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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Here at Role Mommy, we pride ourselves on finding great books for busy moms to read. For the most part, when we receive a book that we love, we instantly write about it (or we eventually write about it when we have a free moment). So when this new book arrived with its adorable cover, we were completely bowled over the moment we started reading it.

In Rebel without a Minivan, the fabulously gifted syndicated humor writer Tracy Beckerman shares an incredible collection of essays on what it's like to be a former city slicker living life in the burbs with her two kids, husband and a dog. No matter which story you select, you'll find yourself laughing out loud and completely relating to Tracy's identity crisis as she leaves a television career behind for the road less glamourous - living in a town filled with soccer moms, loads of laundry and minivans. While there are dozens of humor books available today about moms juggling the demands of family, Rebel without a Minivan is a gem and a Role Mommy must-read for anyone in need of a good laugh! Click on the Amazon link today to buy a copy and visit Tracy's website, Lost in Surburbia to sign up for her weekly column. Tracy has also been a contributor to Role Mommy for many years and every time she gives us a story, she has us rolling in the aisles!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Secrets of a Writer Mama by Joanne Rendell

People often ask me how I’ve managed to write and sell two novels while a.) being a stay-at-home mum, and b.) being at stay-at-home mum with a four year old son who is homeschooling/unschooling/not-bothering-with-that-whole-school-thing and therefore is always by my side…or thereabouts.

Well, if any of you’re interested or crazy enough to want to try such a motherhood-meets-author lifestyle, here’s five insights and tips:

1. rearrange traditional sleeping schedules – I have managed to train Benny into sleeping incredibly late in the mornings. In fact, he gets up at noon. Yes, noon! This means, of course, that he also stays up late at night. Now, I know a lot of mother’s would shudder at the thought of their children staying up beyond nine because they need their “me” time with a glass of wine and watching The Late Show without the whines of “mama” ringing in their tired ears. If your such a mama, this sleep routine might not be for you. However, if you can stomach it and you can train your child into enjoying The Late Show and pouring your wine for you, I’m telling you there’s a whole lot of writing you can do between 8 and noon every morning while Sleepy Head is still in the world of Z’s.

2. sneakily sharing childcare – If you manage to train your child into this sleep routine and you have a partner in the house, this means childcare will be shared for a good proportion of the day. For me, I only really have to care for Benny on my own from noon to 6ish each day. Brad comes home from work after that and Benny’s whines, demands for juice, and pleas for more books to be read to him, can be equally divided between us.

3. educational kid’s DVDs – Yes, I rely heavily on the TV for those moments when I need to simultaneously do the laundry, reply to my editor’s email, update my blog, finish the paragraph I was working on that morning, and finalize the details for Benny’s afternoon play date. I only put DVDs in the machine for Benny and don’t let him just idly flick between channels (while sitting in his underwear). I get to choose what he watches, therefore, and I’m careful to pick DVDs which are teaching him things which I, at that moment, am currently too preoccupied to teach him. Thanks to the Leapfrog DVD collection, together with Word World and Between the Lions, Benny is pretty much reading – if sentences like “The cat sat on the big mat” count as reading.

4. reading in the bathroom – A lot of people already do this, I know. But if your going to follow tips 1-3, you must take bathroom-reading very seriously. Every time you go – yes, every time – you must commit yourself to quickly reading a few paragraphs, ideally a page. It leads to a herky-jerky feeling with novel. But, there is little time to read if your writing in the mornings and entertaining your little ‘un in the evenings. And reading other novels is a must for wannabe and established authors. So bathroom reading is essential. I have finished a good number of novels while sitting on the john, getting those delightful red marks on the back of my thighs and a slightly chilled behind!

5. surround yourself with good people – A sympathetic mama-crew is essential. Of course, they don’t have to all be mamas. They can be dads or nannies too. But what is important is that the people you hang out with must be understanding. They mustn’t grumble if you’re always late for play dates because you just had to answer that one comment on your blog or someone posted something interesting on the online writer’s forum you belong to or an interesting chapter in a book meant you couldn’t get off the toilet. Your crew must smile and nod when you blather on about a scene in your novel that you’ve been struggling with for weeks. Furthermore, they should understand that talking about this tricky scene is far more important to you than talking about children’s learning levels or whether a four year old boy should be standing to pee or sitting. Most importantly, they must not judge you for your seemingly crazy lifestyle.

So there you go. Not a life for everyone, I understand. But it works for me, and my novels, and my sanity. Plus, Benny doesn’t seem to complain too much…yet.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Award-winning Author Hosts Online Workshop for Aspiring Mom Writers

I recently had the incredible opportunity to meet celebrated author Gwendolen Gross, whose recent release, The Other Mother has struck a chord with working and stay at home moms across the country.  Gwendolen appeared on a panel produced by Role Mommy called Authors we Love and she shared some of her secrets about how she finds the time to write each day, teach and even sing in a professional chorus, all while juggling the needs of her family.  What I loved about Gwendolen is her spirit - she has this amazing aura about her that makes you feel like anything is possible as long as you put pen to paper and start writing!

And that's what brings me to what I found this morning.  I checked out Gwendolen's blog and found that she also teaches an online writing workshop for moms!  If you are an aspiring writer, you should definitely check it out.   She gives great exercises that'll get your mind racing with ideas and hopefully your fingers tapping away on your keyboard with the makings of the next great American novel, short story, essay or poem.   

