DRUMROLL PLEASE…. COVER REVEAL VIDEO OF CLEAN by Mia Kerick

It is finally NOVEMBER 16, 2015 THE DAY OF MY COVER REVEAL for Clean!! MY YA LGBTQ EDGY ROMANCE

I think this cover might be my favorite so far. The colors, the cover model, the title and the sub-title–ALL OF IT!!

Thank you to my awesomely talented cover designer LOUIS C HARRIS for a brilliant cover and to LOUIS J HARRIS

for this AMAZING cover reveal video trailer!!!

Here is the blurb, in case you want to know who the beautiful guy on the cover is!! (He is Trevor…)

High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.

Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.

Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?

Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

Here are a few reviews of Clean….

“Mia Kerick’s young adult coming of age romance, Clean, is stunningly beautiful and perfectly paced as the two young men begin their processes of healing and self-discovery. I love this book. I love just about everything about it. Trevor and Lanny are marvelous characters, and their interactions ring genuine and true even throughout the worst of their problems. Kerick adroitly merges social issues such as sexual and physical abuse, family dysfunction and addiction in a compelling and lovely story that never becomes preachy, sentimental or exploitative, and her writing style is measured and perfectly suited to her story. There are passages in Clean that are lyrical and beg to be read aloud, especially some of Trevor and Lanny’s later conversations. I didn’t want the story to end and felt a bit bereft when it finally did. Clean is most highly recommended.”

Jack Mangus Readers Favorites 5 STARS

“Kerick delivers a gripping and poignant tale in this unforgettable story of redemption, second chances and absolution. The writing will immerse readers in this tale of two young men facing their inner torment and demons. Clean will grip you to the core, strip you naked and make you believe that second chances do exist. Though classified as a young adult title, this is a story that any reader can enjoy.”

Michelle Tan RT SOURCE

“RECOMMENDED by the US Review

“Kerick’s novel is a well-paced, well-written, and thoughtful approach to teen angst and the perils of drug and alcohol addiction. As the novel shifts focus between Lanny and Trevor’s voices, we begin to see the deeper layers hidden beneath hardened exteriors, each of them revealing their true thoughts and feelings, until gradually they soften and their lives and future change for the good. Kerick is non-judgemental and compassionate, dealing with mature themes for young adults, while providing very realistic characters in Lanny and Trevor. A compelling read, Clean adds Kerick to the likes of writers who challenge us to find the hidden humanity in others. It’s a positive novel to help young adults and teenagers often ignored in the journey we all share together through the obstacles of life.”

US Review Dylan Ward

“Sigh, young love! Merely saying that I loved this novel will not be enough. I stayed up all night to read it and find out what happens in the end. I love it when I cannot guess the ending. Mia Kerick gave readers a rich text with amazing characters and beautifully written words. As a reader, you cannot ask for anything more! Ten shining stars for a new rising star!”

Rabia Tanveer Readers’ Favorites 5 STARS

If you feel you just must have this YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance… here’s the link!!

http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Mia-Kerick-ebook/dp/B016AUC2HM/ref=zg_bsnr_10368521011_27

❤ Mia

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New pre-cover reveal Book Trailer from the AMAZING Louis J Harris for CLEAN by Mia Kerick

And here it is!! My heart-pounding book trailer for Clean by Mia Kerick made by CoolDudes Publishing!!

I’d love to know what you think of this wonderful video creation!!!

LET’S ALL BE IN A BOOK FLASH MOB!!!!

flash-mob

It is difficult for me to tread on unknown pathways. Ask my kids… if they, for example, want to try rock wall climbing, they need to ask me and expect my immediate reaction of “Oh, I don’t know… is that safe? I mean, the ropes could be tied wrong and it is a long way down!! What if you get hurt? I just don’t know!” and then come back to me in a couple of hours when I have had time to get used to the idea for “yes, you can rock wall climb.” And ask my husband… he has had to gradually break me in to the idea of MANY new things–from leaving the kids to go on a cruise to buying a boat to making plans for our someday retirement–I am slow to change and to join in and to accept a brand new concept.

