Let the Snow Go!

I love Elsa from the movie “Frozen.”  Who doesn’t love a queen? I rooted for her as she took off from her castle-prison, throwing caution (and her gloves) to the wind as she freed herself to be who she was born to be.  I know every single word to “Let It Go” and any time it comes on the radio, I sing it loudly, proudly and very badly. I think it’s cool she created Olaf and his need for warm hugs and I’m all about girl power. Her bond with Anna, her sister, is #relationshipgoals. 

But despite all of that, I’ve had enough! I’ve truly had enough.  I looked at the forecast this morning and they are calling for snow tomorrow. Seriously, it’s April! It’s spring, people. Daylight savings time is finally here and I’ve lost an hour of sleep in anticipation of warmer weather. I am supposed to be wearing a light jacket!. And yet, we have snow and I’m still bundled. I don’t dare pack up my scarves or gloves or hats or winter coats for fear that I will be “frozen” (no pun intended) without them.  I am still wearing my Ugg boots instead of my cute canvas sneakers. 

I can’t take another day of flurries and talk of inches and ice.  I can’t take another day of the cold.  I feel like I’m living in a real-life version of Arendelle and Elsa just won’t let up.  Someone, please tell her we got the memo and she can stop now. Maybe Anna can talk some sense to her like she did in the movie because I yearn for the blazing sun and the stifling heat. I long for air-conditioners and iced coffee.  I want to see my sidewalk again and plant my flowers. I’m ready.  Please, Elsa, let the snow go! 

Erin

Unstuck

Last week, I was driving to Starbucks to get myself a delicious cafe latte (I’d travel through snow and ice for my steaming cup of caffeine) when my tire blew out. It happened just as I parked in a spot. I got out of the car and assessed the situation. I then ordered my coffee (I know where my priorities lie) and called a tow truck to come rescue me.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t change a tire or change the oil or even change the floor mats of my car. No matter how many times my parents and then my husband devoted to teaching me all things “car,” I can say with absolute confidence that I am mechanically challenged. My sister, on the other hand, is a prodigy.  Me, not so much. When God handed out those skills at birth, he forgot to give me some. Now, ask me to whip up a creme brulee and I am all over it. I make it with my eyes closed but give me a jack and a lug wrench and I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they do to save my life. I’d likely play it like the triangle, thinking it must be a type of a “new age” musical instrument.  Anyway, I digress. The point is I was stuck at Starbucks with nowhere to go. I couldn’t go back home unless I wanted to walk the miles to get back home in high heel boots (not likely). I couldn’t even leave the parking spot of the strip mall.  All I could do was sip my coffee and enjoy Starbuck’s free wifi on my cell phone while I waited for the tow. As far as places to get stuck goes, Starbucks isn’t exactly the worst place to be, but no matter I was still stuck.

And as I waited for the cavalry to arrive, I thought about all the times I felt stuck in my life. I recalled the countless times I felt rooted in place and frozen in time, paralyzed by circumstances.  We’ve all experienced those moments, the feeling of being helpless, barely able to keep our heads above water in a storm that is life. We’ve all felt the dreadful knot in the pit of our stomach where we didn’t know what to do next. 

In fact, it’s this pivotal “stuck” moment that forms the basis of all of my books. The main character is stuck in a dead-end job or in a dead-end relationship, and they reach a point of no return where they realize they either need to make a drastic change or languish.  And we can all relate to that, can’t we? A need to make a change, to get “unstuck.”  Sometimes, we have to take risks in order to see change.  The heroines in my books do exactly that and it’s why I love them. They are relatable.  They take on the challenge full-on without thought as to how scary it is. They change direction, and in changing direction, their lives are the better for it.  They find a new career, they find humor, they find love. They find their happiness. They become “unstuck.”

So two cups of lattes later and within an hour of my tire fiasco, the tow truck finally came and took my car to the nearest mechanic where my tire was changed and I was on my merry way back home. It’s then that I realized. All you need to do is take that first baby step to change course. For me, it started with a flat tire to become “unstuck.”

Erin 

 

This is Us

Dear NBC,

How do you do it? Seriously, I want to know your secret. Did you gather together a group of the smartest scientists and doctors in the world and have them research the best ways to make people dissolve into a puddle of tears?  Because I want you to know that’s exactly what you manage to do to me every single Tuesday night …. without fail… never a miss … always. 

