Who’s That Indie Author? Kaitlyn Jain

Author Name: Kaitlyn Jain

Genre: Non-fiction, travel, memoir

Book: Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I spent fifteen years doing marketing and project management in corporate America. As of a few weeks ago, I’m taking a (short?) break to focus on writing, along with overseeing virtual learning.

Favorite author/books: Bill Bryson, Isabelle Allende, Malcolm Gladwell, To Kill a Mockingbird

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I’ve been blessed with great teachers and a fantastic college professor who encouraged my creativity. Traveling with the kids in Scandinavia inspired the book. I recognized the absurdity of what we were doing, but also the pure joy, and I wanted to encourage others to see the world.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I’m not the best at keeping it current, but I use it while traveling and write in it when I have time.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: Yes. We meet twice a month to review two pieces. Each of us brings diverse strengths and we’re all at different phases. It’s been a great learning experience—and I’ve read more sci-fi in the past year than I have in my entire life.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Neither. I love sleep so try to get in as much as I can while the kids are asleep.

How do you get over a writing slump? Reading a good book, writing in my journal, or just getting out there and experiencing new things. I come up with my best ideas when I’m running or putting my littlest down for a nap—and try to remember what I was thinking in case I fall asleep before she does!

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I usually start with descriptive passages and change to dialogue to improve the flow. Descriptive is easier for me but the dialogue balances it to make the reading less dense.

What are you working on now? Since I’m launching my first book February 2021, I’m focused on successfully getting this out the door! I have started a second book, similar in content, but with a different spin.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Go for it! It’s important to try new things and push yourself to do things you’re not quite sure you can do. I find that challenges are merely opportunities you haven’t succeeded at yet.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? Not really.

Favorite escape: I love reading and travel. I’ve visited nearly every state and 25+ countries. This year, when we couldn’t travel, I read a lot and hiked with my family.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No. My mom loves it though so, based on my genes, perhaps I will at some point.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Pillows, for sure, though they’re always a mess in my house. They need to be put back or rearranged since they’re inevitably removed for some fort or turned wrong when the kids are pretending the floor is lava.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Not weeds. I got poison ivy this summer and it was MISERABLE. I like shoveling because that means there’s snow to play in and go sledding. You can take the girl out of Michigan, but can’t take the Michigan out of the girl.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Reusable and colorful. I usually wear a green mask bearing the name of my kids’ school since I’m PTA president and need to encourage sales.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Focus and time. Without childcare for three months (and my husband and I both working full-time), it was quite difficult to do much beyond put food on the table. Plus, for my genre, actually going anywhere! I can’t wait to travel with my kids again.

Website and social media links:
Website: www.kaitlynjain.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PassportsandPacifiers/
Twitter: @KaitlynJain
Instagram: kaitlyn.jain


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

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Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then here come the holidays! There are always new memories to make during this season and throughout the year, but the old ones are golden. Here’s one of my small memories of a bracelet my mother always wore when she dressed up for holidays.


Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

On Mother’s Day and regular days – the 2:00 pm call

The 2 pm call

It was 2:00 pm and I was just getting back from class. I heard the phone ring as I walked into my apartment on College Street. “Hello?”

I walked down the hall and saw the red light blinking on my desk phone at work, waiting for me to pick up. “You have a call, Barb.” I looked at my watch. It was 2:00 pm.

I lowered my son into his crib, carefully slid my hands out from under his little body, and slowly backed out of his room. I tiptoed downstairs and into the kitchen. The phone rang. I looked at the clock. It was 2:00 pm.

The boys were in their swings under the deck and I took turns pushing them from the back, first one, then the other, with the baby tucked in the crook of my arm. It was hot that day, but cool under the deck and I knew they would be happy swinging for a while. I heard the phone ringing from inside the house. “I’ll be right back boys. Sit tight!” I held onto the baby and I ran up the deck steps, through the sliding door and grabbed the phone so I could bring it outside while we talked. It was 2:00 pm.