So if your dream is to unlock your hidden talent for writing, or if you just want to explore your creative side, visit Gwendolen's site today.  Click Here to take a look.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Great Book Recommendations From our Readers

Our fabulous Role Mommy readers, Michelle, Mandy and Denise have some great reads for you to add to our must read list of the year!

Michelle's Picks:

"I just finished Marley and Me by John Grogan and it was one of the best reads ever, especially if you are a dog lover!

Mandy's Picks...

My favorite author is Karen Kingsbury and here are just a few of my favorite books of hers: 'Tuesday Morning' & Beyond Tuesday Morning' and Even Now' & Ever After

Denise's Picks...

"My must-read book of 2007 was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It was riveting! I loved how it drew you into a world so different than our own."

Here's another book I really enjoyed this year to add to your list: Sisters by Danielle Steel. I would also like to add Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism by Jenny McCarthy

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Role Mommy's Favorite Books of the Year!

It's been quite a hectic year and yet I still managed to squeeze in time for my favorite past times - reading and writing! So before we head into the New Year, I've compiled the Role Mommy 2007 book club list of my must reads of the year. If you have any books you'd like to add to this list, please feel free to email me at and I'll send you a copy of my #1 favorite book Peeing in Peace (okay I'm a little biased since I wrote it). Anyway, without further ado, here's the list of top reads and if you haven't picked up these books yet - it's time to stock up in time for Christmas break!

Some more book suggestions from our Role Mommy readers:
Moloka'i by Alan Brennart - submitted by Tanya
Send us your book suggestion and we'll send you a copy of Peeing in Peace! Email us today at

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Carpool Confidential by Jessica Benson

Sometimes when you start reading a book your sensibilities can instantly click with the author's. And the moment I dove into Carpool Confidential, by Jessica Benson that's exactly what happened to me. This hysterical new novel which is hot off the presses, tells the tale of Cassie Martin, a former writer turned stay at home mom living in a tony section of Brooklyn Heights overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Cassie's life seems picture perfect, that is until her investment banker hubby throws her world into a tailspin when he decides to chuck his career for Barry Manilow. No, it's not what you think. He realizes his calling is to produce a retrospective on the man who writes the songs, and his wife is left holding the bag and figuring out how she's going to explain to her kids, her parents and her friends that her husband has skipped town so he can "Try to Get the Feeling Again." As a Barry Manilow fan (yes, I am proud to admit it) and a lover of chick-lit - Carpool Confidential is the perfect companion for anyone craving a book that'll keep you engaged and entertained the moment you crack it open. Plus - when the publicist for the book sent it to me, she cleverly packaged it with the essential Barry Manilow two CD collection - in my book, that move was truly a stroke of genius - so if you're in the mood for a fun read, pick up Carpool Confidential - this one's a total winner.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


This week, Role Mommy got the chance to be a part of the first-ever blogger teleconference with New York Times best selling author Nicholas Sparks. Yes - the author whose books pretty much have you hanging on his every word, longing for a couple to get together only to find yourself sobbing uncontrollably when the relationship takes a tragic turn of events. Ahh - the perfect ingredients for a great read. And with The Choice, which debuted at #1 on the USA Today best seller list, Sparks has done it again.

In an interview today with a select group of bloggers, we asked Nick who he based his latest book on and he shared that the main character, Travis is loosely based on his brother - who led a carefree life as a bachelor while Nick was married and raising kids. While Nick and his own brother were a year apart, their experiences, which spanned over a decade, couldn't have been more different and that was the catalyst for his latest novel. Travis is a free wheeling bachelor who meets his match in Gabby, an independent and strong willed neighbor who eventually falls for him and the two get married. The book then takes us to another part of their lives - much like The Notebook (which is by far one of my favorite tear jerker novels of all time). As the couple confront one of the most difficult choices in their lives, Sparks once again has crafted a page turner, with readers riveted by his every word.

Most of Sparks' books have been motivated by real life events. Tragically, Sparks has experienced tremendous loss - losing his mother, father and sister while he was writing his books. As a result, he has woven many of these real life experiences into his novels but then, as the story unfolds, he says his books seem to take on a life of their own. Sparks says his fundamental goal as an author is to craft a modern day Greek tragedy and while many of us would like to see his characters in his books live happily ever after, it's the oftentimes tragic and real circumstances that they face which keeps his readers coming back for more year after year.

While on his latest book tour for The Choice, Sparks, who unfortunately was battling a bout of food poisoining while preparing for what he says was a 5-6 hour book signing (hopefully one day, our book signings will rival these marathon sessions), says he's been doing a lot of reading to keep him occupied while he's on the road. Some of his recent reads include everything from best-sellers to historical non-fiction to a book about homework - Sparks, a father of five, runs a private school and is a track coach so don't expect him to be surfing the 'net checking his Amazon rankings or vegging out on the couch watching Dancing with the Stars or Grey's Anatomy.

So what is Nicholas Sparks reading these days? Click on the links below to get a glimpse into the books he's been reading on the road:

For more about Nicholas Sparks, visit his website at Or, to purchase The Choice, Click Here.