It’s gotten to the point where it’s now become a challenge for me.  You’ve made this my mission. It’s personal. I wake up on every Tuesday morning determined not to cry. I spend the whole day steeling myself against the emotional rollercoaster I am certain you will throw out at me, convinced that I will not shed a tear. I will be strong and immune to the triggers. I won’t fall for Kevin’s charm or Randall’s kind heart or Kate’s struggles. I will not be “Jack Pearsoned.”

Of course, that all goes out the window the minute nine o’clock rolls around and by nine fifty-nine, my vision is blurred and I’ve exhausted a whole box of tissues.  And yet it remains my absolute favorite television show like it is for millions of other viewers. And no, it’s not because I am a glutton for punishment or a sadist or like the taste of my salty tears.  It’s simply a testament to the incredible storytelling and the genuine characters that make up the show. I can, with certainty, identify with the issues that each character faces and the struggles they endure. I can relate to it as a mother, sister, daughter, and friend. I can see myself saying or doing the same things as the characters on the screen. And isn’t that what good storytelling is all about? What it’s supposed to do?  It makes no difference if it’s a television show or a book. The end game is still the same.

As an author, I try to tell a story that will entertain and connect with my readers.  I think all authors try to do that. My books are quite different than the drama of “This is Us” as my genre is romantic comedies meant to do the exact opposite of crying.  In fact, if you are crying while reading my books, I hope it’s because you are doubled over in laughter.  But regardless of the differences, when it comes down to it, it’s all about taking the reader on a journey (whether that journey ends in tears or laughter).

So next Tuesday, I will not fight it anymore. I will not steel myself. Instead, I will open my heart and give in to it. I will embrace the emotions and allow my favorite television show to take me on a journey.  I’ll just make sure to have two boxes of tissue next to me when they do!

Enjoy.

Erin

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I love a good belly laugh.  The kind that leaves me doubled over in pain  The kind of laughter where tears are streaming down my face and I can’t catch my breath.  I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences. We all have and we can probably recall exactly what prompted it too. For me, it was the first time I saw “My Cousin Vinny” in the movie theater. Maybe it’s because I’m a native New Yorker, but I identified with the characters in that movie and the hilarious situations depicted (if you’ve never seen it, please rent it, You won’t regret it). I can tell you I never laughed as much as I did than when I first watched Joe Pesci on the big screen and it was so cathartic, better than any therapy session I could have paid for and much cheaper too!  

Humor is my tonic. I think it’s true for a lot of people. I know that no matter what kind of a day I’m having, a good laugh will always make me feel better.  It’s the best remedy for anything that ails me.  A funny text from a friend can turn my mood completely around. Even my husband knows this and uses it against me (like Lex Luther uses kryptonite against Superman).  Whenever we have a fight, he somehow manages to crack a joke and I quickly forget why I was so angry at him in the first place.

Laughter is the reason why, I think, I’m so drawn to romantic comedies. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good love story and I will confess to swooning whenever I read a book with a devastatingly handsome and sexy leading man in the storyline. I sigh (like everyone else) when Noah kisses Allie in the pouring rain and scoops her up the stairs to his bedroom in “The Notebook” and I cheer when Harry finally gets together with Sally at the stroke of midnight. 

Love like that makes my heart beat faster. Love like that makes it all worthwhile.  It gives me faith that all is right with the world.  But give me love plus laughter and you have a fan for life. I certainly appreciate the brooding Fitzwilliam Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice.”  But I won’t lie. I would have loved Fitz from Pemberley, even more, had he made Lizzy laugh every once in a while. 

When I find that right combination of looks and humor in a man, I feel like I’ve struck gold. It’s like winning the Mega Millions jackpot (well, maybe not exactly) or finding my favorite pair of boots on clearance (cough, cough… Uggs.  Don’t judge me.  They are so comfy) or stepping on the scale to discover that all of my dieting and excruciatingly painful exercising has finally paid off (two pounds lost and counting).

So give me a gorgeous leading man who can make me laugh too and I’ve found the promised land!  Heck, give me an average looking man that can make me laugh and he’s a Greek god in my eyes. There’s nothing sexier to me than a sense of humor. In fact, that’s a must-have in all of my novels. If he can’t make me laugh, he can’t be in my book. It’s that simple. 

So tonight instead of watching a movie that makes my heart swell with love, I think I’ll rent one that leaves me gasping for breath, doubled over in pain with tears streaming down my face.  I think I’ll take a visit to Alabama with my favorite Brooklyn attorney and his hairdresser fiancee. After all, my biological clock is ticking here!