The newest little guy sat on the couch. We had just popped a tape into the VCR and he was already settled. Too old for a nap, he still needed his quiet time before the older boys came home from school. I looked at the clock. “Perfect, I thought.” It was 2:00 pm and the phone rang right on time.

Mom’s show, All My Children, used to drive the timing of her calls. Every day at 1:00 pm Mom took a break from her day and watched. And when the hour was up, she called. The years passed. My life changed. My family grew. Through college, work, marriage, children. Schedules changed, calendars filled. But there was one thing that stayed the same. The 2:00 pm call. Two people connected through one simple, consistent and repeating moment in time. A time when mother and daughter could exchange “What’s new?” between this time and the last, talk and listen and laugh.

All My Children ended its forty-one year run a few years back and when it did I felt a twinge of anxiety, the kind that comes before a change.  I liked knowing. I liked the certainty. I liked our routine. The anchor of a simple TV show was gone.

But now we have something new. I call. She calls. It’s 10:00 am or it’s 5:15 pm. Sometimes earlier or sometimes later. We take our chances and catch each other or we leave messages. It’s a fluid, changing system and when I press the numbers and Mom answers and I hear, “Oh, hi Barb, I was just thinking about you!” Then I know our new system is working! And I love it because the rest, the words and laughter and the love. Well that is just the same!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
(A Mostly True Memoir)

by
Jenny Lawson

Rating:

If you are looking for a great story about being different and making it anyway, I highly recommend Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. In some ways, it is a classic success story about perseverance, but mostly, it’s a shout-out to anyone who’s not mainstream. Because Jenny Lawson is the opposite of mainstream.

Through a rambling, often irreverent and always hilarious “where is this story going?” narration, with plenty of colorful vocabulary, Lawson tells you about her childhood, depression, anxiety and illness, her family, early jobs, marriage, motherhood and how she became a blogger and writer.

Yes, Lawson is The Bloggess, here on WordPress, and you can read her latest post here. Nielson recognizes her as one of the Top Most Powerful Mom Bloggers and Forbes ranks her on their Top 100 Websites for Women.

Lawson may likely have had the most unique childhood, ever. She and her younger sister grew up in a rural town in western Texas. Their father ran his taxidermy business out of their house, never hesitating to share his enthusiasm for his unconventional job. Wild animals were frequent visitors, including squirrels, raccoons, chickens, armadillos and pigs, and they were all part of Lawson’s quirky family.

When she was a young girl, Lawson desperately wanted to fit in at school, but she did not. In high school, she suffered from an eating disorder, tried drugs, was into Goth, and had many other anxieties. But she also had a superpower: humor. And it saved her. I laughed out loud throughout her story, not because of her struggles, but because of how she describes them. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself. She holds nothing back. She’s full of human flaws and she gives herself completely to her readers. By the end of the book, I felt like I had made a friend.

Lawson’s chapters reveal a keen understanding of the human condition and a genuine appreciation of her life and family. She writes,

I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me ‘weird’ and ‘different,’ were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me me.”

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was published in 2012 and is Lawson’s first book. Furiously Happy was published in 2015 and her newest book, You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds was published in 2017.

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Friday Fiction – “Fake Cry”

“Fake Cry”

“You pushed me! I’m telling my Mom that you pushed me!”

She stared at this boy, this small person who was on her front step, down, legs tangled in the screen door. She had not pushed him. She knew that. But it was only the two of them and she quickly thought ahead at what her neighbor, this young boy’s mother, would say about it.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I’m telling my Mom!”

That was enough. She didn’t push him, but she wasn’t sorry to see him tangled up in the door. He hadn’t been a good playmate to Tyler that morning and he certainly deserved a scolding for flipping over the Chutes and Ladders board and for throwing that Batman at Tyler. Telling someone else’s kid a thing or two was something she knew she shouldn’t do, but Amy knew she had to do something. Especially now that he was making up a story.

“Who’s anyone going to believe?” she asked herself. “Me or a little boy?”

