Holiday Gift Guide: MILKED–A Modern Mommy Tale with a Retro Twist


Let’s kick off this year’s holiday guide with a great new book from Lisa Doyle.

By and large, Amanda Keane makes pretty good decisions. Okay, she might not have the best taste in men, but she’s got great friends, a good job, and an independent spirit. That is, until her 30th birthday ushers in a whirlwind romance with a sexy Irish musician who leaves her, not at the altar as she imagined, but accidentally pregnant. And when he disappears, she’s downsized out of a job, her apartment is robbed, and lapsed health insurance coverage leaves her with a C-section to pay for, Amanda is launched headfirst into the life of a broke single mom. But her friend and uber successful ob-gyn, Joy, clues her in to an unlikely temp position with one of Chicago’s celebrity elite that just may be the answer to all her woes. Or could it be just the beginning? 

It’s with serious trepidation that Amanda embarks on her surprisingly lucrative new career: underground wet nurse to the offspring of Chi-town’s rich and famous. Amanda must quickly understand how to live at the whims and mercy of the one percent as she deals with the irony of nursing – and loving – someone else’s child, while still making ends meet for her own daughter. And then there’s Cute Daycare Dad (aka Dan), who’s obviously interested in her. But can she afford to tell him what she really does for a living? Is her new job (something she thought went out with the 19th century) a shameful thing? Just another way of selling her body? Or does it have something to teach her after all? 

A novel of motherhood, its many demands, and all the little triumphs along the way, MILKED is a warm and witty debut about making tough choices and traveling the roundabout road to happiness.

 

Below is an excerpt from Doyle’s fun, funny book about living life and loving it:

“Can you hear me?” said a slight, wiry man with glasses and an authentic Irish brogue. I hadn’t even noticed as a full band of six—no, seven—guys had assembled in the corner of the bar. And oh God, Eamonn was standing there holding a violin. (Is there an Irish word for violin? Would they call it a fiddle?) This was possibly better than a guitar.

“Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Failte,” said the older man, and we all applauded. The band started out with a lively piece and some of the presumably regular patrons started clapping and cheering.

Over the next hour, I sat transfixed watching them (okay, him) as the rest of my group kept chattering away. It wasn’t just his looks that made him sexy; it was the way his hands moved on the violin, how he put his whole body into the song, how he was so in tune with the rest of the group. There were so many more of them than you’d see in a typical bar band, and they all had to play off of each other, producing these amazing harmonies. There was another violinist (fiddler?) playing as well, but I could pick out Eamonn’s the entire night. It sounded sweeter. I had never appreciated Irish music at all before that night. In fact, I had thought it was kind of cheesy. There was nothing cheesy about the way Eamonn looked playing it.

Anthony, good sport that he had been, begged off at ten, citing an early call schedule starting the next day.

“Thank you for the wine,” I said, giving him a pat on the hand as he left. He nodded and left. Meg and Henry soon followed, giving me quick hugs goodbye.

Just then, Eamonn took the microphone from its stand. “We’ve got time for just one more song tonight. I understand there’s a lass here celebrating a birthday?” His eyes scanned the room for about half a second before landing on mine.

Oh, God. I managed a small wave as my friends started to clap and hoot in my direction.

“Any requests, love?” he asked, wiping a little sweat from his brow.

Crap. I didn’t know any Irish songs.

“Er. Something by U2, maybe?” I squeaked out.

He conferred with his bandmates for a moment. They all then left the stage except for Eamonn. He pulled a stool up closer to the microphone and set it back in its stand, then adjusted it for height. He sat down, wiped his brow again, then smiled at me and started to play.

A hush fell over the bar as he alone proceeded to play the most extraordinary version of “All I Want Is You.” Everyone was enraptured at this point, not just me. It was so melodious, so hauntingly beautiful and unlike anything I’d ever heard. I’d never been hugely into violin music before, but I knew I’d never listen to one the same way again.

