My Name (loosely based on Sandra Cisnernos’s “My Name”)

It’s Elizabeth, it’s Lisa, it’s Hastings, it’s Rosenman, it’s too many combinations of names on letters in the mail. It’s wondering whether Elizabeth or Lisa has to go on a form, whether the form is important enough to get the full name I don’t use.

It’s Elizabeth for Queen Elizabeth, Lisa because they liked it too, and both because they couldn’t decide between them and read Lisa could be a nickname for Elizabeth. (Would’ve been Jonathan if I were a boy—not very regal.) The books say: Elizabeth=consecrated by God. Lisa=nickname of Elizabeth. A derivative of consecration?

It’s Elizabeth on the first day of school, registering for classes, at the doctor. Don’t get too many odd responses to my correction of Lisa, but it’s not like I’m asking to be called George.

Two Lisas I know are Elisabeths, but with that s, that beautiful s. I wouldn’t trade the z for the s but it sure is pretty. The s makes the Lisa natural.

It’s my Dad saying “Lis,” and Heather and Amber too, who somehow know to say Lis in a way that makes me feel childhood in my chest.

It was Lisa in the 70s when everyone was Lisa; we were Lisa H. and Lisa S. at school. Lisa S. kicked me once, and it was a Lisa fight. In the 80s, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. At the school I’m at now, there’s Lisa C. and Lisa D., and I haven’t even been there long enough to be called Lisa R. I’m just a glance at at my ID.

Elizabeth’s been on the top ten list for decades. Classic. My daughter’s middle name, now.

I meant to transform into Elizabeth when I moved to Ohio, but just couldn’t do it. I’m stuck in Lisa, and Lisa’s stuck in me.




Twenty very specific things I’m thankful for:

1. Both kids will still curl up with me on the sofa, which we call “shnuggling.”

2. My cat has not peed on my spot on the couch for about a month.

3. The seat at Starbucks with the comfy back, table, and perfect lighting

4. The comments my first graders make from time to time that crack me up. [Me (to student in an Ariel costume): Aren’t you cold? Student: Yeah. I don’t know how the real Ariel does it.]

5. The teachers that challenge both my children at school

6. Finally having someone to sit with at church now that my parents have moved near us

7. The rush that runs through me when I’ve thought of a juicy plot point in my story

8. That the library will just hand books over to you when you give them a shiny card

9. My husband will tell me the truth if I ask him if something looks bad. (And I don’t ask unless I want the truth.)

10. Bakers Semi-Sweet chocolate

11. That my girls and I like the same music, so we can sing in the car together

12. Writing blogs that give advice on craft and getting published

13. When I’m discouraged with lack of progress on writing, I have friends that will give me a pep talk.

14. I have a husband who will force me to get out of bed and go to Dunkin’ Donuts on Saturday mornings if I’m feeling low.

15. Law and Order SVU and a warm blanket

16. A thoughtful team of colleagues who have been nothing but welcoming

17. After 3 years in our new home, I have friends I can call on to go out for lunch or coffee.

18. The time I had with my father-in-law

19. My parents’ help with childcare, which lets my girls pursue their after school activities

20. My husband, who sees everything, but takes me as I am anyway

The Versatile Blogger Award


Thank you so much to Valerie R. Lawson over at for the Versatile Blogger award! Be sure to check out her blog.

Here are the rules for this one:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly that are excellent.
Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. (Fifteen? There’s just no way. I don’t follow enough blogs, yet. I’m working on it!)
3.Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.


1. These last three years have been the first years since I was in elementary school that I haven’t sung in any music groups.

2. I played the principal in a high school production of “Grease.”

3. I’m an only child.

4. I had my mother for a French teacher for two years in high school.

5. I love to memorize the names of my students, alphabetically by first name.

6. I fell off a fire engine in 1st grade. (My husband likes to say, “That explains A LOT.”)

7. My 6 year old just dedicated a book she wrote at school to Tyra Banks. Where did this child come from?



I only got to 10, and I bet if I spent lots of time checking, a bunch of them would have this award already. But here are some blogs that I follow and have been enjoying:

1. Slushpile Hell (

2. Shannon Messenger (

3.Cassie’s Reading, Writing, and Lovin’ It (

4.Krista Van Dolzer’s Mother. Write.  (Repeat) (

5. Angela Cothrans’  Live to Write…  Edit When Necessary (

6. Casey McCormick’s Literary Rambles (

7. Lisa and Laura Write (

8. Kate Messner’s blog (

9. Cupid’s Literary Connection (

10. R.C. Lewis’ Crossing the Helix (

Carry on, bloggers!



“The Voice” (another blog contest, please forgive me everyone!)

So I’m participating in this blog contest modeled after TV’s “The Voice.” I have to post the synopsis from my query letter and my first 250 words. Bear with me. All in the process, right?


Super-brain Alexis likes everything exactly so. Perfect prep school grades. School supplies arranged eight inches apart in parallel lines. Timed phone calls with her mother. Scheduled hook-ups with her boyfriend Ben on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. As long as her secret self-destructive streak is hidden, all is well.