Dieting and Writing

 

I had a dreaded epiphany last week. Yes, you heard me right. I used the words “epiphany” and “dreaded” in the same sentence. Now, most people would consider an epiphany to be something positive. But not me. I call my epiphany dreaded because that’s exactly what it was. You see, last Monday, I woke up like every other day, and dragged my tired self into the shower.  Once I got out of the tub, I confronted a stark, ugly reality staring back at me from my full-length mirror. There was no denying it anymore. No excusing it. No ignoring it. I have apparently been wearing my “fuzzy food” googles for way too long. It seems my holiday binging (from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day) has finally caught up with me and I couldn’t avoid the undeniable, hard truth. I needed to lose weight … a lot of weight.  You see! I told you it was dreaded! 

The fact that summer’s bathing suit season is only a mere four months away is causing me massive anxiety attacks. The thought of trying to squeeze into anything latex that highlights my problem areas like a flashing neon sign is making me sweat at night (and not of the menopausal kind). It seems that writing all day while sitting on my squishy behind has certainly not helped my cause. In fact, it’s made it worse. So I decided right then and there, while pointing an accusatory finger at my much fuller self in the mirror, that I would get up off of my very comfortable chair (did I mention it has lumbar support?) and do something about my “junk in the trunk.”

I knew the only way to start my quest was to do my research. Any good writer worth her weight in gold (no pun intended) knows that it all starts with research. In trying to find the perfect combo of dieting and exercising, I came across the idea of carb cycling. It immediately grabbed my attention and I was excited at first. Finally, a diet I could stick to! Imagine, eating spaghetti or munching on a loaf of french baguette while peddling miles away on a stationary bike.  Now that’s my kind of weight-loss program. Where do I sign up?  But after I did a little more digging, I found out what carb cycling is really all about. Poof went my vision of stuffing my face with pastries while running. I knew it was too good to be true.  What carb cycling involves is a system of rotating or cycling the carbs you eat over the course of several weeks.  Now what is the fun in that, I tell you. But I decided to give it a try, along with a moderate exercise regime. I set a goal to lose weight and I was not going to back down.

Five days in and I can tell you it’s been hard to stay on track! I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about quitting. In fact, I think about it all the time: every second of every minute of every day. I desperately want to pack it all in and fling my diet out the window (along with my gym membership), especially when there are boxes of Girl Scouts cookies calling out my name from the kitchen counter. But I will not be swayed or tempted or cajoled.

Then it hit me. Dieting is a lot like writing. Now before you tell me otherwise. Let me explain. Taking an idea for a story and trying to put it on paper is very difficult. Starting a novel is hard work. It takes a lot of self-discipline like losing weight does. I’ve often found myself staring at a blank computer screen waiting for inspiration to hit me.  Like dieting, it’s so easy to be distracted away from doing what you set out to do (I have a love/hate relationship with the internet like I do with my food). But I find once I get going and the words flow out, it’s exhilarating.  Exactly like when I step on my scale and see that I’ve lost a few pounds. At that moment, I feel like I can do anything!  It’s a natural high and it keeps you from giving up. 

So I vow to keep up with my quest to lose weight while bringing to life the idea for my next book. I’m cautiously optimistic that in a few months, I’ll have a smaller waist and a finished novel. If not, it’s back to carbs for me (without the cycling, thank you very much).

Erin

How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

 

Last summer, I spent a week on a writing retreat in the heart of Manhattan. Along with two of my closest friends, we spent the time living it up in the lap of luxury while writing and brainstorming new book ideas. We were fortunate enough to be staying in a beautiful penthouse apartment in Soho (courtesy of a friend who was traveling for work) with sweeping views of lower Manhattan.  It was the first time I’d ever stayed in a penthouse and if there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s that I had a hard time going back to my humdrum life at the end of the week.  It was intoxicating. Like like flying first class or shopping for shoes at Chanel.  Once you get a taste of first class, you never want to go back to coach! And, once you slip your feet into a pair of Louboutin’s, you can never imagine wearing anything else, or so I’ve been told, anyway. I guess the same can be said of my six days last summer living the high life in a penthouse with a hot tub. With a hot tub! I felt just like a movie star (minus the paparazzi following me around and the extra zeros in my bank account). Of course, I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea.  We were working hard, busy writing and knocking out our next novel (in between soaking up the sun while relaxing in the hot tub). 

