I am excited to be participating in the Barrage of Books event, hosted by the fab author Lori Verni-Fogarsi! She has a lot planned for the release of her latest novel, Unexpecting, (including a blog tour with CLP Blog Tours!) so head over to her page to check it all out! My publishing company, Marching Ink, is also helping with the promotion by donating our very own tote – complete with copies of my latest novel The Green Ticket and Cat Lavoie’s amazing debut Breaking the Rules. There are also plenty of other totes and books up for grabs, so be sure to use the Rafflecopter to get entered! The Barrage of Books event is running through May 5, plenty of time to get entered to win!
I am very excited that it is release day for my second novel THE GREEN TICKET! It took me just under one year to plan, write and edit the book, and I am so happy that it is released to the world today. I am so grateful for all the support and encouragement I receive through this website, and I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to do what I love. Below is some information on myself, THE GREEN TICKET, and how to support me and grab your copy. Thank you so much – I’m off to celebrate some more!
College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.
While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself – is is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
Connect with Samantha!
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Shirley Benton’s second novel, Can We Start Again? is now on sale! Grab your copy now, and check out my review of Shirley’s debut novel Looking for Leon!
Is it ever too late for a second chance?
Tammy and Alvin had mapped out their entire lives together, including a pre-parental plan – a list of everything they wanted to do as a couple before they have children. But no amount of planning could have anticipated the heartbreaking problems that lay ahead of them – problems that shattered their once-perfect relationship and led to a traumatic break-up.
After years of trying to move on, Tammy’s world is turned upside down when Alvin comes back into her life asking for a second chance – with a difference. He proposes that they spend time together, doing the challenging activities they had once so eagerly planned, in a bid to remember why they felt they’d have children together some day, and ultimately recapture what they had.
Still in love with Alvin, Tammy finds herself powerless to say no even though their problems are still simmering in the background and threatening to boil over at any moment. Still, what they once had is surely worth trying to save?
But can something that’s broken ever truly be whole again?
Debut Romance Novel Rum Punch Regrets by Women’s
Fiction Author, Columnist and Blogger Anne Kemp Launches
From Premier Digital Publishing
Available for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple
iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Print on Demand
eBook and print on demand launch of the debut romance novel Rum Punch Regrets by
women’s fiction author, columnist, and blogger Anne Kemp. Rum Punch Regrets is the
second installment of the Abby George Series and sequel to the short story novella, All
Fruits Ripe, also launched by Premier Digital Publishing.
Rum Punch Regrets tells the story of Abby George, the down on her luck heroine who
finds herself suddenly laid-off from her job and newly dumped by her fiancé. Abby is
offered the chance of a lifetime – leave the big city and spend some time in the
Caribbean. What begins as a favor to her big sister becomes so much more. It’s about
discovering family secrets while discovering oneself, coming to terms with your siblings
and relationships with them and of course, it’s about falling in love.
“It’s such an honor to be working with the talented group at Premier Digital Publishing as
we release my first full-length novel, Rum Punch Regrets,” Kemp said. “My agent,
Cynthia Manson, and I have been delighted with their expertise and support as we have
prepared for the launch of the second book in the Abby George Series.”
“We are very excited to bring the Abby George Series and debut novel Rum Punch
Regrets by Anne Kemp to eBooks and print,” said Thomas Ellsworth, President of
Premier Digital Publishing. “As readers will soon realize, Anne is a talented writer and
gifted storyteller who gets to the emotional core of her delightfully complex characters
and takes us all along for an emotionally satisfying journey.”
addition, Ms. Kemp has designed a jewelry line inspired by Rum Punch Regrets with VII
A.D. Jewelry that will be available in mid-June. VII A.D. will be donating a charm
bracelet to one lucky reader to commemorate the launch of the novel. For more
information, visit http://www.annekemp.com.
“Lupus LA is tremendously honored to be the beneficiary of some of the proceeds from
this terrific book and exciting author,” said Adam Selkowitz, Chairman of Lupus LA.