When he played the last lines, it was like the end of a massage. I felt so refreshed, so relaxed, but damned if I didn’t wish it was longer. The bar erupted in applause, and Eamonn stood up to take a small bow. The wiry man returned to the stage and said, “How ’bout my nephew?” and gave Eamonn a large pat on the back.

Leigh turned to me after the cheers had died down.

“Seriously. If you don’t sleep with that guy tonight, I will,” Leigh whispered.

Let me just tell you that thirty-year-old me had never had a one-night stand before. And by definition, thirty-two-year-old me hasn’t either, thank you very much. I just wanted to make that clear. Leigh, on the other hand, she was kind of slutty. A great friend, sure, but she would be the first to admit she had lost track of her magic number halfway through her twenties.

“I’m not sleeping with anyone tonight, all right?” I said. But that’s not to say I was going to walk out that door and never see that guy again. Hell, no. I grabbed a coaster from the center of the table, and scribbled the words “Birthday Girl” and my cell phone number on it.

 

Lisa Doyle is a communications manager and freelance writer based in the Chicago area. A native of Hinsdale, Illinois and a graduate of Miami University, she spent several years editing business-to-business publications for the personal care industry before moving to the nonprofit sector, and currently works in advocacy for homeless families at Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has written for major beauty trade publications (Global Cosmetic Industry, Skin Inc, Salon Today, Modern Salon, Renew, Suburban Life) and is a contributor to WOMEN REINVENTED: TRUE STORIES OF EMPOWERMENT AND CHANGE (LaChance Publishing, 2010). Doyle is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary, Inc., a full-service agency based in New York. For more about Lisa, please visit herwebsite.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bylisadoyle

Twitter: @bylisadoyle

Buy the Book!

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide–and a little surprise


It’s nearly time to start posting my favorites for my holiday gift guide. It’s also nearly time for the launch of Robyn Lane Books’ debut picture book.

Leslie Gibbons’ book, A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS, is available everywhere on Tuesday, November 18. If you read this blog, then you can sneak in the door at Barnes & Noble or Amazon to buy a copy–a little bird told me they were available now. If you prefer a copy for your eReader, you can pre-order one here: A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS

I really believe you’ll love this story. I adore it, both as a mother and as a daughter.

An oldie but a goodie of my mother, my son, and me.

An oldie but a goodie of my mother, my son, and me.

rlb-banner

A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS: Cover Reveal


When Robyn and I decided to start Robyn Lane Books, we figured that if we built it, the writers would come.  We were right.

Our very first executed contract was for Leslie Gibbons’ beautiful story, A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS.  Leslie’s daughter, Elspeth (who would later sign her own contract with us, and whose book is forthcoming!) sent us the piece, wondering if it might fit in with a collection of essays we are curating on motherhood.  I opened the attachment and started to read.

Before I was halfway through, I knew this had to be its own book.  By the end, as I was wiping away tears from my eyes, I knew it had to be a picture book.  Halfway across town, Robyn was having the same reaction.

When Leslie explained the origin of the story, it made it that much more special.  You see, when her daughter was expecting her first baby, she despaired over the lack of stories with living, loving mothers.  She asked Leslie to write her a story to read to her baby, and A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS was born.

It is the story of a mother bird, who loves her chicks into readiness to leave the nest, and how they love her in return.  Trust me–it’s a story that will stay in your heart forever.

We’ve been working on getting Leslie’s book ready for you since April, and it has been a true labor of love.  Today, I am thrilled to reveal the cover to you, and let you know that it will be available for pre-order soon in both print and eBook.

So, without further adieu,

A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS

A FAIRYTALE FOR MOTHERS

And Then This Happened


Back in July, this happened:

Omnific Pairs with Simon & Schuster (And Licenses Titles to Amazon)

Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books has announced a co-publishing agreement with independent publisher of romantic fiction, Omnific Publishing. Under the agreement, Gallery and Pocket will co-publish “a select number” of titles with Omnific, both as ebooks and print books. Additionally, S&S will distribute all Omnific titles. Gallery Books Publishing Group

 

And then, today this happened:

*kermit arms*

*kermit arms*

 

That’s pretty freaking fantastic right there.

