Guest Post: “On Loneliness” by Corey Ann Haydu (Author of OCD LOVE STORY & LIFE BY COMMITTEE)

Good Afternoon, Readers! I hope you’re enjoying you day 🙂 Today I have the author of OCD Love Story and the recently published Life by Committee, Corey Ann Haydu who is sharing her thoughts on loneliness, one of the themes of Life by Committee.  Just as a preface, this post actually made me tear up and is a HUGE reason why I bought the book I can relate 100% to Tabitha and the experiences Corey describes in this post (small schools can really suck). I hope it speaks to you as much as it did me! -Patrice

life by commmittee

On Loneliness

I wrote a book about loneliness.

I wrote a book about loneliness at a time in my life when I was very lonely about a time when I was very lonely.

Writing can be really lonely anyway, but I wrote LIFE BY COMMITTEE while I was going through a big break up so it was written in an extra-lonely moment. We get a little used to loneliness, being writers, and sometimes it’s even sort of nice. My apartment is big and with no one else in it I could eat a lot of cheese and watch a lot of Gilmore Girls. Sometimes I’d be out with friends who were working hard to distract me from my loneliness, and I’d leave early thinking, no. I’d rather be lonely. LBC is a book that matters to me partly for that reason. I felt very cuddled up with Tabitha, both of us in our lonely little moments, supporting each other from a far. We understood each other, her and I.

But being lonely at 28 is easier than being lonely at 16. Or it was for me. Being lonely at 28 meant I tried to learn how to use a slow cooker and I abused my Netflix account and I started being more interested in what red wine was the perfect red wine for this type of pasta or this type of chicken or this type of sadness. Being lonely at 28 was satisfying. I had earned it. I could tolerate it. I had a therapist, after all.

More than that, I could complain about it to friends. Which maybe meant I wasn’t so, so lonely after all.

It was not, ultimately, the loneliest I have ever been.

The loneliest I have was in high school. Like Tabitha I had really great friends. Like Tabitha they stopped being my friends because I’d changed. Like Tabitha, I didn’t really feel like I’d changed.

That kind of loneliness was worse. It wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t feel like I’d earned it. I didn’t know where it had come from. I didn’t choose it or feel that it would be short-lived. I didn’t have a slow cooker or red wine or Netflix.

I had the aching sensation that I was unprepared to do it by myself. I had a not great boyfriend who everyone loved and no friends. I couldn’t hide in a room with my loneliness and cheese and coffee and Gilmore Girls. In high school, you have to walk around with it all the time. In hallways. In dress code khakis and the wrong shoes. You have survive with it in this constant way.

There comes a point, at a small school, where you’re not even wishing X or Y or Z person would be your friend. You’re not motivated to make some Herculean effort to change things. You know all the people, you know their friends, and you know that’s not going to happen. You know you’re stuck and that you won’t be unstuck until high school is over.

Or, if you’re me, you become a foreign exchange student and go to a country with a language you’ve never spoken before and live with a family who speaks that language and go to a school that operates in that language, and you do loneliness there. And it feels a little different because there’s risotto for lunch and centuries old cathedrals and girls in track suits and boys with shiny black hair and there are white stone roads and marble statues and the promise of Venice only an hour away.

But it’s still loneliness. And there’s still the expectation that you shouldn’t be feeling loneliness. Because you are in Italy and there is gelato on every corner. And your failure makes you lonelier still.

And these aren’t happy memories or even hopeful ones. I went all the way to Italy and I couldn’t shake the loneliness. I fell in love and couldn’t shake it. I wrote a book of vignettes and took self portraits and was Ophelia in Hamlet and Laura in the Glass Menagerie and Oliver in Oliver and I couldn’t shake it, except for those moments on stage, where I was being someone else, or those moments writing the vignettes, where at least I was being me.

I intended this to be a post about the loneliness of being a writer, and maybe it is. Writing helped, in the sense that I at least had myself, and when I wrote, I felt connected to at least that person.

And I’m lonely sometimes now, even though the break-up is over and life is pretty good. There is a loneliness that comes with full-time writing. You are by yourself, and in it alone and stuck with your thoughts and sometimes there are breakups and family tragedies and fights with friends and feeling misunderstood. But there’s the work. And there are tiny things you are in control of. Coffee, wine, cheese, Netflix, the color of your bedspread and how soft it is.

And there is the loveliness of sadness. And the relief—great and huge and overwhelming and heartbreaking—that you are not in high school anymore.