A Writer's Odyssey for Petra Image

Doing this Thunderclap Campaign is another example of me stepping into unfamiliar waters. When my publisher suggested it, I though “Oh, dear! What am I getting myself into? I just don’t know!” But I said, “Let’s go for it.” And no, I’m not fully comfortable with asking all of my friends for help, but here I am.

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The premise of the Thunderclap… well, here is the definition from the Thunderclap website. Horse’s mouth, so to speak.

“Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.”

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And the premise of my Thunderclap is this:

“As a parent of three teenagers and one young adult, Mia Kerick knows that communication is the key to a successful family relationship, but she is also aware that the course of daily life doesn’t always run smoothly. No matter what challenge they face, Mia’s family knows that they can talk about it and pull together. But, there are families who do not communicate, where trust has fallen to the wayside, leaving family members lost and totally alone. But there is a way out, and Mia’s message is simple: when faced with a challenge, family always pulls together.

In Clean, Lanny Keating and Trevor Ladd are unable to honestly communicate with the adults and peers in their lives They are in emotional turmoil and seek ways to escape their pain through substance abuse and to some extent, sexual experimentation. Mia’s purpose is to give teens and adults who read Clean new hope, that through the power of communication—of directly addressing their challenging issues, and talking them over with a person they trust—any one can find a way into the light.”

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In other words, I’d like to put the spotlight on teenage substance abuse- the why’s the how’s and the who’s.

I would love so much for you to join in and help me to spread the word. We can be like a huge BOOK FLASH MOB!!!

flash mob

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/32691-clean-by-mia-kerick

Join in and make a statement!!! (and help Momma Mia)

Thanks!!

flash-mob-dance-art-saveslives-tsxm-ilandvibez

COVER REVEAL of Shira & Aisling’s new book & an EXCLUSIVE QUOTE for Momma Mia!!!

Yes, you heard me right! Tonight I am honored and privileged to be able to reveal the awesome cover of SOLITARY MAN by my two friends Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy!!!

FIRST, HERE IS MOMMA MIA’s EXCLUSIVE COMMENT from AISLING MANCY!!!

(Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll only find it here!!)

I asked AISLING to briefly discuss the experience of co-writing with SHIRA ANTHONY!!

He responded…

Charlie Worsham said, ‘I believe the better I can write on my own, the better I can be of service in a co-write. The big thing with a co-write is trust, and it’s not so much what you get the first time you sit down with that writer. It’s the relationship that you build that you’re in. So you can trust throwing out all your ideas and how strong you think they might be.’

When Shira and I sat down to discuss story ideas for A Solitary Man, the trust was there, it was implicit, and it was an incredible pleasure bouncing ideas off each other. A symbiosis occurred and that transcends writing. We hope you enjoy our story. Thank you for reading our books!”

Aisling, you are welcome–we are so happy to read your books!!

NOW, are you ready to see the cover? Well, here it is!!!

COVER REVEAL!

Authors Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy have teamed up to write a red-hot action-packed thriller!

SOLITARY MAN

A Solitary Man coming from Dreamspinner Press November 6th!
Excerpt:

Evan pressed the button on his phone to connect. “Freddy? What did you find out?”

Fred laughed. “For this, I’m going to exact a price.”

“You mean the keg I sprang for at graduation doesn’t get me a freebie?” Evan shot back.

“We’ve been out of law school for how many years now? Eight?”

“Nine this year,” Evan corrected.

“Credit’s no good anymore,” Fred answered. “I’m thinking dinner at Ivy at the Shore next time you’re in LA. On you, of course. Including a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.”

“For that,” Evan said with a chuckle, “this had better be good.”

“It’s good. And it was hell to get.”

“Okay, okay. Dinner on me. Assuming you and Margie put me up for the night,” Evan replied. “I’m looking forward to seeing your McMansion.”

“Deal. Took a little digging. Seems your mystery man did some undercover work for the FBI.”

“And?”

“My buddy in the US Attorney’s office wouldn’t give details, but word is Constantine got fed up with the bullshit after a case went bad somewhere down in South America.”

“Drugs?” Evan asked.