“Anne has been a longtime supporter of Lupus LA and we thank her for helping to bring
much needed awareness to those living with lupus.”
“We are honored to be commissioned by a successful and brilliant writer with the launch
of a jewelry line tailored around the Abby George series,” said Sevan Avakian the
gemologist, designer and craftsman at VII A.D. “The collaboration was definitely one of
the most pleasurable experiences as Anne was very meticulous with providing a luxe line
that is affordable while appealing to her readers. We look forward to collaborating more
in the future.”
The eBook is available now at:
Anne Kemp is the author behind the Abby George Series, which includes her debut
novella, All Fruits Ripe, and first novel, Rum Punch Regrets, with Premier Digital
Publishing. She is also the columnist behind “Anne In Progress,” which appears monthly
in the Frederick News-Post, a newspaper in the DC-Metro area. As a blogger, she is
known for penning Life My Way and The Ultimate Late Bloomer . Ms. Kemp also writes
for several websites and other independent media outlets.
Follow her on Twitter @MissAnneKemp or join her fans on Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/anneinprogress for fun contests and giveaways as her books
release. You can always find her www.AnneKemp.com.
About Premier Digital Publishing:
Premier Digital Publishing, Inc. is a leading digital eBook and interactive content
publisher. The Company’s expertise and breadth of offering spans from standard eBooks
to enhanced eBooks, to interactive entertainment content. Premier Digital Publishing is
revolutionizing publishing by empowering established authors, independent publishers,
media companies and studios to thrive and profit in the quickly evolving industry. For
more information, please visit us at:
About Lupus LA:
Committed to the hope and demonstrated promise of innovative science, Lupus LA
partners with the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) to fund novel lupus research that will
prevent, treat and cure the complex disease. With the power of Hollywood and the
strength of its volunteer leadership, Lupus LA raises lupus awareness throughout the
United States. Its fundraising events harness the might of the media and entertainment
industries to spread the word about lupus and its symptoms and dangers, and the need for
safe and effective new treatments and a cure. LUPUS LA is the west coast division of
the SLE Lupus Foundation. For further information on Lupus LA, go to www.lupusla.org
or call (310) 657-5667. You can also follow @LupusLA on Twitter.
About VII A.D.:
VII A.D.’s mission is to bring high quality, unique silver pieces into an overcrowded
market of mass-produced, homogenized jewelry lines. VII A.D. was born for the
sophisticated, cutting-edge individual with a bite. For more information, please visit
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, ever since I was a kid, when one of my favorite things to do was to sit in my bedroom and write books on three-ring binder paper. A few years ago, my niece borrowed one of my old Nancy Drew books and discovered a letter tucked inside – I’d written it on Raggedy Ann stationery (oh so professional!) and it was addressed to a publisher, asking when my book, titled, “Miscellaneous Tales and Poems” would be in stores. Now I carry that faded old letter with me every time I go to New York to meet with my publisher, as a reminder that dreams really do come true.
Q: Your debut novel, The Opposite of Me, was a hit! Where did the inspiration for Lindsey’s story come from?
Thank you! I’ve always been intrigued by the complex relationships my friends have with their sisters – and I always wanted a sister of my own. Since my parents didn’t cooperate (though they gave me two terrific brothers) I imagined what it would be like to be a sister – a twin, no less – and I tried to make the relationship of my main characters, Lindsey and Alex, as juicy and competitive and loving and tangled as possible. I’ve heard about twins who are so close that they create their own language, and can feel each other’s pain from miles away – but I wondered what would happen to twins who were completely different. What if two sisters had nothing in common, but were constantly being compared? How would that shape their relationship?
Q: Do you plan on writing another novel continuing the story of these two sisters?
I don’t have plans for a sequel at the moment, but definitely wouldn’t rule one out! My second book, which is scheduled to be published next spring, tells the story of a 32-year-old woman named Julia Dunhill who discovers her husband has woken from a dramatic and sudden medical trauma as a completely transformed man. It’s similar in voice and genre to The Opposite of Me, so I hope readers who liked my first book will enjoy it every bit as much.