Of course anyone who knew Timmy also knew he was fully capable of making up a story that put him in a good light and someone else in trouble. She didn’t know what Timmy had against her, except that, before he fell out the door, she had had enough of him and his actions in her house and, as she always did when one boy or one girl or another had worn out the invitation, she announced, “Well, that’s enough for one day. Let’s pack up your things and send you home.”  It usually worked well because it was swift and direct and no kid ever picked up on the fact that Amy was really at her limit, she thought. Any other mom in the room, if there was one, would surely know that this phrase was Amy’s way of saying that was the last straw.

How could a four-year-old boy manipulate her this way? Amy thought quickly. “I didn’t do a thing wrong. I know that, but I’d better do something now or Kristin’s going to be at my door with a fake-crying kid in a few minutes, asking me just what went on here.”

“Timmy,” she said as she helped him up and looked at him squarely and seriously in the eyes. “You know I didn’t push you. I wasn’t even near the door when you took a tumble. If you tell your mother you fell, you’d better think very hard about how you tell her you fell.” Amy wasn’t sure she had convinced him, so she quickly added, “Because if you tell her I pushed you, there will be no more visits over here to play with Tyler’s Batman figures.”

Timmy stood and looked at her. He shoved his hands into his bunched-up pockets and his hands looked like fists under the fabric. He looked evil to her. “Well…” he said. Amy thought she had him and she waited for him to say something more. Then as quickly as the falling had unfolded, Timmy turned and ran out the door and over to his house.

“Mommy! Mommy!” It was Tyler calling her from inside. “I can’t find my Batman Beyond! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Thank you for reading!


Copyright © 2018 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Who’s That Indie Author? Sarah Kowalski

whos-that-indie-author

Author name:  Sarah Kowalski

Genre:  Memoir

Book:  Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming A Mother Doesn’t Go As Planned

Bio:  Sarah Kowalski is an author, life coach, fertility doula and former attorney. Through her one on one coaching, support groups, and writing, she is redefining what it means to be a mother so she can inspire others to cultivate the love, courage and tenacity it takes to conceive and raise a child by unconventional means. As a single mother who battled fertility to get pregnant, she is a go to guide for women who are contemplating single motherhood, having fertility issues, raising donor conceived children or navigating life as single mothers. When she’s not writing, coaching women, or chasing her very curious three-year old son, she can be found doing Qigong or other mind/body practices, cooking or dancing.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  I love writing as a vehicle to make sense of my inner landscape and thought process.  Once I’ve reached clarity, I feel inspired to share what I’ve learned in hopes of shedding wisdom on another. I hope that by finding clarity, I can guide others and help them feel less alone in their own experiences. My writing also feels like a calling to change the narrative around infertility and unconventional paths to motherhood.  By bolding sharing my story, I hope others will also be courageous, ending the shame and secrecy around these topics.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Finding time to write substantive pieces such as my memoir, while balancing the need to write short blog posts for my business and for marketing.

Favorite booksWild: Sheryl Strayed; State of Wonder: Ann Patchett ; Saving Fish From Drowning: Amy Tan; House of Spirits: Isabel Allende

Contact Information:
Website and blog:  motherhoodreimagined.com
Facebook:  @motherhoodreimagined
Twitter: @ChoiceMamaBaby


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon

Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

I knew more than Mom in the Mother’s Day Race

Honor our mothers, who know better than us, but let us believe in ourselves. Thanks Mom!

Book Club Mom

Mom - race

The only thing I knew that summer day was that I was right and Mom was wrong.  We sat stalled in my Pram sailboat, and felt the waves and chop slap against the flat front of the boat and push us backwards.  And when the wind picked up, we watched in helpless frustration as the mothers in charge of the other boats sailed past us, as if they knew exactly what they were doing and we did not.  It was the day of the Mother’s Day Race and Mom and I had been winning.  Our lead had been huge, almost an entire leg of the race course.  But something had happened.