“No. He dealt with human trafficking. Specifically, child sex trafficking. My friend says the guy’s good. He tried a few cases where Constantine was the government’s key witness. Knows his stuff. Works his ass off and gets into his work. I got the impression sometimes he gets a little too close.”

Now that was interesting. “Why?”

“Seems the guy’s rabid about protecting kids.”

“Any idea why?”

“Nothing anyone would tell me,” Fred replied.

Evan leaned back in his chair. At least Xav wasn’t a slacker, but it didn’t make Evan feel any better about the prospect of bumping into him at work. “Anything else?”

“Constantine grew up in LA, went to school in Boston.”

“Boston?” Even more interesting. So much for his initial assessment of Xav as a broceanographer.

“Yeah, you’ll love this.”

Evan could almost hear Freddy’s grin over the phone.

“He did undergrad at MIT. Mathematics major. Master’s in criminology from U Penn with an emphasis in cryptology. The FBI was probably falling all over itself to recruit him.”

No shit. This just got better and better. “What the hell’s a guy with that kind of background doing in North Carolina?”

“I could ask you the same question,” Fred shot back. “Of course, if you decide you want your own McMansion….”

“You couldn’t pay me enough to come to work for you,” Evan joked. Fred was serious—they’d had this discussion a half-dozen times before.

“Try me.” Fred paused for a moment and then asked, “This personal?”

Evan had no intention of telling Fred he’d slept with Xav. “Not personal.”

“’Cause word has it he’s gay,” Fred said. “Out but not advertising.” When Evan didn’t take the bait, Fred added, “But you already knew that, didn’t you?”

Evan shook his head and sighed theatrically. “Don’t even go there, Freddy. You know I don’t mix business and pleasure. I just want to know what I’m dealing with. That’s all.”

“You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, man.”

“Thanks for the help,” Evan said, foreclosing the topic. “I’ll let you know next time I’m out your way. Tell Margie she’s a brave woman.”

“Always do. Laters. And make sure you get your sorry ass out here soon.”

“Will do.” Evan disconnected the call and rubbed his mouth. Mathematics major at MIT and a master’s from U Penn? No wonder the FBI had recruited him. And he’d pegged Xav for a surfer! What the hell are you doing in Dare’s Landing, Xavier Constantine?

SOLITARY MAN BANNER

About A Solitary Man

Sparks fly when Chance meets tall, sexy Xav at a Wilmington bar and they have the hottest one-nighter of their lives. But Chance doesn’t do repeats, Xav seems detached, and they go their separate ways without a word. Two months later, when closeted Assistant District Attorney C. Evan “Chance” Fairchild meets Dare’s Landing’s newest deputy sheriff, Xavier “Xav” Constantine, Evan isn’t only wary. He’s irritated as hell.

Xavier is a former FBI agent turned deputy sheriff who is hot on the trail of a South American child prostitution ring. Evan is fighting to put an end to rampant cocaine trafficking and chafing under the thumb of an election-hungry boss. When someone tries to kill the thirteen-year-old witness who holds the key to both their investigations, they’re forced to work together as they put their lives on the line to protect him. As Chance and Xav collide in heat of a sweltering North Carolina summer, dodging bullets and chasing bad guys isn’t the only action going on.

Pre-order A Solitary Man from Dreamspinner Press!

About Shira Anthony

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies.

Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 36′ catamaran sailboat, “Lands Zen,” at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

Shira looks forward to meeting you at Gay Rom Lit!

Find Shira on blog, Twitter @WriterShira, Facebook, and Goodreads and

Subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter

for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests!

About Aisling Mancy

Aisling is an author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Aisling writes adult fantasy, adult LGBTQIA romance, and fiction for gay young adults (C. Kennedy).

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Aisling doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Aisling contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Aisling can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.

Aisling looks forward to meeting you at Gay Rom Lit!

Find Aisling on blog, Twitter @AislingMancy, Facebook, Goodreads, and

Aisling does respond to emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.

I am going to rush out and buy this book!! So exited to read A SOLITARY MAN!!!

❤ Mia

Wanna WIN SOME STUFF??? Check out my blog!!!