Q: You had the opportunity to work with Jennifer Weiner when your book was set to be released. How great was it having her to help promote your work, and how flattered were you that you had her on your side?
Oh, my gosh, it was beyond any story I could ever dream up! Jen Weiner is simply the most amazing, generous woman in publishing. Perhaps even in the world! We have the same editor, and Jen read an early copy of my manuscript – then she endorsed it in an incredible way. She actually gave away hundreds of copies of her books to people who pre-ordered The Opposite of Me a week before it was published. I’ve never even met Jen in person, but she sponsored this huge giveaway – which prompted USAToday to interview me – because she remembered what it was like to be a debut author (excited and anxious and overjoyed!) and she wanted to help out another female author. I’m in awe of her kindness and I can only hope to pay it forward some day. And I’m dying to meet her in person, even though I’m such a fangirl I’m sure I’ll embarrass myself by getting all weepy, or I’ll spill a drink on her in my excitement.
Q: How were you able to break into the writing industry?
I didn’t have any real connections, so I just wrote my book, then I wandered around bookstores reading the acknowledgement sections of books I liked to find out the names of agents (authors usually thank their agents in the acknowledgements section – and if they don’t, you probably don’t want that agent). I complied a list of names, came home and Googled the agents to get their addresses, then sent off a one-page query letter which described my book to the agents. Most agents have public websites that tell you, step by step, how to submit a query letter for a book. They’re not in hiding; they really want to discover new writers and if you write a good query letter, you’ll get a good response.
Q: What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Book titles! I’m not kidding – I am horrible at coming up with titles for my novels. I turned in my latest one and actually called it “Book 4.” My editor usually spends hours coming up with titles for my books – she picked them for my first three novels – because I seem to have a mental block about it! But I never get blocked when I write. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think that I need to fill 300 pages, and I get a little scared about whether I’ll pull it off, but putting down words on the page has never been a problem for me. Maybe that’s because I worked as a journalist for almost a decade, and I learned to write on deadline.
Q: I saw on your website that you have a humiliating story of how you got a literary agent. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to open the page, but I am quite curious to hear this story! Can you give us a little background?
One author I admire is Karin Slaughter, and in her book she thanked her agent Victoria Sanders. So, I sent a query letter to Victoria and a week or so later, she emailed me back and requested my manuscript. Then I thought, “I’d just better check out this Victoria Sanders.” So I wrote a note to Karin via the address on her website, introducing myself and asking if Victoria still represented her. Literally two minutes later, I got an email back that began, “This is Victoria Sanders. I check Karin’s email when she is on her European tour….” I literally froze and even stopped breathing, but thankfully the next line said, “Don’t worry, I’m checking you out, too!” I ended up signing with Victoria – and we still laugh about it!
Q: How long did it take you to write The Opposite of Me?
Nine months – but I had long stretches of time because my two older kids were in elementary school. Now I have a baby, and the writing is coming more slowly because my schedule is so much busier! Still, I squeeze it in whenever I can.
Q: You now have three books out. How would you describe your novels?
All of my books have a common theme: they focus on the important relationships in a woman’s life. My first book was about sisterhood, my second about marriage, and my third about friendship. I’m fascinated by female relationships, and find them so textured and complicated and lovely. Most people call my books beach reads. I try to wrap important messages, like the power of friendship and how friends can become the family we never had, into books that are compulsively readable.
Q: What are your favorite genres to read?
I read much more fiction than non-fiction, and other than commercial women’s fiction, I devour thrillers. I love the pacing and tension in thriller, and I try to learn from the techniques displayed by great thriller writers so I can infuse my own pages with that sense of urgency.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from your story?
I’d love it if readers turned the final page of These Girls, then felt like reaching out to the women in their lives because they felt a sense of appreciation for their friends.
Q: Where would your dream vacation be?