It was one of those awkward times when, with no graceful transition, the child, with puffed up confidence, seems to know more than the parent.  I was eleven and I was sure I knew everything about how to win…

View original post 910 more words

Some thoughts and books for Mother’s Day

Mothers-Day-2016-Cards mothers-days.net
Image: mothers-days.net.jpg

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about my mom and about being a mom.  We’ll be spending the day with my parents tomorrow, enjoying a nice brunch and honoring my mother.  I won’t have all my kids with me, but I’ll have the whole crew home next week.  So nice to have a full nest for the summer!

So in keeping the wonderful sentiment of honoring and celebrating motherhood, here are a few books that do just that!


Tommy’s Mommy’s Fish by Nancy Dingman Watson

Tommy's Mommy's Fish

If you don’t know this book, try to get your hands on a copy.  I’m told it’s out of print, but it’s such a wonderful story and a great one to read to your kids.


Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

make way for ducklings

Mrs. Mallard causes quite a stir when she leads her eight ducklings through the streets of Boston, across town to meet Mr. Mallard on the pond in the Public Garden!  It’s a wonderful picture book for little children and for young elementary school kids


An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresinowski

An Invisible Thread

Here’s an incredible story about a woman who befriends a boy panhandling in New York, and begins a thirty-year friendship.  Proof that motherhood comes in many forms.


Text Me, Love Mom: Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest by Candace Allan

Text Me, Love Mom cover

You don’t stop being a mom when your kids leave the nest.  Candace Allan tells us how it feels when the flights begin.


Happy Mother’s Day!

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please
Yes Please

by
Amy Poehler

Rating:

Here’s a good memoir with a solid reminder that successful people put in a lot of time at the bottom, perfecting their skills before anyone knows about them.  Yes Please is Amy Poehler’s mid-life telling of her experience as a comic performer and how she got there.  She presents her ideas in an original format that is varied and entertaining.  The book itself is very nice to look at.  It’s printed on heavy, glossy paper and resembles a small coffee-table book.  Besides a college text book, it’s one of the heaviest books I’ve toted around, weighing in at over two pounds.

I usually stay away from memoirs because they are often self-indulgent.  And I’m always a little skeptical when it comes from someone fairly young.  This one is good.  It’s also not a tell-all book.  She doesn’t rip her ex-husband Will Arnett or talk about their split except to say it was sad and no fun.  Don’t expect a super funny book, however.  Readers have been disappointed by this because they claim Yes Please isn’t as funny as Tina Fey’s Bossypants or Mindy Kaling’s books.  Poehler’s stories are more interesting than laugh-out-loud hilarious.  Readers will learn some new things about her.  I particularly enjoyed reading about how she started with improvisation and worked her way onto Second City TV, the Upright Citizens’ Brigade and Saturday Night Live.  I always like reading about how creative people coincidently connect with each other and learned a lot about how she met all the funny people from SNL and earlier.  Fans of Parks and Recreation will enjoy a chapter devoted to her experience on the show.

If you haven’t seen her in action, I need to tell you that Amy Poehler is a very funny performer.  Click here to watch this hilarious SNL Weekend Update clip with Sarah Palin.  And when you do, remember that Poehler was nine months pregnant at the time and gave birth a week later!

Here’s a picture of that performance, but watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Poehler Palin SNL rap nbc.com
Photo: http://www.nbc.com

My overall impression is that Poehler is at the point in her life where she is moving in new directions, away from the manic, frantic and party-central days that go hand-in-hand with very funny shows.  She has been grounded by her two young sons and shares her views on motherhood, including a somewhat defensive statement that all women do the best they can with the motherhood/career situation.  She reveals a few regrettable moments in her life, but has the confidence to share them and then accept who she is.  She seems to be the type of person who doesn’t wallow in regret.  She owns up to her mistakes, does her best to correct them and then moves on.  I especially like her advice on knowing who you are:  “Decide what your currency is early.  Let go of what you will never have.”  Wise words!

Yes Please is a quick read with a satisfying every-woman message.

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