I’m nice.

In fact, I’ve often been accused of being too nice.

But beneath this nice exterior… is a lady who wants stuff.

What is it that Mia Kerick wants? You may wonder.

Well, first, let me tell you about the nice things I’ve got that you might want. K?

mia's 14 books

I have fourteen published books. All signed… or unsigned, if you’d prefer, by Mia Kerick, the author (yup, me).

There are shiny new Young Adult books: Intervention, Not Broken, Just Bent, The Red Sheet (original cover), Us Three, Inclination, Love Spell, Come to My Window, “A Hard Day’s Night”.

There are New Adult and Adult books: Beggars and Choosers, Unfinished Business, A Package Deal, Out of Hiding, Random Acts, Here Without You.

HINT: Mia Kerick will be focusing on YA from this point on, and an “ALTER EGO” of Mia Kerick will be writing the New Adult and Adult stuff in the future…. Yes, it is time to separate the men from the boys… STAY TUNED for more information!

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But here’s a reminder: these books include the last of the Mia Kerick adult books.

And there’s swag. Not a lot of swag… but there will be some Mia Kerick stuff thrown in to make opening the box more fun!

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Do you want this grand prize? The Complete Mia Collection from Day One of her writing journey? Those of you in the United States are eligible to win (shipping is just too expensive out of the country- SORRY!)

Okkkkaaaaayyyy… this brings us back to what I want. (I look like a want something in the selfie below- don’t ya think?)

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Here’s the deal: I need reviews. All authors need them; reviews are our lifeblood! Readers need reviews, too, to help them choose the best book for them.

bookreview

In order to register for the raffle—which will be of the names-in-a-hat-variety—all you have to do is place a new review (posted after 9/28/15) of any Mia Kerick book on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, Facebook, or somewhere else that takes reviews, like Dreamspinner Press or All Romance eBooks. It can be a review of a book you read a long time ago and never reviewed. It can be a review of a new Mia book you have been meaning to pick up and read. It can be short and sweet or long and complicated! And, of course, it must be an honest review- good, bad, or somewhere in between. Then private message me on Facebook or leave a message here on my blog telling me your name, which book you reviewed, and where you placed the review and you will be entered into the raffle.

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Sound fair? I figure it’s a win-win-win situation all around!!!

write-a-review

I will open the contest TODAY 9/28/15 and will close it at midnight on October 30! There will be a Halloween Drawing!

Stampa

This is my first time running a big contest so please let me know if I have missed something big. Or small.

THANKS!! Good Luck!!

❤ Mia

A VERY Personal Statement by Mia Kerick “Accepting Myself”

There are thirty bags of clothing in my garage.

I’m not talking about those tall, white deodorized kitchen trash bags. I’m talking about heavy-duty, “a dumpster-in-a-bag”, construction-grade trash bags, each stuffed to the top with preppy attire in slightly varied sizes.

Enough white button-down collar oxford cloth shirts to outfit a (plus-sized) private girls school.

No (size sixteen or eighteen) woman in the state of New Hampshire with access to my garage need go shopping for denim, at least until the next decade.

An ocean of trash bags. I could drown in them. And in some ways, maybe I did.

garbage bags

***

As I got started on my adventure in cleaning out our “storage closet”, which is actually a small room off the master bedroom, I looked around at the boxes and bags stacked awkwardly to the ceiling, filled with clothes that I’d picked up at malls and online over the past seventeen years. I couldn’t help but think of the show on TLC called Hoarding: Buried Alive… and I wondered if they could possibly do an episode on me.

On the second full day of bagging and tagging clothes, I wondered if perhaps I wasn’t better a subject for a Lifetime made-for-TV movie about a compulsive shopper whose wretched husband holds an intervention to stop her from sending them to the poor house. (Incidentally, my husband has been remarkably patient with my little habit.)