Any place that can provide a sunny beach, an unending stream of fruity frozen drinks with little umbrellas, a stack of books, and David Beckham to rub oil into my back! My husband can come along, but he is not allowed to complain about David Beckham. If he does, he’ll be sent back home (the husband, not the Beckham).
Q: Can you give us the scoop on your third novel, THESE GIRLS?
Sure – THESE GIRLS is the story of Cate, Renee, and Abby, who have come to New York for very different reasons. In a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance. Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated. Cate’s roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger. Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby – or why she left everything she once loved behind.
At first, I was a bit nervous to put myself into the heads of three very different characters, and let each of them narrate different chapters of These Girls. So I plotted out this novel carefully before writing a single word. I bought index cards in different colors – yellow for Renee, rose-colored for Cate, and blue for Abby, because for me, each of those colors conjured up something essential I wanted to convey for my characters. I detailed my scenes on the cards before spreading them out on my dining room table. By the time my table was completely covered, I had the bones of my book in place, and I felt a lot more confident about writing!
Q: How important do you think social media is for authors these days?
Incredibly important – and getting more so all the time. We’re seeing newspapers and magazines fold these days, and it’s harder and harder to get the word out about books, especially for new authors. Bloggers have stepped into that breach and helped support the publishing industry in a huge way – simply because bloggers adore books and get excited about discovering new authors. Facebook and twitter also let authors interact directly with readers, which is always fun. I personally love it when I go on Facebook, which I do every day, and readers help me name a character or weigh in on which author photo I should use. If you haven’t already found me on Facebook, please do so!
Q: What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Write one page a day. You’ll finish your book in a year! Sometimes it’s hard to write because the self-doubt sets in – the voices in our heads can be really cruel, can’t they? – but the main thing is to get those raw words down on the page. Once you’ve got a draft, you can reshape it into something special – but just getting the words down in the first place is the key.
Write for the Fight: A Book that Raises Funds for Breast Cancer Research
They say that 12% of women will get breast cancer (‘they’ being the scientists and researchers who regularly talk numbers and organisms). As women, that means we have higher than a one-in-twelve chance of confronting this disease (‘we’ being the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, coworkers, friends and girl next door).
The number—12%—made me realize at an early age that breast cancer was going to affect someone I knew and loved. I used to sit amongst my different groups of friends, sharing stories, jokes, laughter and wine, and wonder, which one of us will it be?
I am now 43, and have been lucky so far. Indeed, I have friends and coworkers who have fought breast cancer, and they are warriors and survivors. I have a very small family; maybe that’s why breast cancer hasn’t been statistically welcome there. But that hasn’t stopped the tears from flowing when I hear about how the disease has affected friends of friends, or family members of acquaintances, or when I read blog posts written about people I don’t even know. Six degrees of separation is just another number. They are all me. They are all sisters (and brothers, too: for every one hundred cases of breast cancer, one will occur in a man).
When I heard about the Write for the Fight book project last fall, I immediately wanted to be involved as it was such a unique opportunity to raise money for breast cancer research. I was already familiar with the grace and compassion of the author who came up with the idea, Tess Hardwick, through blogging, tweeting and emails, and even knew a bit about her publisher, Booktrope—especially important was that their Chief Marketing Officer, Katherine Sears, shared a love of cheesy 80s music with me (ah, the things that come out on a Friday evening just before you sign off of Twitter for the night). First, though, I had to win an essay contest to land one of six open spots; the other seven essayists, including Tess, would come from Booktrope’s roster of authors.
The essay topics had been divided into the seasons of life. Spring was “What do you miss about being 5 years old?” For summer, “What would you tell your 20-year-old self?” The autumn question asked “What, at this point in your life, do you want, wish and dream of for your life going forward?” Finally, winter, and the twilight years: “What would you want said about you on your 80th birthday?” I chose summer for my contest entry as it’s both my favorite season and a stage of my life that is a deep well from which to draw: at 20, I was on the verge of estranging myself from my mentally-ill mother.