But then Alexis receives a bright red B on an English paper, and endures an excruciating break-up with no explanation. And now parallel cuts run down her leg an inch apart, one for each day since Ben broke up with her. She bangs her head, burns herself–anything to soothe herself and assert some control.

When her friend Miranda accidentally glimpses her scars, Alexis feels even more trapped. Now she must survive weekly therapy sessions with a counselor, forced disclosure to her parents, and worst of all: dismissal from school if she doesn’t get better. It’s up to Alexis to pull herself out of the mire–if she even wants to.


A bright red B. Oh my G**. My lowest grade ever.

I rubbed my cheek as hard as I could and stuffed the paper into my binder. I didn’t bother to check the comments–plenty of time to memorize those later.

My throat closed up and I couldn’t draw a full breath. One full grade less than an A. My G.P.A. would sink. Miranda would pass me in class rank.

What would my mother say?

So stupid.

The bell rang, and Miranda and I headed to the door. Once we were in the hallway, she burst out, “I got an A! What about you?”

“Mmm,” I said, half-nodding.

She prattled on about her comments and each word stabbed at my stomach.

I couldn’t listen to her any longer, and escaped to the bathroom. I made it to the safety of a stall before the dam burst and the tears started flowing.

Why didn’t I work harder? I didn’t deserve an A anyway. Dummy, lazy, fat moron.

I jerked my left sleeve up. A paper clip would do, one of those big ones in my English binder. I uncurled the clip, molding the metal into a straight line. When my sleeve was up all the way, I scraped the clip back and forth across my fat upper arm until beads of blood popped up.

It wasn’t enough. I scraped four more times, changing the line into an angular B.

Shame on my body now too. The scratches would burn and remind me what I’d done. Exactly what I deserved.

Liebster Award

I’ve received my first blogging award! It’s called the Liebster Award, and it’s for small blogs like mine with fewer than 200 followers (and let’s not talk about how very much under 200 followers I have!)

I received this award from ED Martin, my online writing buddy on Scribophile. She’s published a bunch of short stories and is writing novels too. Check her out: she blogs about writing at

I’m passing this award on to:

Susie Meserve, a friend from high school, who blogs about her writing and her life at She’s a published poet, working on a memoir. Check her out!

Julie Zeager, a friend from Ohio, who blogs about knitting and her summer adventures at

(This is supposed to be a list of five small blogs I follow, but I’m so new at all this, so forgive me for only having two!)

SO, I’m supposed to tell two things (should be five…) about myself that people may not know.


I play handbells in my church choir. I’m A-flat, A, B-flat, and B above middle C. It’s a hard part to read, since it’s right in the middle of the treble clef. It’s challenging: tempo changes, key signature changes, meter changes, triplets, sixteenth notes…. So much fun, though. It really keeps me on my toes. And I’m not one of the best in the group at all, and I like the challenge.


And I really like the Disney TV show Phineas and Ferb. I realize that my children are the target audience, but I really enjoy it too. Phineas and Ferb create amazing inventions, and their sister Candace is always trying to bust them. And then there’s their pet platypus Perry, who turns into Special Agent P, and then there’s evil scientist Dr. Doofenshmirtz, trying to take over the Tri-state area, and….

Okay. I think you just have to watch it. Because otherwise I sound like I’m 6. Although I’m okay with that.

Thanks, ED!

When an author @ s me on Twitter…

…I’m like, OH MY GOD!

Now, it’s totally childish of me, right? But when I tweet @ an author and they REPLY, it’s like a crush or a superstar has noticed me!!! Oh my God, it’s Ricky Schroeder all over again! (Yes, now you know how old I am.)

You know, Jodi Picoult complimented my Tinkerbell necklace at a reading once. (I’ve never taken it off… eh, just kidding. Kinda.)

So, Ricky Schroeder = Jodi Picoult?

Okay, so my presence on Twitter is reallllly small…. I only have 75 followers or something. But I throw an @ at some authors sometimes, just ’cause… I want to be them! Wait, I mean, because I like their work!

Check out this massive list of authors who OBVIOUSLY think I’m amazing:

Jay Asher @LisaRosenman Have fun at book club!

Lisa See @LisaRosenman Very cool! Do you know I visit book clubs by Skype and speaker phone? Let me know if you’d like me to join in when you meet.

Jodi Meadows @LisaRosenman Yes! I finished! And now the cookies are GONE. (Which is a tragedy.)

Mignon Fogarty @LisaRosenman Thanks! (I know. It’s *so* close.)

Elana Johnson @LisaRosenman It was awesome! Take them.

Cheryl Rainfield @LisaRosenman Good for you. We need lots of books that talk about painful things, encourage healing, hope.

That’s 6 actual authors that I admire! I have really arrived, yeah?

So… maybe someday someone will be excited that this author they admire (me, of course) will repsond to them on Twitter. It could happen, right?