On the third day, I was finally able to tackle the foundation of books that lay beneath the excessive piles of clothing, and a new concept surfaced in my mind about who this apparent compulsive buyer really is.

diet books

Here is a small sample from my extremely large book collection:

Intuitive Eating by Emily Tribole, Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker,

embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice!) by Connie Sobczak, How to Have Your Cake and Your Skinny Jeans Too: Stop Binge Eating, Overeating and Dieting For Good, Get the Naturally Thin Body You Crave From the Inside by Josie Spinardi, Embrace: My Story from Body Loather to Body Lover by Taryn Brumfitt, Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body by Lesley Kinzel, The New Atkins Made Easy: A Faster, Simpler Way to Shed Weight and Feel Great — Starting Today! by Colette Heimowitz, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Robert C.Atkins, Weight Watchers the Fit Factor: How Getting Strong Can Help You Lose Weight… by Weight Watchers, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary, The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care by Judith Matz, Ellen Frankel, Self-Esteem Comes in All Sizes: How to Be Happy and Healthy at Your Natural… by Gary D. Foster (Foreword), et al, Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self by Frances Kuffel, Journeys to Self-Acceptance: Fat Women Speak by Carol A. Wiley, Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large by Kimberly Brittingham, Stop Dieting Now: 25 Reasons To Stop, 25 Ways To Heal by Golda Poretsky, The Easiest Diet in the World . . . and It Works! by Rich Stevens, Eat This! : 365 Reasons to Stop Dieting by Mary McHugh, Till We Eat Again: Confessions of a Diet Dropout by Judy Gruen, The Good Calorie Diet Philip, Ph.D. Lipetz, The Two-Hundred Calorie Solution: How to Burn an Extra 200 Calories a Day and… by Martin Katahn, The Prayer Diet: The Unique Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Approach to Healthy by Matthew Anderson, Dieting For Dummies by Jane Kirby, Never Satisfied: A Cultural History of Diets, Fantasies and Fat by Hillel Schwartz…, Fed-Up: A Woman’s Guide to Freedom from the Diet/Weight Prison by Terry Nicholetti Garrison, David Ph.D Levitsky, Making Peace With Food : Freeing Yourself From the Diet/Weight Obsession… by Susan Kano, Don’t Diet by Atrens, Dale M.; Valk, PeterReal Women Don’t Diet!: One Man’s Praise of Large Women and His Outrage at the by Ken Mayer, The Dieter’s Dilemma: Eating Less and Weighing More by William Bennett, Joel Gurin, The 3-Apple-a-Day Plan: Your Foundation for Permanent Fat Loss by Tammi Flynn, Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons, Inspired to Lose by Howard Rankin, Ph.D., How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions of a Big… by Kirstie Alley, Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion by Virgie Tovar, FAT!SO? : Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size Marilyn Wann, Think Thin, Be Thin : 101 Psychological Ways to Lose Weight by Doris Wild Helmering, Dianne Hales, Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic by Eric J Oliver, Fat Chicks Rule!: How To Survive in a Thin-Centric World by Lara Frater,  Jenny Craig’s What Have You Got to Lose : A Personalized Weight Management… by Jenny Craig

Get the picture?

 

 

I’m not a hoarder, nor am I a compulsive shopper. I mean, sure, those labels could be loosely applied to me, but they do not describe what is at the heart of the matter.

I am a woman in distress.

***

For all of my adult life, most of my teenage years, and a sizeable portion of my childhood, I have been tormented by the inability to accept my body size, which might be a first world problem, but it is my reality. At this juncture, I will not discuss the personal why’s or the political implications of this problem of mine, but rather, I plan to describe my personal experience with it.

I could give you a pertinent example, or a million. Maybe I will.

I’m allowing this personal statement, my manifesto, to flow freely. Call it a stream of consciousness, if you so choose. So in the spirit of structurelessness, I’m going to start here… don’t ask me why.

I feel like a link of sausage in these stupid Danskin leggings that Mom makes me wear to school. A fatty, juicy sausage packaged in a stretchy polyester casing. (And I was a normal-sized child… thin, even.)

 The anguish of body hatred isn’t a new thing in my life. I’ve been aware of, and uncomfortable with, my body since I was a child.

I worked at an ice cream parlor over a summer when I was in junior high school, I rode my bike to the CVS downtown and and spent all of my tips on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This was my first toe-dip into teen independence.