About the Author

corey ann haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is a young adult novelist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her first novel, OCD LOVE STORY, is coming out July 2013 from Simon Pulse. Her second novel, LIFE BY COMMITTEE will be out in Summer 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books at Harper Collins.

Corey grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts where she learned a deep love for books, cheese, cobblestone streets, cold weather and The Gilmore Girls. She has been living in New York City since 2001, where she has now developed new affections for New Yorky things like downtown bookstores, Brooklyn brownstones, writing in coffee shops, the Modern Love column in the Sunday Times, pilates, leggings, and even fancier cheeses.

Corey graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she got her BFA in Theatre. After college, Corey worked as an actress and playwright (and waitress and telemarketer and real estate broker and nanny and personal assistant) She also spent a lot of time in Starbucks writing short stories.

After working in children’s publishing for a few years, and falling in love with YA literature, Corey received her MFA from The New School in Writing for Children. During graduate school Corey rounded out her list of interests with mochas, evening writing workshops, post-it notes, bi-weekly cheeseburgers, blazers, and board games.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About the Book

life by commmitteeLife by Committee

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Here I am with my copy:
photo (10)

Add to your Goodreads to-reads! or buy it today! 

Buy Links: IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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You Come First

Sometimes I get too stressed out. I let others affect me more than they should. It can become so frustrating. Between worrying about my friends, being involved in organizations I’m in etc…I often forget to take care of me.

Well…here it is. My pledge to myself. This Winter and for the rest of this year, I’m going to truly live up to the year I said it would be, the year of me.

I want to focus more on my writing and my grades. I’m so tired of trying to please other people, in the end it just zaps me of all my energy. I want to end this year saying I gave my dreams & my goals my all. This isn’t middle school anymore. The time of me caring for other people more than me is gone. The time for me sacrificing time and energy on things that, in the end, won’t make me any happier, is gone too. I’m tired of trying to please everyone.

One friend said it perfectly. It’s like, when we were born we were given a certain amount of “cares” (to substitute the actual word she used). Once you’ve cared so much, they’re gone. What’s left is an empty carcass that you need to refill.

I’m taking care of myself like my daddy told me to do years ago. I guess this is a long time coming.

…here’s to a day of writing bliss! & sleep.

The Super Spies and the Pied Piper

17996909

by Lisa Orchard

Book Blurb

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation.Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.”

But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake.

Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

My Review

Owl rating

As with the previous two books in this series, THE SUPER SPIES AND THE PIED PIPER was quite the adventure.  I love fairy tales, mythology, and all types of folklore and such so from the title alone, I was intrigued to read more.

The girls are so witty and smart, not to mention they’re pretty much on their own.  I can’t even imagine my parents disappearing and it being up to my siblings and/or friends and I to find them.  Whew, what a task!  I thought the setup of everything was great, especially as someone who has read the previous books, it was nice to start off with a familiar setting.

However I didn’t connect to the girls as much as I usually do, especially not as much as I did with the last one.  I love the plot, and the mystery kept me guessing but for some reason I didn’t feel as much for the characters.  Hence the three owl rating since voice and characterization is what keeps me going.

That being said, I still love the series.  I’ve said this before but as someone who grew up reading Nancy Drew, it’s nice to have a group of friends out there solving town mysteries. I think these series would work great with a younger YA or upper MG audience.  I think friendship in YA isn’t shown as much as I’d like, at least friendship without feuds over a guy or a friend who “disappears” once the romantic interest comes into the story, and The Super Spies series keeps friendship a central theme.

Buy Links

Astraea Press | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Many thanks to the author, Lisa Orchard, for sending me a copy to read and review.  This is a 100% honest review!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

It’s Here!!! Release Day: The Super Spies and the Pied Piper

The third book in the Super Spies Series is finally here! Below are the cover, blurb, and an excerpt!

To celebrate this new release the first two books are on sale for $.99! (I’ve posted links to my reviews of them below) It’s a really fun series of friendship, mystery, and adventure you won’t want to miss!

Book Cover

by Lisa Orchard

Book Blurb

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation.Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.”

But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake.

Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Excerpt

Chapter One

“What do you mean you lost them?” Sarah Cole fidgeted as she waited for Agent Gray to answer. I can’t believe it! He lost the only clue to our parents’ location. What is wrong with this picture? Agitated, Sarah shifted in her seat and chewed on her lip. She was uncomfortable in the folding chair and rearranged her petite frame so she wouldn’t feel the cold metal against her bare legs. Shivering, she glanced around the all-too-familiar room.

