming out in ONE WEEK from today.
Cue the panic....
*runs around screaming*

So here we go... 15 random facts about THIS MUCH SPACE....
1. Olivia is actually fat. Not size 12 fat. Actually fat.
2. Thierry's dad is from Brazil, and his mom is from Japan. He probably looks something like Hideo Maouraka. (You're welcome.)
3. Olivia has been known to knit a scarf for the outfit she's wearing because she didn't like any of the scarves she's previously made.
4. Thierry is the shortstop on the Bushwick Racers.
5. If you don't know Lonely Island songs, you may learn a bit more while reading TMS.
6. The f word is there around 200 times. (Sorry, Mom.)
7. Underage drinking.
8. So many bras.
9. Elvis.
10. There's a book dress.
11. Songs from High School Musical may get stuck in your head at some point of the book.
12. The Bushwick library is inspired by the Hunter College library in NYC, and the Hebrew University library in Jerusalem, where I've spent many many hours.
13. The opening scene is partially based on a conversation I overheard in a lingerie shop. (Yes, really.)
14. The Jackson Isador Zimmer building is still there, and continues to amuse me, because I am mature like that.
15. The scene where Olivia and Thierry meet might be my favorite meet cute I have ever written.

And some pictures from Pinterest...






If you'd like to have a sneak peak, a whole bunch of bloggers have posted a bit from THIS MUCH SPACE.
And if you haven't added it to your TBR list on Goodreads, do so soon! I'll be tallying up the number of adds next Monday for a donation for TWLOHA.

(And far all of you who have recently read and reviewed COME BACK TO TEXAS and A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIEN, you are amazing. <3)

Stick around y'all, because Wednesday comes the very fabulous cover for BEAUTIFUL LITTLE FOOL, which you definitely are going to want to see.

Happiest of Mondays!
Xoxo