 In my teenage years I struggled with not being as small in body as I felt my person was in the world. A silly, dreamer, crossed with a nervous people-pleaser, I had never been popular in high school. Wearing my heart on my sleeve and a target on my back, I’d discovered that being insignificant was far better than being laughed at. So I isolated myself from the crowd and tried to stay safe by being as perfect as possible. “That’s right. Reclaim a bit of your lost power by keeping the girls jealous and the boys wanting you.” To accomplish this, I had to be thin.

In college I was so scared and alone, no girlfriends, just boyfriends, and when they dumped me, or I dumped them, which was somehow inevitable, all hell broke lose in my heart. I had no problem staying skinny then, because I’m a happy eater. I don’t eat to console myself, and in college I was too anxious to eat. But when I started working, the diets resumed.

I can still remember the first McChicken Sandwich I ever ate at McDonalds. Holy sweet fried chicken torture…. They were all I could think of. McChicken Sandwiches have become smaller and drier over the past 30 years. Just saying.

 McChicken

I remember returning from my honeymoon, about twenty-three years ago, completely disillusioned. Not disillusioned by the daunting reality of being a married woman, or distraught over how I was going to pay for a fifteen thousand dollar wedding. No, I was struggling emotionally with the six pounds I’d gained over the course of my wedding and honeymoon. Desperate, I headed straight to Nutrisystem, where they proceeded to weigh and measure me. The verdict: five feet six inches, 131 pounds (I have an amazing memory for details like this). “Yes, ma’am, you are indeed overweight and Nutrisystem can help you lose those unwanted pounds.”

 “Did you ever hold a pound of butter in your hand?” My mother asks me when I lose only two pounds this week when my goal was four. “That’s a lot of unsightly fat! Don’t give up!”

“Are you pregnant?” asks my 7th grade student, Tommy DiMato, when I wear a blue pleated skirt to school. I never wore that skirt again.

“Why can’t I make this bulge in my stomach go away?” Partway through a set of one hundred sit-ups and fifty leg lifts, I ask the trainer at the gym, where I’m the sexy juice bar girl.

“That’s where your ovaries are,” replies the trainer. “You can’t exercise them away.”

 pregnant Mama

And then I was pregnant and I couldn’t fully enjoy the experience of bringing a precious new life into the world because I lived and died for the weigh-ins at my OB GYN’s office. I found myself dieting when pregnant, and confounded by the fact that I was gaining weight still. In my mind were the Downy commercials in which a gorgeous perfect skinny mother holds her similarly perfect newborn up in the air in front of her and they exchange perfect smiles. I knew that a fat woman like me couldn’t be that perfect mother.

mother and baby

“When did you start packing on the pounds, big Mama?” asks Dr. Dolman with a smirk when he comes to my room after I’m checked into the hospital for the induction of labor with my third child, thanks to the onset of pre-eclampsia. I wisely decide not to slap the face of man who will soon be delivering my baby, but it isn’t easy to hold back. “Have you ever been pregnant, Dr. D?” In case you’re wondering, I didn’t ask him this.

A few weeks after giving birth to Sienna, a close family member notices I’m still wearing a larger size in clothes. “It’s a good thing you have those beautiful J.Jill clothes or you’d look horrible,” she confides with a sly wink.

I thought I’d be able to brush aside my body acceptance issues as I experienced the miracle of pregnancy, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I worried that I would never be the same, and I wasn’t.

I have never uttered a single word to my kids with regard to body weight. In fact, I refuse to allow them to so much as mention the word diet, which might be overkill in the right direction. My mother was aware of every bite of food I put into my body, and felt it was her duty to comment on it, because, you know, “men don’t marry fat ladies”. So I took a huge step back with my own children, encouraging them to eat when they were hungry, and stop when full. I do not want them to ever feel that they need to change their bodies, but rather I hope they will embrace the bodies they have been blessed with.