The news that I’d been selected came in early December. Ecstatic, I set about writing the remaining three essays for the book. With the publication date set for March 5th, the weeks flew by, the emails flowed, and I started to get to know my co-contributors. It quickly emerged that we were a diverse group: in age range, in geographic location, and even in gender. I was excited to see the variety of perspectives that we would all bring to the project, both in our writing, and in our collaboration to promote the book and the cause.
Sometimes dreams really do come true, as they say in The Wizard of Oz. The stories in Write for the Fight share commonalities and differences, funny anecdotes and painful recollections, the wisdom of age and the freedom and fearlessness of youth. And as contributors, we are having a fantastically fun time supporting each other as we come up with new and creative ways to spread the word about this book (and thank you, Samantha and Chick Lit+, for getting on board!). We may be spread out around the world, but we’ve now created a family of our own—a Write for the Fight family of project participants, authors and readers who have mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, coworkers, and friends affected by breast cancer and who want to see the day when that isn’t so. I, for one, believe that a cure is possible, and that it may even be just around the corner. Oh, what a day that will be.
Laura Zera is an author and project consultant who has lived and worked in Cameroon, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the United States. Laura’s first book, 2004’s Tro-tros and Potholes, chronicles her solo adventures through five countries of West Africa and she is currently working on a memoir about being raised by a schizophrenic mother. She loves to talk about cheesy 80s music on Twitter @laurazera and you can also visit her blog.
Booktrope Publishing’s 2012 anthology Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays was released as an e-book on March 5 at BarnesandNoble.com and on April 6 at Amazon.com. It will be available in paperback later this month. Co-authored by Tess Hardwick and Tracey M. Hansen, it includes essays from a total of 13 writers. All author royalties will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The Writer’s Life: Upsides and Downsides
I get to work from home.
Upside: You can write all day in your PJ’s if you want to. Washing your hair need only happen twice a week. Showering isn’t really even essential: the only person who gets to see you is the person delivering your online shopping to the door. Gas to the office costs nothing. You never commit road rage in your quest to not be late. No one monitors how long you spend on the Internet. You can take a personal phone call. Or twenty. You can do nothing all day and lie about it – no one knows what you were going to be doing anyway, so how can they punish you for things they don’t know about that you haven’t done? You set your own deadlines. You have no one sabotaging them, no one stopping you from reaching them. The sky is therefore the limit to what you can achieve. Though, admittedly, your achievements usually fall far short of the sky. Because…
Downside: Sometimes being steps away from your bed, the fridge, and the cupboard where you keep your alcohol, is a curse rather than a blessing. Sometimes you are lonely and have no one to have a chuckle with or to sound off to. The cat and the dog don’t cut it. You discover their intellectual limitations pretty fast when you attempt to take a coffee break with them and engage them in a spot of plot problem-solving, and all they do is purr at you, or give you a pair of your own socks to play tug-of-war with. Then other times when you’re far from lonely and your writing is on a roll, people won’t leave you alone. They knock at your door, peek in your blinds, try to coax you with warm cookies. They know you are in there. When you try to ward them off by insisting that you keep proper office hours, they smile that smile that says that they think you are just trying to sound like a normal person – not a kept woman – which half of the neighborhood assumes you are anyway, because you walk your dog at random hours of the day.
Once in a while you get the urge to physically harm telemarketers. Sometimes that actually feels good.
You create entire fictionalized worlds in which you get to live for the time it takes to write a book.
Upside: It’s unbearably fun when you come up with a great book idea. When after very little thought, you already have a good sense of who your characters are, of their individual challenges, and even how things will end for them. You see the book soaring up the bestsellers lists; maybe even being made into a movie. You will write this book in half the time it has taken you to write the others. You are so excited to make it all happen that you don’t even bother mapping out the book. You just dive in and start writing in your toothpaste-stained sweatshirt, with a serious case of bed-head. At this point, you love your life. You think yourself incredibly lucky that someone is paying you to be a writer. Woo-hoo!