The gray cement block walls no longer gave her that creepy, closed-in feeling she’d used to get when she first came to the interrogation rooms. She remembered the first time she’d been in that tiny space. It had been the day she’d discovered the Cat Lady’s dead body. Sarah shuddered at the memory and then smiled when she remembered forming the Super Spies and bringing the Cat Lady Killer to justice. Glancing around the room again, she realized she’d been in this room quite a bit these last few weeks, not only during the Cat Lady investigation, but the High School Bomber investigation as well. Shivering again, Sarah rubbed her arms but she really wasn’t cold. Her mind filled with the image of the bomber the Super Spies had helped apprehend just a week earlier.

Wow! Was it just last week?

She tugged at a lock of her honey colored hair, then brushed it away with an impatient hand. She sighed and glanced at her younger sister. Lacey sat beside her with her legs crossed, jiggling her foot at such a rapid rate it seemed like her whole body was electrified. She caught Sarah’s eye and for a moment her eyes glittered like emeralds before she shifted her gaze to Aunt June, who had placed her hand on Lacey’s leg in what appeared to be an attempt to quiet her. Sarah shifted in her chair and sighed again. Are we ever going to find Mom and Dad?

A commotion out in the hall drew everyone’s attention. Sarah leaned forward

and craned her neck to see what was happening.

“Chief, we’ve got an OD!” An officer yelled.

“What?” Chief Johnson yelled as he rushed by. “An OD on what? Give me the details.”

“The parents found their son unconscious in his room this morning, and an empty bottle of prescription medication on his bedside table.”

“What was it?” Chief Johnson asked.

“It’s Myodine.”

“Who makes it?”

“Ah… Piper Drugs.”

“Call Poison Control with the name and manufacturer and ask them what to do about an overdose. Instruct the parents to get their son to the hospital pronto,” Chief Johnson ordered.

“They’ve brought him here.”

“What?” Chief Johnson exclaimed.

The sound of policemen rushing through the hall pulled Sarah and her sister out of their seats. They hurried to the door, unable to stifle their curiosity. Peering down the corridor, Sarah caught a glimpse of a young man sagging between two officers as they desperately tried to keep him on his feet. One officer gently slapped his face while the other officers held him up. The young man blinked and then gagged, puking on the officer in front of him. The rancid stench of fresh vomit filled the air. While plugging her nose, Sarah ducked back inside the interrogation room, followed by her sister. Sarah closed the door, hoping it would keep the smell from penetrating the room.

“Did you hear that, Lace? Piper Drugs! That’s the company Dad works for,” Sarah whispered in her sister’s ear before proceeding back to her seat.

Lacey opened her mouth to speak, but closed it when Agent Gray cleared his throat and motioned for them to sit down.

He continued his conversation as if they hadn’t been interrupted. We were on our way to the location of the ping… but before we got there it disappeared.”

“So, what does that mean? Did you find our parents or what?” Sarah blurted out as she sat down. She stared into Agent Gray’s icy blue eyes, trying to read his mind.

What are some new books you’re excited about reading?

For more information about the wonderful author and her other books check out these links!

Interview with Author, Lisa Orchard – Whimsically Yours

Book Review, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer – Whimsically Yours

Book Review, The Super Spies and the High School Bomber (bk. 2) – Whimsically Yours

Social Media Links:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Where to Buy?

1. The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer ($.99)

2. The Super Spies and the High School Bomber ($.99)

3. The Super Spies and the Pied Piper (links to come)

  • Astraea Press
  • Amazon
  • Barnes and Noble

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

The Super Spies and the High School Bomber

by: Lisa Orchard

Book Blurb

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her.

When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

My Review

Owl rating:

The Super Spies are back again and this time they’re out to find the high school bomber!  The Super Spies are a hilarious group of girls.  Their wit and cunning ability to uncover cases reminds me of a modern(er) Nancy Drew mixed with the fun of The Mystery Gang.  While part of me was laughing the other part of me was wrapped up in a blanket scared that something would happen to them.

I loved how every time I thought: oh no, you’re doing the wrong thing, you’re on the wrong track it’s not him/her it’s the other person, they were actually right and I was wrong.  I love it when a book keeps me guessing.

Another thing I loved about the series was the friendship, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I’m a sucker for books that deal with friendships rather than insta-love so no wonder I loved this one.

I recommend the Super Spies and the High School Bomber to girls and boys alike who want a fun, thrilling mystery!  Also once again I really like this cover art 🙂

**This is a 100% honest review, I received the book from the author**

Whimsically Yours,

PnC