“I took more hell for being fat than I did for being an absolute raging drug addict. I will never understand that.” Kelly Osbourne

I never want to go to parties with my husband because party snacks and drinks have calories. Lots of calories. If I eat and drink them, I’ll get fat. And then I won’t look decent enough in party clothes to even attend this type of event. My alternative is to go to the party, have nothing to eat, and drink water. And be envious of all the people who are eating and drinking the good stuff. Now you can see why partying isn’t high on my list of things to do.

***

So let’s revisit my closet…

closet mess

Here is how I ended up with a literal mountain of plus size clothes, growing at a fast clip in the next room:

*Maybe this outfit will make me look thin. I’ll buy one in every color.

 *Oh, my God, my jeans are snug around the waist. Calm down… it’s okay. You need to accept yourself as you are. Ever since you had Sienna you have continually dieted and returned to this very same weight! Hello! Maybe this is your body’s natural set point? I’m gonna go buy bigger clothes. I’ll feel comfortable and accept the new larger me. After all, bigger is better. Right? Right?

 *I think these jeans make my butt look a little bit smaller. I’ll buy five pairs. I don’t want them to run out or stop making them and then I’ll never be able to look this good again.

 *For the rest of my life, I’m only going to eat fruit and vegetables and drink black coffee and have popcorn for dessert… because mentally I can’t go without dessert. (And after nine months of eating more apples, oranges and bananas than a fruitarian…) Now I need new clothes… woohoo!! I’m gonna buy a crap ton of “skinny clothes” cuz I’m not going back to my former fat self.

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*But bread and cookies and brownies and mocha lattes … they taste so good. I’ll only have one… I mean it. Did you know that it’s much easier to gain weight than lose it? But gaining is still equally torturous. Because I remember how it felt when I was fatter than I am right now… I was not attractive and people thought I was lazy and some people thought I was worthless … and I was almost not fat any more thanks to Peeled Brand’s Dried Mangoes. But rolling stones gather moss and I can’t stop the downhill roll. And up the scale I climb. Shit. Time for new clothes that I can breathe in.

 There are days I don’t eat until three in the afternoon because I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to be on a diet or not.

Sometimes I suffer over what I eat so much that I finally succumb to the “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” philosophy and I do something drastic like go on the Atkins Diet. I lived on a low carb diet for three years. My weight was under control, but it sucked to go out for ice cream because I’d have to eat the beef jerky I took from home. And I hate meat… and lettuce. Which made Atkins tough.

 *If I could just find the perfect pair of slouchy jeans I would not have to worry about being fat or thin. I’m going to go online shop and buy boyfriend jeans from every store. One of them has to make me look cool, confident, preppy… or maybe like a free-spirited hippy. You know, like I don’t care about how I look, and about what people see when they look at me.

 Twenty more minutes on this GODDAMNED TREADMILL and I’ll have burned enough calories to eat two Devil Dogs….

Aside: I just got distracted… I read a story of a person who lost a lot of weight but who did it did it in an admittedly dangerous manner. First impulse: I get an instinctive feeling that she is somehow better than me because she is thin. That she has more control over her life and is self-disciplined, and, generally, worth more. And everybody thinks she looks terrific and is saying so as I type this, even though they know that she lost weight in a way that could ultimately kill her! What does this mean? Hmmm… it means that being thin is more important than being … alive. ”You look great! Keep up the good work!” Huh?

I used to avoid my yearly medical check-ups because I so dreaded getting weighed. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE NUMBER. Do you hear me??? I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW. Now I refuse to be weighed at doctor’s appointments. The regular nurses know that I don’t step on the scale. I hate it when they get new nurses.

 And so, I ended up with a room full of clothes of slightly varied sizes and styles, all selected with the hope that I would lose weight and fit into them or stay thin and fit into them or wear bigger clothes and fit into them because I accept myself. Or be the perfect garment that would change everything for me and let me be a cool, confident I-don’t-care sort of cowgirl.

***

Back to the why’s of this sticky situation I find myself in….