Downside: This lasts for about the first chapter. Then you realize that, knowing your beginning and knowing your end are just brackets that frame a big problem: you’ve got no plot. A plot is the life you give to your characters and the journey you take them on. But you can’t give your characters a life when you don’t really know them. And like people, characters in books are hard to get to know. Trying to force a plot is like trying to pull out your own tooth with a pair of pliers. Surely it’s best then to just let a plot closely mirror life? It just flows on from some place where it begins… But the story of your own real life has a slow unfolding every day. Sometimes not much happens. Sometimes you go nowhere. But if nothing much happens in your plot, and it’s going nowhere, then, alas, so is your career. Despite the theoretically fabulous process of writing a book, by the time you finally write the words The End, you realize you have never been more relieved by anything in your life – except when you wrote your other two books, and the memory of that is still so traumatic that you’ve never re-read them since they got published. But then an odd thing happens. A tiny part of you knows you will miss laboring over that book because when every time you read it, it makes you laugh and cry in all the right places – where you imagine your readers will laugh and cry too. To care so passionately about the lives and loves and heartbreaks of people who don’t even exist, yet can reduce you to such extremes of your emotions, feels like your own best measure of success. And then you realize that must make you slightly off your head. There surely has to be a less madcap way to earn a living.
Upside: That is certainly true.
Carol Mason is the best-selling author of The Love Market, Send Me A Lover and The Secrets of Married Women – all recently re-released as Amazon E books for $2.99. For the month of March, Carol will be donating 50% of the proceeds of her E book sales to breast cancer. See her website, www.carolmasonbooks.com for more details, or jump right onto Amazon and buy the books.
SHELLY BELL HOSTS FUNDRAISER
During 25th Annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week,
Themed Everybody Knows Somebody, Feb. 26-March 3
Observing 25 Years of Working for a World Without Eating Disorders
Farmington Hills, MI— February 23, 2012 — For Immediate Release — Shelly Bell will host a Fundraiser during the 25th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week) in an effort to bring public attention to the critical need to raise awareness and funding to battle eating disorders in the U.S.
WHEN: February 26, 2012-March 3, 2012
During NEDAwareness Week, thousands of people come together in communities across the country, hosting events to raise awareness about body image and bring national attention to the severity of eating disorders, which are mental illnesses (not lifestyle choices) with devastating, often life-threatening, consequences. While there is hope and recovery is possible – particularly with early intervention – many people suffer from long-term effects of these illnesses.
Themed Everybody Knows Somebody in 2012, some of the many events planned for the week include presentations and health fairs in schools and on college campuses; screenings of informational films; fashion shows featuring men and women of all body types; art shows; The Great Jeans Giveaway; and NEDA Walk fundraisers.
NEDA encourages individuals to get the conversation started in every community by pledging to do just one thing to raise awareness and provide critical information on eating disorders and related issues. Everyone can participate by planning and/or getting involved in local NEDAwareness Week events and activities; providing information and resources; and by encouraging community members to model acceptance and celebration of diversity in body shapes and sizes.
For information on how to get involved during NEDAwareness Week: www.myneda.org
U.S. Statistics on Eating Disorders: As many as 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. battle anorexia or bulimia. And as many as 13 million more struggle with binge eating disorder. Millions practice disordered eating due to an obsession with dieting ● Four out of 10 Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder ● For females between 15- and 24-years-old-old who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the mortality rate associated with the illness is 12 times higher than the death rate of all other causes of death ● 40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19 years old ● There was a significant increase in incidence of anorexia from 1935 to 1989, especially among young women 15-24 ● There has been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930 ● Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives ● Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet ● 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner ● 81% of 10 –year-olds are afraid of being fat ● The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds ● Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women ● 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets.