Somewhere Between Sin and Sensationalism


It seems that no matter how hard I try to avoid certain pop culture phenomena, I cannot escape snippets of information about the biggest names.  On one end of the spectrum, I cannot avoid hearing that someone who calls himself The Situation, is in trouble for tax evasion.  On the other end, I cannot avoid hearing that the Duggar family thinks bare midriff is a gateway to hell.  The former makes me shake my head because it is beyond me how someone who goes by The Situation earned multiple millions of dollars.  The latter makes me shake my head because everyone knows it’s ankles and armpits that lead men down those thorny paths to Satan.

I feel like society has lost the art of Appreciation.  There has to be something between, “Her breasts will cause you to lust, and send you to your doom,” and “Oh, yeah! Show me dem titties!”

There is nothing wrong with wanting your children to be chaste.  Chastity has a multitude of benefits.  Chastity means not worrying about STDs, or unplanned pregnancy.  It can take a load off your mind.  But there is also nothing wrong with appreciating a good looking person.  Acknowledging that Dwayne Johnson is a mighty fine specimen, and appreciating how nice he looks in various states of dress does not mean I am going to commit a cardinal sin, having looked upon him.  I do not fear for my marriage because my husband thinks Alyssa Milano is hot.  Alyssa Milano is hot.  Even I can see that.

What bothers me is when we ask our children to suppress their nature, rather than teaching them how to healthily embrace their desires.  Telling a boy that it is sinful to appreciate what a girl looks like can confuse that boy to the point that he projects his self-hatred–not being able to avoid sin, for his natural desire to look at the girl–onto the girl, and causes her and/or himself any number of harms.  “You are a whore because you make my pants feel funny!  Therefore, whatever I do to you is punishment for your nastiness!  Here, I shall punish you with this funny-feeling thing in my pants!”

Teach a boy that girls (and boys) can be wonderful to look at, but that we should always respect the other person’s right to privacy and respect, and I think you’ll have a much healthier boy.

The worst is when women take on the attitude, and they become self-loathing, or anti-woman.  They are so afraid of being seen as stumbling blocks to men’s salvation that they have internalized an attitude that a slip of beauty means a willful attempt to derail goodness.  I don’t want you to know I think I am beautiful because that means I am vain, and my vanity can lead to a man’s downfall, so to keep you from looking at me, and what I am trying to bury, I am going to point my finger at Sue Ellen over there, and yell that she’s spent too much time making her lips look pretty, and that’s sure to make Joe Ray go devilnuts.  Sue Ellen wants Joe Ray to go to hell!  Just look at her hair!  Look at how much of her collar bone is showing!  Whatever you do, don’t look at me because you’ll see I’m just as hateful as Sue Ellen.*

We have to be able to look at The David and admire the art without fixating on the fig leaf.  We have to be able to look at Liberté and see the strength without gasping at her nipples.  We have to be able to appreciate the natural beauty of humanity without being worried that thinking someone is beautiful, or desirable means there is something dark in your soul, or something in them inciting you to lust.

Appreciation is a giving, creative force.  When you appreciate, you show honor, and you give weight to the value something brings to its surroundings.

Find the happy medium.

 

*Or, how dare Sue Ellen be beautiful and catch Joe Ray’s eye!  I’m over here being as blandly attractive as possible (because you have to be just attractive enough that some man might want to marry you, so you can make some babies, but not so attractive as to look like you’re trying), and she’s being downright attractive, and that’s wrong!  That’s sin!  She’s making Joe Ray look at her outsides, when he should be focused on my insides (and by that I mean my heart, because he’s not supposed to think about my baby maker until after we’re married.)