I have pondered this topic incessantly… I’ve obsessed over it, even. Why am I convinced that in order to be happy I need to be thin? All I can say is it’s a society thing… At some point we all bought into the “thin=smart, successful, healthy, disciplined, and worthwhile” scenario. You want respect? “Then get your fat ass off the couch and onto the treadmill… and, for God’s sake, put down the fudge brownie! There’s a fudge brownie flavored low cal yogurt in the fridge!” And don’t forget this wise assumption: “Everybody knows fat people are lazy and self-indulgent… and stupid… and, I’m just gonna say it— disgusting. #sorrynotsorry.” This is no exaggeration, although I wish it were.

I’m a people–pleaser and I am aware that society wants my body to be thin… and I’ve tried, almost every day, for more than thirty-five years to deliver to the public what it so desires: a thin person…. And I’ve failed.

Even the currently (terrifyingly) most popular Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, thinks that fat people got no reason to live. I mean, would he really be my president? Would he represent me, with all of my Rosie O’Donnell physical similarities? I highly doubt it. And where I should be furious at him for possessing this backward attitude toward women/fat/Rose O, I feel shame. As if maybe Rosie and me don’t deserve equal representation in the democratic process because we have belly rolls.

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In the midst of the contents of my closet… among the piles of clothing and the boxes and bins filled with diet books and you-don’t-need-to-diet-books and dieting-doesn’t-work-books, I see the clear evidence of a tortured life. Of pain that I accept because I have a body that I can’t accept. All the hurt and resentment and embarrassment and shame are stuffed into this backroom… living in the closet where no one but I know it’s there. (My husband has a pretty good clue it’s there, though, because when the cats get in the storage room they never fail to knock down precariously stacked bins, and that’s loud at 2 AM.)

As I sit here sorting through the physical evidence of my lifelong pain, the television is on the Investigation Discovery Channel so I have something to keep me entertained while I work. Marie Osmond chirps on and on about the wonders of Nutrisystem, and the “rough day” she looked in the mirror, saw the dismal truth that she was fifty pounds overweight, and knew she had to do something about it. (I estimate that the diet plan plays a motivating commercial at least five times each afternoon.) I’m being brainwashed even as I recognize that I have long been brainwashed by a society that has declared I am not good enough as I am.

Is it time that I accept my full self, including my body, and love and take care of the lush frame God gave me with a loving attitude… by exercising for pleasure and health and eating a variety of foods? Yes. I think the day has come.

Even as I profess that I’m going to love myself exactly as I am today, can I still the niggling doubt that tomorrow morning I’m going to tell myself, “Fruit only, fatso! Cuz you’re big ass is going to a family gathering next month and everybody will see the fat girl you really are! You better get started right now!”

 But, maybe today IS the day I finally celebrate the real me. The me who I currently am. The woman who has raised her kids and loved her man and cared for her dying mother and written her books and emulated her sister and folded all the damned laundry and cared for so many hearts and souls of kids and cats and friends and family….

I so badly want today to be the day. “But,” the inner anxious me reminds, “thirty bags are gone… not thirty pounds.”

 No worries, inner me… I’m okay. I’m the way I’m supposed to be. I don’t need to change, not for myself, not for you, not for anyone.

mia I am beautiful

I’m beautiful. I am. I am.

bedroom

It’s RELEASE DAY for my first NOVELLA!!! “A Hard Day’s Night” welcome to AMAZON!!!

Today is the day!! Today you can meet Lennon and Fin, laugh at their mistakes (they won’t know) and fall in love right along beside them! Explore some popular culture in a Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist-style adventure!! And I promise you will be singing Beatles songs for the rest of the week!

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It’s only $2.99 for the ebook- an entire day at the beach caught up in a slice of Lennon and Fin’s life for less than $3.00!!

What do you have to lose but $2.99?

REAL FINAL cover of A Hard Day's Night

Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Gay & Lesbian Fiction

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Happy release day AHDN by Kari promo

And if you are a John Lennon Fan, this short novel is not to be missed!!

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Find out why it’s a hard day and an even harder night in this ONE DAY ADVENTURE of music, friendship, breaking stereotypes, and LOVE!

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WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NOVELLA AS A READING CHOICE FOR ROMANCE? CAN A NOVELLA SATISFY YOUR NEED FOR ROMANCE?? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Mia ❤