Shelly Bell’s debut book, A Year to Remember, follows a food addict’s road to recovery as she searches for her soul mate under the watchful eye of the nation. A recovering compulsive overeater, she wrote A Year to Remember to share her strength and hope with compulsive overeaters and food addicts everywhere.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
For Treatment Referrals, Visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-2237
Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST)
Shelly Bell — (313) 550-3313
By Deborah Coonts,
Author of Lucky Stiff
The words “Las Vegas” conjure thoughts of wild exploits, sexual highjinks, hangovers, and the scantily clad. Not too far from the truth, actually. I’ve lived here over twelve years, give or take, and this city gets under your skin. You just do stuff here you wouldn’t even think about anywhere else. And I’ve done my share.
Take male stripping. Who knew it was a contact sport? I’m not talking Chippendales or Thunder Down Under — great shows, but a bit tame, all things considered. True male stripping involves young men parading around in nothing but muscles with tiny sacks over their bananas. I think they smile too, but frankly, I don’t remember. I must not have been looking at their smiles, but I’m not admitting to anything. Anyway, the strippers paw the patrons, rubbing up against them in very provocative ways. I remember sitting across from a girlfriend of mine as one guy straddled her and ground his member into her lush chest. All I could see were his clenching butt muscles until my friend leaned around him, raised her glass, and gave me a shit-eating grin. It ruined me — I was done. Laughing does not make the strippers happy. Trust me on that one. Who knew that handsome young men in their near-all-together could be so sensitive?
Another fun evening out here in Vegas involves men and dancing, but of a different sort. You know how sometimes you just wanna dance? No fondling, no come-ons, no tired pick-up lines . . . just dance? The best place to do it in Vegas is Krave. They bill themselves as the Number One Gay Nightclub in the Country, and I would agree. Not that I have a great deal of experience, mind you, but boy is this place fun! The guys are great. They love to dance. And they are totally not interested in picking up women. A relief. Of course, if you’re in Vegas to score a bit of action, this might not be the place for you . . . unless you are gay.
And now I here the owners of Krave are opening a bar in downtown Vegas, near Freemont Street, where all the servers are drag queens. Who could resist? I plan on being first in line!
Of course, if you’re into beer and butt-whacking, the Hofbräveuhaus is for you. Yup, you can sing along to what I call oompah bands — I’m sure that’s not the technical term, but you get my drift (a bunch of guys with beer bellies in Lederhosen) and you can order a flagon of beer and get paddled by a pretty girl with a wooden paddle and a major-league swing. Why anybody would want to do this is beyond me, but they do — to the delight of the restaurant patrons. And the whole thing can be memorialized for posterity by a roving photographer. This is not something I’ve experienced personally — I’m not one to pay for physical punishment and pain — but I’ve seen it done.
So, while we’re on the subject of crazy-ass stuff I’ve seen but not participated in, let me tell you about the best party in town. Most folks think New Years is Vegas-Gone-Wild, but I beg to differ. Halloween is the night you want to be here to get your naughty on. There’s this party — The Fetish and Fantasy Ball — and the costumes are . . . creative. Often they involve spray paint and pasties. Or maybe just Saran Wrap. Or a couple of triangles of fur and string. But is it one heck of a party! The people-watching is the best part.
Did you know it is possible to eat a five star meal, served by tux-clad waiters . . . while suspended 180 feet above the ground. The views of the Strip are amazing — as long as you’re not acrophobic. It’s the only meal in town to require a seat belt — and it’s a ton of fun. Champagne toasts, filet mignon, unobstructed views, both panoramic and straight down, where else could you have this experience? It’s Vegas all the way.
Now, there’s one other thing I’m working my courage up to do. There’s this bar called the Double-Down — billed as “The Happiest Place on Earth”. They sell something called Ass Juice — it comes with Puke Insurance. I understand it’s a place you want to go when you’re craving the down and dirty, punk-rock Vegas thing. Sounds too good to pass up. Anybody game?
© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff
Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure — her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas adventure series.
Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.
Thank you to Tricia Carr for alerting me to this party! Sorry the picture is a bit small, if I make it bigger it doesn’t fit on the page! But you can find out more information about this fantastic e-vent here. I hope you can make it!