But more importantly, we were also charged with watching the penthouse owner’s dog, Roxy. Mind you, I’ve never taken care of a dog before (proud owner of one cat and a parakeet) so there was quite a bit of on-the-job training (with detailed instructions from Roxy’s mommy).  I can tell you that at the time, I had no idea how much work went into caring for a dog. Who knew? Between the feedings, scheduled walks, and grooming appointments, to the neighborhood play date, it was like having a toddler except with more fur and fewer temper tantrums. 

Yet with all the work that went into dog sitting Roxy, there was an upside I hadn’t counted on. Because it turned out to be much more fun than I thought it would be.  No one warned me that I’d fall in love with her big brown eyes and soft velvety tongue! Three days into my dog sitting, I was surprised by how I grew to love my furry charge, Roxy.  And, what I learned, was that a dog loves unconditionally. It’s the kind of love I’ve spent years writing about in my books.   The kind of love most people spend a lifetime looking for. We crave it, don’t we and when we find it, we celebrate it. I mean, don’t we all just want someone to love us unconditionally? To love us not just during the best of times, but during the worst of times, too. And, that’s exactly what Roxy did.  She didn’t mind if I was in a bad mood or if I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet.  She couldn’t care less if I binged on chips and salsa all day and didn’t go to the gym to work it off. She didn’t judge me when I had too much to drink and spent the entire next morning in bed, nursing a hangover. She loved me despite all of those things.

So, during that week I spent with Roxy, I decided to write a book with my friend Gina McBride, about our experience dog sitting.  Many of the scenes in The Dog Walker really happened (the trellis, Roxy’s nervous breakdown, and the chocolate scare. I’m still recovering from that one). And like most romantic comedies, there’s a leading man and a misunderstanding that gets in the way of true love. But more importantly, this book is really about my love affair with Roxy.  A love affair that has me considering becoming a dog owner. Perhaps it’s time to start looking into doggy adoptions?

Erin 

Where in the World?

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted on this blog.  It doesn’t seem possible.  I’ve been away for 365 days, 8,765 hours, 525,600 minutes  and 31,536,000 seconds. (Oh great. Now I can’t get that song from the musical Rent out of my head). Needless to say, that’s a lot of time.  So, I’ve thought long and hard about what I can say regarding my very long absence. Where have I been?  What have I been up to? And, to make things interesting I thought it would be fun to come up with a “Top Ten” list of reasons why I’ve been missing in action. So here goes:

Top Ten Reasons why Erin was MIA

10. She was crowned Miss America and was under contract to go on a year-long worldwide tour.

9. She went through the stones in Scotland and has been shacked up with a red-headed 18th century Scotsman.

8. She took a wrong turn while driving home when her GPS malfunctioned and somehow wound up on an episode of Naked and Afraid.

7.  She’s been hanging out with her BFF, Kim Kardashian, in Los Angeles.

6. She won the Mega Millions and bought herself a castle in Tuscany.

5.  She joined Soul Cycling and actually cycled herself to death.

4. She thought it would be fun if people started asking the question: Where in the World is Erin Brady?

3. She’s gone into the Witness Protection Program, has assumed a new identity and now goes by the name of Eunice Poppers.

2. She’s been trapped in a Red Room with Mr. Grey and lost the keys to the handcuffs.

1.  She has a new job as a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream taster and moved to a remote part of Vermont.

Of course, none of the above are true (as much as I wish #9 was…sigh) and I’m obviously not that Erin Brady (aka Miss America) even though it would be amazing to look like that in a bikini. Sadly, the truth is much more boring than any of the items on my list. The truth is I’ve been writing and writing and then, writing some more. And, in between, I’ve been taking much needed time off to spend with family and friends.

It’s true what they say about time flying when you’re having fun because I really have been enjoying my life while creating new characters who find themselves in crazy predicaments along the way. And now I’m happy to report that I’m back and better than ever! With that said, I’m announcing the release of my newest book, The Dog Walker. I have to tell you I’ve had so much fun writing the storyline to this novel along with my friend and co-author Gina McBride. The idea came to us while we were on a writing retreat in New York City with another author, Sarah Price. Many of the scenes in the book are based on events that happened that very weekend. Events so hysterical and outlandish, we decided to put the words to paper and share the craziness of those two days with others.  And so, after a year of writing (and daydreaming of #9 on my list), I’m thrilled to report that The Dog Walker is set to release on February 6th. I hope you feel compelled to check it out because if there’s one thing I can promise, it’s that it will make you laugh out loud.  And can’t we all use a little laughter in our lives?  If the past year’s sabbatical has taught me anything, it’s that we all do!

Available on

Amazon

 

Erin